Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published October 15th 2011
Adelaide's a fairly quiet city – in fact, it's often called a scaled-up version of a country town. The people are generally friendly, especially on the roads, and the city centre itself receives much less attention than, say, Melbourne's CBD. One result of this is that a lot of the places to eat are franchises or shopping mall cafes – great to go to for a relaxed meal with friends, but hardly the kind of restaurant you gush to your friends about. Still, there's some hype flying around that's undeserved, such as: Gaucho's
Gaucho's proudly touts itself as 'Australia's first Argentinian Restaurant'. If this seems true – it is, after all, a fairly bold claim – then perhaps the absurd cost can be explained away as some kind of tourism price. The various meat dishes (with an emphasis on steak and seafood) are nice, but not worth paying over $35 per meal for. Vegetarian options are available, if you consider a couple of salads and a plate of roasted vegetables 'options'. You'd get more variety from a pub dinner. Unless you're absolutely desperate for a fifty dollar steak, eat somewhere else, but not…
Ying Chow Chinese
Ying Chow Chinese is on 114 Gouger St, and is seemingly a local favourite. The décor and atmosphere is in the 'cheap and cheerful' tradition of Asian food: think cramped tables, raucous conversation and enough grease to refit a car. Unfortunately, there are a few things that this kind of restaurant shouldn't sacrifice, like clean plates and the quality of the food. Ying Chow food is a lucky dip – sometimes you'll get a delicious dinner, sometimes unidentifiable chunks of gristle. If for some reason you do decide to go, be aware that here reservations are like prayers – it's hard to discern their effects, if any. Prepare yourself to wait at least twenty minutes for a table, whether you called ahead or not.
Adelaide has some fantastic beaches, with great surf, quiet swimming conditions and beautiful surroundings. Unfortunately, Glenelg Beach isn't one of these. Its purpose is purely ornamental – something to look at from the Grand Hotel or the amusement parks that line the shore. As an actual beach, it's totally without character: linear shoreline, lined with houses and shops, broken by a short concrete jetty. The location means it's often overcrowded, the water hosts innumerable jellyfish and stingers, and most of the sand itself is carted in.
As an alternative, head down to Southport, about thirty kilometres south-west of Adelaide. There's the magnificent Port Noarlunga Jetty, at the end of which is great snorkelling in a National Marine Park reef. Further down is the mouth of the Onkaparinga River – whether you want to swim, paddle or fish, you can do it there.
Disagree with these picks? Know a place that's more overrated than any of these? Share it in the comments – we'd love to hear from you.
Great article.. again! I have to say I love reading your 'overrated' articles, but was a little apprehensive when you decided to tackle Adelaide. I mean how can we be overrated when people so often underrate us? :) I haven't tried Gaucho's or Ying Chow, but I think you're spot on with Glenelg. Great suggestions with South Port/Port Noarlunga (although I'll also add Moana to the list). I think Glenelg has some good points, but overall if you're looking for a great beach try elsewhere.
Ying Chow & Gaucho's are both fantastic...it's simple, if you don't have the money, don't go to Gauchos!!!
By adela - reader Friday, 21st of October @ 07:27 am
I agree with Natasha, Adelaide is under estimated as a 'foodies haven' - I've eaten all over the world and believe eating out is a big part of my life. I think the places you have mentioned here as being 'overated' is simply an opinion not to be taken personally. I could think of a number of places in Adelaide that are over rated but don't believe they need to be 'named and shamed' afterall what I think is just one person's opinion ;) I also have started up a blog of restaurants that I visit but I expect people to accept my blogs with a 'grain of salt' - sometimes a bad review doesn't deter people infact in my eyes it makes me more determine to go and give it a try for myself.
However on saying this, I have been to Gaucho's and I also tend to agree with the reviewer that it is overpriced for 'Adelaide's' standards afterall not even the 5star restaurants charge $35 for a main meal in Adelaide and as for Ying Chow, well my husband and I use to frequent this place every week and your right the standards have definitely dropped, so we now go elsewhere, but then again I have friends who absolutely love both of these places. Therefore it comes back to the age old addage of 'one persons opinion over another'
Keep up the good work reviewers this is a brilliant site, I love it and have tried many of your suggested 'must do's' ... Adelaide ROCKS and this sort of advertising is only a bonus.
