The Gidley's famous burger,  now at The Rover
Photograph: Christopher Pearce

The best late-night food in Sydney

Got a hankering for a midnight snack? These are Time Out’s go-tos for a late night bite

Advertising

It's ticking over to a shameful hour, and you've smoke-bombed from the party in search of sustenance. Is it fried chicken you're after, that fail-safe absorbent of sin and too many cocktails? Or maybe you've been working late, and you're looking to redeem a day of fluorescent-lit corporate drudgery with the perfect plate of spicy noodles? Or maybe you've landed in the city late and you just want to sink into a steamer of pillowy dumplings, soft and plush. Time Out's Sydney's critics, including Food & Drink Editor (and fellow night owl) Avril Treasure have rounded up the best spots where you'll find what you're craving, way up late.

Still feeling snackish? Take yourself out to peruse our list of the very best cheap eats you can get in Sydney.

RECOMMENDED:

These are the best pizza restaurants in Sydney right now

The best late night food in Sydney

  • Chinese
  • Haymarket

The Royal Palace Seafood Restaurant is a 600-seat Cantonese restaurant with traditional yum cha, live seafood, and late-night dining in the former Golden Century digs. If you’ve been missing the legendary restaurant (we sure have), then we reckon the sprawling eatery may fill that dumpling-shaped hole in your heart. It's open until 3am from Thursday to Saturday. Come for Cantonese hits like lobster noodles with ginger and shallots; Peking duck with pancakes; Singapore chilli crab; and – yes – pippies in XO sauce.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106082023/image.jpg
Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • Italian
  • Darlinghurst

There aren't many places in the city where you can sit in a cosy, inviting booth with warm lighting and plated food this late, but at Big Poppa's on Oxford Street, you're getting the 8pm treatment all the way until 3am. Upstairs, there's a little restaurant at street level, all dark wood and classic vibes, but head down below and you'll find a moodily-lit bar almost double the size. Nibble on cheese platters and (actually good) glasses of wine after a late adventure on Oxford Street – you deserve it. 

Advertising
  • Chinese
  • Ashfield
  • price 1 of 4

Open until 1am every night, this Ashfield Chinese restaurant is a favourite of some of the best chefs in Sydney, so you know it's going to be legit. Work your way through provincial specialities like country-style pan fried fish cakes and steamed minced pork with salted fish before moving onto king prawns, pork rib and salt baked chicken. You'll also find huge hot pots and warming bowls of congee.

  • Surry Hills
  • price 2 of 4

There’s lots of things to love about The Rover, the handsome, low-lit bar and bistro by the Liquid & Lard Group, the guys behind Bistecca, Alfie’s and The Gidley. Great booze is a given, but it’s also open on Mondays, so if you’re looking for somewhere fun and yum on a school night, come here. Plus, The Rover serves food until 10pm, and that includes one of Sydney’s best burgers. The Martinis and oysters are also on point.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106082023/image.jpg
Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
Advertising
  • Darlinghurst

If the thought of attending any social gathering in Paddington suddenly seems appealing when you remember that you could swing by the orange neon-signed storefront of Indian Home Diner on your way home, you're not alone. It may not look like much, but this Oxford Street joint is fashioning 'kebabs' out of butter chicken, chana masala and samosas stuffed into rolled-up naan until 11am most nights (and 3am on the weekend). It's fairly uninterested in being 'authentic', and there isn't a more satisfying late-night feed. 

  • Indian
  • Camperdown

Derrel's is a late-night Indian diner found on Parramatta Road in Camperdown. And when we say Derrel’s is late-night, we mean it – the eatery is open until 2am on the weekends, and midnight from Wednesday onwards. Stop by the colourful, retro-looking space for tandoori chicken wings, a chip butty with butter chicken gravy, and curry plates with all the trimmings.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106082023/image.jpg
Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
Advertising
  • Cocktail bars
  • Surry Hills

Sydney’s only dedicated Negroni den, Bar Conte, is now serving late-night food on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings – with last orders at 11.15 pm. So, if you’re in Surry Hills and feel like a killer tipple and a bite to eat, you know where to head. Taking a leaf out of Italy’s book, Bar Conte’s menu includes dishes like baked tomino (a soft cheese) with sage, pancetta, and truffle honey; king prawn pasta with tomato sauce and ’nduja crumb; and a 500g O’Connor rib-eye on the bone. Plus, with more than 30 types of Negronis to choose from, there’s fun to be had late at night at Bar Conte.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106082023/image.jpg
Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • Sydney

Sweet, juicy, soy sauce chicken, barbecue pork bao and roast-duck congee go down well after midnight. Maybe even better than they do before midnight. Located on Dixon Street, this Haymarket staple stays open until 1am, all week long. It's low-lit, buzzy and will excite you into ordering too much: but never fear, because XO noodles travel well. Just get the rest to take away – your morning-after self will thank you. 

Advertising
  • Enmore

This fast, fun and bustling spot on Enmore Road dishes out hot plates of Pakistani food until 11.30pm Monday to Friday, and until midnight on the weekend. The fish fry here is criminally underrated – and it's served steaming hot and for not a whole lot of buckaroos. It's also perfectly sitauted near Enmore Theatre, if you're looking for a post-gig feed. 

