You Tell Me…

After a little bit of careful thought and a suggestion from one of my readers I have decided to include a page where you guys can post about your good or bad experience when eating out in Cairns.  If you have a favourite haunt then give them a shout out on foodvixen so the rest of us can check it out.  If you have a bad experience then I want to hear about that too.  I realise that this following a little on the Trip Advisor path but I figure this way you (and I) don’t have to trawl through the thousands of reviews to find what is good and what is bad.  Over to you…

  1. have you ever considered going to Voodooz cajun kitchen? I look forward to your review if you do go, am considering going there myself 😀

    • I went there about 6 months ago and the food was terrible and overpriced but apparently they have a new chef and my friend keeps telling me good things so I will have to get back and give it a try.

  2. Went to Beach Almond Saturday night, big fail in our book. Sad an upscale restaurant can’t figure out how to present a meal properly. Long waits between courses with empty plates, 15 minutes staring at finished meal plates before someone woke up. Another long wait before someone even suggested dessert. Coffee never offered, by then we had enough of amateur hour. Oddly, food was very nice, although the plate with the whole fish could have done with something else – the fish was very lonely looking. And would it kill these places to serve a roll and some butter? Sad to think we’re doing this to tourists.

    • Hi Jim I dined with a large group at Beach Almond about a year ago and although the food was nice it was well overpriced for what it was. The meals also took quite a long time to come out. I’m not in a hurry to go back there no matter how good Ben O’Donoghue claims their Black Pepper Prawns to be!

  3. My partner and I dined at Marina Paradiso for our anniversary and we left very disappointed with the meal and the service. We were seated by a gentleman and that was all it basically was, no greeting just showed us to our seats, put the menu in front of us and walked off. He returned after about 5 minutes to ask if we were ready to order, no mention of any specials?, and I asked for a few more minutes to order. When he returned we order the ‘garlic bread pizza’ (sorry no idea what it actually said on the menu), for me the main of penne with proscuitto and pistachio and for my partner a salami pizza including our drinks. After about 30 minutes our appetiser of garlic bread finally arrived and it was lovely but not worth the 30 minute wait. About 2 minutes after finishing our mains came out. I’ll start with my pasta. What a lacklustre dish. I was so excited to try this meal as I have a serious love for proscuitto. I had to season the pasta with salt and after 5 pinches I stopped counting, I am not a salt lover but it was so flavourless. Where was my proscuitto? It seems they used about 1 very tiny piece, so disappointed. The sauce was not covering the entire meal and was sort of slopped more to one side of the plate. The penne tasted like home brand and was very undercooked. I am aware the Italians like it like that, after having travelled to Italy twice last year, and normally this isn’t an issue but because the pasta tasted so cheap it just ruined the whole dish. My partners pizza, well I don’t have too much to say about it really. Yeah it was wood fired but it really was just average. Nothing to write home about and if he didn’t finish then there is something seriously wrong. We decided to skip the desert menu, not that we were even offered it actually. After they took our plates from us we were left at the table without a comment about desert or the bill for about 20 minutes until we just decided to go up and pay it so that we could leave. The waiter was so odd at the end when we paid and we can’t really quite explain what it was, the way he took the bank card and handed the receipt back and didn’t really say so much as to have a good night, he was just snobby really. We walked along the boardwalk and on our way back past the restaurant to the car three of the stuff were literally standing at the front door to the restaurant puffing on cigarettes. Won’t be returning here again and I can definitely tell you that this is not authentic Italian.

  4. I’ve been lucky enough to eat out a few restaurants lately with Christmas parties etc. The stand out for me was the Cultural Place in Lake Street (it used to be the Bullbar in the mall). It’s a training restaurant for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people but you wouldn’t know it was a training restaurant. The service was excellent and the food was delicious at very reasonable prices. I was really impressed with the quality of the food and it felt nice knowing we were supporting our community.

  5. hi,after hearing and reading good reviews on bel paese italian restaurant my wife and 6yr old recently went ,very friendly ,fast service!No child section to choose from on the menu,so we ordered plain spaghetti with butter and a sprinkle of parmy!!!It was great,and so were the half and half pizza and seafood pasta,the only negative of the night was when we payed the bill which i thought was a little high since we handed over our table 52 card,added up the meals afterwards and found they took off my sons $11 mini pasta off instead of 1 of the $25 mains,sneaky!!Other than that it was good food and we will be going back with our 2013 cards!

  6. Kanpai – amazing Japanese – best agadashi tofu in cairns (my Japanese test is agadashi)
    Rehab- good coffee, dark & funky interior (not knocking it I love sitting inside) great simple cheap brunches – if hungry grab a brat (bacon, rocket, avocado & tomato w/ garlic aioli)
    Caffiend – back to brilliant brunches – owners away at the moment hence my hanging at Rehab
    Casmah @ Palm Cove – great seafood share the seafood platter I’m convinced its the best in cairns
    Fetas – not bad Greek food – Melbourne it ain’t but I haven’t had a bad meal there yet
    And that great Thai place on Sheridan st that I started going to from foodvixens great review

    Does anyone have any good pub meal recommends? They all seem to be the same menu & nothing new or different happening .,, very frustrating!

