Looking for a bite to eat? From cheap eats to fine dining, make a booking at one of these top Cairns restaurants.
Whether it’s waterfront dining serving locally sourced flavours that pique your interest, fresh seafood straight off the trawler, or shared tapas bites with rooftop panoramic views, Cairns is home to an array of fabulous places to eat and pubs to drink at. Feast your eyes on our pick of the best.
Best for: Japanese-style noodles
When in Cairns, do as the locals do and eat ramen at Ganbaranba. You’ll recognise this place by the line that snakes up the street seven nights a week. Once you’re in, you’ll be rewarded with a busy yet wholesome joint that serves an array of traditional ramen soups and gyoza in a casual setting. The ingredients are both locally sourced and super fresh, with emphasis placed on authenticity. They’ll even ask you how you want your noodles cooked; say medium. Every meal comes with a bottomless serving of iced tea, cementing this cheap-and-cheerful jaunt as one of the greats.
Price: Main courses from $13 – $19
Address: 7/12-20 Spence St, Cairns City
2. Ellis Beach Bar & Grill
Best for: Wood-fired ‘low & slow’ BBQ meats
Just 5 minutes from Palm Cove on a six-kilometre stretch of beach is Ellis Beach Bar & Grill. With rainforest backdrops and a casual and friendly vibe, it’s the ideal place to sit back and unwind. Here you’ll find quality creative dishes that offer value for money, including wood-fired ‘low & slow’ BBQ meats, burgers, nachos, and dedicated vegan plant-based options. Join a Sunday Session for $2 oysters and live music or enjoy a romantic twilight dinner overlooking the Coral Sea.
For restaurants set in tropical locations, you can’t get much better than Ellis Beach. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Mains from $16 – $35
Address: 13 Captain Cook Hwy, Ellis Beach
3. Corea Corea
Best for: Korean cuisine
With a stand-out reputation amongst locals and tourists alike, Corea Corea serves up tasty and authentic Korean cuisine at value for money. Located upstairs in Orchid Plaza, dishes include spicy pork, chicken, tofu, stir-fried seafood, beef ribs, hot pots, soups, and vegetarian options.
Price: Mains from $15 – $30
Address: Level 1, Orchid Plaza, 79 Abbott St, Cairns City
4. Boardwalk Social by Crystalbrook
Best for: Pub classics
If nourishing classics alongside live sports and music sounds up your alley, then it’s time to hit up Boardwalk Social. Inspired by gastro-pub classics with a focus on local ingredients, take your pick of salads, sourdough pizza, tacos, and burgers.
Expect to find a range of healthy to more indulgent mains on the menu at Boardwalk Social.
You’ll also find an impressive drinks list to match featuring local brews with 36 beers on tap, 40 local and international gins, and a range of signature cocktails.
The restaurant is set right across from the ocean in an open-air setting.
Price: Mains from $20 – $30
Address: Ground Floor, 85, Esplanade, Cairns City (within Crystalbrook Flynn)
5. Prawn Star Cairns
Best for: Fresh seafood
Located at Marlin Marina, Prawn Star Cairns is a floating restaurant serving fresh and local seafood straight off the trawler. The atmosphere is laid-back yet enchanting with fairy lights strung across the boats, music, and communal shared tables.
Seafood just tastes better when consumed on a boat that doubles as a restaurant. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Here it’s all about delicious simplicity so forget the fancy sides and cocktails, and instead tuck into raw salmon sashimi, prawns, oysters, and crayfish, or the ultimate Sailor’s Platter to share. Juices, soft drinks, beer, and wine are available.
Indulge in a seafood tower while onboard. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Dishes to share from $35 – $130
Address: Pier Point Road, Marlin Marina, E31 Berth, Cairns City
6. Piato Cairns Restaurant
Best for: Mediterranean cuisine
If you want to savour the flavours of superior home cuisine, welcome to the Piato experience. Bringing the joy of casual Mediterranean dining to The Pier, Piato Cairns serves top-quality seafood and steak dishes, including barramundi jambalaya, spaghetti marinara, black angus striploin, and for dessert — mocha flavoured crème brulé.
