Gouger Street is one of Adelaide's most popular strips: a multi-cultural cacophony of places to drink and dine.
Mention Gouger Street to any Adelaidean and you’re guaranteed a good story. I’ve spent many evenings on Gouger, eating, drinking, singing (terribly, even with the aid of a karaoke backtrack), and dancing (again, terribly).
Locals plate-up delicacies from their family cookbooks while bars serve unique wines and beer imported from international micro-breweries. Try a cuisine you’ve never tasted before, sip a unique South Australian wine or work up a sweat on the dance floor.
No matter where you want your night to take you, you can get there on Gouger.
Let’s start with what Gouger Street is known for - Asian restaurants. Bordered by Adelaide’s thriving Chinatown, start the night at the tiny, slightly manic, yet totally delicious Ying Chow.
If you’re dining on a weekend, book ahead as lines are often out the door. Noise levels inside are high, but so is the quality of the food. Grab a table with a group of friends and work your way through their extensive menu. Affordable, tasty, and lively, Ying Chow is a great place to start your night.
Wah Hing or East Taste are favourites among Gouger Street regulars, and it’s no surprise why. While flashy décor isn’t either restaurant’s forte, the food you’ll be speedily served is nothing short of delicious. Order Wah Hing’s salt and pepper eggplant, Peking-style beef, soft shell crab or sizzling Sichuan steak and find out what the all the fuss is about.
East Taste’s menu is long and its prices, fantastic. Open until 1am, its wine list is extensive, and each time I’ve visited, service has been great. Now, what to order? My personal favourites are the smoked tea duck, E-shand beef, shallot pancakes and fried bean curd.
Of course, Gouger Street isn’t all about Asian restaurants. If you've got a hankering for a good steak, get yourself to Gaucho’s Argentinian Restaurant. Satisfy all your meaty needs with Wagyu, ribs, mixed grills and empanadas. How about a New York styled steak topped with blue vein cheese sauce?
The newest addition to Gouger Street's restaurant and bar scene is Mrs Q - a modern Asian Kitchen and Bar set in the former Loft Oyster & Wine Bar. The menu is a reflection of chef Nu Suandokmai’s passion for the vibrant, lively kitchens of Bangkok. The drinks menu is also pretty impressive with a long list of wines, gins, beers, classic and signature cocktails.
The Mexican Society's Tequila menu is one to delve into if your taste buds are up to it. It also boasts an extensive wine list, magaritas and cocktails. Food-wise, there's so much more on offer than your everyday tacos and nachos: dig into lobster alambre, sichuan fish, tequila noodles, duck and crispy pork ribs.
For me, affordable Chinese food and a generous amount of wine often lead to one thing: karaoke. Gouger street is home to numerous karaoke clubs, some more ominous than others. In my humble opinion, the only two you need to visit are La Sing and Lyrics, now known as The Voice Karaoke Bar and Supper Lounge.
If you happen to be self-conscious, or sober, this is your best option as you can pick between a range of private themed rooms with names such as Latino, Prince, Rat Pac and China Doll. Coax your friends into joining you and belt out a few tunes.