    • Kanpai is actually where MS took me on our first date so I do have fond memories of the place except for the time that I tried Natto. Nasty stuff that is! The rest of the food is delicious at Kanpai.
      I had a fantastic breakfast at Rehab recently – Garlic Toast with Tomato, Basil, Whipped Feta and two Poached Eggs. It was frigin amazing! The Whipped Feta was out of this world and the tomatoes were so fresh! Loved it and can’t wait to go back.
      Will have to get in to Caffiend and re-try their brunch again. Good to hear they are back to their old ways.
      Yet to go to Casmah but I just may find myself out there on your recommendation.
      It’s been a while since I went to Feta’s and since everyone seems to rave about it I might have to pop in and give it another try. The last time I went there was about 3 years ago and I wasn’t impressed.
      And good old Poemphun Thai – not gonna lie, it’s the best Thai food in town! 😉

  7. @Foodvixen……do you ever get a chance to review restaurants in Port Douglas or Palm Cove?? We were recently in Port Douglas and were so so so so disappointed with all of the restaurants/cafes/pubs we visited..

    I have only been living in Cairns for 2 years now. We are still in ‘holiday mode’, we are still exploring, finding things to do, places to eat and LOVE this city and lifestyle. So very pleased with our relocation but do still find it a challenge to find decent quality and good value food. And service seems to be almost non-existent!!

    Like you and those who follow your blog….. we enjoy eating out and appreciate good service and yummy food – but we are often disappointed……nothing very terrible……but not many establishments out there wow-ing their customers with food or service.

    Here are a couple of establishments that wow-ed us…..

    Bay Leaf – Balinese Restaurant at Bay Village Resort,
    -exceptional service with knowledgeable staff who actually understood the menu, was able to pronounce the menu and make recommendations.
    -beautiful presentation, lovely atmosphere
    -flavourful, tasty food

    Hanuman – at the Hilton
    – excellent service
    – good food (but we enjoyed the Bay Leaf more than the Hanuman)

    Iyara – Thai Restaurant upstairs on The Esplanade
    – beautiful view
    – exceptional, tasty food; not just your usual Pad Thai and Green Chicken Curry

    Nu Nu – Palm Cove
    – loved everything about this restaurant and menu

    Tha Fish – The Pier
    – exceptional service
    – I had a Hat Trick with all of my dishes!!

    Salt House
    – The Family Fun Days – fantastic option for those with kids; you will actually get a chance to drink your coffee and eat your brunch (While it is still HOT!!) without interruption as the kids are pre-occupied with the organized entertainment. Fantastic value at $50 for 2 ad and 2 ch.

    Not so great…….

    La Pizza……The Esplanade
    – we continue to persist with the restaurant as we are a bit sentimental about the place and just love to watch the palm trees while enjoying a glass of vino.
    But the food is shocking and slow, service inconsistent and menu over-priced.

    • Hi Lmoc, I must admit I don’t often get a chance to dine in Port Douglas or Palm Cove. I have a cache of Table 52 cards for those two areas to prove it. I must make an effort to get up there and check out a few, particularly Zinc which I hear is good. A friend of mine lives in Port Douglas and swears by the Salsa Bar and Grill, he reckons it’s the best restaurant in Port so that is also worth a trip too. I have eaten at the Courthouse Hotel in Port last year and it was absolutely terrible food! I will never go there again.

      I have to agree with you that it is hard to find good food and good service in Cairns. Most restaurants and cafes are mediocre at best but there are a few little gems. I agree with your wow list, particularly with Hanuman. The service is second to none and the food is exceptional. I would love to go and try the banquet in the next few months, but I have had a banquet at the Darwin Hanuman recently and I know it’s a lot of food! NuNu is one of the best meals I have ever had, the food and service is so good it’s almost out of place in Cairns! And since I don’t have any kids (yet) I can’t comment on your Salt House recommendation but certainly somewhere that caters for kids other than Cazaly’s or the Red Beret has got to have something going for it.

      As for La Pizza, MS and I have dined there a couple of times for both breakfast and lunch and both the food and service left much to be desired. We won’t be back anytime soon that’s for sure.

      A few of my standouts, or good for Cairns anyway include Perotta’s at the Galley – although I haven’t really had anything except for the Chilli Salt Squid Salad. I just like people watching from up on the deck. Mama Coco – fantastic innovative menu and not your standard cafe food. Poemphun Thai – still think it’s the best Thai in town. Marinades – for lunch, I think dinner is overpriced. The Raw Prawn – for lunch, although lately it’s a little hit and miss. Splash – both lunch and dinner are great. Ocha Cha used to be my favourite little restaurant in Cairns but I haven’t been there for about a year now and lastly Waterbar and Grill for a good steak or massive rack of ribs 🙂

    • Hi Imoc,
      We ate at Sea Bean at Port Douglas and were very impressed – the food was beautifully fresh and their desserts were amazing!

      We really enjoyed Peppers at Palm Cove (LOVED the pork belly) and last weekend ate at Rising Sun at Palm Cove – the Thai Beef Salad I had there wins for the best one I have ever eaten here or in Thailand! The flavour was so good but very, very hot (and I can normally cope with super heat!) Did find the service at Rising Sun to be poor though – we had a rude waiter..

