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River Cafe

Home > Adelaide > Cafes | Dinner | Fine Dining | Food and Wine | Restaurants
by Chris Nugen (subscribe)
I can't get enough of food! I'm also passionate about music, dance, writing and makeup!
Published October 3rd 2015
Adelaide's Best Informal Italian Restaurant 2015
Winner of Best Informal Italian Restaurant 2015 by South Australian Restaurant and Catering
Winner of Best Informal Italian Restaurant 2015 by South Australian Restaurant and Catering


My last experience at this venue was many years ago. It was not a memorable dinner as I recall feeling mediocre about this restaurant. Hence, I haven't been back to this restaurant for quite some time. However, having won the Best Informal Italian Restaurant 2015 by the South Australian Restaurant and Catering Awards, I decided to give it a try with the Festival of Food promotion and did not regret it.

ciabatta, bread
Ciabatta via Wikicommons


To kick off, we had rustic wood oven ciabatta with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. This was a good start to the meal. They gave us plenty of bread to which I devoured quite a few slices.

entree, tasting plate, arancini, soup, lamb
Porcini and leek soup, salt cod arancini and lamb arrosticini


The entrée tasting plate included celeriac, porcini and leek soup with crostini; salt cod arancini with citrus and dill aioli; and lamb arrosticini with fregola salad. My favourite was the arancini. I may be biased because I just love arancini but the salt and tang of this dish was just the right balance, with the aioli adding more flavour and creaminess to it. The soup was also very tasty as it had a good combination of herbs and fragrance. My least favourite was the lamb. There was almost no flavour to it and the meat itself was a little dry. There were a few leaves accompanying the lamb but they were not dressed. I am also not a great fan of fregola.

crab, linguini, chilli, creamy, pasta
Crab linguini


I chose crab linguini in a garlic and chilli rose sauce for my main and it did not disappoint. The linguini was al dente and sauce was creamy with a slight hint of chilli. You can't go wrong with crab linguini.

goat, tagine, slow cook
Goat tagine


One of my friends picked the goat tagine with salad, herbs and yoghurt. This dish was very well flavoured. The goat had been slow cooked to perfection was falling apart. The fig, orange, mint, coriander and yoghurt all complimented the flavour from the goat.

orechiette, ragu. pasta
Orechiette ragu with slow braised pork and fennel sausage


The other dishes were off the regular menu. One friend ordered the orecchiette ragu with slow braised pork and fennel sausage. This dish was full of flavour from the pork and sausage, with herbs and reggiano adding the extra umph to it.

beef, chargrilled, steak, mash
Chargrilled beef with truffled mash and broccolini


My other friend chose chargrilled Limestone Coast beef fillet with truffled mash, broccolini and balsamic reduction. The beef was very soft and tender, and cooked as requested. The mash was a little disappointing as the potato was still quite grainy. However, the jus saved the dish and made it very appetising.

medium rare, well cooked, beef, steak
Cooked to perfection


For desserts, we ordered a panna cotta with honey and salted caramel icecream and almond bread. I've had my fair share of panna cotta in Adelaide and this was not the best, although it was very good. To be picky, the panna cotta itself was creamier than usual, which I think is why it didn't set properly. Because it was quite creamy and have not set, it felt like we were eating thickened cream with icecream.

panna cotta, dessert, decadent, creamy, sweet
Panna cotta with honey salted caramel icecream


The house made petits fours were chocolate dipped espresso marshmallow biscotti which were surprisingly delightful. The strong coffee taste was nicely softened by the sweetness of the fresh marshmallow. It was a perfect end to the night.

coffee, marshmallow, petits fours
Espresso marshmallow biscotti
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Why? Great ambient, great food
Phone: 08 8211 8666
Where: North Adelaide
Cost: $$
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