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Food and drink spread at Bar Margaux
Photograph: Melanie Desa

The best late-night eats in Melbourne

You’re up late. You need a feed. We’re not here to judge, we’re here to help

By Time Out editors
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Our fair city wears the mantle of ‘Late Night Champion’ with pride. Nowhere else in the country can you party at all hours, and then go out for a civilised meal into the bargain. These are the best late-night eats to keep the pep in your party step for nights when you need to soak up some of those high spirits, or maybe you’re just not ready for the night to be over.

For more late-night antics, peruse our guides to Melbourne's best late night bars, nightclubs and bars for dancing.

Melbourne's best late-night eats

A bowl of ingredients for a hot pot
Photograph: Supplied

1. Dragon Hotpot

Restaurants Chinese Melbourne

What is it: 24-hour hot pot
When does the kitchen close: Never, it's open 24-hours

Arguably the overlord of malatang in Melbourne, Dragon Hot Pot has franchised aggressively over the past few years, with six stores now open between Box Hill and the city. All of its locations close late, but the snug Russell Street outpost is open 24/7, with lines out the door a common sight during conventional dinner hours. A vast selection of ingredients, slick branding and Mandopop hits mean Dragon Hot Pot is busy around the clock, but its powerfully beefy soups, a drawcard for some, will not be for everyone. It’s also one of the more expensive options for one-person hotpot – bring a friend and share if you’re feeling the pinch.

A jaffle and a cocktail
Photograph: Graham Denholm

2. Arlechin

Restaurants Italian Melbourne

What is it: Italian
When does the kitchen close: Daily 3am

A nondescript, dumpster-strewn alley no more, Mornane Place has finally borne fruit with the arrival of a very late night bar with some seriously good eats. A city cannot have too many places like Arlechin. Beneath the sexily arched cork-lined ceiling lurks a place that feels like a subterranean clubhouse. It has long marble bar, seating for 40, clever lighting and a good part of the Grossi cellar stored behind glass. Even if you’re planning to be tucked up in bed by 10pm, the midnight spaghetti will play ball with your timetable. This is no booze-sopping gut-buster – it’s a dainty twirl of rigorously al dente spaghetti capturing a flavour burst of sugo, salty giant capers and sweet basil leaves. It’s kind of like an aerodynamic puttanesca.

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Butcher's Diner plates
Photograph: Graham Denholm

3. Butcher's Diner

Restaurants Burgers Melbourne

What is it: A 24-hour diner
When does the kitchen close: Never, it's open 24 hours

24 hours. 24 freaking hours, seven days a week is how long Con Christopolous is keeping this CBD venture open for. It’s a compelling reason to grab dinner late or have a steak for breakfast. Simon Poole, who has been a longstanding meat-obsessed member of the European Group, breaking down the animals and churning out all things cured and aged for venues such as the City Wine Shop, the European, Kirk’s and French Saloon, is now heading up Butcher’s Diner. While the menu is meat-centric, it is not as carnivorous as it may first appear – there's even a 24-hour all-vegan vending machine.

Pork at Supper Inn
Photograph: Graham Denholm

4. Supper Inn

Restaurants Melbourne

What is it: Cantonese
When does the kitchen close: Daily 2.30am

There’s something to be said for constancy in the restaurant world. This venerable establishment built its reputation the old-fashioned way with just plain straight-up excellent Cantonese food with a 2.30am closing time that means it’s a magnet for the city’s hospo crowd looking for a post-work feed that won’t break the bank. The menu is long. As in really, really long, but anyone who’s been a couple of times will know which dishes to beeline for. Congee with chicken, flecked with ginger. The Pacific oysters in an aromatic soy-stock lake. A whole steamed flounder, and sizzling chilli quail. The hotpot with pork and oil-soaked, garlicky eggplant with salted fish used like seasoning, and the roasted suckling pig with the sweetest meat and skin like chewy, salty toffee.

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Pizza at Romantica
Photograph: Graham Denholm

5. Bar Romantica

Bars Brunswick East

What is it: New wave Italian
When does the kitchen close: Sun, Wed, Thu 1am; Fri, Sat 4am

Romance isn’t dead, and neither is Romantica. Café Romantica, the legendary 24-hour pizza parlour-slash-dive-bar that closed after 30 years to much sadness, has been reborn as an inviting late-night wine bar and restaurant. The ‘Pizza Romantica’, a homage to the bar’s predecessor, keeps things simple and tasty with passata, thick slices of fior di latte and fresh basil. Amp it up with optional nduja, less for the salami itself than for the trickles of spicy orange oil percolating into each slice. 

