6 restaurants you must try in Port Douglas

Last year’s Taste Port Douglas food festival further underscored the town’s place on the food lover’s map, bringing together a host of culinary luminaries from all over Australia. Local Michelin-starred chef Spencer Patrick, who presides over the kitchen at the hatted Harrisons, welcomed chefs and guests from all over Australia for the three-day event.

The Long Lunch, held under the poinciana trees in beautiful Market Park, was catered by Spencer, alongside three more of Port’s best culinary teams from award-winning restaurants Salsa, Sassi and Zinc. They collaborated with chefs such as Laura Sharrad (a MasterChef alumna) and Philip Johnson (of E’cco Bistro) to showcase Atherton Tablelands’ meat and dairy, the Coral Sea’s seafood and hyper-local fruits and vegetables.

The Long Lunch at Taste Port Douglas
The Long Lunch at Taste Port Douglas

Other highlights included more lunches, dinners and cocktail events hosted by some of the region’s best craft brewers and master distillers. The Sheraton Festival Village featured cooking demos by Alanna Sapwell (of Beach Byron Bay) and Dominique Rizzo (of Urban Feast cooking school), and the Harry Hawker Street Food Party starred Ben Williamson (of Brisbane’s Agnes) roasting pork over a fire pit as day turned to night.

Taste will return to Port Douglas in August, but don’t let that put your plans on hold. Here’s our guide to the best year-round gourmet experiences – and as a bonus, (almost) all have views of Port’s stunning beaches and waterways.

Breakfast: St Crispins Cafe

St Crispins Cafe, which reopens on May 24 after renovations, has instantly calming views over a lagoon to the greens of the golf course and the Daintree mountains beyond. Take a shady table on the deck above the water, or in the beautiful gardens out front. The popular brunch menu stars eggs à la Benny and a smoked salmon crêpe with spinach, avocado and feta. Linger over a long black and look for crocodiles who pass by silently in search of their own breakfast.

Cinnamon French toast at St Crispins
Cinnamon French toast at St Crispins

Lunch: Salsa Bar & Grill

Salsa Bar & Grill is something of an institution in Port. The open-air Queenslander sits on Wharf Street opposite the postcard-perfect St Mary’s by the Sea, with stunning views across the Coral Sea, and has been serving up its wonderfully eclectic menu for more than 25 years. Must-tries include the signature linguine with Atherton Tablelands red claw (a freshwater crayfish), chilli, garlic and parmesan. Tip: Book before you leave home.

The signature linguine at Salsa Bar & Grill
The signature linguine at Salsa Bar & Grill

Cocktails: Barbados

Barbados is a chilled yet stylish bar on the timber boardwalk of the Crystalbrook Superyacht Marina. With a pretty special view over the water to the Daintree National Park, it’s an impressive place to have a pre-dinner cocktail, and if you time it for sundown, so much the better. Book a day bed, slip off your shoes and enjoy a Caribbean Mojito. Or a Tokyo Margarita. Or both.

Barbados Restaurant and Bar
Barbados Restaurant and Bar. Picture: Tourism Queensland

Date-night dinner: Nautilus

Since 1954, Nautilus Restaurant has been welcoming locals and visitors for an unforgettable dining experience in a lush, tropical oasis. A steep, hidden pathway from the main street leads into a completely open-air space under the palm trees and tropical night sky. There’s an à la carte menu that includes the signature whole coral trout with Mareeba pineapple and Thai basil (pre-order), or a degustation for those who find it hard to choose. No walls, no thongs and no children under eight. 

Nautilus is the ultimate date-night destination
Nautilus is the ultimate date-night destination

Casual dinner: The Tin Shed

The Tin Shed Combined Club juts out over Dickson Inlet by the boat ramp with incredible water and mountain views. Its west-facing dining deck is one of the best places in Australia to be as the sinking sun turns the sky all shades of orange and pink. Order a bucket of prawns and a glass of bubbles, and watch the boats sail home to the marina.

The Tin Shed is Port Douglas' best sunset dining spot
The Tin Shed is Port Douglas’ best sunset dining spot

Dessert: Capannina

Port Douglas is well served by ice-cream parlours, and of them, all Italian pasticceria and gelateria Capannina are the standouts. Made with local Mungalli Creek Biodynamic Dairy milk, the fresh and authentic flavours of gelato span liquorice and lemon myrtle to Marsala wine and zabaglione. Right on the town’s main drag, there’s no view from here, but you can walk down to the waterfront (and oh-so Instagrammable) Stinger Park before it melts.

The writer was a guest of Taste Port Douglas Festival. The festival will be held this year from August 11-14. This article originally appeared on Escape and do not necessarily represent the views of australiaexploring.com

About the author


Hi! I’m Ozzie!

Before joining Australia Exploring, I was a writer at Tripadvisor.

I'm looking for the best posts for you about travel adventures in Australia and around the world. This website has the purpose to inspire you to travel… travel more and better. I hope it can help you explore the world a little bit better.

I graduated from the University of Sydney. I live in California with my wife and two children.


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