port douglas restaurants & cafes

Where To Eat In Port Douglas Restaurants & Cafes For The Ultimate Dining Experience?

Sandy feet, sun-kissed skin and a little seafood, the Port Douglas restaurant scene encapsulates everything that makes Australia great. Those willing to make the venture that little bit north will find the stunning coastal town of Port Douglas. Headlined by striking coastal views, the seaside hotspot is known for serving up beautiful, insta-worthy scenes and not just on the outside.

Most restaurants in Port Douglas are positioned on the main road (Macrossan St) or Wharf Street around the corner. However, a few goodies are a little tucked away, so you may easily miss them if you’re visiting.

Especially during school holidays, try to reserve tables in advance as some popular restaurants in this list may book out days or even weeks ahead. If you can’t get anything online, try giving them a ring, or you may be lucky on the night if you stop by.

We often cycle into town, but if you need a ride, there are a few shuttle buses around. I usually use 131 008, which will pick you up from anywhere in Port for $6 or $12 return and are pretty quick. You can occasionally get an Uber, too, but it’s not always reliable.

For all other days where you’re vegging in and want to cook your feast, then there are a few great places around to source beautiful local produce. 

Check out the Sunday markets in Port Douglas for fruit and veggies or drive to Scomazzon’s farm shop in Mosman (pictured). To buy seafood from the reef, my new favourite supplier has just opened up at Total Food Network (called Port Produce, opposite the Coles car park), and you can’t beat Malones Butchers for everything else.

Now without further ado, in no particular order, here are my favourite restaurants in Port Douglas. Bon Appétit!

Best Port Douglas Restaurants

Your budget, time of day, tastes, and expectations will be individual, and my best Port Douglas restaurant may not be yours. There is casual dining, fast food, limited Asian, plenty of chips-with-everything, and very good European, and, of course, seafood. 

Best for breakfast won’t be best for dinner. Best with your kids won’t be best for a romantic dinner. We talk about most places to eat in Port Douglas below.

Zinc Port Douglas

Elegance and sophistication are encapsulated at Zinc, the quintessential tropical dining experience. The perfect setting for a romantic dinner on your holiday, Zinc is just a stone’s throw away from the iconic Four Mile Beach. 

Zinc’s menu presents fine, contemporary Australian cuisine with traditional European flair, utilising the abundance of fresh local seafood, meats & tropical fruit & vegetables.

  • Address: Portico 3, 53-61 Macrossan St, Port Douglas
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday 2 pm – 11 pm

Melaleuca

Ocean views and delicious food- what more could you ask for? Melaleuca is one of the best Port Douglas restaurants if you prefer to dine while basking in the sea breeze. Their menu is also inspired by the sea- with plenty of fish, prawns and ceviche that is bound to have you coming back for more.

  • Address: 22 Wharf St, Port Douglas
  • Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 12 am – 12 pm

Watergate Port Douglas

Located in the heart of Port Douglas, Watergate offers a beautiful dining experience and an innovative menu to match. With indoor and outdoor dining options, and fresh, seasonal produce, dining offers the true Port Douglas experience. We recommend trying the Kangaroo loin with mushroom risotto, seasonal veg, creamy garlic puree and beetroot relish.

  • Address: Shop 5/31 Macrossan St, Port Douglas
  • Hours: Monday – Sunday 12 pm – 9 pm

Salsa Bar and Grill

A seamless fusion of international cuisine located on Port Douglas’ main street, Salsa Bar and Grill has something for everyone. The menu is refreshing and features plenty of seafood. It’s the perfect spot for a long lunch, accompanied by a delicious cocktail from their extensive cocktail menu.

  • Address: 26 Wharf St, Port Douglas
  • Hours: Thursday – Monday 12 pm – 11 pm

Sabean Tapas Bar Restaurant

Reasonable prices and Spanish-inspired Tapas is what this Port Douglas restaurant is known for. You can always expect to have a good time at Sabean, serving as a meeting spot for locals and travellers alike to come together over delicious food and quality drinks. Mix it up and order some seafood croqueta and classic grilled pan de casa.

  • Address: 3/28 Wharf St, Port Douglas
  • Hours: Monday 5 pm – 9 pm, Thursday – Saturday 5 pm – 9 pm, Sunday 12 pm – 9 pm

Breakfast and Coffee In Port Douglas

Possibly my favourite time of the day to head out and grab a bite to eat. The resorts in town all offer buffet-style breakfast, which suits some people, and if you have kids or are staying in resorts, this may be perfect for you.

Hi-Tide Cafe

One of my personal favourites is the breakfast served 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.

Crispins Cafe & Events

9 St Crispins Ave, Port Douglas 0400652906

My new favourite place for breakfast and coffee, sitting on the deck overlooking the golf course and lake, hoping to spot a saltwater croc. The food is very brunch/breakfast orientated, and they’re not open in the evenings. Check, as they do sometimes host special events.

