There’s no shortage of places to eat, drink and see live music in Melbourne, but when you’re on a deadline and desperately need a meal that sees you to the other side of the encore that’s (and here’s the crunch) both quick and chic, your choices are more limited. Here are our favourite places to drink and dine near St Kilda’s iconic Palais Theatre, along with what to order when you get there, too.

A veritable St Kilda institution since 1993, Acland Street stalwart Cicciolina is a sure fire bet for classic Italian fare and pre-gig atmosphere. Cicciolina don’t take bookings, so rock up early to avoid disappointment and take a seat – or standing room – at the back bar, where the exhaustive wine list and charcuterie is guaranteed to keep your spirits up until a table clears. Once you’re comfortable beneath the eclectic portrait gallery lining the walls, we recommend a bowl of head chef (of 23 years) Virginia Redmond’s pasta.

Bar di Stasio
You’d be hard-pressed to find another St Kilda restaurant more storied than Café Di Stasio, a 28-year-old institution lead by the formidable Ronnie Di Stasio. The restaurant’s neighbouring bar, anchored by an austere marble counter, exposed plaster walls sealed behind glass is so inviting, you may be at risk of missing your show. Bartenders clad in white jackets stand out next to artist Callum Morton’s blood red installation and classic Italian music is a virtual venue soundtrack. Sip on a classic negroni or an Aperol spritz and sample what are arguably the best arancini you’ll ever have outside of Venice.

A photo posted by ciccstkilda (@ciccstkilda) on

Cover image credit: Mossimoinc
Title image credit: Cicciolina