You're attending Drupal Downunder, the sessions have finished for the day, and now you and your friends are in desperate need of food, but you don't know where to go. This should be a problem no more. Melbourne has thousands of restaurants, many of which are only a short walk or tram trip from our conference venue.
Lygon Street (South end)
All things Italian! Dozens of restaurants and cafés for all budgetary levels, just a short walk from the Jasper Hotel. Leave the hotel, cross the road and walk up Therry Street, past the Ibis Hotel. Turn right on Victoria Street and walk 1½ blocks up the hill. Turn left into Lygon Street.
The many ice creameries are open late.
Eateries are not quite as thick on the ground as along Lygon street, but there are plenty of places from the end of Royal Parade. As you go further along, you'll find more middle eastern restaurants. Catch tram 19 from the Queen Victoria Market tram stop, going north along Elizabeth Street and Royal Parade. There are supermarkets in the shopping center on the corner of Sydney Road and Barkly Street.
Melbourne's eclectic mix. Cafés, restaurants, shops. There is something here for everyone. Noodles, pizza, modern australian, middle eastern, greek, italian, coffee, beer, cocktails, you name it. Joes Garage has free wifi (and excellent cakes). Turn right when you walk out of the hotel and walk 3 blocks to Collins Street, then catch tram 112 (heading to your left).
Off Brunswick street you'll find Melbourne's "little spain", with spanish and mexican restaurants, as well as pubs and the occasional bar. A bit further along you'll find Jims Greek tavern, which is well worth the walk. Take tram 96 on Bourke Street or tram 112 on Collins Street.
If you feel like chinese food, this is where you need to be, but you will also find Thai and Japanese restaurants. Chinatown is situated in the CBD, along Little Bourke Street in between Exhibition and Swanston Streets. The best places are hidden in the small side streets and occasional blind alleyways, so make sure you explore these too! Turn right from the hotel and walk 2½ blocks to Little Bourke Street, then turn left and walk up the hill.
In between Swanston and Russell streets is where you need to go for greek food. Turn right from the hotel and walk along Elizabeth Street for 2 blocks, then turn left. On the corner of Lonsdale and Russell you'll find Stalactites, a 24h eatery.
Trams 24 and 109 and will take you along the center of Victoria Parade into Victoria Street, which is where you need to be if you want Vietnamese food. If you prefer travelling by train, use the Epping or Hurstbridge lines and get off at Collingwood Station.
At the other end of Victoria Street, across from the Queen Victoria Market, you'll find three Korean restaurants that are worth a try.
Lygon Street (North end)
Somewhat more diverse than the southern end, there are still plenty of italian restaurants, but here they are interspersed with indian and south east asian cuisine. Walk to Swanston Street and grab tram 1 or 8 heading north.
Take a free City Circle tram on Latrobe Street and ride it to Docklands. You will find waterfront restaurants, a small food court and the occasional brewhouse here. Cuisines vary from italian to chinese to indian to fish & chips.
Take any tram into the city and ride it to the final stop at Flinders Street. Cross the road diagonally to the left and walk along the railway station to the next intersection. Cross here and you'll find yourself at Federation Square, for bars, noodles and modern Australian food.
Head towards Federation square, but instead of turning left along Flinders Street, take the underpass below the station. Two bridges allow you to cross the Yarra River and find yourself at Southbank. Restaurants aplenty and food courts for the more budget conscious. A bit further downstream you'll find the Crown entertainment complex, which also contains a food court and cinemas and sports the occasional fireball (on the hour, after dark :-)
Vegetarian and Vegan
Although most restaurants have one or two vegetarian of vegan items on the menu, it's nice to have more choice. Melbourne has a few specialist eateries that will see you sorted.
The Vegie Bar (378 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy)
The White Lotus (185 Victoria St, West Melbourne)
Yong Green Food (421 Brunswick St Fitzroy)
Mr Natural Vegetarian Pizza (Cnr Brunswick St & Alexandra Pde, Fitzroy)
Tofu Shop International (78 Bridge Road, Richmond)
Crossways (123 Swanston Street, Melbourne)
Melbourne is the food capital of Australia and has something to offer for everyone. A lot of good eateries (and bars) are located down alleys or laneways, so don't be afraid to explore.
If it looks uninviting, you can bet there is good food to be had! :-)
This information was originally blogged for linux.conf.at 2008 at http://cafuego.net/2007/11/14/eating-mel8ourne