14 of the best Airlie Beach restaurants and cafes
It’s unavoidable. Airlie Beach, the heart and soul of the Whitsundays, is the destination where EVERYONE feels like they’re on holidays 24/7.
With 74 beautiful islands as your neighbours and the Great Barrier Reef at your doorstep, it’s no wonder thousands flock to this stunning part of Australia every year for sun, sand and good times.
But beneath the obvious exterior of what makes this coastal nook so damn attractive, is a killer foodie trail ranging from seafood nirvana to organic superfood heaven.
Here are 14 Airlie Beach restaurants and cafes you can’t miss!
1. For the best seafood… Fish D’vine and Rum Bar
Not only will you be over-the-freaking-moon with this award-winning restaurant’s drool-inducing seafood offerings (ocean basket and seafood chowder anyone?), but Fish D’vine also boast an impressive collection of over 450 rums!
Even if you’re not into rum, you’ll walk away with a new-found appreciation for the spirit (and hopefully a new fav beverage of choice). Bookings are essential!
You have to try their… Salt and Pepper tempura crusted crocodile entree, chilli mud crab, and retro banana fritters with spiced rum maple syrup, vanilla bean ice-cream and dark chocolate swirl to top it off.
Address: 303 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach
Open: 7 days a week, 5pm till late
2. For the best pizza… Mr Bones Pizza Bar
For an (edible) slice of paradise, look no further than Mr Bones Pizza Bar. Whether you’re looking for a solid takeout option or a casual lunch or dinner spot with mates, this tapas and pizza bar can do no wrong.
Kick back with views overlooking the lagoon, get stuck into their finger bones tapas and 12” pizzas and let the party in your mouth begin. (FYI, they also brew a pretty mean cup of coffee.)
You have to try their… Fried chicken wings with blue cheese and jalapeño dipping sauce; slow-roasted lamb shoulder pizza with olives, haloumi and salsa verde; and liquorice pannacotta with strawberry gazpacho and pistachio crisp for dessert.
Address: 263 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach
Open: Tuesday to Saturday from 9am-9pm
3. For the best pub meal on the beach… Montes Reef Resort at Cape Gloucester
This local’s secret might be a little out of the way, but it’s well worth the 40-minute drive from Airlie that ventures slightly off the beaten track!
You don’t have to be a guest to enjoy lunch at the secluded, desert-island feeling Montes Reef Resort, but a booking is a must. Tuck into some fish and chips right on the beach at Cape Gloucester, then work it off with a lazy stroll and dip in the turquoise waters.
You have to try their… Anything seafood!
Address: 2248 Gloucester Ave, Hydeaway Bay
Open: 7 days a week for lunch 12pm-2pm and dinner 6pm-8pm
4. For authentic Italian… La Tabella Trattoria
Impressive wine list with a knack for perfectly matching with your meal of choice? Check! A specials board that never fails to give your tummy hungry butterflies? Check! Beach views? Check! Real Italian coffee? CHECK!
For a taste of Italy in the tropics, book in for dinner or a long and lazy Sunday lunch at La Tabella Trattoria.
You have to try their… Seafood tasting plate and basically anything on their specials board.
Address: 6 The Esplanade, Airlie Beach
Open: 7 days a week from 7:30am till late (last dinner orders at 9:30pm)
5. For the best burger… Little Vegas Burger and Bar
Serving up authentic American street food and ahhhh-mazing burgers is Little Vegas Burger and Bar. The hottest new burger joint on the main strip (and one of the only late-night dining venues) has made quite the impression on this coastal town, recently rated as the best restaurant in Airlie Beach on Tripadvisor.
Book in advance if you want to dive mouth-first into their spicy fish tacos, fiery chicken wings, beer-battered onion rings and mouth-watering burgers with a side of shoestring fries – don’t forget the ketchup! Wash it down with a cold beer or one of their yummy cocktails (we’re looking at you Redskin Cosmo and ‘Lionel Ritchie’), and you’ve got a meal good enough for the gods.
