Restaurant Guide

The best restaurants in South Australia right now

These are the best restaurants in South Australia, as reviewed for our annual Restaurant Guide.
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GT’s Restaurant Guide State Winner

At Restaurant Botanic, the line between the kitchen and the surrounding Adelaide Botanic Garden is all but invisible. Head chef Justin James works directly with the gardeners to grow rare ingredients such as blue quandong, oyster leaf and Mexican tarragon, with the intention of telling the story of Australia’s diverse flora and fauna. The result is 28 enthralling flavour combinations (and counting) marked by dazzling technique: a bite-sized apple “flower” sporting a pistil of green ants, say, or a “Coat of Arms tasting plate” comprising cured emu, seared kangaroo and a single warrigal-green leaf topped with drops of emu-liver pâté and kangaroo caramel. Large jars of garums, pickles and vinegars nod to seasons gone by, some of which appear in the “Temperance” drinks menu, which wows as much as the three tiers of wine pairings featuring local gems and rare pearls. As far as stories go, this is one told with rare thoughtfulness and synergy.

Plane Tree Dr (via Friends’ Gate), Adelaide,


Of course there’s (very good) steak at a restaurant focused on cooking with fire, but the joys of Arkhé are the unconventional ways in which chef Jake Kellie embraces the flame. Take the signature parfait tartlet à la Burnt Ends, in which duck liver is blended to a velvet softness and a scorched brittle top delivers an audible, sexy crunch. Two years after opening, Arkhé still provides a buzz, with the kitchen bench offering the best view of the team in motion. The energy is tangible. It sizzles in sticky, glazed kingfish collar and permeates a fermented pork-and-rice sausage with chilli jam fierce enough to blow cobwebs away. A wine list full of far-flung global beauties sits alongside a cocktail spread that includes a Penicillin, which gets flamed for extra theatrical fun. Even freshly baked madeleines with face-puckeringly tart passionfruit curd get the fiery treatment, rounding out a dining experience that’s always red-hot.

127 The Parade, Norwood,


As far as last meals go, you’d be hard pressed to find a more satisfying end than Fino’s Basque cheesecake and a nip of Seppeltsfield Para Vintage Tawny. But don’t wait for last rites – long lunches are a daily ritual at this light-filled winery restaurant, captained by executive chef David Swain and charismatic industry stalwart Sharon Romeo. Recently appointed head chef Daniel Murphy was sous chef back when Fino Seppeltsfield opened in 2014 and his longstanding connection with the state’s finest produce drives the share-style menus. Bluefin tuna carpaccio rests in a Geraldton wax reduction made with evergreens from a neighbour’s property, while Gumshire’s rich Hampshire pork gets brined till tickled pink, then topped with celeriac slaw and pickled mustard seeds. Seppeltsfield creations form the base of the wine list, which features respected friends such as Koerner and Kalleske and exciting collaborations with the likes of David Franz. Settle in for the afternoon.

730 Seppeltsfield Rd, Seppeltsfield,


At Hentley Farm, chefs momentarily down tools to welcome guests and lead them through the kitchen towards the atrium dining room, where views over the gum-lined creek and single estate vineyard delight. The mysterious sight of a brazier topped with charred produce is solved later on, in the form of all-day roast pumpkin ice-cream. But first, a spectacular five-course menu and lengthy parade of snacks, including a chicken-liver parfait tart coated in tiny muntries tumbling in sweet lemon-thyme syrup. Togarashi-dusted swordfish sashimi appears in a bowl made by South Australian potter Ashlee Hopkins, created specifically to sip the accompanying ponzu dressing and spring-onion oil. Little cockerel and pine mushroom pies are just as evocative, foggy with dry ice and presented on a bed of native tree bark and pine needles – a nod to the all-important kitchen garden, local Barossa growers, and executive chef Clare Falzon’s early morning forest foraging adventures. Bucolic and brilliant.

Cnr Gerald Roberts Rd and Jenke Rd, Seppeltsfield,


There are few things you can rely on in life, but the stellar snacks at Magill Estate Restaurant are a constant. The “Signature Menu” includes a single Kinkawooka mussel stuffed with Mayura Station wagyu tartare – a little treasure topped with lacto koji butter, pops of finger lime, chive oil and a mohawk of crisp saltbush. A spectacular deboned chicken wing stuffed with scallop and lobster also remains worthy of its staple status. As the pace shifts to mains, grilled Adelaide Hills porcini mushrooms are smoked in dried pine needles on the way to the table, presented with drama. The elegant space, located on the Penfolds winery grounds, has long set the tone for suburban fine dining, with vineyard and twinkling CBD views. Executive chef and director Scott Huggins has big plans for the future, too, including an outdoor countertop dining area that will breathe new life and energy into proceedings. Watch this space.

78 Penfold Rd, Magill,

Lobster with fire roasted tomato at Magill Estate Restaurant.


