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. 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

  • 4. 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

  • 5. 27 Degrees

    $

    Ah, 27 degrees. It's pretty much the perfect temperature, isn't it? (When we're talking Celsius.) And it's also pretty much the perfect café when you're...Read More

  • 6. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 9. Sparrow Coffee

    $

    Sparrow is all about good coffee. There's very little else on sale here except Port Douglas's best flat white or espresso, with an excellent range...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. Vivo

    $

    Enjoy Coral Sea views framed by palms and melaleucas along with Mod Oz dishes at this classy beachside eatery. Diners come for the mix of...Read More

  • 12. 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

  • 13. Fire

    $$$$

    This elegant restaurant, refurbished in rich ruby hues, is the resort's culinary showpiece. Its imaginative dishes are built around premium ingredients, sourced locally and from...Read More

  • 14. Hanuman Cairns

    $$$ | CBD

    A flavorful addition to Cairns's dining scene, this restaurant in the Hilton Cairns does wonders with tropical produce and South-East Asian flavors. Moody violet lighting,...Read More

  • 15. Bamboo

    $

    This lovely pan-Asian establishment overlooks a tranquil Japanese garden with rock pools, waterfalls, and a teahouse. Menu choices include Thai, Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian...Read More

  • 16. Mr Bones

    $

    Red plastic bar stools line the open front of this well-run Airlie café/bar overlooking the water. Three big attractions here are thin-crust pizzas, tapas-style dishes,...Read More

  • 17. 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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