Best Restaurants Port Douglas

Best Restaurants Port Douglas

Port Douglas isn’t merely a springboard from which to explore all the highlights of the Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest – it’s also a mature and rather luxurious travel destination in its own right, with a secluded “resort-town” feel that carries with it an air of exclusivity. This is largely reflected in the town’s dining scene, as well, as it boasts a disproportionate amount of high quality restaurants and other eateries relative to its small size – those looking for a quality meal during their visit to Port Douglas will be spoiled for choice here.

There’s over 60 restaurants and cafes in total on offer, all of varying budget levels and with differing outlooks, with the majority situated around the hub of Macrossan Street and others sprinkled throughout the region. Renowned for incorporating seafood with a dash of tropical influence, but also covering a range of cuisines, Port Douglas‘ restaurants are varied enough to make for a new and refreshing dining experience each night, with the overall vibe being “upmarket casual”.

Here are our recommendations for 10 of the best restaurants, bars and cafes in Port Douglas on both the high and low ends of the budget spectrum (current as of 2016).



Hi Tide Cafe/Restaurant

Location: Esplanade, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Australian

If absolute beachfront dining is something that ranks high on your atmospheric wants list while in Port Douglas, the 4 Mile Beach-adjacent Hi Tide certainly fits the bill. It’s a great starting point for new arrivals to the region who are wanting a “taste of the tropics” both from a scenery and culinary point of view, and makes for a quality meal for all of breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nestled in a quiet and picturesque street, Hi Tide serves as a great way to start the day or end an evening due to its propensity for some quality alfresco dining via some comfortable outdoor seating from which to take in the neighbouring panorama.

Hi Tide is very well-priced considering it offers one of the best view/dining combinations in Port Douglas. Its proximity to a number of popular accommodations makes it a go-to option for those staying in the vicinity – particularly those who are fans of coffee. This is one of Port Douglas’ best spots for quality coffee both in its hot and iced forms, which serves as a great complement to some of the tasty breakfast dishes, such as the sweet potato fritters and cheese sausages which serve as highlights.

Hi Tide is very well-priced considering it offers one of the best view/dining combinations in Port Douglas. Its proximity to a number of popular accommodations makes it a go-to option for those staying in the vicinity – particularly those who are fans of coffee.

The menus at Hi Tide are not wide, however portion sizes are ample and the dishes are done delightfully to compensate, and for those visiting during the evening there’s a special option that can be chosen. The restaurant offers stone grilling during dinnertime that allows guests to cool the raw ingredients immediately on their tables, which makes for both a memorable and more involved dining experience when cooking the likes of tender steaks (eye fillet in particular), prawns and scallops – all of which are wonderfully fresh.

Fast and friendly service round out the Hi Tide dining experience, with waitstaff largely possessing of outgoing, friendly personalities and willing to accommodate requests. If you’ve had mental imagery of relaxing by the water and enjoying a bracing sea breeze in your mind prior to visiting Port Douglas, there are few spots that embody this enjoyable cliche as well as Hi Tide does.


Barbados

Location: Wharf St, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Light meals

One of the newest entrants to the Port Douglas dining and drinks scene, Barbados has provided the much-needed filling of a gap that existed for a modern waterfront drinks venue. Perched overlooking the waters of Dickson Inlet, Barbados is a contemporary and sleek offering that serves as a great place to unwind after a day out exploring the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef; simply stroll along from the marina and you’ll find its stylishly designed lounge-bar awaiting.

Barbados is oriented around providing its guests with a relaxed venue in which to unwind and enjoy the views of both sunset and water traffic passing by, with its decor and furniture examples of ultramodern class. The venue provides comfortable seating in the form of both couches and daybeds as well as a regular seats, and as a result serves as an excellent new spot for a drink and light dinner combination, or as a pre-dinner venue for some more in-depth dining in the centre of town later on.

A go-to destination for those looking to relax, Barbados is on the right track to becoming a staple in the Port Douglas relaxed dining scene.

The bar offers a small and reasonably-priced menu that serves the likes of pizza and nibbles – such as bread and dips – along with antipasto platters rather than full-flung mains, with a favoured options being enjoying a generous portion of prawns while gawking at the action happening on the adjacent waters. Enjoying a drink is undoubtedly the main focus at Barbados, however, and its bar offers a huge selection of cocktails to choose from which – while fairly pricey – are massive in size and thus last quite long to justify the investment. Many of the cocktails have a number of added spices which provide some extra “kick” to standard flavours, while other more conventional spirits can be found in abundance.

