It’s getting cold out there, so layer your clothes and get yourself to an eatery specialising in dishes of the cockle-warming variety. Carbs, calzone, chilli, chips and gravy… we sought out some of the best belly warmers from restaurants, cafes and market stalls across the state. The state is full of warming plates, faces and spaces, so get out there and get involed.
1. Est Pizzeria
This East Terrace joint is known for its spectacular wood-oven pizza but there’s gnocchi to bang on about, too. The gnocchi with gorgonzola and spinach is a day maker and other daily specials can be found on the blackboard. If you’d rather make like Life. Be In It’s Norm and eat on the couch, there’s a takeaway option. Open seven days a week, baby.
2. Earl of Leicester Hotel
Sometimes only a schnitty will do. This suburban pub dishes up schnitzels with a twist. The El Diablo is topped with pancetta, chilli, a secret sauce and melted cheese. The Mexican is piled with chilli con carne, jalapeños, sour cream, melted cheese and corn chips, or you can stick to an original ‘countery’ – eaten at the bar, obviously.
3. Osteria Oggi
Executive chef Andrew Davies and head chef Mimi Rivers nail every dish at this CBD pasta joint. Blue swimmer crab linguini is a winner, as are their larger meat and vegetable dishes from the oven (Piatti Misti). They also have a large-format option (think Game of Thrones feast scenes). If you can’t decide, let the chefs feed you with their lento menu – a leisurely four-course lunch or dinner. Be warned: you’ll roll out the door.
Moroccans know how to warm the heart and belly – via a big, heartfelt welcome and an afrah tangine. If you’re lucky, owner Mohamed Bartaouch will be onsite at this North Adelaide restaurant. You can’t miss him – look for the head of curls and toothy grin. Savour the lamb cooked until tender with cinnamon, honey, prunes, roasted almonds finished with sesame seeds, wash your hands with rose water on the way out and grin all the way home.
5. Udder Delights
Head to Hahndorf for a devilishly delightful cheese overload. The cellar specialty fondue is a take on the Swiss classic. The bubbling cheesy lava is dipped with Barossa Fine Foods’ smoked bratwurst, cornichons, mini balsamic pickled onions, Adelaide Hills’ seasonal fruit, and hot, freshly cooked ciabatta rolls. It’s messy, indulgent, fun.
6. Adelaide Pho
This Vietnamese restaurant is so darn good they don’t bother with a website. Word of mouth works when you make some of the finest pho in town. Lieu Tran knows her stuff. There’s a selection of red meat, chicken, or seafood options and the steaming, salty kick hits exactly where you need it – especially if you’re smack bang in the middle of the highway to the hangover danger zone. Find the good stuff at 199 Waymouth Street.
7. Kutchi Deli Parwana
The Ayubi family serves Afghan-style street food at Kutchi Deli Parwana in Adelaide’s East End and run their original restaurant Afghan Parwana in Thebarton. Both are full of love, heart and warmth and it’s reflected on the plate. Grab the mantu (steamed dumplings stuffed with carrot and sautéed onion, topped with a lamb mince sauce and yoghurt dressing) or the ashak (fried dumplings stuffed with leek and topped with lamb and yoghurt dressings). Veggie options available, too.
8. Bodri’s Hungarian Artisan Bakery
You have to hit this Central Market stall on certain days to dip your fork into their Hungarian specialities. Their traditional Hungarian goulash soup with freshly baked house-bread slice is only available on Fridays. “It is slow cooked with lots of beef, vegetables (potato and carrots) and of course Hungarian paprika,” managing partner Csaba Egri says. “We can serve it with hot paprika paste as well.” Friday is also the day to get Hungarian beef stew in a bun. “Beef stew is the base of the goulash soup, but this one has no vegetables, only beef, and a thick, delicious sauce. We bake a big bun, and fill it with the stew. It is served with pickled dills.” Can’t make it Friday? The langallo is available daily. The baked flatbread with sour cream, Hungarian csabai sausage, cheese, onions and capsicum is a bit like a Hungarian pizza with a much thicker base.
9. Lost in a Forest
You’ve got chills, they’re multiplying. Embrace them with a drive to this pizza and wine joint set in a historic church in the Adelaide Hills’ town of Uraidla. Wood-oven pizza is the speciality here. The buzzbomb heats things up with tomato passata, organic chilli ’n fennel salami, trecce mozzarella and owner Charlie Lawrence’s signature chilli-infused honey. Or, pull out all stops and opt for the bánh mi’s bianco base, 12-hour cider braised pulled pork, trecce mozzarella, pickled vegetables, coriander, pork crackle, and housemade sriracha mayo. This spot is so good, diners have been known to eat lunch here and return later for dinner to “try the rest of the menu”. Wash it down with a glass of Ochota Barrels red and let the good, foggy times roll. Open Thursday to Sunday.
