Fish and chips on the beach, contemporary riverside dining or cocktails with an ocean outlook? It’s your call with these Townsville restaurants.
From beachfront diners that make the most of their ocean views and tropical surroundings to inner-city laneways and waterside precincts bursting with new ideas and flavours – here’s where to brunch, lunch, dinner and drink in the buzzy North Queensland city of Townsville.
Breakfast and brunch
The Balcony Restaurant
Operating out of the upstairs of a distinctive salmon-pink heritage building complete with Art Deco ironwork on its namesake balcony, this Flinders Street spot in the city centre is a Townsville institution.
Stop by for their all-day breakfast and choose between everything from avocado on toast and chilli-baked eggs to mascarpone-drizzled poached pear and granola, and Belgian waffles with ice cream and caramelised banana. The Balcony Restaurant also serves lunch and high tea.
Open 6:30 am – 2 pm (Wed and Fri), 8 am – 2 pm (other days)
Address: 1/287 Flinders St, Townsville
The Quarters Espresso Bar
Run by a coffee connoisseur who cut his teeth behind a Bezzera Vittoria Alata lever machine in Melbourne, The Quarters – just round the corner from MJ & Co – is where to go in Townsville for a serious caffeine fix.
Using a custom blend made by Veneziano Coffee Roasters, the coffee here is rich and strong. Each cup is best accompanied by a sweet treat, like a Portuguese custard tart.
Open from 6 am – 12:30 pm daily
Address: 334 Flinders Street, Townsville
Hit up Quarters Espresso Bar for a serious caffeine fix.
Betty Blue and the Lemon Tart
Cosy cafe Betty Blue and the Lemon Tart is one of the CBD’s most popular brunch spots – for good reason.
Check out Betty’s specials board, which runs the gamut between dishes like cinnamon waffles with rocky road ice cream, and a Mediterranean plate with chorizo, caramelised onion, sun-dried tomato, crumbly feta and baby spinach in scrambled eggs served with a thick wedge of doorstop toast.
Be sure to peruse the well-stocked pastry cabinet too.
Open 7:30 am – 2 pm (Mon to Fri), 7:30 am – 1 pm (Sat and Sun)
Address: 95 Denham Street, Townsville
Set your sights on the dining hub of Palmer Street in South Townsville for a memorable meal overlooking the CBD and Ross River.
Established by renowned chef Matt Merrin in 2010, JAM has scooped many awards and chef’s hats over the last decade for its modern take on North Queensland cuisine.
It’s open for lunch and dinner, with a creative seasonal menu that includes the likes of massaman curry of Kimberley Red beef, bug and reef fish tortellini, and Townsville zucchini flowers with marinated halloumi.
End on a sweet note with one of the drool-worthy desserts such as bush honey gelato with orange blossom cream, bee pollen and chocolate wafer.
Open 12 noon – 2 pm and 5.30 pm – 9.00 pm (Tues to Sat)
Address: 1 Palmer Street, South Townsville
Try JAM’s famous Asian chicken omelette with chilli jam, herbs, snow peas and fried shallots.
Odyssey on the Strand
Seaside foreshore The Strand is where you’ll want to be when it’s sunny (which is most of the time here – Townsville enjoys 300 days of sunshine a year, one of the highest averages of any Aussie city).
In a breezy spot at its northern end lies Odyssey on the Strand, a relaxed Greek restaurant where you can enjoy ocean views along with hearty Mediterranean fare.
Its lunch menu includes mezze platters and toasted sandwiches, and traditional meals like moussaka, spanakopita and lamb souvlaki straight from the grill served with charred pita bread, chips, Greek salad and tzatziki. It’s also open daily for breakfast.
Open 6 am – 3 pm daily
Address: 120 The Strand, North Ward
Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms
Head 30 minutes west of town into the Hervey Range for some scones and a spot of pioneer history.
Herveys Range Heritage Tea Rooms operates out of a heritage-listed building that began life as the Eureka Hotel in 1865, just a year after Townsville was founded.
Dine outside in the peaceful gardens overlooking the quaint corrugated iron-clad structure or sit inside to soak in its atmosphere among original hand-adzed slab timber walls.
The tea rooms serve a breakfast and light lunch menu of pies, toasted sandwiches and quiche with fresh garden salad, but it’s the scones and sweets – like cinnamon apple pie or caramel tart – you don’t want to miss.
Book ahead for a traditional high tea for a taste of everything served with bottomless speciality tea of plunger coffee in china cups.
