From Asian fusion to contemporary Italian and beachside fine dining to fish and chips by the water: there’s a place to eat to suit every mood on Hamilton Island.
Hamilton Island dishes up a raft of renowned restaurants where you can enjoy a world-class meal, wonder at those dreamy Whitsunday views, and soak up that imitable island atmosphere. Or perhaps you’re in the market for a more casual waterside meal or a fish and chip dinner al fresco. Whatever mood you’re in on any given day of your Hamilton Island stay, you’ll find an eatery to suit. Here’s our pick.
Dine on fresh fare that blends colourful Asian flavours with modern Australian style at this vibrant spot overlooking the white sands of one of Hamilton Island’s most iconic spots, Catseye Beach.
Inspired by the hawker-style street food of South East Asia, the menu at Coca Chu is designed to be shared and includes dishes like tiger prawn betel leaf with peanuts, lime leaf, coriander and coconut; jungle curry with steamed barramundi and Thai noodles; and steamed Asian greens with wild mushroom and soy ginger dressing.
With its contemporary Italian menu coupled with a warm and inviting atmosphere, this waterside restaurant is an all-round winner.
Start the evening with a pre-dinner cocktail at its bar before taking your seat; score a table on the deck outside overlooking the waters of Hamilton Island Marina if you can.
Inventive dishes include squid ink spaghetti with scallops, prawns and lemon crab burnt butter sauce; house-made gnocchi with duck Maryland ragu, fried artichoke flower and roasted squash; and three cheese and cauliflower lasagne.
While its name, taken from the Aboriginal word ‘bombora’, reflects the shallow, colourful patches of reef dotted around the waters of Hamilton Island, Bommie’s innovative, contemporary Australian menu reflects its more immediate surrounds.
Located in the architecturally striking Hamilton Island Yacht Club, this award-winning restaurant is a destination in itself and one of the best places to eat on the island. Sit among floor-to-ceiling sculptures by the artist Glenn Murray and dine on locally sourced, seasonal produce crafted by executive chef Trent Dawson into decadent dishes like Coral Sea barramundi with mussels, roast kohlrabi, yuzu broth and wild rice stuffed vine leaves. Opt for the tasting menu for the full experience.
Experience the taste of a Mexican taqueria and cantina here on Hamilton Island, in a bright and breezy waterside spot that draws together flavours from all across Mexico – from coastal ceviche, to Oaxaca mole and Mayan cuisine of the Yucatán Peninsula to the humble taco, a national dish.
Tuck into a series of share plates, including grilled prawn tostadas, haloumi and herb quesadillas and DIY char-grilled guajillo marinated chicken fajitas, before rounding off the colourful journey with cinnamon churros doused with chocolate sauce and dulce de leche.
For fresh local seafood, you can’t go past Mariners, set in the heart of the Hamilton Island Marina. With Japanese influences, the menu is designed by Hamilton Island Yacht Club’s executive chef Trent Dawson and utilises produce sourced straight from the Whitsundays’ pristine waterways.
Splash out – pun intended – on the seafood platter for two: with whole-fried fish of the day, tiger prawns, Moreton Bay bugs, Hervey Bay scallops, Coffin Bay oysters, squid, beetroot-cured salmon, tuna tartare and accompaniments.
If you’re a qualia guest seeking an extra special experience, a table at Pebble Beach is the ticket. Set at the water’s edge in the dreamiest location within the luxury resort (offering a sweeping panorama of white sand and neighbouring islands), the menu here designed by executive chef Mark Jensen is all about modern Australian cuisine.
It shines a light on the produce available locally from the Whitsunday region and vegetables grown on island where possible. Sit down for the most sublime long lunch, or make a dinner reservation to experience qualia’s signature dining experience, with a six-course fine-dining tasting menu matched with Australian and international wines.
Think kingfish with burnt nori, avocado and succulents, matched with a 2018 grosset ‘polish hill’ riesling from South Australia’s Clare Valley or wagyu with seeds, nasturtium and marrow jus gras paired with a 2015 john duval ‘eligo’ shiraz from the Barossa.
No beach holiday is complete without a heaping helping of takeaway fish and chips, and Popeye’s is the spot for it here on Hamilton Island.
There’s market fish available daily, as well as homemade potato scallops (for a guaranteed nostalgia trip) and fresh seafood: opt for a fisherman’s basket – packed with scallops, prawns, squid and fish and chips – for a taste of everything.
A great family spot overlooking the blue water and bobbing masts at Hamilton Island Marina, there’s also a kids’ pack with chicken chippies or fish bites, chips and tomato sauce. And another (eco-friendly) boon: it’s plastic bag-free.
A few minutes’ walk along waterside Front Street from Popeye’s, in the heart of the Marina Village, the Pizzeria and Gelato Bar is another laid-back spot not to be missed.
It serves barista-made coffee and 30 rotating flavours of gelato from 2pm till late alongside its range of over 20 different fine-crust pizzas.
You’ll find everything here from your classic Margherita and Hawaiian to gourmet creations stacked with cured salmon and capers (Salmone Stagionato), seafood (Frutti di Mare) and veggies (Herbivore); gluten-free bases are available.
Nab a street-side table outside and BYO wine or beers for a tasty and relaxed dinner.
Another eatery offering beautiful views over Hamilton Island Marina, Manta Ray is where to head for a low-key dinner with plenty of choice and – if you’re a guest of Reef View Hotel, Palm Bungalows, or any holiday home booked through Hamilton Island Holiday Homes – to take advantage of its ‘kids eat free’ deal (also applicable to Coca Chu and TAKO).
Dishes to choose from include oysters, wagyu burgers and prawn linguini, plus a host of healthy salads including a vegetable buddha bowl. There’s also a fun, laid-back bar area open for drinks from midday until 10pm.
Sometimes, all you really want is a simple but delicious lunch eaten al fresco.
Head to the Hamilton Island Marina Village to pick up some gourmet meat pies, sausage rolls or sandwiches from Bob’s Bakery, made in-house daily. Or, load up on flaky croissants and Danish pastries for a freshly baked breakfast.
Need some jam to slather on those croissants? The island’s IGA supermarket, also in the Marina Village, is where you can pick up provisions and holiday essentials.