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. Bang and Grind

    $ | CBD

    Get immersed in north Queensland coffee culture at Bang and Grind, a lively café in the CBD. The venue is known for its house-blended coffee,...Read More

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. 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

  • 16. 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

  • 17. 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

  • 18. 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

  • 19. Popeye's Takeaway


    There's nothing fancy about Popeye's—but then, that's the point. This fish-and-chips joint is set up as a casual, reasonably priced alternative to some of the...Read More

  • 20. Salt House

    $$ | CBD

    Blessed with mountain and ocean views and located in prime position at the Cairns Marina, Salt House serves Modern Australian fare in casual chic environs....Read More

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