Find North Queensland’s best-kept secret with an unrivalled power to surprise and delight in Townsville, where any curious explorer can discover new experiences in this tropical paradise.
From award-winning restaurants to underwater museums on the Great Barrier Reef, First Nations stories rich in history and of course NRL’s Townsville Cowboys, this region has an abundance of reasons to put it on your holiday wish list.
Continuing on our delicious drive around Australia of 2023 Readers’ Choice award-winning restaurants, here are six locations that will satisfy any hunger growl:
Readers’ Choice 2023 – Mexican:
Effortlessly combining style with innovation, JAM
continues to make its mark on Townsville's dynamic restaurant scene. A well-loved riverfront crowd-pleaser, this versatile venue constantly buzzes with a steady hum of diners popping by to wine and dine in the elegant space furnished with wide mirrors, soft lighting and intimate dining booths.
A seasonal menu presents plates like WA octopus, pork belly, romesco, pickled daikon and chives while for the main affair expect choices such as prawn and pea green risotto with asparagus, pearls and fennel pollen.
Readers’ Choice 2023 – Indian:
Soak up stunning views of Ross Creek along with the flavours of Indian cuisine at Aalishan
on Palmer Street in Townsville. With a name meaning ‘grand’, expect to be impressed by the ambience of this restaurant, where water views abound from large glass windows and the sounds of gurgling water from an outdoor fountain add a soothing touch.
Start with zingy prawns on fluffy fried wholemeal bread or tandoori chicken and mint chutney before Chef’s special curries like goat slow-cooked on the bone in traditional Punjabi style with sides of saffron rice, garlic naan and papadums.
Readers’ Choice 2023 – Italian:
Perched atop Rambutan boutique hotel on Flinders Street with sweeping views across Ross Creek and the marina, Armati's Restaurant
is one of Townsville's most iconic dining destinations. Chill out on the balcony and enjoy balmy breezes, or dine indoors where hanging greenery and wicker chairs set a relaxing vibe for enjoying all things North Queensland.
Be mesmerised by the sight of Chefs in full flight slinging pizzas into the wood-fired oven, the centrepiece of the dining room; or choose from à la carte options like fettuccine with garlic and chilli prawns, white wine sauce, tomato and Parmesan.
Readers’ Choice 2023 – Modern Australian:
One of the hottest dining venues on the Townsville culinary scene Bridgewater Restaurant + Botaniq Bar
on Dibbs Street offers guests a touch of coastal elegance in North Queensland. Positioned on the first floor, the restaurant has been purposely created to offer an unparalleled experience with an open plan design and unsurpassed river and city views, while downstairs enjoy a light lunch by the glistening water, or chill out after work with drinks as the sun sets.
A carefully crafted menu highlighting local, seasonal produce delivers starters of duck and kimchi wontons, moving onto mains like spaghetti Nero with prawns, octopus, chilli and prawn emulsion or 12-hour slow-cooked lamb shoulder for two.
Readers’ Choice 2023 – Mexican:
Serving Townsville with Tex Mex fare and Margaritas for nearly 30 years, Cactus Jack’s Bar & Grill
on Palmer Street is a local favourite. With venues also in Cannon Park and Redcliffe, diners are transported to a world of wagon wheels, spurs, cacti and brass lanterns, while eyeing a mouth-watering menu from both sides of the border.
Tuck into Southern fried chicken strips, sweet mustard dipping sauce and beer-battered fries to start, then say arriba to oven-baked Aztec pie – achiote chicken, corn, spring onions, creamy sauce, flour tortillas, enchilada sauce and cheese.
Readers’ Choice 2023 – Café:
Those seeking a Townsville café for a caffeine kick and meal, head to Tide Café - Catering
on Gregory Street. Loved by locals for a warm vibe and touch of country charm, Tide is filled with lively hum conversation as friends mingle, catching up between crisp white walls adorned in ocean-themed art or alfresco on the verandah.
A rosti stack with avocado, sour cream, chilli jam, smoked salmon and chives entices for breaky while those looking for lunch may opt for a Thai beef salad with wombok mixed salad, rice noodles, lime, coriander and soy dressing.