We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“Dish Water”
Review of Universal Wine Bar - CLOSED

Universal Wine Bar
Price range: US$18 - US$27
Cuisines: Italian, Australian
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Reviewed 9 February 2013

Absolutely the worst meal I have had in a long time. Garnish was like dish water ! We should have known something was up ad it was the only restaurant with vacant seats in the whole street. Then we get told we can't have oyster because its been hot as well with the stuffed squid. Why don't they just bring the food because we couldn't order what's on the menu!!

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Juliaac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviews (37)
There are newer reviews for Universal Wine Bar
See the most recent reviews
Traveller rating
Traveller type
Time of year

5 - 9 of 37 reviews

Reviewed 14 January 2013 via mobile

Terrible service food very average half of the menu unavailable over priced wine and food didn't come close to expectation

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank JW65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 31 December 2012

I remember Universal when it first opened with Michael Hill-Smith at the helm. Since then I have visited what I would have deemed an institution.
Some back story.
My wife, the lovely Leoni and I were stolling down Rundle Street one day in October when she ducked into the Universal and made a booking for New Year's eve dinner.
She asked for table near the frontage.
Roll by 2 months and on a warm Adelaide evening we arrive. The street side cafe tables were all unset and had reserved signs on all of them. The staff on hand seemed to be from varied countries and some could not converse with you at all. The head waiter(?) took over and began the seating negotiations.
Leoni had envisaged a small intimate table for two at the front of the wine bar... and with some persistance she achieved her goal. Settled. Large San Pellegrino and two glasses of Champagne to get the liquids up, merci, grazie, si..

The menu is presented as a tapas style menu in my opinion, with the accent on Italian cuisine.
We chose the Oyster plate ($38) to share, with the waitress Josefina informing us 'to order early as things are going to get busy'. I selected the Linguini Mare ($28), Leoni the Risotto Crab ($26) with a green salad ($12) with Ciabata bread ($3) to come first.
Being a wine bar the wine selection is fantastic.
Due to the type of food selected I chose the locally produced 2010 Ceravolo Pinot Grigio.
All looking set for a dinner with street action to boot.

"Excuse me" a voice interrupts our discussion " I'm sorry but this table has been booked by another party and the waiter should not have let you have it". We turn to face a mature short man with cropped grey hair. He has a beer in his hand and looks like a customer. In fact I took him to be a customer who had specifically booked this table. No, he was the wine bar's owner.
I could feel the wife starting to get wound up and at this stage I conceded that if there had been a mix up then we would move.
" I'm very sorry but I have a table of 3 Chinese people booked for this table, please choose another table - up on the first level - any one of those, sorry"
We relocate up onto the poop deck seating area. Pleasant enough with 2 glasses of Mumm champagne proffered as concilliation.
Josefina comes bearing our bread. She looks in the direction of our original seating, perplexed, only to be informed by the very 'touchy hands on you' head waiter that we were now seated up on the first level.
The Ciabata is one slice cut into 4 strips served with olive oil. $3 for 1 piece of bread..hmm
The oysters follow and apart from a couple of small versions they were absolutely delicious.
The Mumm and the Ceravolo sit beautifully with the natural and grilled oysters.
Linguini and the Risotto follow.
My Linguini Mare was tasty and full of seafood. My only comment regarding the meal is about the freshness of the mussels. They were a bit dry inside the shell. The broth completed the dish well.
Leoni's Risotto to my eyes was entree size only. She commented that there was no evidence of Crab at all in the meal. She stated that it could have been vegetarian for all she could tell.
We asked Josefina to concur that the dish was actually Crab but she could only confirm what was stated on the menu. ' I will let the chef know' she said as she walked off.

Following our main courses we took in the mechinations the whole eatery.
The staff appeared to only deal with people ordering for the first time. Get the orders in appeared to the order of the day. We noted customers attempting to get a staff member to assist them only to be dismissed or ignored.

All the time we waited for the 3 Chinese customers to arrive and take their special table.

Over 2 hours later we had dined at our 2nd table only to watch a couple of 'walk ins' get allocated the front table. No Chinese to be seen.
Following being ignored regarding wanting to place an order for dessert and liqueur we upped the stage, paid the bill and departed.

Is a wine bar a good place for food? Probably not.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank NoelDPage
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 November 2012 via mobile

I have been to this bar on numerous occassions, to say in a few words, it is brilliant, the food is esquisite Authentic & organic, the wine will rock your socks. The owner there is Vito & he would have to be the coolest guy i have ever had the pleasure of meeting. The decor is really groovy & the place has a sofisticated urban feel to it. I give this place five stars for making me feel relaxed & totally at home. Love it & Thankyou.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Patrick D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 November 2012

luke warm linguine with seafood.....fish tasted old, 2 prawns, also tasted old, no squid

beetroot and goats cheese salad...again alll ingredients tasted not fresh.

i could not recommend the food here.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Cleopatra46
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

Travellers who viewed Universal Wine Bar also viewed

Malvern, Adelaide

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing