Take your tastebuds on a trip around the world on Adelaide’s most fashionable strip.
Rundle Street is to Adelaide what Chapel Street is to Melbourne. Only, it’s about an eighth of the length, making it even easier to meander when looking for places to dine. The East End strip, between Rundle Mall and the parklands, is the place to see and be seen. It fuses designer boutiques with hip eateries and heritage buildings, plus has numerous chic laneways running off it. Whether you’re keen to be wined and dined or want to hang somewhere more casual, we’ve got you covered.
Hot, new restaurants on Rundle Street
We can’t help wondering what Hoges would make of this two-level eatery and cocktail bar. Opening last December, Two Pot Screamer features fun Australiana fare redone as fine dining. Think satay kangaroo with Davidson plum and kaffir lime; fried Brussels sprouts with hummus, chilli, and mint; and sourdough bread with whipped Vegemite butter. Save room also for desserts like pavlova with kiwi fruit, mascarpone cream, and mint oil. Appropriately, the ‘70s-esque venture has taken over the old Orana site, which was also renowned for upscale, modern Aussie nosh. Upstairs, meanwhile, is a pretty-in-pink cocktail bar, with a balcony overlooking the iconic strip. Actually, Hoges wouldn’t look out of place sinking a beer here.
There’s just something about an underground bar that feels ultra-glam and exclusive. And this is what you’ll find deep-down below at Society Bar, which opened on the old Mum Cha site in February. The exposed-brick cocktail den, with low lighting and a striking, white-tiled bar, is the perfect place to carry on your weekend antics. But first, you’ll want to stop on the upper level for some ‘modern Australian’ tapas. The menu is as multicultural as Oz, ranging from barbecued wombok to Japanese miso pickles and five-spice duck spring rolls. Enjoy your meal? You can thank the chef in person, care of its open-plan kitchen. PS. We’ve heard rumours of a ghost at the bar, which only adds to its mystique.
Asian restaurants on Rundle Street
Stomach rumbling for ramen? You’re in luck. Minimono might be minimalist in décor, but it’s maximalist when it comes to the Japanese noodle soup dish.
Slurp your strings down with everything from mushrooms to pork belly (and 12-hour pork broth), Wagyu beef, truffles, and lobster tail. While the emphasis is on ramen, the eatery also has a few curries on offer – including a cheeseburger curry – plus side dishes like prawn toast, and karaage chicken. The name the spot goes under might be made-up, but the flavour explosion for your tummy is not.
This one’s an oldie but a goodie. Lemongrass Thai is definitely one of the best restaurants for Asian fare on Rundle Street. Established in 1995, it’s the place to go for authentic Thai cuisine, whether you’re on a Tinder date or hanging with a large crew. (The upstairs space caters for up to 100 people.) Like the fresh vibe of the lemony herb it honours, the casual eatery focuses on top-quality seasonal fare. No matter if you’re hankering for roast duck red curry, salt-and-pepper crocodile, or want to share in a ‘spoil me’ banquet, you’ll be well sated at this Rundle Street restaurant.
Italian restaurants on Rundle Street
What springs to mind when you picture a sun-soaked Mediterranean island? Tall, dark, handsome men; golden, sandy beaches; and tonnes of mouth-watering fare? Well, Sicily Pizzeria e Bar can at least guarantee the latter. Your insides will be singing like Frank Sinatra when you breathe in the delicious aromas here. Think woodfired pizza (from the ‘Australianu’ to the ‘pazza/crazy vegan’ varieties), antipasti, pasta, and slow-cooked roast meat, hand-rubbed in Sicilian sea salt. Also up for grabs are ‘family feasts’ and pasta bakes to share, plus sweet treats like cannoli with pistachio ricotta, and calzone Nutella. Bellissimo. With an indoor colour scheme of sky-blue and white, you could well be floating on a superyacht amid the ocean.
Classic for a reason
There are some restaurants that exude a warm, welcoming vibe, which make you feel as ease as if you were in your own loungeroom. Café Brunelli is one such place (although maybe don’t kick off your shoes when you walk in the door…) While Rundle Street tends to attract the fashion set, there’s a lack of pretension here. Settle back on a rustic wooden chair, beneath its chandeliers, while you peruse the extensive menu. Every diner is catered for with options ranging from seafood platters to steak, risotto, burgers, pasta, pizza, plant-based and brekkie fare, and – sigh – a myriad of Italian desserts. Excuse us while we unfasten the top button on our trousers…
Best restaurants on Rundle Street at Fringe time
The Adelaide Fringe is the globe’s second-largest annual arts fest, only trailing behind Scotland’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. It’s the best time to be in South Australia, with eclectic, vibrant events transforming the state for 31 magical summer days and nights. Much of the action is centred around the parkland hubs, The Garden of Unearthly Delights, and Gluttony. And there’s one spot where you can get a bird’s-eye view of all the action: The Stag Public House. Other reasons we lurve this institution: the sense of history (it holds one of Adelaide’s oldest pub licences), its wraparound balcony, pool tables, alfresco dining, and spotlight on local produce – from the hearty food plates to the all-Aussie beer and wine list. Stag-geringly good.
On the old Taj Tandoor site, this ‘unauthentic Australian Indian’ bar and restaurant Daughter In Law is just a few Bollywood dance steps away from all the parklands Fringe action. Even better, its arched windows offer a great view of the passing parade. Or dine al fresco when the strip’s closed off at night for the festival’s giant street parties. The eatery’s ever-changing menu challenges tradition, blending street food, like semolina ‘Balls of Happiness’, with familiar Indian-Australian takeaway dishes (lamb rogan josh, butter chicken, chana masala), and cultural mash-ups such as Aussie lamb chops with mint chutney and cumin yoghurt. You’ll be tickled pink with the interior too, which is as rosy-hued as India’s Pink City of Jaipur. Then there’s the help-yourself beer and wine fridges... Upstairs? That’s reserved for cocktails and boogieing.
Other East End restaurants close by
Okay, the following food spots are not technically on Rundle Street, but they’re well worth wandering around the corner for or down an adjoining laneway. They’re up there with the Leigh Street restaurants and bars Adelaide’s also renowned for. Basically, these are the best restaurants Rundle Street wishes it could claim on the main strip!
Wine tastings are married with Mediterranean small plates at stylish wine bar Mother Vine. Elsewhere, New Orleans-inspired bar and eatery NOLA Adelaide is all about craft beer, whiskey, and Creole and Cajun soul cuisine.
Say bonjour to authentic Parisian-style fare at Hey Jupiter Brasserie Française, whether you’re hankering for croissants, steak frites or charcuterie. Cocina Comida, meanwhile, offers vegan Mexican dishes and beer, in a compact, casual space with colourful seating.
Meander just a little past The Stag to get to restaurant and ouzo house Yisaou George, serving up a ‘rustic yet refined’ take on Mediterranean dishes. Woodfired lamb shoulder? Naí. Nearby, meanwhile, is ‘dop and chop’ eating house Africola, boasting South African barbecue dishes and banquets, in a vibrant dining room with a trendy vibe. Ready to get your glad-rags on yet?