If you delay your dinner to after 10pm, you'll discover a whole new side of Sydney. The late-night dining scene is an underground one, you need to know where to go but once you do, you'll be rewarded with everything from steak frites in chic French bistros to noisy Chinese seafood banquets and delicious hole-in-the-wall spots that serve the kind of food you crave after a night of revelry.
The Ivy precinct on George St is home to Bar Totti, serving snacky Italian share plates into the early hours. Next door, grab a lamb wrap at Jimmy's Falafel, where the queues begin before noon and last until 2am. Just on the other side of Martin Place is Employees Only, its bar menu, which includes steak tartare, doesn’t start until 10.30pm. Restaurant Hubert is also doing French food until late while Barrio Cellar is the place for midnight Mexican food and margaritas.
Like any international city, Sydney's Chinatown is a thriving late-night haunt. Got a midnight craving for barbecue pork bao, roast-duck congee and dumplings? Head to Old Town Hong Kong Cusine, a Dixon Street staple. A two-minute walk away you'll find the city's most mouthwatering roti canai, as well as Malaysian noodles, curries and desserts, at Mamak, a late-night institution for city workers. Meanwhile, try Dae Jang Kum for Korean barbecue, Dodee Paidang Haymarket for 'lava' level tom yum noodles (open until 11.15pm, to be precise), Arisun for Korean fried chicken and their signature black bean noodles (open until 1.30am every Friday and Saturday), or order Chat Thai’s supper menu after 10pm.
King Street and Enmore Road are the Sydney streets that (almost) never sleep, so it comes as no surprise that you can always get a delicious late-night feed here from all over the world. Enmore's Faheem Fast Food serves steaming hot Pakistani dishes until 11.30pm Monday to Friday, and until midnight on the weekend. In Newtown, Mary's makes burgers until midnight from Wednesday to Saturday, and Odd Culture does share plates alongside an extensive wine list until 2am on Fridays and Saturdays. Nearby in Marrickville, you can order a snack and a vino at Baba's Place until midnight.
Crowd enjoying the burgers at Mary's Burger, Newtown - Credit: Mary's Burger
When you’re leaving a gig on Oxford Street, look for the line outside Mr Crackles. This tiny shop serves up rolls stuffed with crispy roast pork and cups of pork crackling to the hungry masses until 4.30am. Fried chicken is also a late-night lifesaver. Thirsty Bird in Potts Point specialises in Southern American style. Butter in Surry Hills pairs fried chicken with champagne and alcoholic slushies. And the no-frills Hot Star Large Fried Chicken on Liverpool Street is famous for its extra-large chicken schnitzels to order.
The party doesn’t have to stop just because you’re hungry. At Big Poppa’s in Darlinghurst, they serve Italian classics until 3am accompanied by a hip-hop soundtrack. In Surry Hills, eat gyoza with midnight karaoke at Goros, whileEl Loco always has a fiesta atmosphere, with a line-up of resident DJs on Fridays and Saturdays until 3am, and a menu of tacos and tequila.
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