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June 10, 2015

City pasta guide: Lucia’s

Nostalgia proves to be the strongest flavour at Adelaide institution Lucia’s, which we visit for the fourth instalment of our city pasta guide.

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  • Words: Farrin Foster
  • Pictures: Joshua Fanning

Lucia’s, in the south west corner of the Central Market, is always full even when the rest of the market is deserted. Table stalkers hover around the periphery of the restaurant and floor staff push through tiny gaps between diners to deliver food.


Visit Lucia’s at Shop 3, Central Western Mall, Adelaide Central Market.

Securing a table, particularly for Friday lunch or dinner, feels like an achievement in itself.

Thankfully, once that task is completed things are simple. The pasta menu of this, South Australia’s first pizza bar and surely one of our first pasta spots too, is short. A few familiar sauces are available to be teamed with your choice of pasta and on Fridays only, there’s a lasagne too.

It’s a very different experience to the other three we have had while creating this guide. Ordering at the counter is a brusque affair, there’s no offer of advice, no proud chefs rolling fresh pasta attempting to feed us more than we can eat.

But still, the efficiency of Lucia’s is part of its charm. As is the ability to get a glass of wine or bottle of beer whilst in the Market, something that all sensible people know improves a shopping trip by bequeathing the patience needed to survive indecisive punters blocking aisles with trolleys.

Back at our wonky table there’s no bread, of course, because we didn’t order any. But the beers arrive quickly, and we hear its made with wheat, so close enough.

Our meals arrive at wildly different times – the tagliatelle pesto (advertised as not containing cheese, but thankfully covered in A LOT of parmesan) comes out way ahead of the two serves of lasagne we ordered.

Pesto is a standard, but Lucia’s does a nice version. Made with cream and fresh basil from around the market, it’s a non-invasive flavour that is still robust enough. The tagliatelle is nothing particularly special, but it is well cooked and the piles of parmesan add a good kick.

Luckily we’ve known each other a long time, so everyone avoids hunger by having a go at the tagliatelle.

As a result, the lasagne is attacked with gusto when it arrives. It’s a decent lasagne, and the layer of ham adds something that probably takes it beyond the realm of what your parents made (unless they’re Italian). It’s not inspiring enough to dedicate paragraphs too, but nor is it in anyway disappointing.

And ultimately, inspiring and original food is not what Lucia’s is for. Even if you didn’t spend any time there as a child, the atmosphere of the place gives off a comforting nostalgia – and the food reflects that as well. This pasta won’t change the way you think about Italian food, but it will give you the reassuring feeling that you understand a few things in the world.

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