Ramen at Musashi Ramen
Photograph: Graham Denholm

6. Musashi Ramen

Restaurants Japanese Melbourne

What is it: Ramen
When does the kitchen close: Mon-Thu, Sun 3am; Fri-Sat 4am

Customers fill up Musashi’s small confines in ebbs and flows. No one stays for long, but the restaurant is never empty – the bright signage draws you in, especially when your lizard brain is on a one-track mission for post-party fuel. Congenial chants of irrashaimase! greet diners as soon as they step inside. The heady smell of peanut oil and chilli, the paper lanterns strung across the sloping roof and the backing soundtrack of Japanese boy bands could almost trick you into believing you’re in Japan. The ramen menu is demarcated into three sections: signature pork tonkotsu, Tokyo-famous chicken shoyu and speciality broths. But if you’re worried you won't be able to eat ramen with any dignity, there are also four stock standard Japanese rice dishes like teriyaki beef and stir-fried pork belly that are easier going for fumbling fingers. However, nothing matches a bowl of noodle soup when applied at the witching hour, for the power to straighten you out, warm you up and keep you going.

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Food at Do Dee Paidang
Photograph: Graham Denholm

7. Dodee Paidang

Restaurants Thai Melbourne

What is it: Thai
When does the kitchen close: Sun-Thu 1am; Fri, Sat 3am

Hidden in the basement of Hotel Causeway 353, off Little Collins Street, you’ll find the colourful, low-fi and community-driven 150-seater packed to the brim with Thai natives. The main event is the signature tom yum noodle, coming in a clean, sweetly porky, hot-and-sour broth hit with generous spoonfuls of fried garlic and topped with crispy wonton strips. Each comes with toppings ranging from seafood to soft pork bone and can be customised with a choice between seven types of noodles, such as glass, rice, instant and supersized, for those with an appetite. Caddies with chillies in fish sauce, chilli powder, vinegar and straight-up sugar are on every table to adjust each bowl to truly make it your own.

8. Bodega Underground

Restaurants Mexican Melbourne

What is it: Mexican
When does the kitchen close:
Daily 3am

Venture in and you’ll descend into a basement plastered in posters from the golden age of Mexican cinema – tits, ‘taches and Tecate. The tables and stools are more cantina than bar, and the prime place to be is perched up at the counter. Beware, shots are the drink of choice there, and the fast-paced music will always make you think you’re one behind. Cocktails involve clever applications of tequila and mezcal. We love it because the kitchen is open all the way until the 3am closing time. Naturally, tacos feature heavily on the menu. Corn tortillas act as a foil for battered fish, pork, grilled octopus, fried potato or mushroom. Tacos come at two per serve with house specifications such as a chipotle mayo, crema, pepitas, guacamole or other accoutrements, making it more Cal-Mex than straight-up Mex, but that doesn’t make them any less delicious. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for and need not rely on fried potatoes or naked corn.

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Late night bar snacks
Photograph: Graham Denholm

9. Melbourne Supper Club

Bars Melbourne

What is it: Euro bar snacks
When does the kitchen close:
Sun-Thu 4am; Fri, Sat 6am

Melbourne Supper Club is a terrific hidey-hole from the madness of the CBD in the wee hours of the morning. Enter the unassuming door on Spring Street and climb up the stairs into a moodily-lit sanctuary of leather couches, fine wines and fancy midnight meals. If you feel like a hit of rawness, there are freshly shucked oysters and a venison tartare, which is strangely refreshing with a touch of ginger and gin, served with housemade crisps. If you’re a few Negronis down and prefer something to fortify the stomach, order the crisp Jenga stack of polenta chips and karaage Japanese-style fried chicken, a neat pile of crisp golden battered chicken with hints of a soy, garlic and ginger in the marinade. The wine list features bottles that run into the thousands, but there are plenty of affordable drops to enjoy by the glass if you’re winding down for the night. If you can, try to sit by the floor-to-ceiling picture window with a view of Parliament House.

