Eat & Drink
The tropical environment of Cairns means that the food and drink scene is unrivalled in Australia.
Waterfront bars and restaurants make for postcard-perfect experiences while on holiday. Options range from relaxed to summery sophistication, and from light bites to multi-course meals. With views of the marina and the inlet, these venues are also popular for lunch and especially in the late afternoon as the sun begins to set and the happy hours begin.
In the city streets a few blocks back from the Esplanade you will also find some of the locals’ favourite eateries and restaurants.
Contemporary Australian cuisine is prevalent, using the vibrant flavours of tropical produce and cooking methods suitable to the tropical environment.
You can also savour a spectacular range of Asian specialties including Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, and Indonesian that reflect the region’s Asia-Pacific location and multicultural population. Fabulous Greek and Italian restaurants honour the city’s European heritage and serve amazing food that is matched with warm service.
And then there is the seafood, oh the seafood! We think it is the best in the country. You simply can’t get any better or fresher produce as it comes off the boats daily. Barramundi, reef fish, bugs, prawns, crab, calamari – the list is so enticing that often the best option is to go for a seafood platter! With the expert skills of local chef’s, the city’s restaurants will serve divine seafood extravaganzas that you won’t forget and that will leave your Instagram followers filled with envy!
The dining options are so amazing that there are a bevy of tours that will take you on food trails to sample award-winning produce that cannot be found elsewhere in the world. Famous foods like tropical fruits and seafoods, native Australian produce like kangaroo, emu, crocodile, and the lesser known but equally impressive locally grown dairy, nuts, coffee, tea, and native spices find their way onto tropical menus.
Get a taste of some of the best cuisine that Queensland has to offer at these local Cairns restaurants.
An intimate and exclusive restaurant at the Reef Hotel Casino, it offers an exciting range of Asian cuisine and is a “must do” dining experience when visiting Cairns
(07) 4030 8888
Fetta’s Greek Taverna
Lovers of good Greek food will be in their element at Fetta’s in Cairns. The Zorba’s feast lets you try a whole lot of dishes in one visit and the atmosphere is enhanced by belly dancing and lots of broken plates. It’s a fun and memorable evening
(07) 4051 6966
Set in picturesque Palm Cove in a rustic beach house, Beach Almond offers an inspired Asian fusion menu. Dishes incorporate flavours from Bali, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, resulting in some truly unique concoctions. Highlights include banana leaf barramundi and mud crab cooked in either a Singaporean chili or a Malay black pepper. With ample outdoor seating and stunning waterfront views the vista is just as inspired as the menu.
(07) 4059 1908
Handmade pasta and hand-stretched pizza are specialties of this popular, locally-owned and operated Italian restaurant which is reputed to serve the best fresh pasta in the town. There’s plenty of room for visitors and a private dining area.
(07) 4051 5137
The food and service are spectacular at this absolute waterfront fine dining establishment. The seafood platters are sumptuous, the steaks are among the best available in Cairns and the wine list is mesmerising for the style and price options available. You can’t go wrong with the smoked crocodile salad.
(07) 4051 0399
Situated in the picturesque courtyard of a historic, early 20th century red brick building that was once the Cairns ambulance station, this quaint café boasts a vast array of organic, allergy-free dishes. The buckwheat waffles with a detox juice make the perfect power breakfast before a long day of Cairns exploring.
(07) 4051 1388
Nu Nu at Palm Cove serves up some of the best cuisine that Queensland has to offer. Chefs draw inspiration from Australia’s numerous multi-ethnic communities to add unique twists to traditional Australian meals. It uses local, organic produce and offers vegetarian, vegan, and coeliac menus. Book well in advance to get a seat at this high-profile outlet.
(07) 4059 1880
Yorkey’s Knob Boating Club
The Boaties Bar and Grill offers a wide range of well-priced entrees and mains, including some of the best seafood in all of Queensland. You can’t go wrong with the cod or the calamari and the location on the water is to die for.
(07) 4055 7711