10. Apna Dhaba
This Findon Indian joint caters to cheap thrills. Order the samosa chaat (a samosa covered in rich chutney, chick peas and raita for $5) and the butter chicken. Order through their website or using food apps such as EatNow (they close daily at 11pm, closed Mondays) and scoff at home in front of the heater.
11. Cafe De Vili’s
It’s 4am, you’re feeling like an extra in Frozen, and the only thing that’ll defrost your gut is a pie floater. The late-night troopers at this 24-hour Mile End café have you sorted. A meaty pie soaked in pea soup… is there anything better? Make space for a side of chips and gravy. An extra layer of grease will help fight the chills.
Hit this Rundle Street bar and restaurant, grab a perch downstairs and nibble on pickled carrots while you ponder whether to order a fancy jaffle or something more substantial. The menu is an ever-changing selection of small and large dishes inspired by the Iberian Peninsula (between Spain and Portugal). If you prefer to warm your innards the liquid way, you’re in the right place. “How about an Iberian flip?” director of operations Tom Roden says. “It’s a classic winter drink. We’ve incorporated Port from Portugal, sherry from Spain, and local Pikes stout. It’s a perfect trinity of what we do here. That’s sure to warm you up.” We like the way he thinks.
13. Asian Gourmet
Head for stall WR6 at Adelaide Central Market for a laksa hit of the bum-burning variety. Charles and Doreen Lo know their stuff and they’ve been serving it for donkeys. It’s cheap, quick and effective. Don’t venture far from the loo once you’re done. Just sayin’.
14. The Uraidla Hotel
Photo: Andre Castellucci
Head to the Uraidla Hotel, where the décor is funky, the fireplaces crackle, and the service is warm to boot. There’s also a sparkly new brewery next door, too, so you can sample a local pint while you tuck into some hearty Hills fare. There’s traditional pub classics like schnitties and burgers, but you can also get stuck into a beetroot and feta pie or some lamb cutlets, too. Yummo.
15. Ming’s Steamboat
Take a seat in front of your very own little gas oven, choose your steamboat broth (you can up the heat ante as much as you like) and cook ingredients in the bubbling liquid. You can take it to whatever bum-burning levels you desire. The Morphett Street Chinese restaurant isn’t fancy but we love Ming’s even more for it.
16. Bocca di Lupo, Mitolo
Pic: Jonathan VDK
Sometimes it’s a space that brings you all those warming winter vibes, rather than a specific dish. Mitolo’s new restaurant Bocca di Lupo is a beautiful little winter getaway to the McLaren Vale region offering a cosy escape and beautiful Australian-Italian fare. The luxurious eatery is housed in a carefully crafted structure comprising of ten shipping containers. The exquisite venue is set atop a picturesque little grassy knll and incorporates a tasting space and private tasting room, too. Look out at the wintry weather in the vines before you and stay cosy in the warm, impeccably designed space. Modern Australian cuisine with an Italian/Asian flare is prepared by head chef Tom Jack and his clever crew, served with finesse and love by the friendly team here. The Mitolo’s are all about family, and that’s exactly how you’ll be treated here. A la carte is available, but we recommend going the full tasting menu (five or eight courses). The baby beets, liquorice and chocolate is a must-try. Open Thursday to Monday for lunch, Friday and Saturday for dinner.
17. Pipers of Penola
Some dishes are worth the drive. Next time you’re in Penola (approximately four hours from Adelaide, depending on whether you stop for a pie in Keith on the way) treat yourself to a meal at Pipers of Penola. This fine-dining restaurant is set in an old church and chef Simon Bowen nails the art of hearty. We particularly dig the roasted loin of lamb, parsnip purée, miso glazed eggplant, potato & rosemary galette, braised shank, warrigal green. Let Simon’s wife Erika pour you a glass of fine fortified and you’ll forget all about the cold.
18. Andre’s Cucina
Polenta is a cold-climate staple in northern Italy, so the team at Andre’s Cucina assure us their speciality dishes will be on the menu during the chilly months. You can’t go past the polenta con ragu’ di salsiccia (creamy soft polenta dressed with calabrese-style sausage ragu and parmigiana). Gorgeous.
19. Comida Catering Co.
To market, to market to… devour paella. Comida Catering Co is run by husband and wife team Brad and Fiona Sappenberghs. They serve a cracking menu including shared tapas and pinxtos on market days but the large plates of paella are served on Thursdays (1pm), Friday (1pm, 6pm and 7.30pm), and Saturdays (1pm). Don’t be tardy. Demand is undeniable – if you snooze, you lose. Get there early and watch the chef work his paella magic. It’s totally worth the hype.
20 The Salopian Inn
Sorry Skippy – the kangaroo tail entrée served at this McLaren Vale restaurant is to die for. Chef Karena Armstrong is a machine in the kitchen and a master of regional produce. Settle back in the 1850’s building (preferably near the fireplace) and take in the vineyard views. Wine by the bottle can be chosen from the underground cellar, but we can’t vouch for soothing temperatures down there.
Got a favourite winter warmer? Let us know in the comments, below.