  8. Ok Little One so SWMBO ( She Who Must Be Obeyed) and I had a night at the Pullman Sebel call me the Cairns International. Dinner at Coco’s was great. The Tassie oysters were small, but fresh and yummy, but I had to stop at 18 so I could pace myself. Spanner crabs were moist and delish. Baby octopus salad was also yum, but the NZ mussels were a little tough so I only had six of them. I particularly liked the green pea and wasabi soup. Meanwhile TMOF (The Ministry of Finance) started on tiger prawns which she said were lovely with a cocktail sauce that could have originated in a bottle but was ok. She then went to the hot buffet (but I was till on seafood plate #3) and reported the lamb was tough and chewy – how do you stuff up roast lamb? The variety at the hot buffet was on a par with the Hambo, so not too great if you don’t like seafood but still pay your $65!
    But then, heaven. The dessert bar is still everything it used to be with fluffy pastries, gorgeous fillings and these little morsels of peanut butter and chocolate in Devine pastry.
    Breakfast this morning was also very good value, and the little Japanese lady cooking eggs as you want in front of you was a master.
    And despite some small disappointments, the service was excellent. So, try it again – it’s worth it!
    Your friendly Dinosaur

    • It’s definitely not worth the money if you don’t eat seafood. I’m still trying to convince MS that attending the Good Friday Seafood Buffet this weekend is going to be worthwhile even though he doesn’t eat seafood 😛 I said it was my ‘shout’ and he reluctantly agreed. Do they still have the little Egg Benedict English Muffins for breakfast. They are my favourite! 🙂

  9. Hi Foodvixen,

    I hope that you may be able / prepared to help me.

    In August I am bringing a group of 24 senior friends to Cairns (on the way to Cape York) and will be eating for three nights in Cairns.

    I am seeking out three restaurants and hopefully three memorable meals.

    We would prefer to work with the chef and select his favourite two courses (main and dessert) rather than cope and waste time with a long menu.Unlike yourself though we are not into “as much as you can eat” buffets.

    We are more interested in a basic serve ,great food, well served in a pleasant environment. Our requirement is probably the opposite to the hungry backpacker to whom many (most!) Cairns restaurants seem to cater

    .Over the three nights we would probably aim for for three different cuisines.

    To give some idea of my current thinking I have been considering Little Richards, Wink 2, ,Barnacle Bill and M the Pier.

    I hope you may be interested in pointing me in the right direction.

    Don Burnett Sydney.

  10. I am new to Cairns and your blog has been very helpful, what would be the best place for yum cha/ dim sum? I would love to hear all other recommendations as well.

    • Hi Adrian I’m glad you are finding my blog helpful. Unfortunately there isn’t really a good dim sum/yum cha place in Cairns. Nothing standout anyway. The Golden Boat has yum cha daily but I went there recently and it was quite ordinary, especially compared to places down south. It’s definitely a niche market that could be filled in Cairns.

      Some other places that I can recommend are:
      Ganbaranba – on Spence Street has fantastic ramen and gyoza
      Waterbar and Grill – best steak restaurant in Cairns
      The Lillipad Cafe – very popular cafe on Grafton St with huge meals and a huge menu. You will either love it or hate it but the meals sometimes take more than 40 minutes to come out.
      Poemphun Thai – best Thai in Cairns (on Sheridan St)
      Standout cafes – Caffiend and Mama Coco
      Hungry Monkey – On Mulgrave Rd has awesome wraps!
      NuNu – At Palm Cove if you want to go all out, make sure you get the five course menu
      Marinades – For lunch, dinner is too expensive in my opinion but the serve can be sour at best
      Ocha Cha – secret Japanese restaurant upstairs on Lake St

      I hope that helps Adrian! 🙂

  11. Hello,

    I went to the Paleo Cafe wanting to see what all the hype was about and I must say I will NOT be returning again….I initially went to order Pineapple juice however was advised they could not do just Pineapple as it uses to much fruit….what the? I Then ordered my lunch, I had been waiting approx 20 minutes for my chicken dish however was advised by one staff member it was going to be another 20minutes because they were doing breakfast changeover an shouldn’t have taken my lunch order in the first place…it was 11:40am mind you : / I requested a refund as I needed to get back to work an explained that I had already waited 20 minutes….another staff member came over an advised that for future reference I should be aware that meals take around 20mins to prepare advising that I had only been waiting 19minutes! I informed the employee that It was going tombe another 20 and I was unable to wait this long as this would be 40mins in total… this time there was 3 staff surrounding the register whilst I waited for my refund wondering whAt was going on an trying to sell me pre packaged meals from the fridge. It was as if I had done something wrong……I will NOt be going back again.

    How has your experience been at the Paleo Cafe?

    Whitney 🙂

    • Hi Whitney, sounds like you definitely received some shitty service. I must admit that the service is often ‘disheveled’ at best whenever I go in there but they are friendly enough most of the time. And who the hell does a breakfast changover that late in the morning. Ridiculous! I do actually have a post in the pipeline for the Paleo Cafe but I have to pull my finger out and actually write it 😉

  12. Help! I have to come up with a venue for Morher’s Day brunch or lunch OR I have to go with my Aunt’s suggestion if RSL buffet. Heavens no! No more effing ‘Balaclava Steakhouse’ or ‘Cazalys’. I’ve done my time ordering side dishes for mains. I am a foodie vegetarian and the other diners are all meat eaters. I need a place that ticks these boxes- suitable for young children and my 95 Granny, not too pricey, great food! Can you please advise???? LOVE your work! Thanks, H

    • Hi Helena 🙂 No mum is going to be happy with Cazaly’s or the Balaclava! 😛 My family and I are headed to QT Resort in Port Douglas for their Mother’s Day Brunch from 10am – 12pm for $28 per adult. It includes a glass of bubbly for the mum and a buffet brunch.