Price: Main courses from $29 – $45
Address: 1 Pierpoint Road Shop G4A, The Pier Marina, Cairns City
7. Dundee’s Waterfront Dining
Best for: Modern Australian cuisine
For waterfront views and a taste of Australia, Dundee’s Restaurant on the Waterfront has a modern Australian menu featuring fresh local seafood, tender Australian-bred beef grilled to perfection, pasta, salads, and Australian fares such as kangaroo, crocodile, and emu. For dessert, you can’t go past the Magnum Lava, a dark chocolate lava pudding with a mini Magnum ice cream, honeycomb crumbs, and double cream.
Price: Main courses from $22 – $60
Address:1 Marlin Parade, Cairns City (Located in The Sebel Cairns Harbour Lights)
8. Dundees at the Cairns Aquarium
Best for: A family dinner
Or for a dining experience with a different kind of view, Dundees at the Cairns Aquarium features the largest tank within a restaurant in the whole of Australia. With a 70,000-litre saltwater marine aquarium in the background, enjoy the finest seafood and produce from Tropical North Queensland with a vibrant drinks menu to match. Kids will love it too, with their own menu to choose from, including ice cream and a soft drink.
Price: Main courses from $34 – $115
Address: 5 Florence St, Cairns City (inside Cairns Aquarium)
9. Salsa Bar & Grill, Port Douglas
Best for: Vibrant atmosphere
A very popular Port Douglas restaurant, Salsa Bar & Grill is a local favourite known for its lively food, music, and people. Alongside its cool vibe and awesome cocktails, take your pick from its fusion of culinary delights including gunpowder spiced calamari, seafood curry, and miso roasted chicken supreme.
Price: Main courses from $38 – $50
Address: 26 Wharf St, Port Douglas
10. Osprey’s Restaurant at Thala Beach Nature Reserve
Best for: Dining amongst the treetops
Perched in the treetops 10 minutes south of Port Douglas, Ospreys Restaurant provides a picturesque dining experience looking across the sparkling waters of the Great Barrier Reef.
Dine at Osprey’s Restaurant in Thala Beach Nature Reserve. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland; Matthew Evans Photography)
Produce is sourced daily from local markets and suppliers to create a seasonal menu and an emphasis is placed on ethically sourcing ingredients direct from local neighbouring areas like the Atherton Tablelands and The Coral Sea. Our pick is the slow-cooked pork belly with native plum, paw paw, and yakajiri crumb — and for dessert? Thala Coconut with rum-spiked pineapple, dark chocolate, and passionfruit.
Take your pick from a selection of excellent mains at Osprey’s Restaurant. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Main courses from $38 – $65
Address: 5078 Captain Cook Hwy, Oak Beach
11. Moku Bar & Grill
Best for: Alfresco dining
With modern coastal décor overlooking the lagoon, Moku Bar and Grill boasts expertly crafted cocktails and island-inspired fare, designed to share.
Pick from your fresh tropical favourites at Moku Bar & Grill. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Feast your eyes on a seasonal selection of fresh tropical favourites, from whole-fried baby barramundi to their famous twice-cooked pork knuckle with smoked root vegetables.
Expect to find inventive dishes available to order at Moku Bar & Grill. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Main courses from $15 – $45
Address: 122 Lake St, Cairns City (within Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort)
12. Oak & Vine Cairns
Best for: Open terrace dining
Offering a unique blend of Peruvian dishes made with Japanese techniques and fresh local produce, the city’s Oak & Vine Cairns rooftop restaurant and bar serves up share plates daily. Sit back, relax, and soak in some of the best open terrace dining Cairns has to offer.
