Where to Eat in Cairns: The Best Restaurants and Bars

September 20, 2017 Natalie Tallman

Cairns is the perfect city for merry revelers, passionate divers and adrenaline junkies, offering booming nightlife and heart-pounding adventure amid a vibrant, tropical setting.  This friendly Queensland city of 130,000 is a gateway to the Great Barrier Reef, Daintree National Park, Cape Tribulation, Cooktown and the rest of Cape York Peninsula. Embark on an eco-adventure or take a dip in a lagoon pool before hitting the town to unwind and shake what you’ve got Down Under.
Things to do in Cairns

1. C'est Bon Restaurant Francais

20 Lake St, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa French, European, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner, Late Night HK$235 - HK$769 +61 7 4051 4488
Excellent
75%
Good
17%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 828 reviews

C'est Bon Restaurant Francais

Traditional French restaurant in far North Queensland. Established in 2003, C&apos;est Bon is Cairns locals&apos; favorite spot for business lunch, birthday party, romantic dinner and many more.<br>Nicolas the chef/owner and his team will welcome you with a bonjour and will take you to France for the time of your meal.<br>Our fantastic Head Waiter Kevin will make sure your evening is faultless.<br>The a la carte menu displays a sample of France&apos;s traditional dish for you to enjoy with why not, a bottle of wine from France, Australia or New Zealand...if you are not sure what to choose, Lina, our only Aussie of the team will be happy to help you choose what matches best your dish and your taste.<br>The weekly changing 3 course set menu has to be the best value in town with complimentary and unlimited bread and butter with any meal, but don&apos;t eat too much of it as Chris, our Pastry Chef, will blow you away with his creations, simply executed, well presented and most importantly to die for.<br>If your favorite French dish isn&apos;t on the menu, give us a call to organise it.<br>Whether you are a foodie, a connoisseur or a first timer with us....talk to us to make sure your evening goes the way you expected it.<br><br>Bon Appetit

Reviewed By Kim T - Cairns, Australia

The menu and service at this restaurant have been excellent for many years. Amongst the very best in Cairns in fact. It is always a great dining experience, our most recent visit was no exception.

2. Tamarind

35/41 Wharf Street, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Reservations, Accepts Credit Cards Contemporary, Fusion, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Dinner HK$181 - HK$1,209 +61 7 4030 8897
Excellent
71%
Good
20%
Satisfactory
6%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 844 reviews

Tamarind

Located in the heart of downtown Cairns, Tamarind elegantly resides within The Reef Hotel Casino.<br>Renowned in Cairns and throughout North Queensland, this award winning restaurant offers a contemporary menu of generously portioned, Asian fusion dishes that showcase the very best in regional produce.<br>Uncompromising technique combines with seasonally selected ingredients to deliver the Tamarind vision of what great cuisine is.<br>The awarded wine list presents over 100 old and new world varietals, carefully selected to complement menu flavours.<br>The house cocktail list takes inspiration from mod-Asian ingredients to deliver bespoke creations, perfect for before or after.<br>Thai artefacts highlight tasteful decor to establish an eclectic ambiance with understated character.<br>Professional service with relaxed Delivery completes the experience. <br>Daily degustation menu with or without tailored wine pairings is a signature offering.<br>Brisbane Times Good Food Guide - One Chefs Hat 2014<br>Australian Good Food Guide - One Chefs Hat 2014<br>Gourmet Wine Traveller, Wine List of the Year - One Goblet 2012<br>Restaurant and Catering Association - Awards for Excellence 2012

Reviewed By DaSpiceGuru

My first time visiting this Tamarind did not disappoint. It’s easy to see why it has been consistently rated as one Cairns’ best restaurants every year. Gorgeous interior, friendly staff and 5 star service.
We had the pork belly croquettes with Davidson plum sauce and tempura zucchini flowers. Both were delicious, the croquettes especially.
I choose the Penang Duck curry for mains and my partner had the whole crispy baby barramundi with Tamarind, chilli and garlic. Both mains were simply stunning! The curry sauce was exceptional and the duck incredibly tender.
We sampled the shared dessert plate. What a sensational way to finish off the dinner. The chocolate tart, cassava pudding and roof top honey parfait was sublime. Yum!
Tamarind is most definitely an up market restaurant and not a place to visit if you’re on a tight budget. The wine is especially exorbitant. But, if you’ve got the cash and want to really spoil yourself for a special occasion, this is a top bracket restaurant to visit in beautiful Cairns.

3. Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse

Pierpoint Shopping Centre | Pier Shopping Centre, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Wine and Beer, Accepts Credit Cards Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner +61 7 4031 1199
Excellent
62%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
3%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse

Reviewed By Timothy_Eats - Los Angeles, California

We had to wait about 45 minutes to get a table, but it was worth the wait. The steaks and barramundi were very delicious. The staff were friendly.

4. Tha Fish

Shop g7b Pier Pt Rd, Pier Shopping, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Parking Available, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa Seafood, Contemporary, Australian, Soups, Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options Lunch, Dinner HK$94 - HK$392 +61 7 4041 5350
Excellent
59%
Good
28%
Satisfactory
7%
Poor
3%
Terrible
3%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 1 reviews

Tha Fish

Seafood restaurant on the marina in Cairns overlooking the Mountains, water and boats. Tha Fish is a local family owned business who love to give great service, food and drinks to all of our customers. Tha Fish specialises with its fish list with your choice of 5 fish with 5 different cooking styles that you can choose from. There is also the a la carte menu with a variety of seafood, meat and vegetarian options available.

Reviewed By Richard J

A great experience from start to finish. The fish was fresh and cooked to perfection with interesting flavours and sides. We particularly loved the coconut and macadamia crusted gold ring snapper, yum!
Excellent service from staff as well. If its all about fish for you go here

5. Snoogies

82 Grafton St | Between Lake and Grafton streets, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Reservations, Takeout, Buffet, Seating, Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Digital Payments, Parking Available Cafe, Australian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options HK$39 - HK$118 +61 409 340 024
Excellent
88%
Good
9%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

5 based on 147 reviews

Snoogies

Snoogies Health Bar. Lunchtime vegetarian cafe in a quirky city centre food court. Fresh clean food made from local produce. Best juice bar in town and it&apos;s actually a bar. Friendly, quick service, happy to accommodate special diets.

Reviewed By Reg D - Port Pirie, Australia

Unfortunately Snoogies is only open until 2pm. So do yourself a favour and get in before it closes. We went there because my wife is vegan. I wasn't too hungry so I had a smoothie. Wow, delicious! I also had a taste of the wife's food and it was gorgeous. Keep up the great work Snoogies!

6. Bang and Grind

Shop 8 14 Spence St, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia (Formerly Grind on Spence) Parking Available, Free Wifi, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Street Parking, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa Cafe, Australian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch HK$24 - HK$110 +61 7 4051 7770
Excellent
69%
Good
25%
Satisfactory
4%
Poor
1%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 504 reviews

Bang and Grind

An Espresso Cafe based on an awesome espresso experience, coupled with a new light breakfast/lunch menu. This plus a casual warm atmosphere surrounded by a modern timber/industrial/fun decor makes B&G an exceptional place to kick back and enjoy your coffee!

Reviewed By xxPeteandLinda - Kirrawee, Australia

I had Breakfast in this Cafe for the 1st time during Business Travel. I can not fault anything. Breakfast was just delicious & well presented. Nice Coffee & Fresh Juice. The Staff were amazing & Helpful. I sat outside & was comfy. I option have...MoreThank you for your review, particularly coming from a professional in the Industry makes it powerful. The team in particular were thrilled that their efforts are appreciated. Come back soon !

7. Bagus Cafe

149 The Esplanade | opposite Muddy's Playground, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Waitstaff, Accepts Credit Cards Cafe, Indonesian, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options, Halal, Gluten Free Options Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Late Night HK$118 +61 7 4000 2051
Excellent
65%
Good
27%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 506 reviews

Bagus Cafe

Indonesian traditional cuisine Halal food.

