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Best Food in Cairns

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Cairns is an obligatory stop for all travelers following the East Coast tour of Australia. And rather than remaining a sleepy town, it has blossomed, offering fabulous local and international cuisine and excellent seafood in addition to its to-die-for views. Follow me on a culinary exploration of this tropical destination.

Good for
  • Foodie
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter
  • Like a Local

10 Places

3 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Tamarind

Restaurants

Raw Prawn Seafood Restaurant

Restaurants

Ochre Restaurant

Restaurants

Green Ant Cantina

Restaurants

Cafe China Noodle Bar

Restaurants

Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant

Restaurants

C'est Bon Restaurant Francais

Restaurants

Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse

Restaurants

M Yogo

Restaurants

Bel Paese

Restaurants

Monica U's City Tips

  • It is worth renting a car for at least two days, as there are plenty of attractions to visit around Cairns.
  • Can you imagine a rainforest that is 135 million years old? It must be seen to be believed, so don't forget to pay a visit to the World Heritage Daintree Rainforest.
  • If you have never tried snorkeling, Cairns is one of the best spots to learn.
  • Save
    Tamarind
    Restaurants (Contemporary, Fusion)
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    This is one of my favorite One Chef Hat restaurants in Cairns. Located inside the Reef Hotel Casino, Tamarind serves up a mix of Asian contemporary cuisine, with a western influence. The decor is subtle, with languid lights that transport you to an intimate, raw setting.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • Tamarind is closed on Mondays.
    • If you are planning to dine here on Friday or Saturday, definitely book in advance!
    • Special occasion? Try the 7-course degustation menu with matching wines.
    • The Tamarind taster plate for two is a meal in itself!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #17 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Degustation with wine was great 13/09/2018
    • Extraordinary food and great service 10/09/2018
    • Tamarind
    Address:
    35/41 Wharf Street
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4030 8897
    Price range:
    US$22 - US$146
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:00 PM - 10:30 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Raw Prawn Seafood Restaurant
    Restaurants (Seafood, Australian, Soups)
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    I come to Raw Prawn Seafood Restaurant for two things: the QLD prawns, served grilled with garlic (and sometimes combined with bugs if I am in the mood!); and the view — perfect, placid, tropical Cairns-style. Whenever I suck the last bit of prawn meat from the juicy, garlic-y head, all my troubles always seem far, far away...

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Family
    • Like a Local
    Tips
    • The two-course set lunch is a great deal.
    • The grilled pineapple adds a nice twist to the garlic prawns.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #54 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Always a pleasure - highly recommended! 21/09/2018
    • Superb Seafood 18/09/2018
    • Raw Prawn Seafood Restaurant
    Address:
    101 The Esplanade
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4031 5400
    Price range:
    US$13 - US$33
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:30 AM - 10:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Ochre Restaurant
    Restaurants (Seafood, Australian)
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    In my opinion Ochre is one of the best restaurants in Cairns. There are very few restaurants in Australia where you can taste authentic Australian food — such as emu, crocodile, and kangaroo — done as well as it is here. Come for the tasting or game platter, and sample all the country's natives spices for a delectable and memorable meal.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Family
    Tips
    • If you are into cooking, cooking demonstrations are offered to groups of 10 or more.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #0 of 0 restaurants in
    • Great Australian cuisine 29/11/2016
    • Love Ochre! 13/11/2016
    • Ochre Restaurant
    Address:
    43 Shields St
    Shop 6
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4051 0100
    Price range:
    US$16 - US$28
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:00 PM - 9:30 PM
    Mon - Fri
    11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
    Sat - Sun
    10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
    12:15 PM - 2:30 PM
  • Save
    Green Ant Cantina
    Restaurants (Mexican, Bar)
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    Monica U Says:

    Where else can you sit in a casual cantina with a boutique cold beer and a half-pound kangaroo burger? Inspired by a Mexican fusion restaurant, Green Ant Cantina has some of the best South American cocktails I have tasted in Australia. The Corona prawns are to die for too!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • There is live music playing every weekend.
    • If you are a fan of jalapenos, you are in luck! They come as a side dish here.
    • Tequila aficionados, try the the Green Ant chili tequila: tequila infused with the cantina's own brand of spicy chili!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #65 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Fantabolous Place 21/09/2018
    • Very good Mexican and a great atmosphere 19/09/2018
    • Green Ant Cantina
    Address:
    183 Bunda St
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4041 5061
    Price range:
    US$6 - US$21
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    4:00 PM - 12:00 AM
    Other:
  • Save
    Cafe China Noodle Bar
    Restaurants (Chinese, Asian)
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    Monica U Says:

