Discover an explosion of bold new dining experiences and new delicious energy when you eat at the best restaurants in Port Douglas in Tropical North Queensland. There has never been a shortage of great places to eat in Port Douglas but now the choice is so much wider. Plan your visit and book ahead to ensure a seat at the table.
Port Douglas is a one-hour drive north from Cairns in Queensland, Australia. It’s the sort of tropical escape destination that people go to visit and never leave. With a wide range of accommodation available, it makes a perfect holiday escape.
Along with highly respected restaurants established for decades, newcomers include an Italian pasta and salumi bar, a French kitchen, a new provider, a restored beach diner with soul, a Mediterranean eatery and a family-friendly bistro along with a destination seafood restaurant. Port Douglas has some truly wonderful well-established restaurants as well, so share your dining love around and eat your heart out.
There’s also an amazing food tour to discover and I have a top tip on where to break your journey as you return to Cairns.
Best restaurants in Port Douglas
These are the places to eat in Port Douglas while you holiday in paradise.
Melaeuca, Port Douglas
New – Port Douglas restaurants
St Crispins Cafe
Not so new but definitely looking very smart after renovations, St Crispins Cafe has beautiful lagoon and golf club green views. The all-day menu starts with a smoothie bowl and works through all your favourites, including smashed avo. For something more substantial, go straight to the pan-fried reef fish, chicken burger or chicken caesar salad. There’s a special menu for under 12s and vegan options.
I’ve always been fond of this beautiful, fairy-like location under the melaleuca trees in Port Douglas’s heart, formerly home to Harrisons, now located at Sheraton Mirage Port Douglas. Melaleuca Restaurant owners, Adam Ion and his wife Namhee, are passionate about using local produce and letting the ingredients speak for themselves. As a result, the restaurant is getting rave reviews from locals for its whole baby barramundi. Find it in Wharf Street.
Wrasse and Roe
Offering homage to the fishing village roots of the town, Wrasse and Roe is the place for Morton Bay bugs, FNQ mud crabs, plump Smoky Bay oysters and whole fried coral trout. This beautiful alfresco space has been created by long-time local owner-chef Andy Gray. Find it at the beach end of Macrossan Street.
Pasta e Vino
Italian pasta and salumi bar, Pasta e Vino, opened in 2020 and has claimed a spot for its rich, authentic Italian dining experience. You can taste the love in chef Mauro Manenti’s signature pappardelle with braised lamb and mushroom ragout. Wines from well-known Italian regions dominate the wine list, carefully balanced with wines from Australia’s favourite areas. Located near the corner of Macrossan and Grant streets.
Maman Bar & Kitchen
Tucked away amongst tropical gardens at the top end of Grant Street, Maman Bar & Kitchen (French for mum) is the brainchild of two talented mums, Lizzy and Karen Fines. They serve delicious Mediterranean and middle eastern bites made from local and organic ingredients. You might have already enjoyed a meal at Maman’s sister restaurant in Burleigh.
Epicurean Port Douglas
A relaxed spot for afternoon grazers, tipplers and Francophiles, Epicurean Port Douglas hosts Marlene, and Rohan Erard offer a local provedore, cellar and café showcasing artisan terrines, pates, rillettes, and cured meats. It’s open for lunch and late lunch (until 4.30 pm). Find it at the beach end of Macrossan Street in Port Douglas.
A short walk from the southern end of Four Mile Beach, Kai is a family-friendly bistro. No-fuss with a touch of cool, Kai is bistro pub dining and is a perfect spot to end a hard day on the beach. Owner and chef Jed Sneddon has a reputable chef history in the region, so expect to see classics like seafood yellow curry, mussels in white wine and chilli and dry-aged beef ribs for a hearty meal. Enjoy plenty of locally sourced seafood too. Located in Reef Street.
The Beach Shack
The Beach Shack in Four Mile, just around the corner from Kai, has been a local’s favourite for years. However, new owner Natalie Towers has given Beach Shack a refined and sophisticated renovation to create a fresh, welcoming space where anyone can pop in, grab a drink and a tasty bite to eat, and feel at ease to unwind.
Hook-a-Barra Gourmet Farm Tour
More of a taste than a meal, Hook-a-Barra at Wonga Beach just north of Port Douglas have launched a new Gourmet Farm Tour. Visitors can go behind the scenes of their multi-award-winning Daintree Saltwater Barramundi Farm on a small group tour that takes the iconic barramundi from fingerling to finger food.
Don’t miss the chance to feed the baramundi! It’s a real surprise.