By l.j_h - reader Wednesday, 26th of October @ 01:03 am
You are totally wrong about the jelly fish and stingers...there might be the occasional harmless jelly but we don't have "stingers" in South Australia and I've lived here all my life!! Funny calling it over rated, it attracts tourists by the thoudsands? I admit though, the high rises and fancy hotels have ruined it as a family beach.
By SX2002 - reader Wednesday, 2nd of November @ 05:45 pm
Totally agree, head further South, great beaches and fabulous food at reasonable prices... Fish and chips on Porties jetty, fantastic Pizza at Cafe Blue at Moana and Sunday brekky at Aldinga Beach Cafe, yum
By Blob. - reader Thursday, 3rd of November @ 09:05 am
Glenelg is exactly what it claims to be - a tourist beach. SA does not have "stingers" but in especially warm weather there are sometimes tiny biting lice-type water dwellers. After 50 years swimming in Adelaide beaches, I have experienced these four times! Glenelg is easy to access by tram from the city, has pubs, shops and fantastic ice-cream. If you want peace and quiet, go south 100m to Brighton, Somerton or further. Yes, drive to Noarlunga and snorkel off the jetty. Drive north along along 20km of coastline past Grange to Semaphore to another quirky street of shopping.
By Anonymous Sunday, 13th of November @ 01:22 am
Yes we do have stingers, they are called blue bottles and a couple of weeks ago there were hundreds of them washed up on Goolwa beach and washing around in the surf,
By Anonymous Sunday, 5th of February @ 01:30 am
A well written article! You always know you've done well when the comments turn into a little bit of a snark between different people's opinions...
Definitely going to trawl through and find the other 'overrated' articles Natasha was talking about.
By noone - senior reviewer Thursday, 8th of March @ 10:12 pm
Have just a nice meal at Gaucho's, with some friends from work. We eat in restaurants all over Australia due to travel. High travel in the Asia/Pacific and around the world. And I have to say that Sean has picked it perfectly. For the prices charged at Gaucho's, a nice meal is not expected nor should it be served. Great, exceptional, outstanding goes with the meal pricing. I have had tastier steak at Hog Breaths and far better sides. Well rated or should I say over rated Sean.......But
a bit hard on Glenelg beach. Being raised on the southern beaches it does depend on what you are looking for. Glenelg does get a AAA rating for a schoolies beach or New Years Eve beach....not so for waves.... and maybe the larger fish with those big teeth.
Thanks for your article.
By Anonymous Thursday, 15th of March @ 05:52 am
I cannot agree with your opinion about Glenelg. I have travelled all over the world and think Glenelg rates up there with the best of family friendly locations. It's a great atmosphere just people watching over a coffee. There's plenty of activities which please the kids and also the shop-a-holics. I'd like to see more buskers to add to the atmosphere. Glenelg has always been a great place to stroll along window shopping and it's really accessible with the tram travelling from the bay to the city. It's clean, friendly and a safe place to be. Come on. Glenelg deserves a better rating. Ariana
By Aritee - reader Tuesday, 24th of April @ 07:31 am
Glenelg is a great spot, vibrant and fun. What's this thing with so many Australians that assumes a beach has to be almost deserted to be "a true beach experience". It all goes, and a busy, fun, vibrant beach life in summer is great. I don't mind the buildings at all, in fact I think it's a great improvement comparing to how it was 10 years ago. Glenelg is a great spot and a must-see for people who come to visit SA. All my European visitors loved it!
By Anonymous Saturday, 12th of May @ 11:21 am
Glenelg is a fantastic beach ... if you're a cashed up bogan. For the rest of us, Semaphore is a much better option.
By tone7 - reader Wednesday, 16th of May @ 12:20 am
glenelg must be the ugliest beach in metropolitan adelaide. sure it has a nice atmosphere and its ok for a walk sometimes but seriously if you've been all over the world and still think glenelg is up there then you must have visited those black pebbly beaches in europe and never seen any other beach in australia. as for gauchos i've never been and never want to, just the name puts me off and the wank factor i hear from people who like it. i'd rather cook at home or eat on some dingy southeast asian street where the food is cheap and tastes awesome and is fresh and not served by some toffy wanker
By Anonymous Friday, 22nd of June @ 02:46 am
Your seriously telling me you think "The people are generally friendly - especially on the roads"?!?!? Generally friendly yes - but have you ever actually driven in Adelaide? The people are generally not at all friendly on the roads!