Open 9 am – 2 pm (Weds to Mon)
Address: 37 Thornton Gap Road, Herveys Range
Dine outside in the peaceful gardens overlooking the quaint corrugated iron-clad structure.
Longboard Bar & Grill
Jutting out into the ocean on The Strand with serious surf shack vibes, the Longboard Bar And Grill is your go-to for a long, lazy and sun-soaked lunch.
It has a lunch menu for all comers with American and Mexican influences: think southern-fried chicken burgers, tacos, Hawaiian poke bowls and buffalo wings. Wash it down with a glass of signature Longboard pale ale.
Take in the views as you dine at Longboard Bar & Grill on The Strand. (Image: Tourism & Events Queensland)
Open 11 am–3 pm and 5 pm–9 pm (Tues to Sun)
Address: The Strand Headlands, Townsville
Located next door to Longboard Bar & Grill, CBar serves each meal of the day, with views across the Coral Sea to Magnetic Island.
Sit outside on the deck to enjoy the sunshine, savouring its popular breakfast including Spanish baked eggs, chocolate pancakes and acai bowls, or linger longer for the lunch and dinner menu served from 11:30 am.
Featuring dishes ‘from the land’ such as pork belly and black onyx rump topped with garlic cream prawn cutlets, some seriously packed salads and seafood platters served with North Queensland barramundi.
Open daily from 6 am – 3 pm and 5:30 pm – 9.30 pm (Mon, Thurs, Fri, Sat) and 4 pm – 8 pm (Sun)
Address: Gregory Street Headlands, Townsville
Sea views are best enjoyed with the whole family. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
Born Wild Wholefoods + Espresso
For a wholesome lunch and good coffee, make a beeline for Townsville’s creative laneway precinct of City Lane where you’ll find Born Wild Wholefoods + Espresso. The menu at this funky and cheerful spot has something to suit all appetites, from burgers – Wagyu beef, falafel or chicken – to Buddha Bowls and daily salad, fish and curry specials.
The comprehensive drinks menu includes smoothies and juices of all persuasion and classic coffee options alongside alternative hot drinks like turmeric lattes and hot chocolate made with raw cacao, honey and coconut milk.
Open daily from 7 am – 2 pm
Address: 383 Flinders St, Townsville
From the owners of nearby Jam Corner, hatted restaurant Bridgewater has become Townsville’s dining highlight since opening in 2018. Head here for modern Australian cuisine in a contemporary, coastal-inspired space overlooking the river.
Dishes include entrees of Townsville half-shell scallops with soy pumpkin, pickled fennel and candied ginger; mains like King George whiting, tossed Asian greens and mushrooms and desserts of caramel parfait, bee pollen crumb and glazed pear. Or opt for a five-course degustation with or without wine pairing.
Open from 12 pm – 4 pm (Fri and Sat), 5:30 pm – 10 pm (Weds and Thurs), 5 pm – 11.30 pm (Fri and Sat)
Address: 2/2 Dibbs Street, Townsville
Bridgewater has become Townsville’s dining highlight since opening in 2018. (Image: Bridgewater)
Another gem within the laneway precinct City Lane is this Italian restaurant with a difference.
Casually sophisticated and with a modern industrial vibe, Donna Bionda is a concept restaurant that imparts diners with snapshots of its namesake ‘Blonde Donna’s’ life alongside its menu of authentic Italian fare.
Here you’ll find wood-fired pizzas – topped with ingredients bursting with flavour like vine-ripened tomatoes, creamy mozzarella, fresh basil and sweet and salty prosciutto, simple and delicious seasonal pasta dishes and seafood mains alongside an extensive wine list.
Open from 12 noon – 2 pm and 5 pm – 9 pm (Tues to Sat)
Address: 385/373 Flinders Street, Townsville
Miss Songs Asian Kitchen
Miss Songs Asian Kitchen is part of the $43 million redevelopment The Ville – a waterside entertainment precinct incorporating the city’s iconic hotel, casino and a raft of dining and drinking options. Here you’ll find Chinese dishes with a modern twist, all made using fresh and locally sourced produce.
Sink your teeth into the Peking duck at Miss Songs. (Image: Michael Greves)
The menu covers everything from Peking duck to Hokkien noodles to Mongolian lamb hot plate to dishes ‘from the steamer’ – prawn dumplings or chicken and mushroom chilli wonton – and more.
Follow your cravings to Miss Songs. (Image: Michael Greves)
Open from 5:30 pm (Sun to Thur), from 5 pm (Fri and Sat)
Address: The Ville, Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, Townsville
Tobin Fish Tales
Sometimes all you want when you’re on holiday is the simply salty pleasures of fish and chips on the beach.
