Festival Feasts eateries and bars
Rice Paper Sister focuses on share dishes made from local ingredients inspired by food from Bali to Bangkok. Round off your meal with cocktails that reflect the South East Asian influences throughout the meal, like the Vietnamese Espresso Martini and the fresh coriander-infused Mojito.
Founded in 2011, Argentinian fine dining institution San Telmo ignited Melbourne’s passion for South American cuisine, introducing a rich culinary culture and transporting guests to the cobblestone streets of the eponymous Buenos Aires barrio. Head chef Stephen Clark’s menu emulates the venue’s ethos: that life and love should be shared over great food and wine. Sounds like an art lover's dream to us.
Longsong is no mere holding bar for mothership Longrain. This is despite the evidence of a devoted drinking area to the street side of the broad central bar, where you can down house spritzes made with house-infused vermouth, or a punch bowl sized for downing with friends. The menu proper is something that is not so much Thai or even Thai-ish, but a document that might have once been waved in the direction of the kingdom of Siam. It is also both inventive and delicious.
The original Uncle, which opened in St Kilda in 2013, has had its DNA sequenced for a CBD clone, meaning great cocktails that cleave to the good-times Vietnamese theme. The prime metropolitan location makes Uncle’s newest venue the ideal spot for festival-goers to get their fill of pho and banh for a pre- or post-show drink or meal or late-night feasting.
Chinese cuisine, bonza location, and fluffy pork buns fashioned to look like little pigs are the cornerstones of Secret Kitchen’s appeal. Secret Kitchen claims it has the biggest live seafood aquarium in all of Australia, and we have no reason to doubt it, given it’s a $700,000 investment that’s as long as three dinner tables end-to-end. Of all the reasons to eat yum cha here, seafood is the most compelling. It's a great place for a pre- or post-show meal or snack.
Pastuso, a modern Peruvian grill, cevicheria and pisco bar, celebrates Peru’s beautiful food and culture. It is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. Bookings are recommended during Melbourne International Arts Festival – and all the time in fact.
This Flinders Lane trattoria was formerly best known for its tipples, but now thanks to its head chef and co-owner Leo Gelsomino's delicious handmade pastas, it's a destination for carby goodness. You can also try culurgiones (or Sardinian dumplings) filled with potato, mint and pecorino, served with fresh broad bean pesto and roasted almonds. It takes stamina to watch that much art, so make sure you carb load to carry you through.
This restaurant and bar on the Yarra River does pizzas, burgers, pots of mussels, steaks and snacks that work well as a pre-theatre bite to eat. Left Bank can cater to large groups or to the most intimate of small gatherings, so bring your festival date or all of your friends for a pre- or post-show feast.
This Argentinian grill comes to you from the squad behind San Telmo and Pastuso. An open fire pit and parilla coal grills (upon which whole animals are roasted) are the central drawcards of this restaurant, so expect to see Gippsland-sourced lambs and Western Plains suckling pigs sizzling away. Wines are sourced mostly from Argentinian wineries, particularly from the Mendoza and Rio Negro regions, alongside European and Australian favourites.
Accessed via Globe Alley, this expansive space fills the entire first floor of the former Globe Hotel, which sits close to the corner of Swanston and Little Bourke. Snacks are Asian-inspired (kim chi quesadilla with bulgogi beef, or mushroom san choy bow), but the main event is the chicken, which was described by MC Slave of band Fat Freddy’s Drop as "a religious experience". The drinks list boasts a substantial wine selection with accompanying terroir map and encourages patrons to play cocktail bingo.