It’s cold out. And if you’re like us, all you want to do is hole up some place cosy and dig into a bowl of something comforting, warming and slurpy. Adelaide’s top chefs feel the same. So we asked them where they’re eating right now to offset the winter chill. And what they’re ordering when they get there. We’ve got recs for ramen, pizza, dumplings, yakitori and more, from old faithfuls, exciting newcomers and superb under-the-radar joints.
Savannah Sexton, Good Gilbert
“My local pub (The Grace Emily Hotel) lets everyone BYO dinner,” says Good Gilbert’s head chef Sav Sexton. Their go-to? A meal from Gouger Street restaurant East Taste. “Sitting by the fireplace smashing a Coopers Pale with a feast from East Taste Cafe is the ultimate night off. There is nothing better to help brace the Adelaide cold than claypot mapo tofu, shallot pancakes and honey eggplant.”
Jake Kellie, Arkhe
It may not be the most obvious setting for a winter escape. But Arkhe’s Jake Kellie likes to head down to the coast on his days off. “I love going for a Sunday morning drive down to Sellicks Beach, especially during winter,” he says. “We usually stop by Silver Sands Beach Club for a light lunch. What Nick Stock and Mark Kamleh have created is an awesome lunch spot, which delivers delicious food, epic views and a great atmosphere.”
Sticking down south, his other go-to is Pizzateca in McLaren Vale. “This is hands down my favourite pizza in South Australia. I love going there and having a nice family day out. Aside from the world class pizza and appetizers, Pizzateca always delivers a great vibe and is the perfect spot to hang out with loved ones.”
Emma McCaskill, Tasting Australia’s food curator, is spending much of her winter at Prospect pizzeria Anchovy Bandit. “I am pretty much a resident bandit here, particularly on Mondays, [when] it’s all-you-can-eat pizzas.” She also hits up Dumpling City (“I had the most delicious meal here with my family recently. The dumplings are freshly made, the wok-seared greens and fried rice full of prawns were a hit too”) and Levant on Pirie Street ("Dayum! Those pita pockets with the yiros-style chicken and secret sauce get me every time! One of my favourite lunch meals, most definitely!”)
Shane Wilson, Anchovy Bandit
Shane Wilson reckons, “Nothing beats a bowl of ramen in winter.” He’s not wrong. “My daughter and I hit a ramen spot most weeks and are on the hunt for the best ramen in Adelaide.” His top contenders are the spicy miso ramens at Black Dog Gallery and Hajime Japanese Noodle Bar.
His other favourites are Arkhe (“It has a killer winter vibe with the open-fire kitchen; ocean jacket cheeks on toast with lardo was my favourite snack from the last time I dined”), The Little Rickshaw in Aldinga (“An ex-Hentley Farm/Supernormal chef is serving up some tasty meat on sticks! And Southeast Asian-inspired food”) and Sho (“A fun place to dine in winter – book out the yakitori bar with eight friends and always add the katsu sando as an extra!”)
Fatema Ayubi, Shirni Parwana
“We love our local Lebanese bakery, Cafe Fairouz,” says Fatema Ayubi, who just opened a bricks-and-mortar spot for her Shirni Parwana brand. “It’s pure comfort food. They specialise in manoush, a delicious Lebanese flatbread made fresh to order in their wood oven. It’s an open kitchen, so the incredible smell hits you as you walk in! Our favourites are the Labneh Manoushi and the Cheese and Zataar Manoushi.”
Clare Falzon, Hentley Farm
When Hentley Farm head chef Clare Falzon isn’t in the kitchen, or foraging nearby for ingredients, you’ll find them at their new local: Otherness Wines, a Barossan wine bar with former Fino chef Sam Smith in the kitchen. “I always look forward to Sam’s food! Using very local Barossa produce, his menu is always full of delicious surprises. A true seasonal menu, the dishes change regularly, which means always something new to try when I’m there. Right now there are some beautifully wholesome dishes which are perfect for when it’s nice and cosy inside, but chilly outside.”