Maxwell’s main dining space looks out over the Fleurieu Peninsula, McLaren Vale vineyards and straight into the winery, where the team is hard at work. Diners, meanwhile, leisurely make their way through German chef Fabian Lehmann’s technically accomplished tasting menu, which is full of imaginative twists. Indeed, nothing feels like you’ve seen it before. Lehmann draws inspiration from his European heritage and global escapades; spätzle oozing with Section 28’s nutty Monforte cheese is a playful nod to Deutschland, while scallop carpaccio brushed with reduced tomato water, yuzu kosho and a smattering of pickled green tomato, confit shallots and sea blight offers a masterclass in Japanese delicacy. Maxwell drops, including mead, are front and centre on the wine list, but a noteworthy international offering runs from Champagne to Barolo, too. Charming service, led by restaurant manager Imogen Henning, solidifies its place as one of the country’s finest regional restaurants.

19 Olivers Rd, McLaren Vale,


When this intimate spot opened late in 2021, the natural wine and sake offering challenged some McLaren Vale locals, but the adventurous 11-course menu quickly solidified Muni as a destination. Taiwanese chefs Mug Chen and Chia Wu work quietly in the narrow kitchen, creating a parade of delicacies inspired by their homeland. Local producers including McLaren Microgreens and Fair Fish SA are celebrated in snacks, which might include a sliver of stingray and tiny nasturtium leaves perched on the edge of an upturned ramekin – precision epitomised. Sōmen noodles are an ode to home cooking, steeped in punchy 72-hour dashi and topped with a sake-marinated oyster, while Hot Star-style popcorn gummy shark and a cup of Earl Grey tea brewed in shark-bone broth bow to night market tradition. The drinks pairing is full of surprises (hello, cloudy umeshu!), and mulberry sorbet scattered with Tasmanian mountain pepper and fizzy candy ensures the meditative three-hour experience goes out with a bang.

2/3 High St, Willunga,


Andrew Davies, much loved for his work at Osteria Oggi and Press Food and Wine, recently took over a cottage-style building in Stirling – and, of course, diners have followed. In the front window, a wooden antique pasta maker sets the tone for the rustic, Euro-inspired flavours that follow. A handful of house-made pastas peaks in the form of tagliatelle bursting with blue swimmer crab and a garlicky chilli kick. But first, co-owner Belle Kha’s crunchy country pickles and a baked Parmigiano-Reggiano flan with a dollop of rich pork sausage ragù. The comfort factor continues with braised oxtail, root vegetables and creamy mash, as well as chocolate or raspberry soufflés that can always be relied on to stand proud. It’s all very uncomplicated and nurturing, like a hug from nonna. House-made gelato and sorbet flavours change daily, from pistachio to passionfruit, and are particularly enjoyable in the expansive courtyard, an oasis during warmer months.

143 Mount Barker Rd, Stirling,


Talk about a success story. When Mike and Trinh Richards launched The Little Rickshaw in McLaren Vale back in 2017, they primarily served banh mì to local winemakers. Vignerons still arrive in droves, but the menu has metamorphosed. Like Trinh’s parents, the soul of “TLR” is Vietnamese, but the beautifully presented banquet menu roams more freely. An undercurrent of Japanese flavours is present all year round, in the likes of plump scallops topped with XO sauce made using fermented yuzu. Winter sees a shift towards Thai spices, which permeate the red curry seafood bisque packed with blue swimmer crab. The setting is a rustic rabbit warren of stone walls and a sun-soaked courtyard, an idyllic spot to sip Viet Espresso Martinis and great Champagne while rubbing elbows with local wine producers, who return regularly to experience their creations alongside the inspired dishes. No wonder it’s notoriously difficult to secure a booking.

24 Old Coach Rd, Aldinga,


The flora-packed Newman’s Nursery grounds provide a fitting backdrop for Topiary, a breakfast and lunch spot with sustainability at heart. Here, in a 140-year-old building and wisteria-framed courtyard, chef and co-owner Kane Pollard and wingman Alex Payne take the “from scratch, zero-waste” route. Wild artichoke and bastard cabbage “light shades” hang from the ceiling. Foraged weeds, including purslane and chickweed, appear beside a micro-producer bounty sourced during weekly pilgrimages to the Adelaide Showground Farmers’ Market. Cheeses and butter are made in-house, and the cooking favours underutilised species and cuts – lamb neck in a Kei apple glaze, for instance. Carp makes its way into fancy fish fingers topped with finger-lime mayonnaise and warrigal greens, while char-grilled tommy ruff wrapped in a fig leaf offers an inspired take on another often-overlooked ocean dweller. Service exudes professionalism and warmth, while slick presentation on the plate pops with vibrancy and colour, mirroring the relaxed, verdant surrounds.

1361 North East Rd, Tea Tree Gully,

Gourmet Traveller Annual Restaurant Guide

Our guide gives a yearly snapshot of the best restaurants to eat at right now. The best-rated restaurants, as judged by the reviewers’ first-hand experience, form our national guide.

The best restaurants in South Australia right now
Plane Tree Dr (via Friends' Gate), Adelaide
Justin James

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