      The crew from Mama Coco have started a new cafe at Forest Gardens called The Clever Duck. They are running a High Tea from 1.30pm for two hours for $40 per adult, $25 for kids ages between 5 – 12 and free for kids under $5. (I personally think that’s a little pricey but hey.) It includes consists of ribbon sandwiches, petit fours, cupcakes, sweet and savoury pastries, scones with preserve and cream. Selection of the finest loose leaf teas and coffee with a live jazz band and lucky door prizes.

      Rydges on the Esplanade are hosting a Seafood and Sweets Buffet Lunch from 12pm – 2pm for $59 per adult, free for under 5’s, $20 for kids ages 5 – 12 and $35 for kids ages 12 – 16. It also includes bubbly and beer for the big kids.

      North Food and Wine at the Shangri-La are having a Mother’s Day Brunch from 10.30am – 1.30pm for $55 per adult. It inclues a buffet brunch, a three hour beverage package and live entertainment.

      Ochre is probably not too child friendly but I will include it anyway since I am running out of ideas. Here is a link for their Mother’s Day menu

      Paradise Palms is holding both a breakfast and a luncheon and would have heaps of area to play for kids. The morning buffet breakfast from 7—10.30am is $24.00 per adult, $12.00 per child
      The Mother’s Day Luncheon is a two course set menu from 11.30am $42.50 per person with cocktail specials and Steve Rockman entertainment from 12—4.00pm. Kids eat free one child eats free from the children’s menu per one paying adult

      Sizzler has a Mother’s Day Banquet for $26.95 per adult, $12.95 for children aged 9 – 12 and $8.95 per child aged 4 – 8. There is two sittings: sitting 1 from 7am till 8.30 am and sitting 2 from 9am till 10.30am. It includes scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, sausages, pancakes and baked eggs. The banquet also includes chocolate profiteroles, pastries, croissants, cereals, fruit and much more.

      And unfortunatley that is all I can really come up with. I think that QT or The Clever Duck sound pretty good but Port is a fair distance to travel and The Clever Duck might not be the kind of food you are looking for. I hope I have given you a couple of options 🙂

      foodvixen x

      • Thanks a million. I’d investigated a few of those options but did not know of the two you actually recommended. I am armed with more info… Aiming for QT. Wish me luck! Enjoy your Sunday brunch. X

  13. Last Saterday night my family of 10 and myself went to Marina Paradiso to celebrate my 70th. birthday, what a total disaster.From the moment we sat down couldn’t order a drink first, they wanted our food orders immediately(7pm).Some of the drinks finally arrived, then the food, very bland and without flavour,couldn’t order a rare steak(chef doesn’t do those),watery defrosted fish, poor service and the majority fo the staff can’t speak English.Then time to settle the account.Wow what a demeaning explosivie tirade of abuse we received from the owner/manager when we tried to explain some of the problems we had.I was screamed at because I chose to make a complaint, odered out after paying the account and had my credit card thrown at me.I have lived in Cairns for 40 years and have never had to suffer this type of treatment. Cairns is doing it tough at the moment and we certainly do not need this type abuse.I’ve since found out I’m not the first to have this problem as you can see on Trip Advisor .Never would we recomend this place to anybody.

    • Firstly, Happy 70th Birthday to you John! 🙂 Secondly, I am absolutely appalled at what you have written. What a horrible way to spend your birthday! And what kind of a restaurant refuses to serve rare steak?! Unbelievable! I haven’t been to Marina Paradiso however my sister has and her experience was beyond ordinary (she won’t go back). I did however go there when it was Olano’s for a friends 30th birthday and the way that our entire group was treated by the owner/manager at the time (a short blonde haired woman) was atrocious, especially considering we put well over $1000 over the bar that night. The treatment that you received and others on Trip Advisor makes me wonder if it’s in fact the same owner that was there when it was Olano’s but they have just changed their name to Marina Paradiso in an attempt to shed their bad image. Maybe someone can shed a light on that? I’m very sad to hear that you birthday was overshadowed by such a horrible dining experience John 😦 Let’s hope next year far exceeds all those prior 🙂

  14. Hi, just wanting to share an interesting experience from Chiantti’s in Trinity Beach. Well I’m not sure where to start as it was so unusual firstly upon arrival the wait staff were exchanging loude aggressive comments which abSolutly blew me away as did the unwelcoming nature of how we were escorted to our table. Our waitress took our order as though she was having a tooth extracted followed by her screaming out across the restaurant for our drinks. We waited an extended period for our food to arrive and what a disappointment when it came, it was sloppy and flavourless, the seafood was far from fresh and as for getting spaghetti wrong I left wondering how? The pizza was a little better however the clear use of cheap meat alternative topping was strange to see as this type of product is usually used on supermarket grade frozen pizza. When suggesting to the manager that the food quality was not what we were expecting we were met with a barrage of abuse. After speaking with a few locals we were advised that most steer clear of Chiantti’s due to the appalling nature of their customer service and bad food. I really love dining out in Trinity Beach as The Lime Tree in comparison couldn’t be better with their passion for food & flavour the Blue Moon has its quirky twists menu and welcoming hospitality, L’Unico’s family friendly atmosphere and Bangkok Rose fresh tastes of Thailand are all worth the experience however Chiantti’s is an unbelievably rude dining experience and I wouldn’t recommend this place to my worst enemy.

