A friend recently asked me where to eat in Port Douglas. I’ve written posts about eating overseas but not about home. I thought it was about time to write about this as I spent nearly 6 years living and working in Port Douglas, a beautiful tropical holiday destination, gateway to the Great Barrier Reef. Most weekends and nearly all holidays found me working at possibly the nicest resort in town. On rare days or evenings off, I loved nothing better than heading out with the family to sample other great Port Douglas eateries. Over 6 years I managed to eat at nearly all of the establishments. From breakfast to brunch or lunch right through to the formal dinner or maybe just prawns and beer on the deck. Read on to hear my guide of where to eat in Port Douglas from a Port Douglas chef.
Breakfast and Coffee
Possibly my favourite time of the day to head out and grab a bite to eat. Two kids may influence that decision but it works with a hangover too. The resorts in town all offer buffet style breakfast which suits some people and if you have kids or are staying in a resorts this may be perfect for you.
Hi Tide Cafe
My personal favourite is the a la carte breakfast served up at Hi Tide, a great little restaurant located on the esplanade, overlooking four mile beach. The full cooked breakfast is delicious and cooked to perfection. Few things beat sitting here over breakfast and a coffee watching the world go by.
21-23 Warner Street, 07 4099 4586
From humble beginnings Origin Espresso has gone from strength to strength. They roast their own beans locally and offer filter coffee and pour-overs as well as cold-drip coffee If coffee isn’t your thing they serve fresh squeezed cane sugar juice. A weekend wouldn’t be complete without grabbing a coffee and watching the world go by at Origin.
Breakfast with the birds
Port Douglas Rd, 07 40993235
Breakfast with the birds is also a family favourite. Located at the Habitat wildlife park, this buffet breakfast is actually held inside the bird enclosure. Don’t worry, all the food is covered, but keep an eye on your bacon, birds have been known to swoop down and steal from unattended plates. Kids absolutely love this and adults have a similarly good time. This is most popular with foreign tourists and we have taken all of our overseas visitors here. Breakfast includes the park entrance fee, meaning the kids can burn off that energy after filling their tummies. You can read more about Queensland wildlife here.
Betty’s Bohemian Beach Cafe
2/56-64 Macrossan Street, 07 4099 6995
Betty’s Bohemian Beach Cafe is another new restaurant on the scene that caters for the morning crowd. Opening hours from 7 am-3.30 pm the focus is on a great start to the day. Their breakfasts don’t disappoint, from Eggs Benedict to the granola and pancakes. The coffee also gets rave reviews. If your accommodation isn’t including breakfast this could be the place for you.
Lunch in Port Douglas
Being on holiday you may get up too late, skip breakfast and head straight out to lunch. Nothing wrong with that, isn’t that what holidays are for?
Numerous Port Douglas restaurants offer set menus for lunch at great prices. In fact the best lunch places are also great for dinner. The clear favourite across town with most locals would have to be Salsa Bar and Grill.
Salsa Bar and Grill
26 Wharf Street, 07 4099 4922
This local institution has been around for years and even had to move to bigger premises, first on the high street then wharf street, its current location. Lunch time sees taster plates served, they are different every day. Traditional favourites and a seasonal menu are also there in this relaxed restaurant.
10 Grant St, Port Douglas, 07 4099 6880
Menu Thai on Grant Street offers quick and relaxed authentic Thai. I regularly come here if we are in town. Both of my kids love the food on offer and it’s one of the cheaper eats in Port Douglas. Worth noting it is only open at lunch and dinner and closed between 3 pm – 5 pm.
Afternoon Drinks and Nibbles
Two places come to mind for lazy afternoon beers and people watching.
Cairns Marina Mirage, Port Douglas , 07 40995201
The first is Lure restaurant down at the marina. Here you can order a bucket of prawns with beers and wine and watch the reef boats come in. They also have a wide variety of tapas items so you can build your own meal or order everything and share. Beer and wine is plentiful and during happy hour well priced. Grab a seat on the deck for the best view across the marina.
7 Ashford Ave, 07 4099 5553
The Tin Shed, Combined Club is another, with a new deck overlooking Dickson Inlet. They serve both lunch and dinner but have a fully serviced bar where you can just order drinks and watch the boats cruise past on their way back to the marina.
Dinner in Port Douglas
This one is open to all sorts of establishments. Simply put, it depends what you want.
Sassi La Cucina and Bar
Cnr. Wharf & Macrossan Street, 07 4099six744
Authentic Italian cuisine, Sassi is run and owned by Tony and Di Sassi. Tony can still be found in the kitchens producing real Italian food with fresh tropical ingredients. Their seafood platter is a particular highlight of mine. Either indoor or outdoor seating available. Bookings recommended during the holiday season.
Rattle and Hum
38 Macrossan St, 07 40995641
At the other end of the scale you have Rattle and Hum pub doing great pizza and steak
18-20 Wharf St, 07 4099 5181
The Court House hotel doing pub grub to a reasonable standard.
Portico, 3/53-61 Macrossan Street, 07 40996860
Zinc is a great restaurant at the Four Mile beach end of Macrossan street that offer fantastic food. Modern Australian and seafood. A family friendly restaurant that requires booking an advance table in the busy season. A great atmosphere and the aquarium in the restrooms needs to be seen to be believed.
2 Fish Restaurant
56 Macrossan St, 07 4099 6350
Recently located from the far side of Port Douglas to right in the heart of Macrossan street, opposite Zinc in the now bustling Coconut Grove building. As the name suggests this restaurant is all about the local fresh seafood. From catch of the day dishes to the long standing favourites. 2 Fish is the place to go if you’re a seafood lover.
30 Macrossan St, 07 40996330
Bel Cibo, an Italian restaurant serves great food with a view. Located on the second floor of the Saltwater building you can look down on Macrossan Street and watch the word go by.
Where to Eat in Port Douglas
That is my take on where to eat. Restaurants are always changing, staff, menus, suppliers and expectation never remain constant. I’d eaten in nearly all the restaurants in Port Douglas by the time we left.There are now a few new ones and some old ones have passed. Take what I’ve said with a grain of salt, as a chef public expectation is everything and it isn’t uncommon to get your best and worst comments on the same night. The restaurant scene in Port Douglas is vibrant, that was one of the best things about the town. Being able to eat at a different place, for each meal on a 10 day holiday isn’t normally easy in a town this size.
Have you got a favourite Port Douglas restaurant? Where would you or have you eaten in Port Douglas?