If you’re going to Her Majesty’s Theatre

Hamilton is an epic (read as: long!) production, so you'll need a full belly going in. Fuel 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. Robata has also just launched a quick bites menu, which will have you in and out in under an hour. Sit at the bar and enjoy sushi, yakitori and an ice cold Asahi. Book ahead.

Inside a busy Japanese restaurant

If you’re going to the Regent Theatre

Got tickets for Cinderella? Before you turn into a pumpkin, 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 before you hit up Hairspray, where you 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 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 grab some pub grub at eternal top-end favourite The Imperial. Choose the regular parma with shaved ham, or try the eggplant with Napoli sauce and mozzarella. Skip upstairs for a quick rooftop spritz before the show.

A tall theatre building lit up at night
Harry Potter has returned

If you’re going to Arts Centre Melbourne

From 9 to 5 the Musical to Phantom of the Opera - you could see a new show here every week. There are heaps of fab feeds nearby too, like bratwurst hotdogs at German-leaning Hophaus. 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. Nearby Protagonist and The Barre are perfectly positioned for a quick coffee or post-show drinks.

If you’re going to the Comedy Theatre

Tickets to see Come From Away 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.

Two women sitting at a table in a busy restaurant during the afternoon.
Farmer’s Daughters

If you’re going to the Malthouse Theatre

Head online and see what's on for the year at the Malthouse. Then book a table at The Atlantic Restaurant. You can go large at this seafood place, or opt for 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.

An outdoor bar looking out on a river with skyscrapers in the background.
Riverland Bar

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. Upcoming shows include odes to Tchaikovsky, local talent showcases and epic chamber concerts. Peckish? 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 of the best pre-theatre dining

The Deck

Modern European restaurant at Southgate with great city views.


An Argentinian barbecue restaurant in the heart of Southbank.

Yarra Botanica

Yarra Botanica is a floating bar and eatery on the Yarra River, celebrating Victorian producers.

Miyako Japanese Cuisine and Teppanyaki

Japanese cuisine or teppanyaki dining with a Yarra River view.


Authentic, excellent and premium Naples-style pizza and loads of Italian classics.


Delicious Thai food from a bright and colourful restaurant on the banks of the Yarra.

La Camera

Classic Italian food overlooking the river at Southbank.

DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar

This Southbank addition to the DOC family serves up an all-day Italian menu.


Renowned for its innovative Japanese cuisine, stylish decor and city skyline views.

Arkibar Cucina

Classic Italian dishes with local seasonal produce.

Eureka 89 Dining & Events

Enjoy the view from the southern hemisphere's highest dining space.

Red Emperor

Yum cha and traditional Chinese delights are served at this Southgate institution.

Last updated on Tue 21 Jun 2022

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