Advertising
  • Japanese
  • Double Bay

Double Bay's modern Japanese restaurant Tanuki serves food right up until they close. On Wednesday to Saturday, that's midnight, and on Sunday night, that's 10pm. Keen for a glass of crisp white and sashimi? Take a seat at the sushi counter. What about sake and a couple of Wagyu skewers grilled on the robata? Sure thing. Don't skip, the textbook sushi.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106082023/image.jpg
Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • Vietnamese
  • Sydney

Chef Cuong Nguyen (also of Hello Auntie and Fugo) wanted to create a place where you can come late at night in Sydney to eat, drink and listen to live music – just like they do all over Southeast Asia. And his CBD restaurant and bar Hey Chu – decked out with lanterns, plastic stools and neon nights – offers exactly that, with a late-night menu, live music and refreshing beers. Come say hey night time you’re out late and hungry.

Advertising
  • Cocktail bars
  • Sydney

If we’re looking for a late-night feed with a side of groove in Sydney CBD, we’re heading to The Caterpillar Club, Swillhouses’ cool live-music bar. It’s open until 3am every night – and head chef Isobel Whelan-Little’s menu is available all night long. Must order: the classic cheeseburger (and thank us later). Other notable mentions go to the fish fingers with yoghurt tartare; and crab and avo cocktail, if you’re feeling fresh and fancy.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106082023/image.jpg
Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • French
  • Sydney

You'll forget what time of day or night it is when you descend the staircase at this glam French restaurant in the centre of the glass-walled office buildings of the CBD – so it's lucky that it's open until midnight every night. Decked out with a baby grand and lush, velvet furnishings, Hubert is the perfect place to go when you're peckish for a late-night snack, but you don't want the night – or the vibes – to end. 

Advertising
  • Cocktail bars
  • Sydney
  • price 2 of 4

This isn't just a charming city boozer with rooftop views – it's also got a short and sweet menu that stays up late with its drinks. Pick from a curated list of meats and cheeses until 2am, or from the handful of Philly cheese-steaks on offer – the classic squishy roll with slices of beef, onions and a whole lot of melted cheese is prime comfort food. 

  • Thai
  • Haymarket

This fiery Thai spot is open until midnight every night of the week. Known for its 'lava' level tom yum noodles, it's the original hot spot from Somporn Phosri. Swing by if your late-night cravings are more spicy soup than kebab-related, and get a taste of Isaan cuisine in the heart of Haymarket's Thaitown. 

Advertising
  • Lebanese
  • Sydney

Zaffi, a two-level restaurant and bar on Little Hunter Street, is open until 4am on weekends, and 11am on the other nights, if you're feeling peckish in town. Heading up the kitchen is ex-Rockpool and Chin Chin chef Graeme Hunt, who will be slinging dishes such as grilled halloumi with Blue Mountains’ honey and thyme zaatar from Lebanon; prawns with garlic and aleppo pepper; and slow-cooked short ribs with a pomegranate dressing. A must-order is Hunt’s baklava soft serve – a twist on the Macca’s OG with pistachio, walnuts and honey. We’ll take two, please.

https://media.timeout.com/images/106082023/image.jpg
Avril Treasure
Food & Drink Editor, Time Out Sydney
  • Lebanese
  • Sydney

Jimmy’s Falafel is ready for Sydney to become a 24-hour city again. The queues start forming at noon and don't stop until 2am from Thursday to Sunday. It's the perfect spot to soak up a little post-CBD debauchery with warm pita, plenty of pickles, and fluffy falafel well into the small hours.

Advertising
  • Japanese
  • Haymarket
  • price 1 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Japan’s best izakayas are the ones you lose yourself in. The places where your first visit ends hours later, when you stumble out after a long night of highballs and grilled offal feeling like a regular. The team behind two of North Sydney’s cosiest Japanese small bars, Yakitori Yurippi and Tachinomi YP, have nailed that feeling so well at their third project, Nakano Darling, that time and place become vague; the little details transportive enough to make you wonder if you’re still in Darling Square. And the best bit? Nakano Darling is open until midnight during the week, and 2am on the weekends, so you can come get your hands on karaage, gyoza and sake and pretend you're far, far away.

  • Wine bars
  • Sydney

At this little slice of Spain in the CBD, the kitchen only closes when the bar does and that happens to be at midnight Thursdays to Saturdays. Get pintxos to nibble with your after-after-work drinks: think jamón on crisp bread, whipped salted cod, grilled chorizo and whole sardines. And if you're looking to keep the party going? Try the short drinks for all the fun of a cocktail, without all the regret: a cute 100 ml Negroni or Martini should give you something to do with your hands until close. 

Advertising
  • Sydney

Get this popular Taipei night market staple on Sydney's own Liverpool Street – queuing at this tiny shopfront feels as close to actual street food as this city's going to get. Hot Star fries up large (like, really large) chicken schnitzels to order, as well as chips and mushies. It's no-frills – and here, seating is considered a frill, so best to grab your chicken and go. It's open until 12.30am most nights, and 2.30am on Fridays and Saturdays. 

  • Haymarket
Arisun
Arisun

Open until midnight during the week, and until 2am every Friday and Saturday, this sprawling outdoor courtyard is a go-to after dark in Haymarket. Be plied with baskets of soy-flavoured fried chicken and Korean beers, as well as Arisun's signature black bean noodles and generously portioned hot pots. They'll cater to your most self-pitying, indulgent cravings – they haven't been going since 1942 without cause. 

Recommended
    You may also like
    You may also like
    Advertising