Adelaide used to be considered as just a stopover before you would head to South Australia’s got-to-get-to tourism spots such as Kangaroo Island or the bevy of wine regions only a daytrip from its wide, calm streets.

But Lonely Planet now places Adelaide as its 9th top city to visit in the world for 2014 (that’s right, in the world, ahead of both New York and London), listing it as a “cultural tour de force” particularly because of the Adelaide Fringe Festival and WOMADelaide.

The transformation has had a lot to do with its culinary and vinous credentials, flowing down the hills from the Barossa, McLaren Vale and Coonawarra. But here are five reasons we think Adelaide is a whole heap more than just the City Of Churches.

1. Chic streets paved with boutique bars

Okay, the transformation is only just beginning, since a law was passed earlier this year paving the way to allow more small bars in the inner city, but Leigh and Peel streets are sprouting a gaggle of intimate venues in and around the city centre. Places such as Udaberri (for tapas) and Clever Little Tailor bring a touch of Melbourne style to SA. Watch these spaces.

2. Just desserts

Adelaidians are embracing sweets as ‘an occasion’ with a stampede of dessert bars making a sugary mark on the city. Establishments such as Astonish Patisserie act as surrogate dinner venues, opening late, and offering bespoke creations such as the Super Rice Cheesy Glass cheesecake. Absolutely spoiled for choice: Devour Dessert BarAviary Dessert Kitchen and Eggless for vegans.

3. Wine flows down hills

With some of the most outstanding wine regions in the world just up the hill or down the coast, it’s inevitable that Adelaide is Australia’s wine capital. This manifest itself in grand ways, such as the National Wine Centre, but also genuine city-fied cellar door experiences such as Cantina Sociale as well. Wine is served straight from the barrel, or they will bottle it for a takeaway, with the focus on appreciating ‘what’s in the glass’ rather than how many points it has been awarded.

4. Keep on truckin’

Up to 40 food trucks are now doing the city rounds, among them the award-winning Burger Theory, which now has a ‘bricks and mortar’ store as well. There’s also seriously cute newcomer Myrtle & Mae – a retro 1950s caravan serving cracking coffees, tarts, and all sorts of naughty treats. The new La Chiva truck is all about hearty South American dishes like chorizo burgers. If you can’t get to them all, Adelaide’s food trucks now meet once a month at ‘Fork on the Road’ gatherings.

5. Under our noses all along

It’s one of, if not the oldest, food market in Australia and thanks to our foodie evolution Adelaide Central Market, with its farm-fresh ingredients and cultural nuances, is a must for the culinary connoisseur. Many of the traders have been here for decades, long before the market became this cool, plying all kinds of multicultural delights. There are also stacks of other activities to keep your attention such as cooking classes, demonstrations and live music.


Steve Madgwick