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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 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

  • 6. 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

  • 7. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. Romano's

    $$

    The full-frontal marina views from the broad balconies of this two-level waterfront eatery make it a favorite for family celebrations and romantic dining. The menu...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Sassi La Cucina + Bar

    $$

    Those craving traditional Italian cuisine utilizing fresh North Queensland ingredients should make themselves a booking at Sassi, a lively, friendly eatery with plenty of outdoor...Read More

  • 12. Temple of Tastes

    $$

    Knowledgeable staff, an impressive wine and cocktail list, and a torchlit waterfront terrace are among the many reasons to dine at this excellent resort restaurant...Read More

  • 13. Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse

    $$ | CBD

    At this busy waterfront eatery, you can gaze at Cairns's bustling marina while chowing down on a locally sourced, chargrilled steak, which come in all...Read More

  • 14. Watergate Restaurant & Lounge Bar

    $$

    Atmospheric indoor-outdoor dining, attentive service, and a well-stocked bar are nice, but the primary draw at this relaxed restaurant is the food, which highlights the...Read More

  • 15. Amici

    $$

    A classic Italian-style eatery with a crowd-pleasing menu of antipasto, pasta, seafood, and traditional dishes, family-friendly Amici also whips up terrific wood-fired pizzas. Seafood—fresh oysters,...Read More

  • 16. Casmar Restaurant

    $$

    The ocean's bounty is the focus at this cosy upstairs restaurant overlooking the Palm Cove waterfront: try the seafood platter for two (A$90) with oysters,...Read More

  • 17. Dragonfly Gallery Café

    $$

    Constructed by local craftspeople from native timber and stone, this gallery sits among rain-forest gardens and overlooks natural barramundi pools. The café is open all...Read More

  • 18. Lime & Pepper Restaurant

    $$

    European flair meets great local produce at this upscale beachfront restaurant and bar. Lime & Pepper mixes fresh seafood, tropical fruits, and bush-tucker ingredients, such...Read More

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