Great Barrier Reef Restaurants

Typically, restaurants on Barrier Reef islands are part of each island's main resort, so many resorts' rates include some or all meals. Some larger resorts have a range of restaurants, with formal dining rooms, outdoor barbecues, and seafood buffets; some have premium dining options for which you pay extra. Dress is generally "island casual." Some upscale restaurants—such as those on Hayman Island—require men to wear jackets for dinner and frown on flip-flop sandals. On the mainland you'll find plenty of casual, open-air restaurants, serving mainly Modern Australian–style meals that showcase seafood and regional produce. With a few notable exceptions, Cairns, Palm Cove, and Port Douglas are your best bets for upscale dining.

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  • 1. A Touch of Salt

    $$

    This Modern Australian eatery fits the bill: location (riverfront), service (impeccable), ambience (relaxed), food (exciting and flavorful), and wine (top-flight). The menu is a carefully...Read More

  • 2. Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant

    $ | CBD

    Dining in this spacious, central restaurant, you can enjoy some of the most delicious, innovative cuisine in North Queensland. Choose from an expansive menu that...Read More

  • 3. CC's Bar & Grill

    $$$ | CBD

    In a city that loves a steak, this is probably the best of them. CC's Bar & Grill sources most of its beef from farms...Read More

  • 4. Harrisons

    $$

    A classic "Queenslander" with a lovely outdoor cocktails area shaded by century-old mango trees and fine dining inside, Harrisons impresses with deftly executed dishes that...Read More

  • 5. NuNu Restaurant

    $$$

    Sexy suede lounges, intimate banquettes, and unbroken views of the Coral Sea make lingering easy at this Palm Cove eatery with the region's best and...Read More

  • 6. Ochre Restaurant

    $$ | CBD

    Local seafood and native and seasonal ingredients take top billing at this upscale yet relaxed Cairns institution that specializes in bush dining. Expect to find...Read More

  • 7. On The Inlet Seafood Restaurant

    $

    At this much-lauded seafood restaurant, modern Australian dishes put the focus on fresh North Queensland produce and seafood, which is delivered direct from local fishing...Read More

  • 8. Salsa Bar & Grill

    $$

    Rub shoulders with local foodies and enjoy intimate dining after sunset on the large wooden deck of this lively waterside institution that serves tropical Modern...Read More

  • 9. Whet Cafe, Bar and Restaurant

    $

    Stylish and hip yet comfortable, Whet Cafe, Bar and Restaurant draws visitors and locals with its outdoor deck, perfect for long lunches, sunset cocktails, and...Read More

  • 10. Beach Almond

    $$

    This low-key eatery's simple beach-shack setting on Palm Cove's seafront underplays the freshness and flavor of its modern Asian food. The small but satisfying menu...Read More

  • 11. Bommie Restaurant

    $$$

    With sail-shaped tables, chic Eames chairs, and marina views, Bommie has a sophisticated, upmarket ambience perfect for a special celebration. It's the ideal setting for...Read More

  • 12. Cairns Night Markets Food Court

    $ | CBD | Fast Food

    The food court in these lively, night owl–friendly markets offers something for every palate, from Korean BBQ to sweet-and-sour chicken, sushi...Read More

  • 13. coca chu

    $$

    Offering hawker-style street food dining, coca chu appeals to all with its relaxed vibe, Catseye Beach views, and a varied dinner menu that showcases regional...Read More

  • 14. Fish D'Vine and Rum Bar

    $$

    The menu here showcases seafood in all its forms—from beer-battered fish-and-chips to seafood chowder and wild-caught barramundi (the chef will even cook your catch). The...Read More

  • 15. JAM Corner

    $$

    This fine-dining restaurant sources terrific organic and tropical produce for its Modern Australian menus, which change seasonally, but always feature fresh seafood and premium Australian...Read More

  • 16. M Yogo

    $

    Offering refined dining in relaxed environs, Chef Masa puts a deft, modern-Japanese spin on classic French dishes at this restaurant that occupies a prime pier-front...Read More

  • 17. Manta Ray

    $

    This could be the island's best all-round dining establishment. It's great for breezy alfresco lunches, sunset drinks on the deck, and relaxed dinners. Dine right...Read More

  • 18. Northerlies Bar and Grill

    $

    Overlooking a tranquil bay just outside of Airlie Beach, Northerlies has become a local favorite. A farm-to-table ethos shapes the menu, so expect fresh-from-the-boat seafood,...Read More

  • 19. On The Turps Bar & Restaurant

    $

    At this open-air restaurant in the Daintree rain forest, wallabies, bandicoots, and musky rat kangaroos might join you at the table as you tuck into...Read More

  • 20. Perrotta's at the Gallery

    $ | CBD

    This outdoor café and wine bar at Cairns Art Gallery serves sumptuous breakfasts as well as lunch and dinner. Lunch fare features a signature duck...Read More

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