Based in North Ward, Tobin Fish Tales’ ethos is based on serving fresh, high-quality seafood sourced sustainably and informing customers about the provenance of their meal – just ask for the story behind yours and the staff will happily oblige.
Choose whether your takeaway fish is battered, crumbed or grilled with a scoop of chips or potato scallops on the side and head a couple of blocks away to The Strand to enjoy a beachfront picnic spot in the balmy tropical evening.
Open 11 am – 8 pm (Wed to Sun)
Address: 2/1 Rose Street, North Ward
Inspired by the cuisines of southern California and Mexico, the menu at this fun and funky restaurant is lit with neon, adorned with a mural of Ron Burgundy and serves up more than 10 different types of tacos, the biggest serving of nachos in Australia and burritos made with homemade tortilla or in a bowl.
Pair with a margarita, shaken or frozen, share a jug of sangria with friends, or a three-litre Tijuana Tower for a real good time.
Open from 11 am – 9 pm daily
Address: 1/62 The Strand, Townsville
A Touch Of Salt
With a chef’s hat among numerous other awards under their belt, this family-run restaurant – owned by a father and two sons – offers refined but relaxed dining with views of Ross Creek.
When damper, saltbush honey and lemon butter are a starter, you know you’re onto a good thing.
An east-meets-west menu, peppered throughout with native ingredients, try seared octopus with crispy polenta, roasted duck with king mushrooms and hazelnuts, and many plant-based options such as sesame broccolini and cauliflower okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake).
Open from 5 pm – 10 pm daily, 12 noon – 3 pm (Fri)
Address: 86 Ogden Street, Townsville
A Touch of Salt serves plant-based pasta dishes.
An extensive menu bursting with the flavours of Thailand and Laos, Wild Rice is a quaint restaurant where authentic Southeast Asian dishes – from Lao laksa to Thai green curry to Lao spicy green papaya salad to Pad Thai – are made fresh. BYO wine and enjoy a casual dinner out with mates.
Open 5:30 pm – 9 pm (Mon to Thur) 5:30 pm – 10 pm (Fri and Sat)
Address: 235 Flinders Street, Townsville
The TapHouse Townsville
The TapHouse Townsville in City Lane is where to head to sip craft beer in relaxed and friendly industrial-style surrounds. Its 10 taps rotate regularly with different brews from around Australia and have featured more than 500 since opening in 2015.
Among the many strings to its bow – the bar has won many accolades – the TapHouse is North Queensland’s first self-pour bar, meaning you can pour your own pint using some rather neat technology.
Open from 11 am – late (Tues to Sat), 10.30 am – late (Sun)
Address: 373 Flinders Street, Townsville
Sample a flight of premium craft beers at The TapHouse.
Hooch & Fellow
Don’t miss this funky little spot on Flinders Street for a nightcap or two. With bucketloads of atmosphere and vintage posters on the exposed-brick walls, Hooch & Fellow offers informal table service with friendly bartenders happy to share their passion for all things spirits.
Its cocktail list rotates twice weekly and features both classics and concoctions with a creative twist and is complemented by a carefully chosen beer and wine selection.
Open from 6 pm-midnight (Wed to Sat), 7 pm-midnight (Sun)
Address: 181 Flinders Street, Townsville
Sip on a tangy citrus-based cocktail at Hooch & Fellow.
To soak up those expansive ocean views that Townsville delivers in spades, head to the Watermark on The Strand. With its laid-back al fresco atmosphere and Magnetic Island firmly in its sightlines, it’s a bit of an icon in these parts.
From its central island bar, it serves beer and cider on tap, signature cocktails plus a bar menu that includes pizzas and fresh prawn buckets.
Open 10 am – 12 pm (Mon and Thurs), 6 am – 11 pm (Tues), 5 am – 11.45 pm (Weds, Sat, Sun), 7 am – 11.45 pm (Fri)
Address: 72–74 The Strand, Townsville
Satisfy your cravings at Watermark, Townsville.
A top spot to spend long lazy afternoons soaking up the sun with epic views of Magnetic Island. Quarterdeck is a casual diner and bar fringed by swaying palm trees and gardens dotted with fuchsia bougainvillaea.
Located on the ground floor of The Ville, you can match the scene with your cocktail, by sipping on a Paradise Punch or Aperol Spritz and watching as the sun disappears over the Coral Sea. Come Friday to Sunday to enjoy live tunes.
Open daily from 11 am – late
Address: The Ville, Sir Leslie Thiess Drive, Townsville
Grab some mouthwatering lunch at Quarterdeck.