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. 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

  • 3. 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

  • 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. 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

  • 8. 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

  • 9. 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

  • 10. 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

  • 11. 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

  • 12. 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

  • 13. 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

  • 14. 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

  • 15. 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

  • 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. Mariners

    $$$

    This breezy, upscale eatery turns the local catch into fresh contemporary dishes: freshly shucked oysters, butter roasted Moreton Bay bugs, and king salmon all artfully...Read More

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