• Chianti (Adelaide)

‘The Best Vegetarian Restaurants in Adelaide’, my local friend had cut out and folded the newspaper article, hiding it away in her room, waiting for my arrival.  I was finally  in the South Australian capital for the weekend, and so lunch at top pick, Chianti, was booked for a quiet but sunny afternoon with a table outside under their terrace marquee.

Photo courtesy of  Luisa Jaksa.

Perusing the menu, we were questioning how it made the cut.  This restaurant was not vegetarian but fine dining Italian with only a few non-meat options on their standard menu.  Asking the waitress about this, she returned with a five page spread of special vegetarian fare.  This showed classic and tempting antipasti, secondi and contorni like soft truffled polenta, eggplant involtini and pastas.

To commence we share the vegetarian antipasti platter.  This was delicious – enough to conjure thoughts of Syracuse – with an array of equally more-ish morsels.  The arancini was crisp and light with truffle and a tangy chilli mayonnaise dressing.  Mushrooms were cooked with balsamic vinegar and stringy melted cheese.  The asparagus was charred and served with hazelnuts.  The zucchini flowers were heavily battered and filled with smoked, soft, moist cheese.  The plate showed the perfect variants.  All the textures and flavours simply worked.

Photo courtesy of  Luisa Jaksa.

For main course, the gnocchi with pumpkin, sage and burnt butter was wonderfully fragrant.  The gnocchi itself was potato based and floury.  The pumpkin sauce was like a salty soup and it was less buttery than expected.  Fried sage leaves sat on top.  A yellow pumpkin mash sat at the bottom.

Photo courtesy of  Luisa Jaksa.

The lentil and beetroot salad was mainly greens with a nutty sesame dressing.

Photo courtesy of  Luisa Jaksa.

For wine, I began with a glass of the 2011, Abbazia di Novacella Kerner from Alto Adige, Italy.  It was described as being ‘interesting’ and certainly was; beautifully floral balanced with citrus and mineral overtones and mineral aromas.  The wine tasted more like grapefruit with aspiration.

After a heavy meal, we wanted dessert but opted with gelato as something light to share.  The flavours of the day were raspberry, peach with apricot and chocolate with hazelnut.  Whilst icy, the flavours were fresh and lovely.  The latter was rich and creamy with mini choc chips.

Photo courtesy of  Luisa Jaksa.

Whilst Chianti was not the type of venue we had expected as a top vegetarian restaurant in Adelaide, it was enjoyable with a mix of traditional charm and modern mannerisms.  It was an expensive meal,  but what one would expect of finer dining.  The antipasti was the highlight.

160 Hutt Street
Adelaide 5000
08 8232 7955

Chianti on Urbanspoon


  1. I can see why the antipasti was the highlight - I love zucchini flowers! I haven't had fried sage leaves since I was invited to a friend's place in Chianti for lunch - such a burst of flavour in the mouth. Ros

  2. The flavours in the antipasti were all delightful. This makes me want to travel to Italy again :)

  3. Excellent post. Thank you Elisa