Countdown to showtime: Where to eat near the Palais Theatre

12 Feb 2020

You’ve got your ticket to the Palais Theatre, now your biggest decision is where to eat before the show. Acland Street, The Esplanade and St Kilda foreshore are lined with some of Melbourne’s best restaurants, treasured institutions and hip newcomers. But how much time do you have to spare?

Stokehouse dining room. Photo courtesy of Stokehouse St Kilda © Simon Schiff

2 hours before showtime

Congratulations, you’re well organised and ready to make a memorable night of it. With this much time to spare, you can enjoy a leisurely three-course meal and even a stroll along the beach before the show.

Perennial favourites such as Donovans and the Stokehouse offer exceptional dining experiences and stunning beach views that will make you want to linger. Donovans will make you feel at home with its friendly welcome, Mediterranean-inspired menu and relaxed atmosphere. Or head upstairs at the landmark Stokehouse for a luxe aesthetic, seafood-focused menu and extensive wine list

For a modern Cantonese feast from former Flower Drum royalty, head to Lau’s Family Kitchen at the Fitzroy Street end of Acland Street. Indulge in delicate dumplings, crispy lamb spring rolls and sautéed eye fillet in a Chinese tearoom atmosphere.

Don't forget to book.

90 minutes before showtime

Well done, you’ve left enough time to explore the delights of Acland Street or venture down The Esplanade.

If the Palais Theatre’s beachside location has inspired seafood cravings, get down to the iconic Claypots for a catch of the day or the eponymous creations filled with mussels, clams and prawns. Italian dining is always a good match for opera and Acland Street favourite Cicciolina offers a charming ambience with authentic food made from seasonal produce.

Make your way up The Esplanade to Ichi Ni, an atmospheric Japanese izakaya serving favourites such as gyoza, sushi and tempura alongside a selection of Japanese beers and sake. At the revamped Esplanade Hotel, you can choose from pub classics and seafood at Espy Kitchen or playful Cantonese delights at the opulent, velvet-lined Mya Tiger. Perhaps try an oriental-inspired cocktail while you’re there. 

Mya Tiger. Photo courtesy of The Esplanade Hotel

1 hour before showtime

No need to panic, you still have enough time for a sit-down dinner. Head straight down Acland Street and try not to dally.

Bustling Rococo has reasonably priced Italian favourites and the quick service gives you time to enjoy a glass or two of wine with your pizza or pasta. Kooky Art Deco wonder Big Mouth dishes up everything from loaded parmas to grass-fed steaks and great cocktails in a former ballroom.

At the end of Acland Street, Village Belle Hotel offers tasty pub grub in a renovated 1800s St Kilda icon. Next door, you can enjoy fresh Mediterranean food and daily baked pitta bread at The Lady of St Kilda. On Barkly Street try Quan 88 for speedy, traditional Vietnamese or Fat Jak’s for juicy Nashville-style burgers.

While on Carlisle Street you can devour tacos with home-made salsa washed down by a margarita at colourful Radio Mexico.

Big Mouth. Photo courtesy of Big Mouth

30 minutes before showtime

If you’re keen to eat, it’s time to hurry. You can still squeeze in dinner on the run with a California-style burrito from Bay City Burrito or there’s always trusty old McDonald’s across the road from the theatre.  

However, if you’ve finished your dinner early and still have half an hour to spare, grab dessert from Monarch Cakes drool-worthy pastry window or pick up a cone of gelati from 7 Apples Gelato or Piccolina Gelataria.

15 minutes before showtime

Oh no, you’ve been delayed and you’re rushing to theatre because you know latecomers will not be admitted until a suitable break in the performance.  Your safest bet is to grab a sandwich or a snack from the Palais bar and scoff! Get to your seat to make sure you don’t miss a moment of the show. 

Special offers and discounts for Palais ticketholders

Victorian Opera perform The Who's Tommy at the Palais Theatre on 14-21 August.