The bodega (literally translated from Spanish: wine cellar) is where you can grab cured meats, fine cheeses and a bottle of vino to wash them down with. If you’re lucky enough to live near one of these local favourites, these are great spots to pick up some essentials on the go.
Where to grab a quick wine and deli goods
At first glance, this interesting neighbourhood wine bunker in leafy Belair looks like a displaced monastery… or maybe Luke Skywalker’s uncle’s house in Star Wars. But under the domed roof there’s nothing too pious going on: the ‘Great Wall of Beer’ puts paid to that idea, with purportedly 1,001 local and imported beers on offer (‘Oh look – Lobethal Bierhaus Red Truck Porter!’). Wines feature myriad South Australian bottles from the Coonawarra to the Clare Valley, best consumed with something whiffy from the cheese cabinet. Free wine and beer tastings on Friday and Saturday afternoons will get you into an appropriately ‘weekend’ mood.
A stalwart downtown wine vendor, East End Cellars relocated to new premises across the street a year or so ago, expanding its acreage to include a fab new wine bar. It was just what Adelaide’s east end needed: a savvy new operator to offset the brassy pubs and mainstream restaurants hereabouts. Sit in the window or at the sidewalk tables on a warm evening, sip some choice SA drops, then brown-bag a bottle to go. Or, if you’d rather eat in situ, staff can point you towards some cheeses or cured meats to buddy up with what’s in your glass.
When promenading along King William Road, one must project style and substance. This isn’t Adelaide in raffish, up-and-coming mode: if you’re here, you’ve already made it. It follows that this is the perfect locale for an upmarket bodega – a wine cellar that’s as much about fine food as it is local and imported bottles. Local chefs (the likes of Simon Bryant) often host cooking classes here, utilising the pastas, oils, vinegars, spices, cured meats, spectacular cheeses (particularly the soft ones) and sweet stuff on the shelves. If you’re lucky, you might get a free espresso at the door.
Nooked into an alleyway inside Adelaide’s superb Central Market – undoubtedly one of Australia’s best food markets – Lucia’s is part café, part delicatessen and whole-heartedly Italian. The café section has been here for decades (since 1957, in fact) but the adjacent deli is a slick contemporary affair, hung with impressive salamis and sopressas, stacked with jars of housemade pasta sauce, bottles of olive oil and neatly packaged take-home meals. Huge wheels of Italian cheese jostle for space in the fridge, while the scent of espresso wafts in from the café. Somehow Roma doesn’t seem so far away.
Next to the Edinburgh Hotel in verdant Mitcham, Ed Cellars is an independent wine vendor with an impressively odorous cheese fridge. About 8km south of central Adelaide, Mitcham sprung up as a distant farming town, and retains an historic village vibe. Once one of six pubs here, the Edinburgh harks back to 1869 – Ed Cellars ain’t so old, but there are plenty of well aged bottles here, including myriad interesting SA drops you won’t find in the big chain bottle shops. Cheeses hail from the Smelly Cheese Shop in Adelaide’s Central Market (pray they have the Welsh ‘Per Las’ blue in stock).