    • Thanks for sharing your dining experience Sara. Sounds like you had a most terrible time at Chiantti’s. Funny thing is my mate LL used to rave about it last year but he does drink alot 😉 There is no excuse for bad pizza or pasta and it horrifies me to think that this place is serving not only locals but tourists who will certainly think twice about visiting Cairns after such an encounter! I have only been to The Lime Tree for lunch in recent times and have had the Blue Moon Grill on my ‘to do’ list for some time now having attempted to go there a few months ago and it was closed. You can always count on L’Unico to deliver good food and service. Such a great location there as well! Definitely won’t be going to Chiantti’s anytime soon that’s for sure!

  15. I need to share a dining experience I had yesterday at Mr Wolf which is the cafe under the museum in the Cairns CBD Mall (the previous name escapes me). I placed the order for our table, a group of three. I enquired about soup of the day and was told there was “none left”, then the quiche of the day, “none left”, fish and chips, “none left”, then was told that “actually there are no hot meals left”. What – that is half of the menu. It was only 1.30pm on a Tuesday! Anyway, new choices were decided on and ordered from the sandwiches and salad part of the menu. After I paid I was then informed that the Asian Beef Salad was also sold out (how do you sell out of a salad?). In the end the order consisted of a Greek Salad and two club sandwiches, which were all very, very ordinary. Sorry Mr Wolf, won’t be back!

    • Thanks for sharing your dining experience Gail 🙂 Sounds like you had a pretty crap experience at Mr Wolf. I actually haven’t been back there since I wrote a post about them but my partner has a couple of times and each time was worse than the last. It’s pretty disappointing to hear that they had none left of pretty much everything. It’s such a shame because they had such a good thing going with Ever After!

    • I have to agree with you there Gail. I was a regular at Ever After and have been to Mr Wolf a couple of times. The service was pretty average, with the exception of overhearing the rudeness of the owner to other customers and the appalling way he spoke to his staff.

      The food was mediocre at best and their “gourmet salad” for $14.50 was lettuce, tomato, cucumber and red onion!

      The comment “worse than last time” was valid and probably the best phrase to use, as I have experienced the same- the quality of the dishes served have been steadily going downhill.

      The response from Mr Wolf with regards to your experience further confirms the lack of customer service and the horrendous approach to running a business. Here’s an idea….if running out of food at 1:30pm on a Tuesday is a regular occurence….make bigger batches of it! The attitude to feedback needs to change, it is to your detriment that you respond that way to your previous regular customers- you’ve lost another one now, I wont be back and neither will many more.

  16. The Wolf A.K.A. Nick Roberts

    Re Gail’s comments on Mr Wolf Cafe at City Place and your follow up comments. Mr Wolf is one of the busiest cafes in the CBD with the majority of customers being regulars,many of whom dine on a daily basis and many of whom walk blocks (past a lot of other food establishments) to come to our cafe. It is not unusual at 1.30pm on a busy week day to have ‘sold out’ of our hot mains – the choice of words by our casual waitress ‘none left’ perhaps would have been inappropriate. If Food Vixen’s partner has been in a couple of times to the cafe and found our food ‘worse than the last time’, I’d suggest our food is not to his palate and he should seek alternative venues. The menu, and the methodologies used to create it is the same as our former cafe, with our Club Sandwich range being amongst our biggest sellers. It is not unusual to have customers photograph our food, nor tell us that’s the ‘best (whatever they have eaten) I’ve had in Cairns’. Obviously you can’t please all the people all the time, but we sure as heck, please a lot of them, and they are in every day. Cheers from The Wolf

  17. LOVE your work here! I bought three pizzas from Hungry Possum on Friday night and all three were really really below average. I have had amazing pizza there…once. But this is three strikes in the last two years. I will not go to them again. I live on the Southside and want to ask for suggestions for great takeaway in general, but also to ask where to find awesome hot chips? Who does the best chips in Cairns? I am a vego hence omitting the fish…. Thanking you in advance.

    • Hi Helena 🙂 That’s no good at all about Hungry Possum! I think they used to be really good about 5-6 years ago and now they just rest on their laurels a little too much! Well you certainly have stumped me a little with the great takeaway part but I’ll see what I can come up with… My partner and I swear that the best chips that we’ve had are from Hungry Monkey on Mulgrave Rd. They are super crunchy and freshly cooked with just the right amount of chicken salt. As for the great takeaway in general, I know you are vegetarian but I would recommend Poemphun Thai on Sheridan St although that might be a little far for you, Kin Wah on Florence St has fantastic Chinese although not sure about the vego options. Another place that I think is great is the Hashams Dip place at the Civic Shopping Centre. They do the yummiest wraps on Lebanese bread with so many different types of marinated veggies (eggplant, capsicum, chick peas, falafel, etc), cheese and dip and for around the $10 mark as well! Definitely give them a try. Sorry I can’t be of more help to you but if I think of anything I will definitely let you know 🙂

    • There is a new Pizza Capers opened up on Mulgrave Rd – their pizzas and pastas are awesome. Also the BEST chinese restaurant & takeaway is Pearl Garden/Wok Around the Clock – just before Earlville coming from the south.