Barbados is crewed by a great staff who are obviously putting in maximum effort to help get its reputation established, and it shows; while there’s also a high level of involvement from the owner offering personal attention wherever possible which is a nice touch. A go-to destination for those looking to relax, Barbados is on the right track to becoming a staple in the Port Douglas relaxed dining scene.


Seabean

Location: Wharf St, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Spanish

Spanish cuisine and tapas style dining go hand-in-hand, and Port Douglas’ premier answer to this tendency is the excellent Seabean, another foodie staple with a great outlook and plenty of talent in cooking to help it stand out. Seabean is situated immediately opposite Port Douglas’ marina and has a pleasant open-air aspect which makes for a welcomingly refreshing sea breeze during hotter periods, with both indoor and outdoor seating that’s all sufficiently undercover in case of the occasional downpour.

Specialising in a wide range of delicious tapas, Seabean’s dishes are considerably larger than most share plates found around the country. The tapas on offer is great for meat lovers and vegetarians – not to mention seafood fans – alike, with the calamari in particular wonderfully tender and the pork and chorizo offerings likewise delicious. Perhaps the best thing about a tapas-oriented menu is the level of flexibility it provides in terms of both volume of food and budget, and as a result Seabean is one of the best options in town for when you’re merely “a bit peckish” or watching the wallet.

Specialising in a wide range of delicious tapas, Seabean’s dishes are considerably larger than most share plates found around the country.

Mains are also on offer, of course, and as with many other Port Douglas restaurants the emphasis leans towards seafood, which is likewise great here. Mussels, soft-shelled prawns and scallops are as fresh as one might expect, while the signature Paella makes use of all of the above to form a wonderful and characteristically Spanish dish. Desserts are inventive and well presented as well, with the standout being the creme brulee which is served in a half-coconut; it’s a wonderfully original spin on a standard formulae and nicely reflective of the tropics. Of course, keeping things conventional you can opt for another Spanish staple – the churros.

Staff involvement here is another plus point in Seabean’s favour, with waitstaff highly familiar with the meals and always willing to help with both recommendations as well as beverage couplings. No Spanish meal is complete without enjoying a sip of Sangria, of course, and when tasted chilled here it’s highly refreshing. Add in plenty of excellent gluten-free options on the menu for those with dietary issues and a high level of involvement from the proprietor and you’ve got a great mix of the exotic and the tropical all in one.


Bucci Ristorante

Location: Macrossan St, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Italian

Centrally located long the main footpath of Macrossan Street, this Italian restaurant strikes a solid balance between providing authentic food, outstanding service and going out of its way to accommodate families, making for an excellent all-rounder for those wanting a taste of Italy’s favourites. Bucci presents an enticing facade to the passerby, with a lovely and inviting design outside and creative and warm decorations within – hand-painted wall murals transport you to the streets of Rome, while its outdoor setting mimics that of the typical Italian-style street dining found back in the motherland. Its ceilings are draped in vines and dotted with fairy lights that create an additional layer of great and immersive ambience, too.

Bucci is one of the best restaurants in Port Douglas for those with younger children, for a number of reasons that include the food – their separate children’s menu is surprisingly comprehensive and has some great offerings – while they’re also equipped with crayons and colouring books to help keep the little ones occupied during the dining experience. Adults, of course, remain the main focus however, and are provided with a menu populated by meals that are light and refreshing, with portions that are generous without being excessively so. Dishes that are often on special can help keep the price down without skimping on quality for those watching their budgets.

With an impressive culinary imagination, the hands in the kitchen create dishes with a mixture of flavours and ingredients that challenge the norm of Italian cuisine.

Fare on offer at Bucci is Italian, but with no pizzas to speak of; there’s more of a focus on advanced dishes.With an impressive culinary imagination, the hands in the kitchen create dishes with a mixture of flavours and ingredients that challenge the norm of Italian cuisine. Slow-cooked Pork Ragu, a meat-emphasizing de-constructed Wagyu Beef Lasagne and all forms of risotto in particular are standout examples of cookery here, plated well and flavoured powerfully without being overwhelmingly so.

There’s also a good selection of both desserts (be sure to try the Nutella cannoli or lemon Tiramisu) and wines by the glass on offer to complement the mains, with a number of excellent Tuscan reds to choose from. Staff at Bucci are bubbly, friendly and fast while remaining professional, and fit in well with the overall relaxed atmosphere on offer. Situated an easy walk from most central Port Douglas accommodation, Bucci is as enjoyable to experience inside as it is to view from outside.