    I like Chinese food, but most of the Chinese restaurants in town are stuffy and crowded. This isn't the case at Cafe China Noodle Bar, where you can sit out on the veranda, just around the corner from the Customs House, and order a handmade noodle dish with the sauce of your choice. Don't like noodles? The Peking Duck salad is delicious too!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Try your luck at the Reef Casino next door.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #196 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    • I love laksa!!!! 15/08/2018
    • Chinese perfection 02/07/2018
    • Cafe China Noodle Bar
    Address:
    6 Abbott Street
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4041 7077
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:00 AM - 9:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant
    Restaurants (Asian, Indonesian)
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    Monica U Says:

    Balinese food, especially done right, is hard to come by in Australia, which makes dining at Bayleaf an huge treat. Sit at an outdoor table and order the satay (the charcoal gives them a fantastic smokey flavor) with dipping sauces, the classic nasi goreng, fried noodles with chicken, and the fish with egg sunny side up. You won't regret it!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Set menus are available for groups of 12 or more people.
    • Sit outside to avoid your clothes smelling of charcoal.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #26 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Dinner 22/09/2018
    • Needs Improvement 20/09/2018
    • Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant
    Address:
    227 Lake St
    Corner of Lake & Gatton Street
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4051 4622
    Price range:
    US$13 - US$25
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    6:30 AM - 9:30 AM
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Tue - Fri
    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    C'est Bon Restaurant Francais
    Restaurants (French, European)
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    I am one of those people who always wants to get my money's worth, and C'est Bon definitely delivers. Not only is the French cuisine exquisite, but the three-course set menu, including a glass of wine and complementary bread and butter, is an amazing value. C'est tres bon!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Hidden Gems
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    Tips
    • The staff make you feel amazing if you are celebrating something special. Be sure to let them know!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #10 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Dinner spoiled by slow service 08/09/2018
    • Delicious 03/09/2018
    • C'est Bon Restaurant Francais
    Address:
    20 Lake St
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4051 4488
    Price range:
    US$30 - US$98
    Hours:
    Tue - Fri
    12:00 PM - 2:00 PM
    Tue - Sat
    6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse
    Restaurants
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    This restaurant has three out of three 'must haves' for me: best steak, best ribs, and best view. But my favorite of the three has to be the ribs, which are marinated to perfection and cooked so well that the meat is literally falling off the bone. The desserts don't disappoint either!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Book in advance and ask for an outdoor table to enjoy the view.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #27 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Good food 19/09/2018
    • Best place to eat in Cairns 19/09/2018
    • Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse
    Address:
    Pierpoint Shopping Centre
    Pier Shopping Centre
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4031 1199
    Hours:
    Sun
    5:30 PM - 9:30 PM
    Sun - Sat
    11:30 AM - 4:00 PM
    Mon - Fri
    5:30 PM - 10:00 PM
    Sat
    5:30 PM - 10:15 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    M Yogo
    Restaurants (French, Seafood, European)
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    What do you get when you mix Japanese with French cuisine? A veritable feast! Masa, the head chef here, is one of the top 50 chefs in Australia, and this is his second hit restaurant. Not feeling hungry for a full meal? It's worth coming here just for the cakes, and for the delightful location right on the pier.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Please do make a booking, as seats go fast at M Yogo.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #75 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    • Great location, great service, great lunch 18/08/2018
    • Beautiful restaurant with great food! 05/08/2018
    • M Yogo
    Address:
    Shop G9 Ground Floor "Pier Shopping" Pierpoint Road Carins
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4051 0522
    Price range:
    US$9 - US$35
    Hours:
    Sun - Sat
    11:30 AM - 2:30 PM
    5:30 PM - 8:30 PM
    Other:
  • Save
    Bel Paese
    Restaurants (Italian, Pizza)
    See more photos
    Monica U Says:

    Bel Paese is your typical rustic Italian eatery, serving up delicious handmade spaghetti and fettuccine. It's not a gourmet meal destination but a good down-to-earth place to head to for a 'fair dinkrum' Italian meal — complete with generous portions, attentive service and reasonable prices. Be sure to leave room for the tiramisu!

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Relax and enjoy the food as it comes.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #82 of 484 restaurants in Cairns
    • Authentic Italian 08/09/2018
    • Duped on price twice — pizza is pretty good. 17/08/2018
    • Bel Paese
    Address:
    45 Spence St
    Cairns, Queensland 4870
    Australia
    Phone:
    +61 7 4051 6165
    Price range:
    US$4 - US$22
    Hours:
    Mon - Sat
    5:00 PM - 9:30 PM
    Other:
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