Stay safe, check with individual businesses or event organisers for the latest info and follow advice from the Victorian Government before heading out.
If you’re going to Her Majesty’s Theatre
Before chilling out with Frozen's Elsa and Olaf, warm up with Bodega Underground’s spicy Mexican. This lively den has $45 pre-theatre set menus that begin with mimosas on arrival. Whether you go the regular or vegan option, everyone gets yummy churros, and it’s all gluten-free. Flower Drum Restaurant, where service is famously flawless, doesn’t have to be expensive if you choose wisely. Arrive early for drinks at this Chinese fine-dining institution’s new bar.
If you’re going to the Princess Theatre
Got a golden ticket to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Sprinkle some extra magic on your special night with dinner at The European. This Old World–inspired, wood-panelled restaurant could almost be in Diagon Alley. Or keep things cheap and cheerful at Mrs Parma’s. They’ve got parmas to please everyone: veal, chicken or eggplant, with toppings from three-cheese to vindaloo. There are even vegan and gluten-free options.
If you’re going to the Regent Theatre
Are you ready to can-can-can at Moulin Rouge! the Musical? Before you do, fuel up at The Carlton Club Hotel. This pub’s flocked wallpaper, velvety booths, fresh oysters and bubbly are just the start of your bohemian night out. Or step over to Supernormal, where modern Satines and Christians can splurge a bit. From lobster rolls to peanut butter parfait, it’s Asian-inspired dining with a contemporary twist. Looking for a romantic French bistro? Conveniently located opposite the Regent and outside the Athenaeum Theatre, you'll find Bistrot d'Orsay - ideal for a pre-theatre dinner.
If you’re going to Arts Centre Melbourne
You could see a new show here every week – including Phantom of the Opera from November. There are heaps of fab feeds nearby too, like bratwurst hotdogs at German-leaning Hophaus. Don’t miss this riverside diner’s $25 dinner deal: a drink with Wednesday’s schnitzel or a burger on Thursdays. Tutto Bene, which also overlooks the water, is a pleasant Italian restaurant specialising in risottos. They’re masters of pre-theatre efficiency, so you can linger over dessert with no stress.
If you’re going to the Comedy Theatre
Tickets to see Jagged Little Pill could be the perfect opportunity to experience Farmer’s Daughters. This new three-level dining destination in the 80 Collins Precinct is all about the Gippsland region’s great seasonal produce. Shujinko looks further afield, to Japan and its delicious, good-value ramen noodle soup. Fill up for less than $20 at this Chinatown favourite.
If you’re going to the Malthouse Theatre
Planning on seeing Kitty Flanagan at the Malthouse Theatre? Book your tickets and a table at The Atlantic Restaurant. You can go large at this seafood place, or just go the affordably fancy fish and chips. For cheap, cheerful totally vegetarian fare, head to Vegie Kitchen. Their big menu includes meat-free versions of Asian favourites like satay chicken and barbecue pork.
If you’re going to Hamer Hall
The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra’s home is a short walk from Federation Square’s hot new place to eat. The brainchild of celebrity chef Karen Martini, Hero at ACMI is in a smart-casual Euro zone. Melbourne’s dessert queen Philippa Sibley is on the team, so leave room for her heavenly treats. Or kick back with drinks and comfort food right by the water at Riverland Bar. We love this very Melbourne beer garden’s $49 weekend bottomless pizza and spritz deal.
If you’re going to the Melbourne Recital Centre
You need look no further than the wining and dining establishments right on this temple of beautiful music’s doorstep. Often lively Blondie Bar spills onto the pavement in front of the MRC. It’s all about good times, from beer and bao to more substantial dishes over a bottle of vino. Next door is a slightly more formal Script Bar & Bistro. Relax over Italian-inspired dishes, from pasta to mushroom pie, knowing you’re literally steps from where you need to be.
More pre-theatre dining
Features Japanese grilled dishes, sashimi, pork katsu and select cuts of premium beef.
Diner and takeaway joint serving burgers, steaks, and rotating daily specials.
Last updated on Mon 10 Jan 2022
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Excellent, hearty Turkish food including authentic kebab and pide.
A celebration of Southern Indian and Sri Lankan village culture, flavours and hospitality.