Take a tour of (R)adelaide's delicious underbelly. One of crisp cocktails, slow-times-barbecue, the best breakfast just out of city limits, and sideshow things-on-sticks.
If laksa is in order, head directly to the Central Market. This no-frills noodle joint has been doing its thing for decades, and its spicy soup is widely considered Adelaide's best. Opt for the signature Singapore laksa or Friday-only Malaysian edit (Sarawak laksa). Keep napkins nearby for the inevitable splash factor.
Stall 6, 44-60 Gouger Street, Adelaide Central Market, adelaidecentralmarket.com.au
Exchange Specialty Coffee
Come for the expertly pulled espresso, batch brew or Aeropress made with Market Lane beans and stay for the smart, compact menu casually raising the bar of Adelaide cafe fare. Dishes change regularly, but the stacked Wallace sandwich – pancetta, chipotle mayo, avocado, tomato, roasted peppers and mojo verde – will always remain. As will its vego sibling, the Walloumi.
Shops 1-3, 12-18 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide, exchangecoffee.com.au
Jerusalem Sheshkebab House
Adelaide has changed a lot since these guys introduced the city to falafel in the early '70s. Thankfully, this cavernous diner remains largely the same. Bring the crew, BYO booze and order the banquet (which means corkage is waived) for its legendary procession of grilled meats, flatbreads, falafel, dips and more. Don't forget cash – they don't accept cards.
131B Hindley Street, Adelaide, jerusalemrestaurant.com.au
Low & Slow American BBQ
This food truck-turned-bustling destination diner rivals the big players of the Texan barbecue game – and you don't even have to queue. The Southern-style meats (pulled pork, beef brisket, ribs and more) are smoked for 18 hours over oak and hickory. Go the whole hog with the 'feed me' menu then finish with a house-made pie.
17 Commercial Road, Port Adelaide, lowandslowamericanbbq.com
Lucia's Pizza and Spaghetti Bar
The Central Market is a sensory overload but keep your eye on the prize: you need to stay vigilant to snag a table at this 60-year-old institution. The spaghetti bolognese and vongole are crowd favourites, but the ravioli – beef or veg – in napoletana sauce is a big bowl of comfort. Add basil and ricotta to sweeten the deal.
Stall 1-2, 44-60 Gouger Street, Adelaide Central Market, lucias.com.au/pizza-and-spaghetti-bar
Turn down the tunnel between the bar hive of Peel and Leigh streets and descend the stairs to this hidden basement bar (you'll find it behind a timber-clad wall, with no door handle or signage). The crew here includes some of the country's finest bartenders. Enter for first-class, produce-driven cocktails (including a new booze-free section for the teetotallers).
15 Peel Street, Adelaide, facebook.com/maybemaebasement
My Grandma Ben
If breakfast is your cardinal meal of the day, make a bee-line to Jessie Spiby's sustainably minded cafe on the city's outskirts. We're talking kangaroo bolognese with fried egg, harissa and chilli jam on fluffy house-made crumpets, and just-baked spelt pastry pies. Coffee is filter only – to reduce waste, of course – and comes from local roaster, Monday's.
5 Third Street, Bowden, mygrandmaben.com
More than 200 whiskeys. New Orleans-style cocktails. Creole and Cajun cuisine. There are a few reasons to flock to this Big Easy pastiche but the fried chicken – served with smoked garlic aioli or rolled in butter and house-made hot sauce – trumps them all. The juicy, tender, crisp-coated bird has fast become Adelaide's favourite fried chook. Order seconds.
28 Vardon Avenue, Adelaide, nolaadelaide.com
Dumplings aren't in short supply in Adelaide, but few meet the level of Parwana's mantu. The doughy parcels are stuffed with carrot and sauteed onion, steamed and topped with lamb mince sauce, garlic yoghurt and paprika. The star, though, is the signature eggplant – thickly sliced and simmered in tomato sauce then crowned with more of that yoghurt.
124B Henley Beach Road, Torrensville, parwana.com.au
Meats on sticks is the game at Shobosho's street-level spin-off. Settle into the eight-seat yakitoriya for neck-to-tail skewers (intrepid eaters will be sniffed out and dealt cuts of heart, liver, ventricles), bowls of chicken ramen and a riff on the sausage sizzle with pillowy beef tsukune, hot karashi mustard and pickled onions on lunchbox white bread.
17 Leigh Street, Adelaide, shobosho.com.au/sho