Watergate

Location: Macrossan St, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Modern Australian

One of the more atmospheric dining venues available in Port Douglas, Watergate is another restaurant in the heart of Macrossan Street albeit with a notable difference. The venue is a hybrid bar/restaurant that excels in both regards, however it’s the lovely indoor and outdoor setting that trends towards the romantic and intimate that helps set it apart. Watergate offers a tropical dining experience nestled amongst greenery and under the cover of canopies, all lit by fire torches and candlelight that creates extra immersion and emanates “rainforest dining” in every sense of the term.

The restaurant has a definite fine dining aura about it, with decor that has a slight hint of Asian fusion about it (reflective of the menu, as well), with darker furniture throughout that helps create a nicely subdued feel despite its central location. Menu-wise the offerings are Modern Australian but with the aforementioned slightly Asian-influenced twist, and features a nice and varied choice in dishes balanced between fish and meat selections. Tasting plates are a great way to start your dining experience at Watergate, with their included scallops particularly delicious, while mains are likewise well prepared and incorporate local fish and other ingredients to the fullest.

The venue is a hybrid bar/restaurant that excels in both regards, however it’s the romantic and intimate setting that helps set it apart.

Crocodile, kangaroo and steak are all menu staples as well with eye fillet a melt-in-your-mouth standout, and both kitchen and waitstaff are very willing to cater to and make exceptions for any specific dietary requirements. Service is upbeat and friendly, and the motto at Watergate seems to be “water always full, wine never empty” – priority is put on attentiveness here, and it shows. Staff are genuinely welcoming here as well, and their warmth feels like a true thing rather than merely a facade put on as part of the job, and nothing ever seems to be too much trouble to request.

Watergate’s proprietors are always happy for people to simply stop in for a drink rather than requiring only full-blown meals, as well, and if you’re in Port Douglas and looking for an elegant spot to enjoy a creative cocktail, it’s a solid choice of venues. Cocktails (and mocktails for the young ones and non-drinkers) are inventive and represent a fantastic level of choice, with prices reasonable. Watergate is slightly hidden compared to other restaurants nearby – look for its torchlit path as a sign of entrance – but be sure to seek it out for a great and immersive dining experience.


Sassi

Location: Macrossan St, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Italian

This classy and upmarket restaurant situated at the top end of Macrossan Street mixes together the best of classic Italian dishes with the fresh produce of the Port Douglas region to wonderful effect. Sassi’s menu specialises in fresh seafood dishes cooked to perfection, however a visit here doesn’t solely require a love of all-things-fishy, as the restaurant’s steaks in particular are also wonderfully prepared as well as massive in size. The restaurant’s location grants its customers some nice views over both park and ocean, too, and its overall ambience is one of class and true caring for its patrons from start to finish.

The menu consists of authentic Italian dishes – particularly pastas, as is to be expected – and each of which is packed full of both flavour and ingredients without skimping on the seafood or meat content within. Meals here are well plated, and offer a number of excellent variations from which to choose; the linguini marinara, for example, is so densely packed with seafood as opposed to the “fill it with pasta and throw a few prawns in” that many other restaurants take as to be highly refreshing. Other highlights include the Spanner Crab fettucini (meaty and fulfilling), and even some of the entrees and tapas – particularly the zuchini fritters which are great for sharing – are standouts in their own right.

This classy and upmarket restaurant situated at the top end of Macrossan Street mixes together the best of classic Italian dishes with the fresh produce of the Port Douglas region to wonderful effect

Desserts here warrant a special mention as well, as Sassi’s final courses all have their own flare. A basil gelato with prunes and figs is highly original to the average Aussie diner and presents an interesting encounter for the palata, while the nougat tiramisu is perhaps the main highlight of the restaurant’s dessert menu. Those looking to enjoy a drink will find much to like at Sassi, as well, as cocktails here are largely delicious with a number of creative concoctions to tantalise the tastebuds, while the excellent and reasonably-priced wine list offers a number of top drops available by the glass.

Sassi is crewed by a mostly Italian staff which helps add an extra layer of authenticity to the proceedings, and a friendly and jovial attitude throughout the dining experience with the occasional bout of banter thrown in is very welcome. Menu items are also patiently and descriptively explained without ever feeling condescending. Lastly, the setting caps things off – its outdoor dining area is secluded in tropical greenery giving the restaurant an immersive and slightly escapist feel despite its central location. For quality Italian food in Port Douglas, Sassi shines.


