Eat your way around Port Douglas as local food blogger Foodvixen shares the ultimate guide to Port Douglas restaurants.
Head one hour north from Cairns along the windy but spectacular Great Barrier Reef Drive and you will find the idyllic sea side town of Port Douglas. At the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef, Port Douglas is loved by locals and travellers from afar for its blend of luxury and laid-back holiday vibes. Port Douglas also boasts a thriving foodie scene, with a plethora of feasting options to fill your bellies after a hard day’s sightseeing in Tropical North Queensland. From family friendly to fine dining, we’ve done the hard yards for you and compiled the best restaurants in Port Douglas to suit any occasion.
For the family
Rattle N’ Hum
‘Rattle’ as it’s so affectionately known amongst those in the know, offers a relaxed and family friendly atmosphere that ticks all the boxes. Plenty of yummy pub style menu options for the entire family and serving sizes that hit the spot make Rattle N’Hum a go-to. What’s more, the large selection of wood fired pizzas and dedicated kids’ menu is sure to keep the whole tribe happy.
Port Douglas Yacht Club
Situated a stone’s throw away from Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina, Port Douglas Yacht Club is famous for its old school charm and casual atmosphere. Sit back and relax with an icy cold drink while the kids enjoy a meal of locally caught fish and chips. With plenty of room for the kids to run around, you can always count on ‘The Yachty’ for good food, good people and good times.
For a romantic date
Stylish and sophisticated with a cracking wine list and service to match, the Watergate is the perfect place for a romantic rendezvous in Port Douglas. Modern Australian Cuisine is the name of the game at this classy yet unpretentious eating house. Feel the love with a pre-dinner aperitif in the lounge before settling into a tempting three course dinner. Secluded from Macrossan Street just behind Rotary Park, The Watergate Restaurant and Lounge Bar is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
Treat your significant other to Melaleuca’s polished service and culinary delights beneath the mango trees. Seafood reigns supreme at this breezy low set Queenslander just off Macrossan St. Think Tempura Bug Tails and Pan Seared Daintree Barramundi complete with expertly selected wine pairs to complement each delectable dish. Order Melaleuca’s Signature Dessert Platter to impress your special someone and top off an exceptional evening.
Salsa Bar & Grill
If you’re looking for a date night with a menu that’s tantalising and relaxed in equal part, point your tastebuds toward Salsa Bar and Grill. This must-visit venue has been a Port Douglas icon for over 26 years and has an eclectic menu that seriously lives up to its iconic reputation. Settle down on the relaxed verandah and sink your teeth into culinary delights such as linguini pepperincino and bush spice rubbed kangaroo fillet.
For the taste of the world
Star of Siam
Whether the popular Pad Thai is your thing or the flavoursome Tom Yum Goong you’re sure to curb your Thai cravings at Star of Siam. The menu of classic entrees, soups, salads and curries offers generous portions and top value for money. A popular haunt for both locals and visitors, it’s recommended that you book to avoid any disappointment.
Located across from the St Mary’s By The Sea, Seabean serves up tantalisingly tasty tapas plates from late afternoon, well into the evening, five days a week. Sharing is the name of the game at this charming little tapas bar with a menu right out of Barcelona. Take a trip to the City of Counts with authentic Spanish delicacies like Lamb Albondigas, Cider Braised Chorizo and Boquerones or enjoy a traditional Valencia style paella. Service is efficient and friendly without being intrusive and overbearing and they have fine selection of sherries, Spanish wine and sangria. Whether you’re dining solo or with friends, come for the Spanish style snacks and stay for the sangria.
Sassi La Cucina
This hot little Italian number offers al fresco dining street side under the umbrellas or inside in air conditioned comfort. Whether it be for lunch or dinner, satisfy those Italian food cravings with authentic dishes from mouth-watering burrata to heavenly tiramisu at Sassi La Cucina. Open 7 days from 12pm, bookings are a must.
For dinner with a view
Ospreys at Thala Beach Lodge
While not exactly Port Douglas, Osprey’s is just a short 10 minute drive south – keep your eyes peeled for the stunning coconut plantation. At this world-class restaurant it’s easy to get distracted by the panoramic views but the food is just as breath taking. The a la carte menu changes seasonally and places a huge emphasis on locally and ethically sourced ingredients. Picture yourself with a glass of chilled wine in hand, kicking back on the breezy deck with 180-degree views of the Coral Sea. Now that’s livin’! Call ahead to book for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
The Tin Shed
Perched right on Dickson’s Inlet, The Tin Shed has arguably some of the best ocean side views this side of the Daintree. Part of the community since 1877, this place is a local’s favourite for a bucket of prawns and a few sundowners while watching the procession of reef goers returning from their adventures. Honest drink prices, friendly club patrons and staff make the Tin Shed a great spot for lunch or dinner that won’t hurt the hip pocket.
Hi-Tide by the Beach
Situated a hop, skip and a jump from the beach, Hi Tide is the only licensed restaurant overlooking the stunning Four Mile Beach. Order the Blue Spanner Crab and Black Garlic Butter Pappardelle if you’re feeling a tad decadent or Hi Tide’s Signature Chowder, stuffed with Australian pipi’s, tiger prawns and crocodile for something a little different. If you’re looking for something classy but a little more casual then this cosy beach side eatery is surely the place for you. Tip: Book a table on the front deck for a view of the beach.
For gourmet eats
A unique dining experience awaits you at Nautilus, which comprises not only exquisite food but top-notch service. Established for over 65 years, this open-air restaurant tucked away in a magical rainforest setting is a Port Douglas icon. You can choose from the a la carte menu however the 5 course or 7 course degustation are highly recommended where you will find each heavenly course better than the last. Open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday, bookings are a must.
Zinc puts a fresh twist on Modern Australian fare with a well-sourced menu showcasing fresh local seafood, meats, tropical fruits and vegetables. Their Signature Cocktail list features not one but three locally distilled gins to wet your whistle after a hard day exploring the Great Barrier Reef. The Bar Menu runs all day from 2pm and they also have a dedicated plant-based menu. Pro tip: Be sure to check out the impressive aquarium in the bathroom.
For a relaxed get together
A relative newcomer to the Port Douglas dining scene this new kid on the block is a real hidden gem. With American BBQ style restaurants having firmly cemented themselves in the culinary scene down south, Smokey Pint has introduced the first Texan style BBQ fare to the sea side town of Port Douglas. Low and slow cooked beef brisket, ribs and pulled pork are sold by the pound with an array of tasty sides though it’s not just the delectable slow cooked meats that keep locals coming back for more… Cool vibes, ice cold local beers and an unpretentious atmosphere make this place a winning trifecta.
At The Mexican they treat every day like Taco Tuesday! Buzzing with people at any time of the day you might be hard pressed to get a table at this hot little number come sundown. Founded by a husband-and-wife team back in 2015, The Mexican is where full flavour and freshness ups the ante on your classic Mexican fare. Bookings are essential!