Peter Davidson, Port on a Plate
Port on a Plate
Leaving from Port Douglas, Peter Davidson is your personal Port on a Plate guide and chef for a morning to early afternoon tour where you sample and collect produce along the way. An experienced chef, Peter uses produce collected along the way to create a three-course lunch featuring the farm’s ingredients. It’s a lunch that’s still living strong in my memories. I totally enjoyed this tour which included delicious local tastes. Find out more about Port on a Plate.
Kerry Heaney and Spencer Patrick at Harrisons, Port Douglas
Favourite – best Port Douglas restaurants and bars
Delivering excellent dining in Port Douglas since 2007, Harrisons is the most nationally awarded restaurant in town. Chef-owner Spencer Patrick is a regular guest chef on judging panels and food festivals around Australia. He revels in the unique tastes of North Queensland’s produce and produces sophisticated food with a hint of his English origins. Located in the heart of Sheraton Grand Mirage, dining here is both a culinary and visual feast as you eat overlooking the resort’s enormous lagoon pools.
A stop at Harrisons and a catch up with Spencer Patrick is always on my Port Douglas list and tops the list of the best restaurants in Port Douglas. It’s a combination of fabulous food and a magical location.
Spencer likes to shop for the restaurant at his local Mossman Markets and he has shared some of his market secrets here.
This secluded restaurant shot to fame when it was Bill Clinton’s dining choice during his Port Douglas visit in 1996. Established for more than 65 years, it’s open-air dining in a tropical oasis. Locals say Nautilus is “impressive but expensive”.
Tony Sassi, Sassi La Cucina + Bar
Sassi La Cucina + Bar
Authentic Italian dishes adapt to suit tropical climes is what you’ll find at Sassi. Charismatic chef Tony Sassi and his wife Di have created a simple yet sophisticated coastal trattoria-style menu with clean and simple flavours that stick in your memory. Sassi is always a great place to eat in Port Douglas.
Salsa Bar & Grill
Established in Port Douglas for over 26 years, Salsa is always a favourite with the locals, especially for long lunches. Dishes to try include the salmon gravlax and local fish of the day. I’ve dined here many times and always enjoy the experience. It deserves a place amongst the best restaurants in Port Douglas.
Seabean Tapas Bar
Pintos, paella and tapas, along with sangria and Spanish wine, that’s what you’ll find at Seabean. Popular with locals as a meeting spot, Seabean also has an extensive collection of boutique rums.
Hidden behind the trees is Zinc, one of the best restaurants in Port Douglas
Zinc Restaurant and Bar
A relaxed lunch spot by day, Zinc dresses up at night, turning into a more sophisticated dining experience. The contemporary Australian menu includes plenty of fresh local seafood and locally grown tropical fruits and vegetables.
Captain and Co
It’s just a hole in the wall coffee shop opposite Zinc restaurant, but people are raving about it.
Of course, a visit to Port Douglas is not complete without a stop at Mocka’s Pies in Grant Street. It’s been in business for more than 50 years, and once you taste their award-winning piece, you’ll know why. Must-tries include the Bush Kangaroo pie (voted Australia’s #1 Game Meat Pie), the Crocodile Laksa pie, and the seafood pie. They are all made on-premise, fresh daily.
Court House Hotel
Sunset Bar, The Courthouse Hotel
The perfect spot to enjoy a sunset drink as the day turns to night in Port Douglas is on the upper-level verandah of the Court House Hotel.
What to do after you have eaten at the best Port Douglas restaurants
After you have had your fill at the best restaurants in Port Douglas, work off your meal with an energetic walk along the new Flagstaff Hill Walking Trail. The views from the top are worth every step.
Whatever whets your taste buds, from timeless classics and curated tasting boards of local produce through to iconic elegance, eating in Port Douglas is an adventure.
Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas
Where to stay in Port Douglas?
Spoilt for choice is the only way to describe the accommodation offerings in Port Douglas. Still, if you want a little luxury in a town that oozes style, the Sheraton Grand Mirage Port Douglas is my pick. I’ve stayed here three or four times over the years but each time it is a delight. The grounds were looking immaculate when I stayed in September 2021, and the newly renovated rooms so stylish. Splash out with a swim-up pool room, so you just step from your balcony into the oversized lagoon pool, and you’ll have a holiday to remember.
Where to stop between Cairns and Port Douglas
You’ll be making this journey twice so I recommend making time to stop both times on your journey to enjoy fabulous dining at Nu Nu at Palm Cove and the new Gourmet Traveller Destination Dining Award Winner for 2022 Oaks Kitchen and Garden at Oaks Beach.