Lunch can make or break you during the work day. A disappointing midday meal can set the tone for your entire afternoon, while dipping out for a meal that is fresh, fast and delicious can be just the boost you need. These eateries – all of which are considerate enough not to have eftpos minimums – are so popular that you might want to consider arriving slightly earlier to beat the inevitable lunch rush.
Bread & Bone Wood Grill on buzzy Peel Street does both hot dogs and hamburgers brilliantly, which you can consume beneath a vaulted outdoor archway (a displaced NYC subway tunnel) or in a moodily-lit upstairs space with communal benches. Pull up a barstool for a pulled-pork bun with jalapenos, slaw and chipotle mayo, or grab one to go for your takeaway office lunch or late-night snack. Also on offer are a slew of craft beers, or roll downstairs to Maybe Mae for a cocktail (if you can find the door).
Sassy Nano plates up unpretentious Italian, eat-in or take-back-to-your-desk. Lunch tables fill up pronto, especially under the yellow-striped awning on the terrace. Suits, couples, boomers, tattooed caffeine-fiends, pram-pushing mums, photographers, couriers, students on the run… Nano is utterly democratic but somehow keeps its cool. Pray the vongole (clam) pasta is on the blackboard, or there are generous pizza squares, salads and toasted focaccia ‘sticks’ (try the prosciutto version). Even the fresh orange juice lures return customers. Plentiful staff are a-tizz with tasks; bentwood chairs clatter on the polished concrete; and conversations run at fevered volume.
This prominent spot on East Terrace has had a few name changes over recent years, but the main thrust remains unchanged: generous vegan and vegetarian offerings for lunchtime city herbivores, eat-in or take away. The heritage shopfront here is gorgeous – part of the old East End Market precinct. Grab a table upstairs, out on the deep footpath or inside next to the bang and bubble of the coffee machine. On your plate are sourdough rolls, huge salads, super soups and pumpkin, sultana and chocolate muffins that’ll fill any remnant spaces. It’s super popular, so sneak out for lunch ten minutes early.
Beneath the flight path on the fringe of Adelaide’s CBD, Thebarton is all light industry and inner-west grime – just how we like it. The everlovin’ Wheatsheaf Hotel is here too, one of Adelaide’s live-music mainstays: after a jazzy night on the tiles, duck into Mister Sunshine’s across the road for a recuperative lunch. Expect beaut burgers, pies, mushrooms and eggs on toast, sunny staff, and a few rays of sunshine in the courtyard out the back. The haloumi and roast tomato sandwich with hummus and rocket will prime you for another tilt at the Wheatsheaf later on.
Reinvigorating a long-overlooked row of Hawthorn shopfronts, compact, confident Pantry on Egmont exudes quirky mid-century style. Savvy staff work the floor, casting out greetings and goodbyes with genuine warmth. Lunchtime hits include the generous Hawthorn Salad (carrot, quinoa, sweetcorn, feta, black beans and greens) and the fab Burger on Egmont (an inch-thick beef patty with smoked bacon, thick-cut tomato, provolone, pickle and luminous orange piquant sauce). The front counter is crowded with plates of fresh-baked tarts, slices and muffins; and there a few decent beers and Adelaide Hills wines available, too (love that Nepenthe pinot noir). A near-perfect neighbourhood eatery.