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Published February 26th 2013
Best Taiwanese in Adelaide
The Thea Vegetarian Tea Garden is a sweet little restaurant on Gawler Place, a short distance from Rundle Mall. It provides Taiwanese style food for lunch each weekday, and dinner on Fridays as well.
Thea Tea Garden is located near Rundle Mall, on Gawler Place.
First impressions are of a lantern-lit row of tables extending deeper into the store – watch out for the steps at the entrance while your eyes adjust. The restaurant is spread over two floors, and is a very modern teahouse – unfortunately without the greenery that the name suggests. Once seated, a menu and pen are handed for you to tick what you would like to eat, which you take to the counter to pay and order. The food is hot and quick to arrive.
The counter in Thea is overhung by lanterns
The menu is supplemented by the Everyday Special, which offers 2-3 cheaper meals and varies from day to day. Most of the menu is okay for vegans, and much of it is also gluten free. No main meal costs over $11, which is fantastic value for such great vegetarian food. There is also an amazing range of drinks – 21 different flavours and types of tea to be exact! This includes the enchantingly named passion green tea, blueberry tea, chocolate black, and lavender milk tea. The bubble tea (look for items marked 'snow' on the menu) is a novelty to most westerners and prized by true enthusiasts.
The food in Thea is delicious and cheap, with authentic flavours which don't overpower the senses. Image by Kirsty Smith
Near the counter is a community notice board, which advertises lessons in calligraphy, Chinese Mandarin, and Thea cooking classes. There is also a board full of vegetarian recipes, which is a great way to find some extra variety for your home cooking.
Decor is simple and elegant
The meals are flavoursome but not over-flavoured, and have decent sized portions. Combined with the quick service, convenient location and good prices, this place is definitely somewhere to return to time and time again.
I love this place and have been following it since it's earliest days in Adelaide Arcade. It's great to see that the business has grown and flourished over the past few years because the food is always delicious - and even keeps the non-vegetarians happy with it's very tasty dishes. Love the teas too. A favourite lunch spot for me, and if I'm in town for a Town Hall concert on a Friday night, good place for a light meal pre-concert too.