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Cairns Food and Dining Guide - Restaurants, where to eat, and more

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Cairns is one of the centers of Australian tourism and as a result people come here from all over the world to work, study and play. This means a cosmopolitan dining scene that can hold its own with the eating on offer in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Naturally, seafood in king in Cairns and though the range and quality of dining options is vast, it's barramundi, the giant local game fish and other fruits of the sea that are the main draw card in restaurants all over Cairns and the Daintree region. Décor and atmosphere tends towards relaxed and casual. Cane furniture and open walls are part of the tropical Cairns atmosphere.

The seafood buffets at the various five-star hotels in Cairns are well known and those who haven't headed off to the Great Barrier Reef for the day will enjoy a lunchtime feast at any of these places. Once the sun goes down and everyone returns to town, the twinkling outdoor cafés and bars near the water do a roaring trade.

Thursday Island

Offshore in the Great Barrier Reef is Thursday Island, where many visitors to Cairns spend at least one or two nights. The facilities for visitors are extensive here with several dozen restaurants and a couple of art galleries, some of which have fine cafés. Seafood restaurants like the Pearl Lugger serve up lobster, crayfish and prawns that have actually been pulled from the ocean less than an hour previously.

Downtown Cairns

Hundreds of restaurants open for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the center of Cairns which is really where Cairns dining has its epicenter. Mexican, Thai, Japanese and Australian cuisine happily compete, with every other shop front a café or restaurant in this heavily touristed area of the city.

Cairns Esplanade

Heading towards the waterfront The Esplanade is Cairns' other dining central. Five- star hotels operate fine dining restaurants here and plenty of ice cream parlors and quick takeaways do a brisk trade too. Many visitors to Cairns find a stroll along this part of Cairns, particularly after sunset, to be a very memorable experience. 

Cairns restaurants

Corner of Florence Street and The Esplanade
Phone: +61 07 405 06047
Inside the air conditioned comfort of the Holiday Inn Hotel Cairns is this delightful restaurant overlooking a natural rainforest where barramundi swim in a stream. Atrium is renowned for its tropical seafood buffet but fine dining is also available here. 

Daintree Tea House
Daintree Road
Phone: +61 07 409 86161

Tourists rave about the barramundi and salads at the Daintree Tea House, which is the oldest restaurant in the entire Daintree region. Family service including ‘Mum', who has worked here for decades, complete the appeals of a truly Australian dining experience. 

65 The Esplanade
Phone: +61 07 403 19888
Top class cocktail waiters selected from the international travelers who pass through Cairns looking to stay for six months or more and a fabulous a la carte menu specializing in seafood are the highlights of Mangostins, named after the king of fruits and located smack bang in the center of Cairns. 

Find more information about Cairns and hotels in the area:
Cairns hotels | Australia hotels