Thea Vegetarian Tea Garden

Overall rating: 4.0 stars 11 Reviews
Vegetarian food and tea. Has bubble tea drinks. Price: Moderate more-less
Vegan-friendly, Lacto, Taiwanese, Chinese, Take-out


First Review by veganblue
  • vegan

Thea for Tea

3 Posted on 09 / 30 / 2014

Thea is near the heart of the city within comfortable walking distance to the main Mall. It's spacious inside and there are two levels. I've never eaten for lunch but I know they do most of their business then.

The food is fairly cheap but also not terribly generous in portion size so value-wise it's even keel. The dishes are not inspired nor poorly prepared so not very memorable.

Thea is tea centered. There's a bigger range than the meals and the teas are good. The peach one was well worth it.

The menu is smallish but mostly vegan with some other options. There are special dishes available as well. They do not not clearly label drinks or their specials menu.

Then there's the service. It's different. There is no table service so the focus here is fast ordering. You are expected to know to pre-fill paper ordering sheets. Quite straightforward really but so very distant but make no mistake, the staff give poor service when you need it.

The style here is hard to put your finger on. Cafe/tearoom/Vietnamese. Modern not dingy.

This review covers two visits.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday September 30, 2014

Pros: Price, Teas, Spacious and modern
Cons: Service, Portions, Vegan Labels
  • vegetarian

Thea - a great vegetarian/vegan option in the city

5 Posted on 05 / 27 / 2014

There seems to be a lot of mixed reviews about Thea on here...

It's a self serve vegetarian (with a majority of items now vegan friendly too) and tea house. Open for lunch Monday - Friday and open again for dinner on Friday nights.

I think people expect to be seated or waited on, but this isn't the place for that. Sit wherever you want (upstairs or down), as long as there isn't a reserved sign. Call ahead to reserve a table for their peak lunch rushes. You fill in the menu as your order and take it to the counter to pay. Card is a minimum of $15. They bring your meal out to you. Easy. Chat to the cashier for any food allergies or alternatively write on the order form yourself (eg no bean sprouts).

Cold and hot teas! I recommend the green apple iced green tea. Also the strawberry if it's on the special menu.

BBQ steamed buns are my favourite, but the veg ones come with a dipping sauce. Cold noodles are also a favourite! Hanian is good for the meat eaters or those not so adventurous.

Check out my blog for a big post full of pictures;

Pros: Fast delicious foods, Good value for money, Ease of service
Cons: Need to bring back tom yum soup
  • vegan

Serve yourself

3 Posted on 08 / 14 / 2013

I felt a little lost as I wandered in, and staff (a few of them) totally ignored me. Since I had sought them out while only visiting Adelaide, I was determined to have a meal. So I sat myself down at a table.

Someone gave me a menu. There's not much on it, and then there are the specials of the day on each table (2-3 selections a day) & lots of teas and drinks.

So, here's the deal, you have to use the form and pencil that is on the table, tick what you want then go up to the counter and pay. They are friendly enough when you do, just would have been good to know.

Food was nice. The salad with the BBQ soy I had was really tasty, and nice to have some salad. I also had yam samosas which were tasty and sweet.

Prices are reasonable. They take cards.

Pros: Food, Central location
Cons: Service, Small menu

  • vegetarian

tiny menu

2 Posted on 04 / 30 / 2013

Barely anything to eat. Tea was good. Service = non existent.

Pros: nice tea
Cons: not enough food, no service, needs more people cleaning
  • vegan

Wow what a disappointment

2 Posted on 01 / 21 / 2013

After reading all the raving reviews we reserved a table for a friday night invited our non vegan friends to show them how great vegetarian/vegan food can be and had a one of the most disappointing nights ever. The reviews on happycow are quite old so maybe things simply changed in the last few years. There were only two vegan options available and both were a big disappointment - very sugary and a lot of rice. The basil nuggets were good but we got four tiny tiny nuggets like 1cm long. Not good value for money unfortunately also they had nearly non of the tea available - they claim to be a tea garden! Anyway we never came back and as I said maybe in 2006 things were different in Adelaide but by now there are a lot better options available

Pros: location
Cons: tasteless food, poor service, no choice
  • vegetarian

Yummy, Quick, and Cheap!

4 Posted on 05 / 08 / 2010

My first day in Adelaide after 2 hours flight from Sydney and I went straight away to Thea for lunch. I tried their Hainanese Chicken Rice and was automatically sold! Really crunchy pieaces of bread crumbed soy mock chicken on bed of warm rice and salad. Hummmm!!! The price surprised me too, only $10.50. The portion was just perfect, not too much or too little. It leaves me just anough room for dessert.

Great interior and lighting. Fantastic 2 split levels of dining room, especially the underground one, was great and big enough for functions. The only vegetarian restaurants big enough and stylish enough for conducting functions in Australia. Clean and tidy restrooms too.

However I feel that the staff are not that friendly. They were there just to do their jobs. Most I would suspect were not vegetarians/vegans themselves, thus the attitude was a bit "I don't care". The service was quick but lack of personal touch, maybe because the place is too big and the staff are used to heavy traffic of lunch time diners.

I have also tried their BBQ pork buns and the BBQ pork rice but were not too fuss about them.

Overall, a great place to for vegetarians and vegans! But hopefully they will extend their opening hours to dinner and weekend in the near future!

Pros: Yummy & Quick, Great prices, Big & Stylish place
Cons: Lack of personal touch, Staff are slightly unfriendly, Only open Mon-Fri lunch
  • vegan


4 Posted on 01 / 11 / 2010

Thea is BY FAR the BEST vegetarian restaurant in Adelaide. The staff are always always friendly and it's in a great location and everyone I know who has been there, vegan/vegetarian or not LOVE IT! The menu says what is vegan and what isn't so there is no need to ask. The bubble tea is good and the Crispy Hainan Rice is to die for. The only thing is, it's hard to get a table around lunch time on weekdays due to the great influx of people.

The only bad things about Thea is its bad opening times - it's not open on the weekend and open only 11 - 4 mon-thurs and 11-8 friday.

It even has a gorgeous little tea room downstairs and you can book in tea ceremonies. I love this place :D

Pros: great food, good location, great service
Cons: bad open hours, very very busy at lunch time
  • vegan


5 Posted on 04 / 06 / 2009

This is without doubt the yummiest vego place i have been to. All but a few of the dishes are vegan. The staff are incredibly kind and the service is always very quick. They have a huge range of delicious hot and cold teas ( The passion and pineapple are great!) and a delicious selection of steamed buns, try the pandan lotus ones!! The dishes are very well priced with nothing over $13-$14 and they have two seating areas, upstairs & down and they offer take away also. Go and order the BBQ rice and the crispy hainan rice and you will not be dissapointed!!!! They now even sell amazing vegan frozen soy products that you can take home and prepare your self.



5 Posted on 04 / 15 / 2007

the tastiest and most divine asian vegan style food available.......its taiwanese as well so it has a very different pleasent taste....the bbq thing and the crispy hainan is delicious and the soy bbq meat style buns are awesome.....ive been going to thea since they where a tiny restraunt in gays arcade...highly recommended!

Pros: Food, service, atmosphere
Cons: none
  • vegan

Wow! What a great place!

5 Posted on 08 / 05 / 2006

I have been recently going here quite often. The food is really first rate- very flavorsome. Many (all?) of their meals can be prepared vegan too. If you live in Adelaide, you MUST visit this place at least once.

Pros: perfect portion size, great, tasty food, friendly staff


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Last updated: 2014/05/28


Added: 2007/08/01


Added by: Guest