Coffee is also great at St Crispin’s, and it is very easy to spend a quiet morning here with breakfast & coffee. They are the best place, we think, for smashed avo on toast or French toast with bacon and syrup.

port douglas restaurants & cafes (2)

Grant Street Kitchen

shop 4/5 Cnr Grant St and Macrossan, 0478769987

This locally owned and run bakery has really lifted and now delivers outstanding bakery items from traditional croissants to full family-size lasagna to heat and serve. The coffee is great here too.

Usually open for both takeaway and eat in from 6 am, you’ll be sure to find something here you like. I highly recommend their pies, cakes, or lasagna. Expect huge portions. We usually split a pie or cake between two.

Mockas Pies

The original Mocka’s pie shop is a much bigger operation today. This is where you need to come for a crocodile or kangaroo pie.

We don’t currently know of any other Port Douglas restaurants serving crocodile meat. So if you want to eat our Aussie wildlife, come here!

Mockus is on Grant St, just down the hill from the Grant Street Bakery.

Origin Espresso

21-23 Warner Street, 07 4099 4586

From humble beginnings, Origin Espresso has gone from strength to strength. They roast their 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.

Choo Choos on The Marina

Choo Choos has recently converted the old Balhooley steam train carriages into a dining car. They’ve done a good job too. She’s looking beautiful.

Choo Choos has some of the best Marina views and is a great spot for eggs bennie or some smashed avo. They also serve alcoholic breakfast beverages, which is interesting to see. I could handle a bloody breakfast, Mary, if I didn’t have to go to work!

They’re also offering sunset cocktails and tapas at the time of writing. They’re at the old Balyhooley station, on the far end of the marina.

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. 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, although Watergate offers superb lunch (and dinner) too.

N17 Burger Co

22 Macrossan St, Port Douglas 07 42234704

N17 is both a sports bar and a burger bar. Playing a huge variety of sports from ALF, NRL right across to Premier League and MMA action, there is always something on.

Their burgers are brilliant and have many varieties to suit everyone from meat lovers to vegetarians. 

They also stock a wide variety of beers, including international and some locally brewed varieties that will hit the spot. Not just open for lunch but also dinner and late into the night, especially if sports are playing.

Epicurean

A relative newcomer on the Port Douglas dining scene, Epicurean is part shop, part restaurant. They’ll even furnish your sunset picnic with a gourmet hamper.

This is THE place in Port to buy quality French cheese and their divine in-house duck liver pâté. They also offer a well-curated selection of quality Australian wines.

Gourmet offers a selection of sharing plates with a strong French / Mediterranean feel. This is a great place for a plate of oysters and a glass of something nice at lunchtime.

Another bonus, their inside seating area has an aircon, and their leafy outside seating area has fans to cool you down. Don’t expect food snobbery here. The owners are really friendly!

Find Epicurean tucked away behind the ice cream shop on the south side of Macrossan St, towards the beach end. It’s set back from the road and could be easy to miss.

Menu Thai 

10 Grant St, Port Douglas, 07 4099 6880

Menu Thai on Grant Street offers quick and relaxed OK Thai. I regularly come here if we are in town. Both of my kids like the food on offer, and it’s one of the cheaper eats in Port Douglas. 

Worth noting it is normally only open at lunch and dinner and closed between 3 pm – 5 pm.

There are several Asian restaurants in Port Douglas, including Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and Chinese. I’m not able to rave about any of them, sorry. We’ve spent a lot of time in all of those countries, and what’s on offer in Port has often been disappointing. But we keep on trying!

Afternoon Drinks and Nibbles

A few places come to mind for lazy afternoon beers and people watching. Because the reef boats arrive back in Port Douglas in the afternoon, many visitors go straight from boat to bar or restaurant. They tend to choose the marina where you’ll find Hemmingway’s, Lure, and Barbados.

Others will head to the Tin Shed (check their dining times, outside of these, they serve very little food) or the Courthouse Pub. The Ironbar, another Macrossan St pub, is now specialising in steak.

Don’t expect late-night dining in Port as you would see in London. As a chef, I’m grateful for that, but you may find the early closing times surprising. Dinner is often early in Port Douglas.

Lure Restaurant

Super Yacht Marina, Port Douglas, 07 40995201

The first is Lure restaurant down at the marina. Here you can order a serving of prawns with beers and wine and watch the reef boats come in. They also have a wide variety of items on their menu, it’s a big menu, and we last ate there very recently.

This place always used to be our Sunday afternoon favourite after the markets; the kids used to like hanging out here with the boats and fish. Beer and wine are plentiful and, during happy hour, well priced. Grab a seat on the deck for the best view across the marina. Currently, they are closing quite early.

My son was very enthusiastic about their jumbo steak sandwich with the works. I had a simple prawn sandwich. My other son had the coral trout and chips. Look out for daily specials.

