While Sydney is in lockdown it’s nice to dream of what we’ll eat when get out again. Well-executed pre-theatre menus are one of those dining experiences that tick a lot of boxes. Exquisite food prepared by some of the city’s most accomplished chefs. A glass of house wine. Beautiful views and elegant designer interiors. And no need to max out your credit card.
All of this is on offer for a reasonable price if you book a pre-theatre menu at one of Sydney’s many inner-city restaurants. Offering one, two or three courses, sometimes with a glass of wine included, you’ll need to arrive a little earlier to take advantage of these culinary gems. But it will be worth it. Here are seven of our favourite pre-theatre menus in inner Sydney – and feel free to share yours, too.
Conveniently close to the Opera House, Aria offers a pre-theatre menu from 5.30pm until 7pm, with an option of one, two or three courses. Enjoy the best local produce and sweeping harbour views, cooked by executive chef Joel Bickford and his team in one of Australia’s finest restaurants.
Visit Aria website
Set within the sails of the Sydney Opera House, this is another fine choice for an impressive meal, with celebrated chef Peter Gilmore at the helm. Pre-theatre dining can be booked between 5pm and 6pm, and you can choose from dishes cooked with superb fresh produce including confit duck, blue swimmer crab and wild-caught fish.
Visit Bennelong website
If you’re heading to the Lyric Theatre for a show, a popular spot to dine beforehand is the Flying Fish at the Star hotel, which offers good-value set menus of two or three courses. Here you can expect modern Australian cooking with the best produce, such as Cape Grim beef, barramundi and Harvey Bay scallops.
Visit Flying Fish at The Star website
Walsh Bay Kitchen
Sydney Theatre Company has its own restaurant, the Walsh Bay Kitchen, offering pre-theatre specials before a show. Here, the two- and three-course menus come with a glass of house wine included – bonus! Expect modern Australian dishes with a strong Asian influence. Recent dishes include pork belly with wasabi pea and miso asparagus or pork belly, peanut, gailan, lime and palm sugar sauce with mixed herbs.
Visit Walsh Bay Kitchen website
Close to both the State Theatre and the City Recital Hall, this Spanish restaurant offers a single pre-theatre menu. But be warned, it’s only available in one brief half-hour window between 5.30pm and 6pm. But it’s worth it, with elegant dishes including paella, the chef’s selection from the grill, and chocolate parfait to finish.
Visit Mercado website
Luke Mangan’s acclaimed restaurant, located inside the Hilton, has a simple $45 one-course plus a glass of wine deal. This pre-theatre dining option is available at 6pm or 6.30pm. Take in the incredible interiors while enjoying dishes such as steak frites with bearnaise sauce and watercress or pan fried potato gnocchi, corn, asparagus, zucchini, peas, parmesan and lemon thyme. A wonderful way to enjoy fine dining for two for under $100.
Visit Glass Brasserie website
This gem of a restaurant is hidden away under George Street, with exposed bricks, dim lighting and a smell of spices wafting through the air. It specialises in fine Sri Lankan and southern Indian cuisine. The pre-theatre ‘feast’ is available at 5pm or 5.30pm. And it’s a great way to sample authentic homestyle cooking, with dishes such as lamb raan with mint chutney and dhal with tamarind chutney, and light, fresh curries and salads. While you’re here, be sure to try one of their signature cocktails. And take home a copy of their cookbook, with all proceeds going to charity.
Visit Indu website
Share your pre-theatre menu tips with us!
Please feel free to share your favourite pre-theatre menus, too. We loving hearing about new places to discover in our stunning city! And check our recent blogs on the best places to go for a weekend brunch in Sydney, or some of our great inner city markets. In the meantime, we hope you and your family stay well, and we will see you soon.