You're attending linux.conf.au, the sessions have finished for the day, the food court is closed 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 from our conference venue. The main restaurant strips are marked in purple on the map page, but a purple line isn't helpful in finding out what is available.
Lygon Street (South)
All things Italian! Hundreds of restaurants and cafés for all budgetary levels, just a short walk from the University of Melbourne. Leave the university on the Swanston Street side and walk for one block along Elgin, Faraday or Grattan streets. There is also a supermarket in the shopping center here (down the escalators).
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. Leave the university on the Royal Parade side and take tram 19 going north. 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). Leave the university at the Swanston Street side and walk along Elgin and Johnston streets for four blocks. (Melbourne blocks are approximately 200 metres).
On the way to Brunswick street you'll pass through "little spain" in between Nicholson and Brunswick streets. Here you'll find 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. Buses 200, 201, 203, 205 and 207 will take you from Lygon street along Johnston 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 alley ways, so make sure you explore these too! Any south bound tram on Swanston Street will take you directly from the university into the CBD. Get off on the corner of Lonsdale or Bourke street.
In between Swanston and Russell streets is where you need to go for greek food. Take any city bound tram on Swanston Street or Royal Parade and walk north along Londale street. 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.
Lygon Street (North)
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. Grab tram 1 or 8 heading north on Swanston Street.
Take a free City Circle tram 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 southbound tram into the CBD or hop on the free City Circle tram, cross the Yarra River and you find yourself in 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, 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)
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 :-)