Reviewed By Nate S

We decided to try Indonesian food for the first time and wondered during our meal why we had not been eating it all our lives! Wonderful flavors, perfect spice level (we picked medium), quick service, and really reasonable prices. The wait staff was also very friendly. We enjoyed our meal so much we are now considering adding Indonesia as a destination on our world trip!! Highly recommend.

8. Petit Cafe Cairns

79 Lake St, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Takeout, Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Street Parking, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Digital Payments, Accepts American Express, Accepts Credit Cards Cafe, International, French, Contemporary, Vegan Options, Gluten Free Options, Vegetarian Friendly Lunch, Brunch, Breakfast, Drinks HK$39 - HK$141 +61 7 4028 3860
Excellent
77%
Good
19%
Satisfactory
1%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 163 reviews

Petit Cafe Cairns

We specialise in gourmet French crepes as well as build your own all-day breakfast, daily specials, with a wide selection of favourite options. All savoury crepes are gluten-free; this option is available for sweet crepes as well. We use only the freshest local produce where possible, free range eggs and certified gluten and chemical-free Australian-grown buckwheat flour. Our coffee is a locally roasted house blend, poured by professional baristas, along with many tea options, house-made iced drinks and we&apos;re fully licensed with a range of ciders, beers, wines and spirits. Guests have the option of air conditioned indoor, rear covered patio or al fresco side-walk dining.

Reviewed By Gromet B - Cairns, Australia

I've tried a a few crepes now and they've all been delicious. The crepes are rather large and I'm usually very satisfied after just one, but the dessert crepes are just too tempting!
For those interested, the savoury crepes are traditional french galettes made of buckwheat so they are naturally gluten-free, while the sweet crepes are made with wheat. If needed you are able to request the sweet crepes as gluten-free too.

9. Vivaldis Restaurant

53-57 Esplanade | Level 1 on the balcony, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Reservations, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Waitstaff, Highchairs Available, Wheelchair Accessible, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Wine and Beer, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Digital Payments, Free Wifi, Accepts Credit Cards Australian, International, Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options Dinner HK$86 - HK$212 +61 7 4031 1240
Excellent
70%
Good
22%
Satisfactory
5%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 409 reviews

Vivaldis Restaurant

Modern Australian Cuisine in a sophisticated, relaxed, romantic setting overlooking the Esplanade.

Reviewed By Laura H

Good locations with nice views from the upper level but.... not worth of going. Dinner was guite bad. Steak was good but too raw, ordered medium, otherwice okay dish. Secondly we ordered seared tuna, absolutely horrible dish, tuna way overcooked and tasted like it was from can. Not fresh at all. Big pieces of tuna on the plate and side food wasn’t great either. Wouldn’t go again.

10. Apex Milk Bar

24 Hoare St | Manunda, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia Waitstaff, Accepts Visa, Delivery, Takeout, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Parking Available, Street Parking, Free Off-Street Parking, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Credit Cards Fast Food, Diner, Australian, Street Food, Vegan Options Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Drinks HK$55 - HK$133 +61 7 4051 1749
Excellent
87%
Good
7%
Satisfactory
3%
Poor
2%
Terrible
1%
Overall Ratings

4.5 based on 242 reviews

Apex Milk Bar

Apex Milk Bar formerly Apex Fish n Snack Bar has been operating since 1979 in the same location. After a revival in October 2014, under new management, this long serving Cairns Diner has risen from the ashes to serve 100% Tablelands Beef Burgers, Local Fish & Chips, Amazing Hot Dogs, The Freshest Salads, The Deadliest Milk Shakes,The Espressoiest Espresso Coffee!!! If you&apos;re not sure how to get here we&apos;ve provided some simple tips to help you out; catch a bus, walk, ride your bike, skate, blade or board... However you do it, just get here! The locals say we serve the best burgers in Cairns... We agree.

Reviewed By Leon M - Biloxi, Mississippi

My wife and I had lunch there -- burgers for each plus onion rings. Burgers were excellent and the onion rings were the best in recent memory. The cashier had the decency to bring us the cost of the coke that we paid for but...MoreHi Leon Thanks heaps for the review... We look forward to seeing you again soon at Apex. Thanks Ricci

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