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Apart from being Australia’s gateway to the famed Great Barrier Reef, Cairns is also known as a foodie’s paradise. Although there are hundreds of people that come to visit the city every year, whether flying in from abroad or driving around in a car or campervan hire, rest assured that you will not run out of topnotch dining choices. So if you are yet to decide which of Cairns’ dining offerings to try, we have listed five of the city’s top restaurants for your pleasure.

  1. Ochre – For an ultimate Aussie food experience, head on over to Ochre. The multi-awarded restaurant is famous for serving authentic Australian fare with a high-end twist. Nowhere else in the country will you be served a grilled kangaroo steak with chili glaze or crocodile meat served with native pepper leaf and salt. So make sure that you make Ochre the first stop in your Cairns food adventure.
  2. Salt House – Great views always take meals to different levels of superb. And if you want breathtaking harbor views and excellent food, Salt House offers the best of both. Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week you can sit back and look out the bay with a chilled beer glass in hand. Oh, and did we mention that their set lunch menu is only $20 per person? Yep. Best of everything, indeed.
  3. Dundee’s – If you are looking for a more sophisticated dining experience, drive on over to Dundee’s located at Cairns Waterfront. The restaurant is famous for their seafood which came directly from the fishing boats that area docked in the harbor. Portions are generous, and the menu offers different kinds of seafood that would satisfy even the most discriminating of palates. Dundee’s seafood platter is highly recommended, but you might want to sample their famous mud crab, too. Make sure though, that you book ahead of time. The restaurant’s reputation and its location in the waterfront, Dundee’s is almost always full.
  4. Mature Yogo (M Yogo) – For one-of-a kind Asian-European food experience, M Yogo is the perfect place to try. In fact, it is voted as Australia’s best European restaurant, with its head chef known as one of the top culinary experts in the country. European inspiration is mainly French, creatively combining traditional Japanese cuisine. Apart from the excellent food fare, the restaurant’s location on the pier provides guests with breathtaking views of the harbor.
  5. Paddock – For all you meat lovers, the best steaks in Cairns can be found at Paddock. What sets this steakhouse from the rest of the competition is they serve only organic, grass-fed Aussie bush meat, veal and pork. It may take a little longer drive out of town to get to the restaurant but believe us when we say – the food is well worth the effort. Portions are affordable and generous, so you can share with family or friends.

Our Runner-Ups:

C’est Bon offers memorable French dining experiences that allow it to stand out among other fine dining restaurants in Cairns. Famous for their professional and courteous staff, you will find that the food and the service guarantee dining experience akin to royalty.

For authentic Indonesian food fare, you should try Bayleaf. Considered to serve the best Balinese food in the city, the restaurant makes sure that it uses only the freshest ingredients in every dish. Apart from the delicious food, service is highly attentive, with plenty of space for indoor and outdoor dining.

Have you traveled to Cairns? What restaurants do you think we missed? Let us know by leaving us a comment below! Happy travels!

Erica Cormier

The author Erica Cormier