  18. Hi, just discovered your website today, as I’m trying to decide where to go tonight for a Date Night with my husband without the kids. Trying to use our Table 52 cards which a friend brought us, and thinking of trying the Salt House or Iyara or perhaps Wink. Some of our favourite restaurants in Cairns is Tha Fish for great food & service, Feta’s for Greek, we love Ochre but prefer a water or mountain view…haven’t tried Splash yet, but would be interested in your view. Interested in restaurants that use and local produce & seafood, and acutally have good service. Yes I love Hunaman and Tamarind as well, but not in the mood for that tonight! I look forward to following your reviews!

    • Hi Yvonne 🙂 glad you discovered my blog! What took you so long? 😉 as far as your date night I would avoid Wink and Salt House. Wink can be very hit and miss and the Salt House is too noisy with revellers on a Saturday night. Iyara is really nice although not too much bang for your buck if that’s what you are after and it’s Cash Only. If that doesn’t float your boat then I have been hearing great things about the Paperbark at Kewarra which I’m pretty sure is featured in the Table 52 cards. Splash is also very good and I have heard a few good things about Linga Longa 🙂 Hope that gives you a few things to think about. Stay tuned for a new review coming up very soon 🙂

      • Thanks for your advice. We tried Iyara for the first time, and it was like a world away from the busy side walk of the Esplanade. It was great with great service too. If we get around to going back, we might try the curries. A few small things, like our table being too short, and not being able to tuck our chair in, by the end of the night I found it very uncomfortable. but it was just the tables by the balcony….so next time I’ll request a different table. Also they do take credit cards now too. Thanks again! We had a look at the menu of the Bavarian beerhouse along the esplanade – now we can’t wait to go there, with the kids too!

  19. Very disappointed with Royal India.
    There was four of us and we each had a table 52 card to use. Two of the meals were quite tasty and two were very ordinary. Mine being the Lamb Kadhai was probably the worst. It was the most bland, tasteless Indian dish I have ever had. What little meat I got was very nice, but the dish was mostly made up with the sauce. I had to ask twice for salt as it was inedible without it.
    My husband had the Prawn Curry and it looked like dog vomit. Another dish swimming in sauce with very few prawns.
    Our friends had the nicer meals. Chicken Korma which was quite tasty. Probably a little bit salty for some, but I liked it.
    The last dish, Tandoori Chicken was nice according to my friend and quite a lot of chicken. She asked if she could have it as a main and the waiter OK’d it. It was listed as an entree or full dish. There was no relish on the plate even though it stated it on the menu. She was only told she couldn’t have it after she asked for it.
    The cheese Naan was also tasteless and the rice very, very dry.
    On paying, the waiter would not accept the second Table 52 card as he said the Tandoori Chicken wasn’t a main meal even though we asked for and was charged for it as a main!
    He would not budge, even after much discussion.
    We paid for the meals and walked out, never to return again.
    We would NEVER recommend this place for meals or for customer service!

    • That sounds exactly like my take away experience from the Royal India at Woree. Dry rice, tasteless naan, and the most foul tasting Rogan Josh I have ever eaten. The whole lot went in the bin. I will never return.

  20. Finishing work at the airport, my wife and I took the backstreets on the way home to Woree and chanced upon this fish and chips shop called Balaclavafish in Earlville. Both feeling tired and uninspired to cook dinner, we decided to stop and pick up takeaway meals. We agreed on the Seafood Basket for 2 which consisted of 2 mackerels, 4 prawn cutlets, 4 calamari and a good serve of chips. Not really expecting too much from a takeaway shop, we were blown away when we dug in and found the fish was really nice and juicy, the prawn cutlets were fresh-tasting, the calamari triangles were freshly-cut and crumbed (a pleasant deviation from the usual frozen calamari rings most takeaway shops dish out), and the chips were just absolutely spot on. For a small fish and chips shop, Balaclavafish is quite a revelation and sets a high standard for food quality, something all fish and chips shops should aim to match. Oh, and did I mention the excellent customer service from the pleasant big guy behind the counter?

  21. Last year I put in a request for the best fish and chip shop in Cairns. I am more southside and really great chippies seem to be few and far between. Well I’ve found it! Balaclava Fish Bar is awesome – great fish and crunchy chips. It has changed hands a few times in the past 2 years. The new owners have had it for a few months now. I think it is closed Tuesdays. Give it a try…

  22. The best dinner we have had in a while was at Wink2. Amazing service, beautiful food, lovely location over looking the esplanade. Would recommned ANYONE! Locals also recieve a discount on their meals, double bonus! We are definatly going back.

  23. FRAME! Had a delisious breakfast there last week and the coffee was spot on. My boyfriend and I would definatly recommned and will be going back. I had the eggs bene and he had the big breakfast, looked tiny on the plate but getting through it was a little mission. I had one of the fresh juice frappes and he had a mocha, both beautiful. So if your looking for a new breakfast place try Frame, was mid ranged priced through. Nice atmosphere inside!