Food and drink spread at Bar Margaux
Photograph: Melanie Desa

10. Bar Margaux

Bars Cocktail bars Melbourne

What is it: French bistro
What time does the kitchen close: Sun-Thu 3am; Fri, Sat 5am

Nobody would be shocked to hear that the cocktails at Bar Margaux are good. The CBD basement bar has excellent DNA, with a lineage that includes trophy-laden cocktail saloon the Everleigh and dive bar-esque Heartbreaker, where the booze quality is equal to the late-night debauchery. The menu is a roll call of classics. What you might not expect in a watering hole where the kitchen’s open until 3am (and beyond on weekends) is that you’re going to get such a good French onion soup or credible steak frites or such a ridiculously rich lobster croque monsieur.

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Customers drinking at Bar Ampere
Photograph: Graham Denholm

11. Bar Ampere

Bars Cocktail bars Melbourne

What is it: Euro snacks
When does the kitchen close: Daily 3am

Welcome to the Future, drinking fans – or a 1930s version of it anyway. Vernon Chalker, the quirky visionary behind Madame Brussels and Gin Palace, didn’t give himself an easy brief with Ampère: create a modern bar based on a past era that was obsessed with the future? Believe it or not, he's pulled it off. The tiny kitchen in the back of the bar serves up European-leaning fare like chicken liver parfait, cheese platters, croquettes, burgers and kranskies until 3am, seven days a week. 

A dish of Green Prawns, Cured Kingfish, Bitter Melon, Lemongrass
Photograph: Graham Denholm

12. Magic Mountain

Restaurants Melbourne

What is it: Thai
When does the kitchen close:
Mon-Thu, Sun midnight; Fri, Sat 1am

Fact: everything looks better drenched in deep red lighting. There’s a slightly otherworldly quality to this CBD favourite: couples huddle over cocktails beneath crimson lighting, friends chatter over thumping house music (courtesy of a DJ on the second-floor mezzanine), and waiters in suspenders bob and weave through three levels packed with high seating. Given that Magic Mountain is the latest addition to the restaurant family that includes Cookie, Boney and the Toff in Town, it’s no surprise that these hospo pros had the savvy to create a venue that works equally well as a restaurant to start a big night, a party bar to kick on to, or a perfect late-night eatery. Depending on how many standard drinks have passed your lips, you may want to forego the gamey ox tongue, lemongrass and red pepper salad and the fiery vegetable jungle curry in favour of a generous serve of crunchy fried chicken ribs with sweet chilli sauce, rich, comforting pad Thai, and flaky roti.

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13. Shujinko

Restaurants Melbourne

What is it: Ramen
When does the kitchen close: Never, it's open 24-hours

How Melbourne ever made it for so long without an all-night ramen joint, we will never know. But Shujinko's presence smack bang in the CBD and a stone's throw away from some of the city's most popular late-night venues is a godsend. Night city dwellers will no longer have to resort to a greasy kebab or mysteriously long-lasting burger from the golden arches. Perhaps not so surprisingly, a soothing bowl of soup and perfectly slurpy noodles is great fuel after a late-night jaunt. The ultra-spicy karakuchi ramen is just the thing to clear those sinuses, while the black ramen is an umami bomb that can cut through to your numbed tastebuds.

Olives and nuts
Photograph: Graham Denholm

14. Siglo

Bars Melbourne

What is it: Euro snacks
When does the kitchen close:
Daily 3am

Getting a seat near the view is like an Olympic event here, so we suggest making a pitstop post-midnight when the after-work crowd have long gone, theatregoers have heeded the final call and it's just you and the night owls looking out over Spring Street’s canopy. Changes to the Tobacco Act in 2017 have meant Siglo is now classified as a drinking-only venue. You’ll still be able to enjoy refined bar snacks at your table, but you’ll need to venture to the indoor bar to devour Siglo’s signature party pies. It’s no big deal. Start with marinated grilled eggplant and Crust Armour salmon rillettes that feel like tiny care packages from gay Paree. When you're ready for the main event, perch on a stool inside for a chevap sausage roll or a flaky spanakopita at the bar.

