Travel + Leisure's Editor in Chief Nathan Lump dishes on his favorite restaurants in Adelaide, Australia.
In recent years, Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, has acquired a reputation for fine dining. I recently passed through—en route to doing tastings in the surrounding wine regions—and had a few standout meals.
If you find yourself in the city, here are three restaurants not to miss:
The restaurant is a bi-level space with a rustic-meets-industrial aesthetic where the star of the show is regional ingredients, many cooked on an open wood-burning grill. There are great takes on classics, like a terrific beef tartare with aioli, cornichons and the sunniest of egg yolks; fresh raw seafood dishes like kingfish sashimi with charred cucumber and avocado; and an awesome selection of offal like honey-roasted sweetbreads with speck and celeriac purée. Don’t miss the interesting wine list, too, which showcases some of the state’s more inventive winemakers.
Orana is Adelaide’s hottest ticket and a creative dining experience on par with the anything you’ll find not just in Sydney or Melbourne but Copenhagen and New York. There are just 10 tables in a zen minimalist room and dinner is an 18- to 20-course extravaganza; plan on three hours and spending some serious cash (it’s $175 per person and worth it to do the additional wine pairings for another $150).
Chef Jock Zonfrillo’s food is rooted in Australia, and it’s wild ride of indigenous ingredients, inventive combinations, and super-creative plating: Rough balls of potato bread arrive smoking on a bed of charcoal, green mango is drizzled with honey and paired with ants, prawns are butterflied and dusted with powdered plum.
Africola is a party of a restaurant from South African chef Duncan Welgemoed. It’s a small place dominated by a big open kitchen, done up in a riot of colors and patterns inspired by modern South Africa, crammed with tables and people generally having a ball while a funky soundtrack keeps the beat. The atmosphere is so infectious the food wouldn’t have to be good, but it is. In fact, it’s way better than good—a mélange of flavors from Africa, the Middle East, and Australia that is hard to pin down but absolutely delicious. The crispy eggplant with cumin and shallot sauce is a salty-sweet confection of a vegetable dish that I could eat every day, and the lamb kofta was perfection, crispy and earthy and given a dash of sour tang from green tomatoes.