  24. The Paddock Restaurant and Bar, it’s new and awesome-sauce. Without a doubt the best steak I’ve eaten in Cairns (also check-out the sharing platter), looks like their using the some of the most-awarded meat in the country! It’s not a cheap dinner but it’s definitely memorable, we’ll be going back.

  25. You lost me at ‘screamed like a bunch of girls’. Very sexist language indeed

  26. I know this is a food lovers blog spot, but when someone has to be offended by a seemingly harmless statement, the world has become a very sad place indeed. The comment came from a female laughing at was once taken at laughing at ourselves. A bit like a blonde telling a blonde joke. Stop taking life so seriously and take it as it was meant

    • I totally agree Fiona. I’m still completely miffed by all of this. As I said I’m a female and I am referring to myself and my friends. There are far more important things to offended over than my harmless statement.

  27. I live in the Edge Hill – Whitfield area, and don’t like the lack of Indian curry close to home. All is not despair, however, because Flavours of India is a frequent attendant at Tanks events (along with appearance at just about every festival and event that happens in the area). Even if I’m not attending a gig at the Tanks, I’ll still head up there and get takeaway. Their curries are delicious, aromatic, and consistent. These guys work really hard, yet serve with a smile. Considering the lineup for their food at many events, it never fails in quality and taste. Look for the orange van.

    I would also like to mention the Thai Takeaway in Piccones IGA shopping centre on Pease Street. Their seafood laksa is amazeballs! If you like it mega firey, ask for “hot-hot” and they do not disappoint. They are really friendly there, and I’ve been blessed with taste samples from their menu on occasion while I am waiting.

    Finally across the carpark from the Thai restaurant is Oskars Healing Cafe. I’ve only had the brekky wrap and coffee, but it was awesome. The vibe of the cafe and the food is very positive, and its a quaint and cozy little space. I hope they go a long way.

    • Thanks for your recommendations Colin! I have seen the orange van before and perhaps even ordered a samosa or two from them before. They have been around quite a while I think? I will have to keep a lookout for the Thai takeaway next time I am at Piccones as well as Oskars Healing Café. Interesting name, in fact interesting enough for me to want to go and check it out for that very reason!

      • Just a Post Script,
        The Thai shop is the one on the right side of the fish and chip shop when facing it from the carpark. NOT the noodle joint on the other side (which is rubbish)

      • Haha you don’t mean Yummy Noodle? I used to think was great hangover food but admittedly it’s been over a year since I was that hungover 😛

  28. Hey Foodvixen! I was just wondering if you had checked out Candy Cafe in a while? I used to go there frequently as they make yummy coffees and juices. I dined there saturday morning and have to say I was quite disappointed. I ordered a Soy chai latte, and told the girl twice that it must be on soy, I received it 10 minutes later, on full cream milk.. which is fine, it happens but then I waited another 5 minutes before I could even get the attention of someone and then waited at least 15-20 minutes before again having to ask if he could re make it. After waiting at least 35 minutes for food that was cold when it came out, and for about $16-25 per meal my partner and I were hardly impressed.. Was just wondering if you or anyone else here has had a better experience there recently 🙂 I’d hate to have a bad day put me off a cafe for good!

    • Hi Maryanne 🙂 sorry for the late reply! I went to Candy Cafe when it first opened a couple of years ago for breakfast and thought it was terrible despite everyone else’s rave reviews. I recently returned (about two months ago) for lunch and was actually pleasantly surprised. The meal were quite large particularly for the price and they were delicious. My sister has recently been there for breakfast and she reports that it’s still pretty disappointing. I trust my sisters opinion enough to not want to try their breakfast. Maybe their breakfast is what let’s them down? Give them a go for lunch and let me know what you think 🙂

  29. Fussy but fair

    5 of us went to Donninis at the Hilton to celebrate my sons 18th. Italian is his favorite.
    The food was the worst “Italian” we have had. The soup of the day was like bland dishwater, the pasta was undercooked, there was a still raw prawn in my pasta & we wonder why, since it took about an hour to get It! The sauces with the pasta were worse than mediocre.
    The service was dodgy with a nice but embarrassed waiter, who didn’t know what to say, when we talked to him about these issues & then scurried away, never to reappear.
    When we got sick of waiting for the mains, we asked the maitre d, how much longer it would be. He kept walking past our table & shouted back his reply from over near the bar. “They only just took your entree plates …. (Not our fault the plates were left uncleared on the table for 1/2 an hour,)
    There was no apology, no offer of discount etc at the end. …
    We paid top dollar for this over-priced, woefull meal & feel so ripped off, we will not return.
    It is such a shame, when you go to the Hilton in Cairns there is an expectation of a higher level of service. Hopefully people staying there will venture out & go to Cairns’ much better restaurants,
    We will not be returning.

    • That sounds like a terrible experience. I haven’t been to Donnini’s since they moved from the Pier but I haven’t heard great things since they did. Sady Donnini’s was once one of Cairns’ best restaurants when they were upstairs at the Pier – i was about 10 years old. So sorry you’re sons 18th was a downer.

  30. Fussy but fair

    Hey food vixen. Love your reviews. Can you put a search thingy on your site, so I can quickly research the restaurants..?

