Cairns and tropical north Queensland

Cairns: Where the locals dine

Cairns Insider
Get arty at Perrotta's at the Gallery. (Photo: Tourism Queensland)
In Cairns, the restaurant scene is booming and diverse, but as you can expect, the locals know the best places for value, hospitality and taste. The following are locally owned and operated favourites.
Tamarind is part of the Reef Hotel Casino complex-atmosphere, service, food and wine in one superb experience. Modern Asian Thai cuisine created with the freshest ingredients and a twist of the far north's local flavours — dinner only.
EL Mundo — Collins Avenue Edge Hill — excellent tapas bar tucked into a suburban setting. Open for dinner but stay all evening and enjoy diminutive dishes made with imagination and flair – dinner only.
Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant Lake St — Balinese food comes to far north Queensland with so much flavour and authenticity. Best to order a collection of small dishes and share the delectable tastes around. Breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Overlooking Trinity Inlet has gorgeous and generous antipasto dishes and good wine by the glass. Watch the passenger boats cruise into the wharves at sunset and try the pasta. Dinner only
Spoons Aplin Street is my favourite place for the hardest to find good meals – breakfast and lunch. Salads are concocted of the best fresh and arrive looking as good as they taste. Excellent service, supreme omelets and airy pancakes for breakfast.
On the Pier Cairns is the epitome of Far Northern atmosphere. Under a huge post and beam open air structure enjoy scrumptious fish and chips and loiter with a drink overlooking Trinity Inlet leads as night falls in the tropics. Lunch and dinner with bars open from 10am
Sushi Express is the best for sushi. A model train delivers the freshest rice, seaweed and fish combos and much more to you. Authentic with Japanese pro sushi makers in full view. Lunch and dinner
Naked Nut Collins Avenue Edge Hill. The very finest hospitality in town with international cuisine and unique atmosphere. A true Cairns experience. You will meet the who's who of Cairns here. Lunch on Sunday and dinner.
On the Esplanade at Trinity Beach. Supremo view with pasta and pizza to match. Try the angel hair pasta with mussels. Wear your bathers to lunch. Lunch and dinner daily.
At Angsana Palm Cove. Heavenly languid dining. Light meals on the open air patio under coconut palms within metres of the Coral Sea. Try a calamari salad with a light white wine and the afternoon melts away. Breakfast lunch and dinner daily.

Got any more restaurants to recommend? Have your say using the comments form below.

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User comments
After reading this top ten list, I was wondering where the actual Restaurants are in this list. As a local chef it is disapointing to see the list filled with Cafe's and under rated places. KitchenSlut's comments are absolutely correct. but what is value for money? Paying $25 for a main course at a cafe or $35 for a main at a top regional Restaurant where the whole experience is unforgettable. The list should be top ten place for a ten dollar budget......
Given that Sonja has graciously included the KitchenSlut food blog as an 'Awesome Link' on this Insiders Guide to Cairns my own Top 10 listing would include ..... M Yogo Salsa Bar Sacred Spice Cafe China Jardines Lilypad Cafe Nu Nu Fetta's Twelve BC Bayleaf The Rijsttafel at Baylef Balinese (behind the hospital) also listed above by the Insider Guide, is probably the best value in Cairns for great food.
What a wonderful restaurant!! So different from the regular ones in Cairns.We were in Cairns for a week and tried a few different places but most were the same touristy expensive big plates little food types and certainly ones you would not recommend. The Bull Bar has wonderful friendly staff and a few locals seem to frequent there, so that was our que to try it. The steaks are amazing, the best we have had, you try hard to finish the plate. The seafood platter would have to be one of the best we have had anywhere (and we travel a lot) it was full and I mean full of FRESH seafood, we could not believe the amount we were served. . If you dont try Bull Bar you are missing out big time. Keep up the great work Bull Bar !!!