Hemingway’s Brewery

Super Yacht Marina, Port Douglas, 07 40996663

Port Douglas now has its very own brewery located on the marina’s waterfront. With reduced opening times, you can still enjoy your weekends here with great local craft beers and decent food.

They brew a number of their craft beers to suit most tastes, but if you want wine or spirits, they have you covered too. Great views out over the marina and to the hills behind. We like their salt and pepper squid. There are also burgers, pizzas, and so on.

The Tin Shed

7 Ashford Ave, 07 4099 5553

The Tin Shed or Combined Club is another spot for a cold one and a snack, or indeed, full meal. This is the only place in Port Douglas with a view out to sea, other than the restaurants on the marina.

The Tin Shed is a club, except for club food. They have a new deck overlooking Dickson Inlet, which is a beautiful spot to watch the boats coming back from the reef at the end of the day. They serve both lunch and dinner with a fully serviced bar where you can order drinks.

Outside of set dining times, you can usually order cold, cooked prawns with cocktail sauce on the side. This is usually how prawns are served in this part of Queensland.

FAQs About Melbourne Restaurants & Cafes

As the others have said, three days minimum. Skyrail is fantastic and well worth doing. You should allow half a day for that and a little more time if you want to look around Kuranda (a bit touristy for my liking). Mossman Gorge and Cape Tribulation are well worth a look for their stunning scenery.

Port Douglas is approximately 1 hour from Cairns by road and 15 minutes by helicopter or light aircraft, but however you choose to get to Port ( locals shorten most names), it's well worth the trip. 

It is considered one of the best coastal road drives in Australia. There are beautiful beaches along the way, and it’s worth stopping at Rex Lookout just north of Wangetti Beach, where you’ll get an amazing view of the Great Dividing Range, meeting the tropical coastline.

April - June

Boasting cooler temperatures and plenty of sunshine, April through June is a great time to visit Port Douglas. As the weather begins to cool off, this marks the beginning of Port Douglas' dry season, and temperatures average at a balmy 25°C.

This refers to the greater area. Again, it's quite a small village, so most of the hotels, resorts and backpacker hostels are all within walking distance of everything. This is the beautiful stretch of white-sand beach on the doorstep of Port Douglas.

Port Douglas is renowned for its World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef and the incredible nearby Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Visitors who feel adventurous can hop on a Great Barrier Reef cruise or jump on a 4WD safari and explore the rainforest coast.

Dinner in Port Douglas

This one is open to all sorts of establishments. Simply put, it depends on what you want. Sassi, Watergate, The Tin Shed, The Courthouse, Ironbar and, of course, Barbados are great choices for dinner, depending on what you’d like to eat and your budget.

port douglas restaurants & cafes

Sassi La Cucina and Bar

Cnr. Wharf & Macrossan Street, 07 40996744

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 the Port Douglas dining scene. 

Either indoor or outdoor seating is available, pizzas are also available. Bookings are recommended during the holiday season.

Barbados

This Port Douglas bar/restaurant is very popular for the early to late afternoon crowd. Doors usually open at 3 pm, that’s the perfect time for returning reef boats, and it’s advisable to book.

You can sometimes get a walk-in table, but it does get booked out weeks in advance.

Barbados has very relaxed dining, ideal for groups, with indirect views of the inlet and marina. 

Cocktails and speciality drinks are very popular, and the food is above average for bar food.

Barbados dishes try to include pulled brisket sliders, tuna tataki, and their seafood sharing plate. My son is enthused profusely about the truffle-scented fries.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ve been the chef here in recent months, after being head chef at one of the biggest 5-star resorts in town years ago. Before that, I was a Chef in top London hotels. Because of Covid and lack of tourists, opening hours here are very short, currently just Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

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—casual atmosphere with an open wood-fired pizza kitchen. Pool tables and sports channels are scattered around the pub.

The Court House

18-20 Wharf St, 07 4099 5181

The Court House hotel offers pub grub to a reasonable standard. This is a bit of a family favourite if we want something cheaper, often early evening or late afternoon. My kids love their nachos, chicken parma, and fish tacos.

This historic Queenslander oozes old-world tropical charm, and the bar refurbishments are pretty stunning.

On the weekends, The Courthouse Hotel (pub) often has live bands playing, which adds to the atmosphere. Good views over to the Port Douglas Sunday Markets makes for a great corner for people-watching at the end of Port Douglas’s main street.

Watergate

My family visited Watergate for a midweek birthday meal recently and were delighted by the food, cocktails, and wine. It was good food along with great friendly service.

Watergate is just off Macrossan Street, tucked away from passing crowds and surrounded by tropical greenery.

We ordered a dozen dishes between us, and all of them were good, particularly the reef fish of the day and the unusual crab lasagna.

Resources:

Where to Eat in Port Douglas 2021

17 Best Port Douglas Restaurants for the Ultimate Dining Experience

Best Port Douglas Restaurants You Need To Know About

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