  31. Hi, need a great breaky place for Saturday morning. Catching up with a beautiful friend, so I want it to be delicious, and I am a vegetarian. Any suggestions?

    • Good morning Helena 🙂 I have put a post up on my Foodvixen Facebook page asking for suggestions. I thought maybe the Lime Tree out at Trinity Beach would be a good option but we will see what other suggestions come in. Do you follow my Facebook page?

  32. Second night in Cairns as a tourist, decided on Indian but after a big day tour to the Daintree and Cape Tribulation we decided on a takeway, unfortunely we picked the worst Indian Restaurant we have ever had, the takeway cost $47.00 (unbelievable), the container of Butter Chicken had seven pieces of chicken floating in a very large container of sauce, the flavour not good at all, so if I wanted to eat rice and sauce I coukd have gone tomWoolworths and bought a jar for a few do,kars, our Papadams, paid for were not delivered, the restaurant Royal Indian on The Esplanade, definitely the worst Indian meal ever – this sort of food is not what Cairns needs.

    • Hi Rosanne 🙂 it’s because of experiences like this one that I started my blog in the first place. Message me on my Foodvixen facebook page and I’ll try and steer you in the right direction 🙂 but in the meantime… Stay away from pretty much every restaurant on the esplanade, that’s a good start!

  33. I totally agree with you. We went there about 6mths ago and will never return. They don’t care either. We tried to talk to them about our concerns and they just didn’t want to know.

  34. Yes I rang this restaurant and the guy actually had the audacity to say they had had complaints before and at that stage I was thinking well why the heck have you not improved your service but the guy just really did not seem to care, I love Indian food and butter chicken is my favourite but having that one put me off Indian food for quite a while, these sort of restaurants only do a cities reputation a disservice and it is sad to see such establishments still in business, Royal India does not derserve to be in business

    On the other hand we had a wonderful cup of coffee at the little cafe at the Contemporary Art Museum and the museum itself was wonderful

    • Unfortunately it’s one of the tourist traps that the Cairns waterfront is well known amongst locals for. It doesn’t surprise me that they don’t care though sadly. Sounds like you went to the new Paradiso Cafe, I actually went there yesterday. As I said if you are in need of some ideas as to where to dine I can certainly help you out Rosanne.
      Breakfast or lunch: Candy Cafe, Caffiend, Noa, Ozmosis, Perotta’s, Marinades also indian has a fantastic lunch special from Wed to Sat, Dundee’s have a great lunch special as do the Boat Shed and Tha Fish during the week, also check out Rusty’s Markets if it’s on the weekend.
      Dinner: Waterbar and Grill, La Fettuccina, Piccolo Cucina, Perotta’s, Bay Leaf, Ocha Cha, Corea Corea (great budget Korean that’s BYO),
      Bars: The Conservatory Bar on Lake St is a brilliant little wine bar that does great cheese platters, also the Salt House is a great place to while away the afternoon – they have $10 mojitos on Sunday’s.
      Don’t let that one experience deter you. We have plenty of fantastic restaurants in Cairns, but we do have plenty of terrible ones. I hope I have helped a little 🙂

    • Oops and don’t forget Vivo at Palm Cove for any meal but they also have a great 2 or 3 course dinner menu 🙂

  35. Leanne Robertosn

    My comment isnt about my eating out experience even though they are extensive but about your truly great blog ! I have just stumbled acroos it and am so happy to have a fellow food lovers opinons on eating in Carnis. We are new to NQ been here a year and have eaten our way from Mossman to Innisfail with delight. Now we can try more places thanks to you and your blog! Keep up the good work.

  36. Thanks for the tip,had lunch at the” Reserved on Grafton” Service great,food excellant and reasonably priced,will be back 🙂

  37. Trevor, Vientamese food bar...

    I would like you invite you to have a very good Bahn Mi at the Vietnamese food Bar Grafton St side of Rusty’s

  38. Thai Foodie House in Orchid Plaza. Being Thai, it’s the only Thai restaurant in Cairns that I can truly say delivers a truly Thai menu and authentic flavours. Don’t miss the Thai Iced Tea!

  39. Last Sunday we were driving around looking for a different place for lunch. We ended up at Lake Placid and found Alessandro Pizzeria and Bar. What a fantastic spot to have lunch. I have lived in Cairns for 22 years and had never ventured to this place before …….. we had no idea it even existed. Our mouths were watering over the extensive menu. We settled on a seafood pasta and a wood fired pizza. We were not disappointed and pricing was not over the top. Genuine Italian food made that made you happy and wanting more in a fantastic setting overlooking Lake Placid. We will be back again and will be telling our friends.
    Have you been there and if so your experience ?
    Chris and Suz

    • Hi Chris and Suz! I have actually been to Alessandro’s but it was only for a glass of wine and a bruschetta bread on a lazy Sunday afternoon about 1.5 years ago. The bruschetta was probably the best I have ever had – beautiful chewy bread on the inside, crunchy on the outside and lovely fresh, bright red tomatoes. My sister went there not long after (January 2015) to be exact and had a terrible experience so as a result I have never been back. I know a lot of people love the place and you’re right it is a great spot. I must make the effort to get back out there and try their dinner menu for myself 😃

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