Closer to town, they hit up Lai’s Pantry for “fantastic Malaysian food in a little no-frills place ... Kitchen, fridge and a handful of tables – reminds me of eating the same food in Penang. I enjoy sharing with friends or just a quiet meal with myself. Lots of classic Malaysian dishes, but I always make sure to get a serve of fried chicken. A dish especially good for winter: chicken curry and roti.”
Still sticking north of the city, Yakitori Takumi is a favourite all year round, but Falzon reckons it’s “the perfect place to settle into on a winter night ... I’ll work my way through the yakitori menu, my favourite being the chicken wings. Another must-order for me is the grilled broccolini with sweet soy. Sake during the meal, and to finish the night, a whisky from the very thoughtfully selected bottles on the wall, with the guidance of [chef] Eddie [Ye].”
Justin James, Restaurant Botanic
“Locally in Adelaide one of the best things I have eaten recently was at Africola,” says Justin James, who relocated from Melbourne to take up the executive chef role at Restaurant Botanic last year, transforming the fine diner into one of the most exciting places to visit in Adelaide. “The Goolwa pippies in a fermented chilli broth was crazy good. I had to order extra flatbreads just to mop up the sauce! There wasn't a drop left in the bowl.”
For something low-key, he heads to his local burger shop, Burger Incredible, in Unley. “Everything there is spot on. I live less than five minutes away so it is dangerous on my days away from the restaurant. They also have American cherry coke, which hits home,” says the US-born chef. “Try the Oklahoma smasher with pickles, it’s a real treat.
“Regarding a bowl of noodles, I recently fell in love with the ramen in creamy sesame and spicy broth with fried tofu and pork at Ryo’s Noodles. It feels like a warm hug on a winter night. The noodles have the right amount of chew to them. I add an egg to mix as well, once again another real treat.”
Daniella Guevara Muñoz, La Popular Taqueria
When Daniella Guevara Muñoz is prepping for dinner trade at her Port Adelaide taco shop, she heads to nearby Vasili's Taverna for lunch. “[It] offers traditional charcoal yiros … very basic setup but the lamb yiros is sooo good. We have it for lunch regularly, especially on long prep days. Luckily our nearest fish and chips shop is now Sotos in Semaphore, again very simple but very tasty, especially the garfish.
“We used to live around the corner from Little Canton Chinese Restaurant in Mile End, so it was our regular Yum Cha place. I really like the honeycomb tripe! Although not Yum Cha, I love their crispy beef, too. Very convenient as we would walk over to pick up our takeaway.
“Another of our favourite restaurants from our Mile End days is Parwana. We would always try our luck and walk over, many times unlucky, but sometimes … I love their mantu (dumplings) and narenj palaw (rice).
Tom Tilbury, Press Food & Wine
“During winter I tend to lean towards comfort food,” says chef Tom Tilbury. His go-to? Angler in Stirling, where he orders the classic fish and chips, and the woodfire plate – a selection of woodfired seafood served with chips, lemon and condiments. “Sam and the team at Angler are committed to sustainable sourcing of seafood,” says Tilbury. “They have recently renovated to allow for more sit-down diners whilst still catering for their loyal local takeaway crowd.”
He also goes to Bottega Bandito for the “best sandos in Adelaide with yummy sides and drinks to complement”. His pick is the mortadella sandwich (with olive tapenade, stracciatella, roasted peppers, artichoke and rocket) as well as the brussels sprouts with salumi XO and honey. “[It’s the] perfect place to head for a chilled but delicious brunch/lunch. Fun and friendly service.”
Plus, Pizzalola in Cumberland Park for “a short menu of delicious pizzas, which are always perfectly made”. At this suburban pizzeria he’ll order the Fun Guy (fresh garlic base, mushrooms, shaved parmesan, fior di latte and thyme) and the Banksy (red sauce, fior di latte, shaved ham, salami, kalamata olives, and chilli).