Harrison’s

Location: Wharf St, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: European

For those looking for a big-city quality dining experience in what is a regional destination, Harrison’s will likely fulfil your desires, and then some. Located on the Port Douglas waterfront, the restaurant offers views of the wharf and harbour before light fades, and presents a refined and relaxed atmosphere that serves to set the scene for the meals on offer within. In terms of presentation and raw quality of ingredients, Harrison’s may be the top of all restaurants in Port Douglas, with the only barrier to some being the price – a necessity given the standard and skill put into their preparation.

Harrisons offers diners a wonderful selection of items on its various menus, with the “pickings” options a wonderful way to start and a great overall choice for getting a sampling of some of the bold and diverse tastes to come; the sesame prawn toast is a surprisingly delicious highlight for what is typically a basic starter, for example. Meals on offer here are an exercise in inventive use of ingredient combinations for sauce and topping production that produces some inspiring and strong flavours; mixtures of the likes of raisins, ginger, sweet and sour radish and a number of other garnishes make for some true taste sensations.

If you’re looking to spend a little extra, Harrison’s makes for one of Port Douglas’ most unique and memorable dining experiences.

Presentation of the dishes is a true standout, as they’re as visually appealing as they are to taste, with appearances obviously given priority by the talented cook staff. For those looking to indulge, the degustation menu encompasses a wonderful cross section of flavours that’s enjoyable across the board, from Amuse Buche at the start to delectable Treacle Tart at the end. In all, Harrison’s boasts a contemporary menu with added little surprises in every dish; your mouth will most certainly never be bored while dining here.

Service here is highly attentive and water glasses are seldom left half full, while its beautiful and quiet setting with a sophisticated design that incorporates fairy lighting, white curtains and a number of other elegant touches help set Harrison’s apart from similar dining offerings in the vicinity. If you’re looking to “splash out” and don’t mind loosening the pursestrings, Harrison’s makes for one of Port Douglas’ most unique and memorable dining experiences.


On the Inlet

Location: Inlet Rd, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Seafood

There’s a lot to be said for the role location plays in enhancing a dining experience, and in this sense On the Inlet is hard to beat; living up to its name, the restaurant sits right on the waterline of Dickson Inlet and grants diners with wonderful views out onto the Coral Sea and other natural surrounds. It’s hard to argue with On the Inlet being Port Douglas’ best-positioned restaurant, so if the romance of a lovely aspect is a major drawcard for a dining experience, it makes for a choice of venues that’s hard to beat. It’s a picturesque locale, to be sure, and befitting its seaside orientation comes a menu that is brimming with some of the best seafood dishes to be had in the Port Douglas region.

The freshness of the seafood at On the Inlet is one of its key calling hards, and a factor which makes even basic menu items such as ordering a bucket of chilled prawns coupled with a beer a delight to enjoy. Of course, the menu contains much more advanced offerings than this, and has been intentionally limited in order to focus on mastering quality of available dishes as opposed to opting for sheer quantity. Assuming you’re a seafood fan, you’ll be in your element here as there are a number of delectable standouts that take advantage of the adjacent sea’s bounty to the fullest; Sashimi here is particularly enjoyable, while the whole crab served with a garlic-chilli sauce is delectable and the expansive seafood-platter-for-two represents a good value for money proposition for couples in particular.

Dine on the water, watch the sunset, and enjoy wonderful seafood – the mixture of which makes it one of Port Douglas’ most romantic dining options.

Venue-wise, On the Inlet is laid out in order to capitalise upon its views, and while not everyone can get an immediate-waterfront seat (particularly around sunset when crowds are at their apex), there’s a pleasant outlook available from within all parts of the restaurant. Fans are used throughout in order to help disperse the heat, and outside of the peak of summer provide adequate enough cooling, while the decor is low-key and unpretentious while still in good condition and stylish.

On the Inlet is also the site of something of a local highlight – the feeding of a resident, massive Groper affectionately named “George” that regularly graces the waters with his enormous 250kg presence. Feeding George is done at 5pm when he deigns to show up, and offers an additional layer of fun for the kids.

On the Inlet has multiple levels of appeal to go around – dine on the water, watch the sunset, and enjoy wonderful seafood – the mixture of which makes it one of Port Douglas’ most romantic dining options.


