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Food blogger rates Cairns restaurants

Compiling a list of the top restaurants in Cairns can be fraught with danger - especially when you're out of town blogger with limited local knowledge.


An overseas journalist has ranked what he believes are the top 10 restaurants in Cairns and published the list on a food and culture website called The Culture Trip that attracts hundreds of thousands of readers.

But some local favourites are nowhere to be seen on the list. Where is Water Bar & Grill, Fettas or Barnacle Bills? What about Fasta Pasta or the Salthouse?

So far as we can tell, the following list isn't ranked in order from the best at number 1 through to number 10. Rather, it's a collection of the ten best, in no particular ranking. 

What do you think of the bloggers choices? Did he get it right?


1. Dundee's Restaurant on the Waterfront

The reviewer labelled Dundee's as being "upmarket and sophisticated" and a "remarkable seafood experience" on the Cairns waterfront. 

He was particularly taken with the "phenomenal" mud crab cooked according to the traditional recipe. 


2. Villa Romana Trattoria

The long established Esplanade restaurant was described as offering "excellent Italian cuisine with an even more spectacular location". 

The reviewer noted that the "pizza comes especially recommended by locals", while he praised the "friendly staff". 


3. Tamarind

Regularly ranking in awards as one of the city's best, Tamarind was a certainty to make the blogger's top ten.

The restaurant's "beautifully presented" dishes and its "careful attention to food intolerances and allergy sufferers" was a highlight for the reviewer.

4. Paddock
A relative newcomer to the local restaurant scene, Paddock rated well in this blogger's list and was labelled the "best steakhouse in Cairns" on this list.

Paddock scored high marks for "not dealing in classic reef & beef affairs but offering the very best dining experience a steak lover can wish for", with "choice grass-fed Australian pork, veal and bushmeat".

The reviewer also noted the Paddock's affordabilty as a key winning factor.

5. Ochre

Just like Tamarind, one of the most awarded restaurants in Cairns was guaranteed to be on the reviewer's list.

He described Ochre as "the jewel in Cairns’ crown, considered by many in Cairns as the quintessential Australian dining experience".

Ochre was described as a "superb example of the diversity and ingenuity of local Australian chefs and the nations emerging culinary traditions".

6. M Yogo

A restaurant that often flies under the local radar, M Yogo made it to the top 10 list because, according to the reviewer, it was "voted as the best European restaurant in Australia". 

The reviewer wrote: "Indeed, the restaurants head chef Masa is considered to be among the top culinary artists in Australia" and "the location is excellent for gazing and dining, situated right on the Cairns pier and offering excellent views across the marina".

7. Corea Corea

The reviewer loved Corea Corea for a few reasons, including the fact it provided "air-conditioned coolness when outside temperatures start soaring towards 95 degrees". We are assured he means Fahrenheit. 

The restaurant was praised for offering "exceptional value and excellent quality food, best visited on a hot midday with a large group or a family".

8. C'est Bon

For the reviewer, the French establishment on Lake St rated highly because it delivered "an unforgettable experience in French dining that sets it far apart from other fine restaurants" in Cairns.

C'est Bon's "highly professional waiting staff" means dining here is an "almost royal-worthy experience". 

9. Bellocale

This popular Shields St restaurant was ranked high on the list due it being "arguably the best Italian restaurant in Cairns".

The reviewer did say that "from the outside the restaurant is not especially remarkable yet inside however, it is refreshingly minimalistic and stylish". 

10. Bayleaf Balinese Restaurant

Another long term restaurant and a local favourite Bayleaf was featured on the reviewer's list. 

The reviewer wrote that "the quality of the food is considered by many to be the best in Cairns", while the service is "also personal and famously attentive".