Pair your Peruvian meals with refreshing cocktails at Oak & Vine Cairns. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Main courses from $30 – $42
Address: 59/63 Esplanade, Cairns City
13. Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse
Best for: The ultimate steakhouse
If you’re on the lookout for succulent meat and exceptional service alongside a superb Cairns waterfront location, look no further than Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse. Renowned for its consistency in preparing and cooking grilled meats, you’ll also find an inviting décor, vibrant music, and a hearty buzz.
Price: Main courses from $32 – $58
Address: 1 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City
14. Rocco by Crystalbrook
Best for: Middle Eastern flavours and panoramic views
Boasting 270-degree panoramic views of Cairns and the Coral Sea, Rocco is the city’s highest rooftop bar and restaurant.
Rocco’s warm earthy tones set a cosy and inviting tone to the evening.
With earthy tones and Middle Eastern prints setting a warm ambience, order from the delicious Mediterranean-inspired menu and choose a signature cocktail to go with it.
Relish in Mediterranean dishes at Rocco by Crystalbrook. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Shared mains from $16 – $40
Address: Level 12, Tower, 131/141 Esplanade, Cairns City (within Crystalbrook Riley)
15. Mondo on the Waterfront
Best for: Casual alfresco dining
With plenty of awards to shout about, Mondo on the Waterfront is a go-to al fresco dining experience with stunning views of Trinity Inlet. Whether it’s a family gathering, business lunch, or dinner for two, indulge in flavours from around the world, with signature dishes like Mondo barbecue and sizzling fajitas.
Price: Mains from $18-$35
Address: 34 Esplanade, Cairns City
16. Bellocale Italian & Seafood Restaurant
Best for: Modern Italian cuisine
Owned and operated by husband and wife Kevin and Summer, Bellocale Italian provides locals and tourists with an upbeat ambience and modern Italian meals to create a welcoming dining experience.
The ambience at Bellocale Italian & Seafood Restaurant is simple yet classy. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Choose from an array of fresh locally caught seafood and dishes including tuna carpaccio and seafood ravioli filled with blue swimmer crab, and black tiger prawns in a lobster bisque butter sauce.
The risotto alla pescatora is a standout on . (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Mains from $25 – $45
Address: 62 Shields St, Cairns City
Best for: Modern Mexican
Serving up more than killer spicy margaritas and tacos, Guerrilla is a fantastic Mexican dining experience. For the ultimate family meal, nothing says Sundays like taking a deep dive into the Mexican tradition of slow-cooked barbacoa. Savour a special three-course meal with your loved ones whilst exploring boutique wines from the cellar.
Price: Main courses from $21 – $55
Address: 120 Collins Ave, Edge Hill
18. Paper Crane by Crystalbrook
Best for: Asian fusion
For tastes of Asia with a playful twist, Paper Crane is an incredible fusion restaurant, beautifully highlighting Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese-inspired dishes. Signature proteins and local produce feature heavily, with an abundance of fresh options from the region. Thirsty? Their signature cocktails are a mix of sweet or spicy, and a varied global wine list will keep you hydrated.
Satisfy your cravings for Asian cuisine at Paper Crane by Crystalbrook. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Mains from $14 – $55
Address: Ground Floor, 131-141, Esplanade, Cairns City (within Crystalbrook Riley)
Best for: Impeccable service
Serving fresh, innovative food, and utilizing the local region as their supermarket, NOA is a relaxed yet refined restaurant. Owner Samuel leads the talented team sharing his simple philosophy towards food — fresh, bold, and exciting flavours.
Snag a spot for lunch at NOA. (Image: Alexandra Gow, The Botanical Table)
Head in for all-you-can-eat bao’s every Thursday evening, or every Friday and Sunday evening for live music on the deck.
Expect fresh, bold and exciting flavours. (Image: Alexandra Gow, The Botanical Table)
Price: Main courses from $35 – $57
Address: 1 Pyne St, Edge Hill
20. Flynn’s Italian by Crystalbrook
Best for: Easy set menu
Bringing a taste of Italy to the tropics, Flynn’s Italian is loud, fun, and all about communal dining experiences. Inviting you into its quintessentially Italian vibe, expect to find each dish expertly crafted, ensuring you savour the light mix of fresh, Italian flavours.
