Fast food may be speedy, but it doesn’t have to be mass produced or unhealthy. These local favourites have plenty of character and flavour, and don't skimp on quality ingredients.
What the!? A 24-hour fast-food diner in suburban Mile End’s industrial backblocks? That’s exactly what Café de Vili’s is – an all-night hangout full of pie hounds, taxi drivers, insomniac students and more than a few sleepless drifters. Sometimes they need a parking attendant to direct traffic here, it gets so busy. But once you’re inside, menu offerings veer between the trad (bacon-and-egg fry-ups, beef pies, cinnamon donuts, fish and chips) and the unexpected (green curry chicken pies, Hungarian goulash and rice). Either way, you won’t go wanting for calories here, and the nocturnal people-watching is out of this world.
Fancy Burgers started life in 2010 in Blackwood, a suburb remarkable only for its lack of interesting things upon which to remark. But ‘FB’s’ changed all that, plating up excellent gourmet buns crammed with top-shelf South Australian produce. Now there are four branches around Adelaide, including a downtown diner that’s open late on Fridays and Saturdays if you need a stabilising late-night gap filler. The ‘Holy Smokes’ will cure what ails you: SA beef, chargrilled peppers, barbecue relish, greens and smoked chilli mayonnaise. Lamb, chicken and veggie burgers, sweet potato chips and killer steak sandwiches complete a very fancy burger experience.
Seems like everywhere you go in Adelaide there’s a Cibo, a coffee-centric local chain that’s even managed to get through security at Adelaide Airport. But fear not: in this instance, ‘chain’ in no way translates to mediocrity, and the Hutt Street branch, in an old bluestone corner shopfront, is certainly one of the more appealing Cibos to behold. Cibo coffee is reliable as an Adelaide summer, using robust, bitter arabica beans from South America, Africa and Indonesia. Food is fast-served Italian café fare, including excellent baked goods (try the zeppole) and hot winter soups. Grab something good to go.
Red-brick, austere Amalfi looks like something straight out of Chicago during Prohibition: it’s not hard to imagine Al Capone ducking in for a quickfire pizza and a bottle of vino rosso in a booth out the back. But even for us law-abiding types, Amalfi remains an estimable downtown pizza joint, eat-in or takeaway, serving pizzas that won’t blow your creative mind – familiar versions of marinara, margherita, capricciosa, et cetera – but which are generous, not too heavy on the cheese, and unfailingly prompt. Add some candles, some red-and-white chequered tablecloths and some bentwood chairs, and this is fast food with ambience aplenty.
King William Road is a long way from the ocean – Hyde Park isn’t exactly a beach ’burb. But this chipper fish-and-chipper (aka ‘FOOW’) does a heady trade in fresh fish, caught in South Australia and delivered here pronto. Order the local whiting – a succulent, slender fish that has become synonymous with SA seafood; or go for a dozen Coffin Bay oysters from SA’s Eyre Peninsula, shucked in-store and best with a little zap of lemon. Burgers, wraps and salads also pass muster. Their claim to being the ‘greatest fish and chip shop in the universe’ mightn’t be too far off the mark.