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Out of all the things that I love about my city (and there’s a lot!), one of my absolute favourites is the amazing variety of restaurants from all around the world. My city has been made richer, more interesting and more enjoyable by the generations of Adelaideans who have come from abroad and shared parts of their culture with the city.
It’s a cliche, but lovers of variety and international cuisine are truly spoiled for choice in Adelaide. Whether you want Ethiopian or Egyptian, Indian or Italian, there’s almost certainly a restaurant for you! Here are my picks of my absolute favourites – in alphabetical order, ‘cos this is not a competition!
Parwana – Afghan
I’ve already written a whole review on this amazing family run establishment on Henley Beach Road, but I couldn’t possibly leave it off the list. Ever since I discovered this modest eatery about ten years ago, I’ve been obsessed. The meat dishes here are sublime, cooked to perfection with a blend of delicious spices. For vegetarians (or any dumpling lover like myself), you can’t look past the mantu or amazing eggplant dishes. Seriously, do yourself a favour and eat here.
Addis Ababa – Ethiopian
Located on Port Road just west of the CBD, Addis Ababa is one of my absolute favourite restaurants in Adelaide. Within its simple building, you can try delicious, home-cooked curries and stews served with authentic injera. For the genuine Ethiopian experience, forego the fork and use your hands instead – making sure to soak up every tasty morsel. The restaurant also holds frequent events and theme nights which are great fun and often in support of great causes.
Wasai – Japanese
My love for dumplings is rivalled only by love for sushi, and luckily there’s plenty of great places to get my fix around Adelaide. For a quick and cheap option, I can’t go past Sushi Train on Grenfell Street, however for something a little more fancy I just love Wasaii on Field Steet with its amazing fresh sushi and sashimi. There’s other Japanese dishes too, however I can’t really offer any recommendations since I can never overlook the amazing sushi boat pictured above.
Malacca Corner – Malaysian
If I had one bone to pick with Adelaide, it would be the lack of decent Malaysian restaurants. I don’t know why, but I’ve never been able to find many places that come close to rivalling the amazing food I had in KL. Maybe my expectations are too high – but I digress. One place that I have found to satisfy my Malaysian cravings (which occur a lot) is at humble Malacca Corner in Adelaide’s Central Market. The fried Kueh Teow is indulgent and delicious, just how I like it, and the staff are friendly and approachable (also just how I like it). Bring cash, as they don’t accept card.
Himalayan Kitchen – Nepalese and Tibetan
I personally think Nepalese is one of the most underrated cuisines in the world, and I was super excited to find a few good options in Adelaide after I returned from Nepal with a bit of an addiction to Momo (dumplings) and dhaal baht (a lentil/rice dish that’s everywhere in Nepal). My pick of them all is the Himalayan Kitchen, a friendly, family-run restaurant on Melbourne Street in North Adelaide. You might even get the chance to try out a traditional prayer bowl if you dine in!
Kaffana – Serbian
One of the newer restaurants on this list, Kaffana opened in a small space on Peel Street a couple of years ago, before outgrowing it and moving into a larger one on up and coming Gilbert Place. Probably an option mostly for the carnivores (honestly the vegetarian options are a little of an afterthought, although they are very affordable), they do massive, delicious meals which, I am told on good authority, taste like your Serbian Grandma’s. If you’re not sure what to order, I recommend going for the shared platter. It’s not the cheapest item on the menu, but oh so worth it!
Sukhumvit Soi 38 – Thai
It might be a controversial call, but I reckon Thailand has the best food of anywhere in the world – I just love it! During my two weeks spent in Thailand, I ate more than I thought humanly possible. Luckily, there’s a few great Thai places in Adelaide, however I love the atmosphere and vibrancy of Sukhumvit Soi 38. The decor is gorgeous, the wine list is great (very important), and the food is authentic. It’s a great option for a fun date or night out with friends.
Africola – South African
I’ve been harping on about how much I love Adelaide for years, and it’s nice to see it finally getting the love it deserves – thanks in part to innovative and awesome eateries like Africola, which is one of the most hyped up restaurants I’ve seen in Adelaide in years. At first I wondered if it could live up to the hype… and yes, yes it can. The food here is stupidly delicious, and very unique both in flavours and setting. Don’t leave without trying the hummus and be sure to book ahead because this place gets crazy busy.
If you’re looking for something quite different, this cheerful and family run restaurant on Prospect Road is one of my all-time faves. I have to admit that when my mum first took me here (a love of multicultural food runs in the family), I had never heard of Uyghur cuisine and had no idea what to expect. What I got was a feast of delicious, spicy noodle and meat dishes that were absolutely scrumptious. I definitely recommend giving it a go!
Phonatic – Vietnamese
Truth be told there are a number of great Pho (which, I have finally learned, is pronounced ‘fuh’) places in Adelaide, however this one is my favourite. Firstly, the pho is delicious – recently being named the best in our local newspaper. Secondly, the venue is rustic and charming and has a nice outdoor area which is perfect for bigger groups. Thirdly, everyone here is just so nice! This was my stalwart when I was at university and it didn’t take long before you were on first name basis with the owner and waiters. Oh, now I’m feeling nostalgic!