By miche340 - reader Thursday, 28th of June @ 10:57 pm
There's plenty of good food to be had on Gouger Street, but neither Gauchos or Ying Chow rate at all in my mind.
By Anonymous Sunday, 8th of July @ 12:09 am
glenelg is good for a sunday session but as far as beaches go it rates the bottom, travel 2 beaches up either direction for a huge increase in quality
By Anonymous Sunday, 12th of August @ 01:35 pm
Spot on about the southern beaches. Directly in front of the Port Noarlunga jetty is an old style white two story house which contains the "White Dove" Thai restaurant. The food is amazing and CHEAP!!! You have to try their Tempura Chilli King Prawns...yum. And the view is stunning!!! Oops I've just given away our best kept secret!!!
By mungas - reader Monday, 13th of August @ 09:17 pm
Goucho’s is not a local Adelaide restaurant and therefore automatically over-priced. It is in fact offering international standard food and service. There are other Argentinean restaurants around that are cheaper, but they are Australian Argentinean restaurants. Having dined in restaurants around the world for over 40 years, I have to say Australians are the worst food critics when it comes to fine foods. Like most reasonable people, I look Google the restaurants before visiting to look at their menu to determine if it’s worth the effort of attending. Going in blind may be adventurous but from a point of view of a review, it is astoundingly naive.
As to Ying Chow, you get what you pay for. If you eat at MacDonald’s you don’t expect Mediterranean cuisine. Ying Chow is popular with a wide range of Asians who are far more dedicated to good Asian food that westerners, so the fact that it has a high Asian density in customer is a fairer indication of its worth than a few lines on a webpage.
But I must admit, you are absolutely right about The Bay. For an uneducated person such as myself, the Bay ends at Bracegirdles Chocolate Shop.
By Good Time Acolyte - reader Tuesday, 14th of August @ 02:02 am
HAHAHA.. Thats woken everyone up...He says,She says, They all say!....Well, I say...You are all right I've been to all the places mentioned and yes they are all good and all bad, It depends on my moods and my expectations on that day and the people I'm sharing the day with. Its nice to see everyone sharing their passion about their own city.
By samir - reader Tuesday, 1st of January @ 06:24 am
I do not agree with your opinion about Glenelg. Jelly fish and stingers? Are you sure you weren't at Noosa beaches?
By Fraanie - reader Friday, 11th of January @ 11:38 am
Love this! First time I've read it ... always enjoy a good read .... on ya! Will subscribe! :) x
As someone who has driven throughout Europe and in Canada I have to say that Australian drivers are among the worst I've come across for their behaviour and attitude on the road. And in Australia, South Australians are the worst of the lot. Friendly? Absolutely not. Selfish, aggressive, lacking in basic skills? Yes and a lot more besides.
By Coachman on the Box - reader Friday, 11th of April @ 12:59 am
When Goucho 1st opened, we drove 800km from home to Adelaide to specifically meet up with friends and try this new "the only Argentinian restaurant in S.A", boasting all sorts of wondrous meats. We couldn't hear ourselves think it was so noisy. Also the ad didn't mention that after-workers were going to just drink and be raucous either. Never got to try their marvelous BBQ'd fare as the BBQ and Hood weren't working at all and so had none of the food touted as spesh. The owners/manager didn't see fit to contact us to inform us that the equipment hadn't been working for a couple of days, and would not be working on our chosen night either. No apologies came from waiters (in fact rude when I suggested a phone call explaining their hassles, would have been the polite thing to do). What we did have was tasteless, boring, everything tasted the same, and definitely not eyedelicious. Total waste of time (the money not relevant to us but still like value for money, but definitely didn't even get that). Very embarrassing as I organised the whole dinner......sigh. I've heard nothing but complaints from various people since then also Cheryl
By stayc - reader Saturday, 22nd of October @ 03:01 am