Dinner is complete with an assortment of Italian desserts, from tiramisu and vanilla panna cotta to affogato and gelato. And for the ideal match, choose the three or four-course set menu with perfectly paired wines.
Fresh Italian flavours are the star at Flynn’s Italian by Crystalbrook.
Price: Mains from $40 – $50
Address: Level 1/85 Esplanade, Cairns City (within Crystalbrook Flynn)
21. Ochre Restaurant
Best for: Native foods
In the hub of Cairns on the edge of the waterfront, dining out at the award-winning Ochre is a no-brainer. Renowned for showcasing the best of Australia’s produce to the world, diners from far and wide come to sample an inventive array of dishes such as salt and native pepper leaf crocodile, Daintree tea smoked duck breast, or an Australian antipasto platter that comprises emu wonton and salmon green ant gravlax. There’s also a Japanese dining menu available.
Sample an inventive array of dishes at Ochre Restaurant. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Main courses from $34 – $54
Address: Harbour Lights Boardwalk, 1 Marlin Parade, Cairns City
22. Salt House
Best for: Bustling atmosphere
Located right on the heart of the esplanade, the expansive Salt House with flowing ponds and fire features is almost as iconic as the scenery that surrounds it.
The menu at Salt House is perfectly paired with iconic views of the Cairns esplanade. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
The menu changes frequently depending on the seasonal produce on offer at that moment. Brick-fired pizzas are a staple, alongside a number of meats cooked on the custom-built Argentinian wood-fired grill.
Enjoy beetroot carpaccio with goat’s cheese at Salt House. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Main courses from $36 – $95
Address: Marina Point, 6/2 Pier Point Rd, Cairns City
23. Tamarind Restaurant
Best for: Intimate ambience
Featuring crisp white linen tablecloths and low-lit lighting on timber walls, Tamarind offers a sophisticated ambience, complimented by its exquisite dishes handcrafted from the freshest local produce. Have you heard of ‘Australian Freestyle’ cuisine? If not, it’s where the chefs embrace cooking styles and techniques from various cultures and cuisines, and let their imagination run free. Stop by and experience it for yourself.
Price: Two courses are $80 and three courses are $90
Address: 6-8 Abbott St, Cairns City (within Pullman Reef Hotel Casino)
24. CC’s Bar & Grill
Best for: A modern take on the traditional steakhouse
Inspired by the Australian outback, the award-winning CC’s Bar and Grill is famous for its steak, with most of it sourced from Cairns’ backyard, the Atherton Tableland. Premium steaks are served with grilled bone marrow and a choice of sauces.
Chill out with your friends at CC’s Bar & Grill. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Not only is CC’s known for redefining the traditional steakhouse, but the extensive wine list also comes from some of the most exquisite wineries across the country.
Prime-cut steaks are the hero here. (Image: Tourism Tropical North Queensland)
Price: Mains from $30 – $100
Address: Ground Floor A/163 Abbott St, Cairns City (within Crystalbrook Bailey)
25. Nu Nu Restaurant
Best for: Beachside views
It doesn’t get any better than dining at one of the country’s best beachfront establishments – the award-winning Nu Nu. This much-loved Palm Cove restaurant offers modern Australian cuisine with a seasonal menu, focusing on locally procured ingredients from the rainforest, the reef, and outback cattle stations. Our tip? Enjoy breakfast or lunch here so you can look out at the spectacular views across the Coral Sea.
Dine on the beachfront at Nu Nu Restaurant. (Image: Tourism and Events Queensland)
Price: Main courses from $30 – $150
Address: 1 Veivers Road, Palm Cove
Looking for a nightcap? Pop into one of Cairn’s top bars.