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Stalactites meat plate
Photograph: Graham Denholm

15. Stalactites

Restaurants Melbourne

What is it: Greek
When does the kitchen close:
Never, it's open 24-hours

Whatever the size of your night, you really can’t go wrong with a late-night souva. Luckily, Stalactites is open 24 hours, and their giro rotisserie set-up doesn’t stop spinning day and night. They’ve got their prep game down to an art here: souvas arrive at the table or ready for takeaway in five minutes or less. The lamb souva comes with copious amounts of crunchy lettuce and yoghurt sauce – just the hit of freshness you need with the smoky lamb. The same speedy service applies even when you order something a little less portable. Take a load off and sit under the ceiling adorned with actual plaster stalactites and order a small mixed lamb and chicken giro platter. The grilled meats are charred from the spit, but you’re going to need sides to go with the protein-only platter. Get some chips, a little less than fryer fresh on our visit but nicely seasoned with thyme, extra pita bread, tzatziki and salad to build your own little souvas.   

Beef burger 2 at Rocket Burgers
Photograph: Graham Denholm

16. Rocket Burgers and Fries

Restaurants Burgers Melbourne

What is it: Burgers
When does the kitchen close:
Sun-Thu 4am; Fri, Sat 6am

The corner of Elizabeth and Flinders streets in the CBD is where hundreds of busy commuters, earphones plugged in, cause pedestrian gridlock. But in the wee small hours, it's busy for a whole other reason – very late night burgers. It’s designed for take-away, with only seven stools and a slim table. But that won’t really matter, because this hole-in-the-wall, which opened in 2015 is keeping those grills hot until 6am on weekend party nights. The menu is sparse (six burgers, plus sides) but what it lacks in size it makes up for it in taste. Definitely add the loaded cheesy and bacon fries to your order; a generous bucket of golden crunchy fries laden with sizeable chunks of crisp bacon for a smoky hit and American cheese. The man-burger might be terribly named but it also happens to be the Noah’s Ark of burgers - there’s two of everything; two slices of bacon, two slices of cheese and two beef patties, cooked well done and made from Angus beef that they grind in-house.

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Exterior at Alasya Restaurant
Photograph: Graham Denholm

17. Alasya

Restaurants Turkish Brunswick

What is it: Turkish
When does the kitchen close:
Daily 5am

For the post-party crowd, the first glimpse of Alasya’s glowing street sign – multicoloured bulbs twinkling on Brunswick’s northern end of Sydney Road – is as comforting as a hug from your grandma. Hardly anything has changed about this sultan-sized halal Turkish restaurant in decades; not the wood-panelled walls, padded plastic chairs or glass cabinet filled with Turkish delight and baklava. In the small hours, the staff know you’re here for a kebab, which is why the extensive home-style menu reduces after 10pm to the life-giving basics. Sink your teeth into a juicy chicken kebab, the smoky meat marinated in Alasya’s punchy secret herb and spice recipe. You’re not doing it right if garlic sauce isn’t running down your arm – and you’re doing it even better if you sneak a few fat, fresh, chicken salt-sprinkled chips into each bite. If you’re not into food with faces, then the falafel kebab – the house-made beauties achieving the rare feat of not being too dry – is your new favourite midnight feast.

Oysters and smoky beef at Le Bon Ton
Photograph: Graham Denholm

18. Le Bon Ton

Restaurants Collingwood

What is it: Southern barbecue
When does the kitchen close:
Mon-Thu 10pm; Fri-Sat 5am

A popular choice for weary and worse-for-wear Melburnians, this ‘N’awlins’ themed den of barbecue and boozing has the late-night brief just about nailed. From midnight, the food options are whittled down to 50c wings, $1 oysters and the late-night menu. It’s short and to the point – a handful of snacks and sides, two sandwich options and four types of pie for dessert. Fried chicken tenders arrive as a generous basket of spicy bites with a side of creamy, peppery, white gravy and just the right grease-to-crunch ratio for sticklers. You can’t go wrong with either sandwich, but the chopped beef brisket with onion, dill pickles and yellow cheddar is our pick, especially with a few splashes of hot sauce under the seeded brioche hood. Strictly for the soon-to-be-comatose, the chilli cheese fries is a great big mess of a thing, and if you’ve ruined your diet anyway you might as well stick around for pie (Oreo and peanut butter is our tip). Fair warning: the kitchen weirdly closes from 11pm to midnight Friday and Saturday, so make sure to time your arrival.

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People dancing at Bella Union Bar
People dancing at Bella Union Bar
Photograph: Supplied

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