Zinc

Location: Macrossan St, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Modern Australian

Offering high class food at a reasonable price, Zinc is another Modern Australian offering that ranks amongst the upper-echelon of such restaurants in Port Douglas. Boasting a pleasant ambience courtesy of its open-air, white-terraced layout that blends together a combined main restaurant area with a hybrid bar/lounge section, Zinc mixes the best elements of all of these into a single, pleasant venue. What helps make Zinc stand out among some of its peers is its balance between cost, atmosphere, service and meal sizes while offering food that carries on the trend of improvising with TNQ spins on what might otherwise be standard dish formulae.

A visit here can be done as a casual, passing-by affair to enjoy a drink – simply order at the lounge and relax on the comfortable couches as staff bring the drinks to you (a nice touch), including a great selection of beers on tap. Alternatively, dine here as a full-blown dining affair of enjoying dishes that rank amongst the best on offer in town and you likewise won’t be disappointed. Meals at Zinc are well-portioned, and there are a number of great standouts on the menu – including the kangaroo salad, prawn pasta, goat’s cheese soufflé and salmon-and-polenta-mash – that showcase both creativity and an expertise in preparation.

Zinc mixes the best elements of restaurants and relaxed bar into a single, pleasant venue.

Zinc’s layout consists of a decor that presents as fine dining, with a number of nice and upmarket-feeling touches throughout, highlighted by its great fish tank/aquarium which adds additional ambience – a factor that makes even a visit to the toilets and enjoyable prospect. Likewise, the restaurant’s combination both air conditioning and a liberal use of fans means that even dining outdoors retains a cool environment. Zinc offers both indoor and outdoor dining, with the outdoor area well-covered in the event of a characteristic Tropical QLD downpour.

Service here is likewise exceptional, with staff friendly and conversational without being intrusive or overbearing, and they’re always willing to recommend other local spots – such as bars or other after-hours venues – to pay a visit to following a meal. Lastly, one of its best value propositions for families comes courtesy of Zinc’s “Kids Dine Free” feature that entitles kids to one free meal from the kids’ menu for every full-sized main ordered – a wonderful touch.


Salsa Bar & Grill

Location: Wharf St, Port Douglas, QLD

Cuisine: Modern Australian

An upscale restaurant offering a great mix of Aussie-style fare, Salsa is a lively, busy restaurant that’s been a long-running fixture of the Port Douglas dining scene for decades and is always buzzing with both locals and visitors from afar alike. Situated just across from ANZAC Park in central Port Douglas and offering great views from its tables with the opportunity to dine while soaking in a glowing Tropical North QLD sunset, Salsa scores additional points for ambience – the restaurant boasts a relaxed atmosphere that contrasts with the high standard of food to be enjoyed within.

Salsa specialises in putting an original spin on popular dishes, and originality plays a key role within the dining on offer here; an innovative use of local produce with dashes of local flare thrown in make for a refreshing menu that’s both extensive and full of surprises. Key examples are some of the menu’s highlight dishes that may be unusual for some but serve as a great sample of the Port Douglas region as a whole, such as duck given a tropical twist courtesy of a delightful paw paw relish, or sausages made from crocodile meat, among countless others.

Elegant yet buzzing with a humble and unpretentious vibe, Salsa will not disappoint diners of all dispositions.

Dishes at Salsa are beautifully presented with obvious pride taken in their preparation, and while it’s not a cheap dining option, the restaurant is very reasonably-priced given its combination of quality dishes and prime location. For the more budget-conscious diner, specials are available – detailed by the staff upon arrival – that can help keep costs down without compromising on meal quality, as well.

The interior of Salsa emanates warmth, with liberal use of wood and colours that bring to mind a slightly “nautical” theme, and this warmth is reflected in the attitudes of its staff as well. Service here is courteous and friendly while being hard to fault in terms of speed – particularly given the restaurant’s eternal popularity. This popularity makes prior bookings a must, but its location just a stone’s throw away from the beach and within easy access of most Port Douglas accommodation makes it easy to access for those looking to dine later. Elegant yet buzzing with a humble and unpretentious vibe, Salsa will not disappoint diners of all dispositions.



In addition, if you’re looking for all the top things to see and do in and around Port Douglas including activities, attractions and more, be sure to check out our main region section to browse and book online!

 

Experience Oz Staff

This article was produced in a combined effort by Experience Oz staff members. Experience Oz + NZ is the home of things to do in Australia and New Zealand, with over 3,000 awesome experiences across Oz + NZ!

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This