Friday, 26 April 2013

Casual Dining - Alimentari on Adelaide

I am always on the search for a great lunch spot in the CBD.  There are many food courts in the CBD, but that's not the type of lunch spot I'm talking about.  There are quite a few cafes too, if you know where to look, but they're not what I am referring to either.  What I really look out for is a good mid priced restaurant that is both casual and accessible, with good food and a good atmosphere.  These are a little harder to find in hubbub of the CBD.  I can think of only a handful or two that fit into this category.

Thankfully, there is a place just around the corner from my work that meets my criteria for a relatively inexpensive restaurant with good food and a great atmosphere.  Alimentari on Adelaide has been around since May 2011 and opened to much fanfare which included the then State Treasurer Andrew Fraser and a couple of hundred Brisbanes corporate glitterati.  Alimentari looked a little different back then with a large part of the restaurant dedicated to a bit of a CBD deli, which was quite exciting for a CBD resident like me!

Unfortunately the deli part of Alimentari didn't last too long and soon gave way to extra seats, the restaurant was just getting too popular with the breakfast and lunch time crowd in the CBD.  I must say that I walk past Alimentari every single morning on the way to work and have most of my informal work meetings there, so I am very well acquainted with the venue as a casual coffee and breakfast spot, but I was keen to try it out as a lunch spot, so I bit the bullet and arranged a lunch catch up with a work buddy MJ.

MJ and I have been mates for a few years now, but met on a corporate training course which was extremely intense and helped us form a really strong bond.  It also helps that MJ and I work in the same department and have formed a strong working network too!  The lunch was just a good opportunity to talk shop and see what was happening in our respective worlds.

Alimentari is first and foremost an Italian restaurant with a very traditional and rustic menu put together by new Head Chef Carlo.  The menu covers off most of the items you would expect to see from an Italian restaurant and also has a great selection of Australian and International wines, for those who are inclined to bit of a tipple at lunch.  MJ and I didn't have too much time on this occasion so chose to only have a main course each.

With only one course to have each, we both studied the menu for a while to make sure our choices would be good ones.  MJ ended up with the Spaghetti alla Romana - Italian flat pancetta, Roma pecorino, cracked pepper tossed through a light egg sauce.  As with most good Italian dishes, the idea is that less is more and this was certainly the case with MJ's spaghetti.  There were few ingredients, but those ingredients were well put together and the flavours were lovely.  The pecorino cheese worked well with the crispy pancetta and the sauce was subtle and let the flavours on the plate work together.  The taste I had of this was lovely and simple.  MJ's only gripe with the dish was that not all of the pancetta was cooked well and some of it was fatty and soggy, with these pieces being the only remaining vestiges of the dish.

While there were a few interesting looking dishes on the menu, I am a sucker for a risotto and felt it was my duty to check out the risotto that Alimentari had to offer.  It was Risotto asparagi e gamberi with
Arborio rice, asparagus & Queensland banana prawns cooked in a light cream based sauce.  The risotto was cooked well and the rice had a perfect consistency, you could see each and every piece of rice, which is not always easy to do.  There was the right amount of ooze with the risotto too, with just the right amount of the cream sauce on the plate.  The flavours were interesting and I am not sure if I liked them or not; what was interesting was I could taste the asparagus, but could not see the asparagus, which was a weird sensation.  The prawns were cooked perfectly, but the heads were still left on and they created a mess to eat and were a bit off-putting.  Sure, I know this is traditional in a gamberi risotto, but its still a bit off-putting.  Overall, I will say that I did like the risotto but it was far from the best I have had.

I had arrived early for lunch and it was practically empty when I got there, but it didn't take long for the crowd to come in and provide a great vibe.  Alimentari is quite a narrow space and when there is a full house, it's a bit crowded and a bit noisy.  What they have done to combat this is section off the back of the restaurant and spread out the tables a little, which gives it a more comfortable feel.  This is where MJ and I had our lunch on this day.

The staff were really friendly and the service was good and we never felt harassed or rushed, even when we finished up lunch and continued to chat.  As we left to pay at the front counter, most of the people who had packed in for lunch seemed to be having a good time, as did MJ and I.  The best part was that the bill didn't come close to breaking the bank!  Alimentari is a great little spot in the CBD and while I won't go there for lunch that often, I will surely continue to use it as an office away from the office.


Quite a good selection of Australian and International wines on offer
Quite a rustic setting and there is more space at the back of the restaurant
While there used to be a full deli here, there is still the remnants 
For a quick lunch or some dessert, you can get it at the front of the restaurant
Quite busy and very cosy at the front area of the restaurant

Alimentari on Adelaide on UrbanspoonAlimentari on Adelaide Restaurant / Cafe


  1. Hi, I must say that you have made some good points in the post. I performed searches on the topic and found most people will agree with your blog. Sydney Restaurants The Rocks.


Thanks very much for your comment, I really love and appreciate feedback and your thoughts


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...