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

    $ | Australian

    This Modern Australian eatery ticks all the boxes: location (riverfront), service (impeccable), ambience (relaxed), food (exciting and flavorful...Read More

  • 2. Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant

    $ | CBD | Indonesian

    Dining in the open-sided restaurant or alfresco under the light of tiki torches, you can enjoy some of the most delicious, innovative cuisine...Read More

  • 3. Manta Ray

    $ | Eclectic

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

  • 4. Ochre Restaurant

    $ | CBD | Australian

    Local seafood and native ingredients take top billing at this upscale yet relaxed Cairns institution that specializes in bush dining. Try the...Read More

  • 5. On The Inlet Seafood Restaurant

    $ | Seafood

    Choose your own live mud crab from holding tanks at this much-lauded seafood restaurant fronting Dickson Inlet. Watch yachts dock as you sit...Read More

  • 6. Salsa Bar & Grill

    $ | Australian

    Rub shoulders with local foodies on the deck of this lively waterside institution that serves tropical Modern Australian fare. The large wooden...Read More

  • 7. Whet Cafe, Bar and Restaurant

    $ | Australian

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

  • 8. Bamboo

    $ | Asian

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

  • 9. Barnacle Bill's Seafood Inn

    $ | CBD | Seafood

    Complete with netting and mounted, shellacked fish on the walls, Barnacle Bill's is an Esplanade institution, serving fresh, mainly local seafood...Read More

  • 10. 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

  • 11. coca chu

    $ | Asian

    Hamilton Island's only Asian eatery, coca chu appeals to all comers with its relaxed vibe, Catseye Beach views, busy Sunday yum chas, and a...Read More

  • 12. Easy Cafe

    $ | Australian

    Tucked away in an arcade off the main strip, Easy Cafe whips up relaxed breakfasts, brunches, and light lunches, drawing a sociable mix of travelers...Read More

  • 13. Fish D'Vine and Rum Bar

    $ | Seafood

    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...Read More

  • 14. Mr Bones

    $ | Spanish

    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...Read More

  • 15. On The Turps Bar & Restaurant

    $ | Mediterranean

    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...Read More

  • 16. Perrotta's at the Gallery

    $ | CBD | Australian

    This outdoor café and wine bar at Cairns Regional Gallery serves sumptuous breakfasts and brunches. Lunch fare includes warm duck and roast...Read More

  • 17. TAKO

    $ | Mexican

    Hamilton Island’s latest concept restaurant, TAKO, mixes Mexican regional cuisine with Japanese and Korean flavors. The exciting menu features...Read More

  • 18. The Australian Hotel

    $ | Australian

    An atmospheric beer garden, live music, big-screen sports games, and pub-style meals are the main draws at this lively refurbed colonial-era...Read More

  • 19. Watergate Restaurant & Lounge Bar

    $ | Australian

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

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