You have to try their… Cheeseburger spring rolls, Philly cheesesteak jaffle, NYC loaded dog, el rancho grilled chicken burger, the steaktanic burger… okay, pretty much everything on the menu.
Address: 3/259 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach
Open: Wednesday to Monday from 12pm-10pm
6. For scrumptious gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian dishes… Cafe One 3
Healthy, wholesome and quirky are the perfect words to describe what’s on offer at Cafe One 3. The lovely owners of this cafe use organic and local products to create their yummy homemade dishes and make a special effort to cater to all dietary requirements.
Even if you’re not vegan or vegetarian, if you love trying new and exciting dishes, then this is definitely one cafe you shouldn’t be miss. So grab the little ones (fur babies included) and make yourself at home listening to chilled tunes and lapping up tasty treats.
You have to try their… Daily specials on offer.
Address: 13 Waterson Way, Airlie Beach
Open: Monday to Saturday from 6:30am-3pm
7. For Airlie’s best kept secret… Cool LaLa Asian Cuisine Restaurant & Bubble Tea ‘n’ Juice Bar
Once you start, you can’t stop at Cool LaLa Asian Cuisine Restaurant & Bubble Tea n Juice Bar; with an attention to freshness and detail, you’ll get lost in their Asian-fusion, street-food-inspired menu.
Go to town on their homemade dumplings and spring rolls, followed by one of their flavoursome stir fries made with seasonal and fresh local produce, washed down with a refreshing fruity bubble tea. And did we mention it’s BYO wine and beer?!
You have to try their… Taiwanese chicken bites (it’s kind of like KFC popcorn chicken… only better), Korean kimchi stir-fried beef and paw paw salad to refresh the palate.
Address: 7/265 Shute Harbour Road, Airlie Beach
Open: Tuesday to Saturday from 8:30am-8:30pm and Sunday 8:30am-12pm
8. For some Tex-Mex goodness… The Orange QUOTE
Super salads, mega burritos, Cubano toasties, waffles and frappes… need we say more? If you’re looking for a breakfast or lunch packin’ some serious flavour, you will find it at The Orange QUOTE.
Not only does the food have the ‘wow’ factor (especially for the price), but the space is totally Instagrammable with its funky decor and cheeky quotes lining the walls. Find them next to Coles at the Whitsundays Shopping Centre in Cannonvale.
You have to try their… Jam-packed brekky burrito and ‘sticky pig’ waffle with applewood smoked bacon, egg and Canadian maple syrup.
Address: 17/18 Whitsunday Shopping Center, Cannonvale
Open: Monday to Friday from 7am-6pm and Saturday to Sunday from 7am-3pm
9. For a Sunday (or any afternoon sesh)… Denman Cellars Beer Cafe
With views over the marina, a selection of beers and ciders from around the world, and a tapas menu that will turn even the most discerning diner into an indecisive mess (there’s that many good options!), you wouldn’t want to end the day anywhere else but Denman Cellars Beer Cafe.
Order a round of chilli salt calamari, pork belly, zucchini balls, and whatever else tickles your fancy, and kick back with a cold one while you watch the sun go down.
You have to try their… Prawn and chorizo hot bowl, kangaroo kebabs (they’re gluten free) and duck pancakes. And if you can squeeze it in, order the dessert platter!
Address: Shop G15, 33 Port Drive, Port of Airlie, Airlie Beach
Open: Monday to Thursday from 11am-9pm, Friday from 11am-10:30pm and Saturday to Sunday from 8:30am-10:30pm
10. For a restaurant that caters to everyone… Capers on the Esplanade
If you’re looking for a hearty meal with views to match, then this is your next stop. From a juicy steak or burger to a pasta dish or salad, it would be almost impossible not to please the whole family at Capers on the Esplanade.
Pop in for brekkie or watch the world go by as you enjoy a relaxed lunch or dinner, cocktail in hand, overlooking the beach. (Side note for seafood lovers: mussel madness is on every Thursday night – buy one pot and get the second free…. oh yeah!)
You have to try their… Corn fritter stack for breakfast and coconut seafood chowder.
Address: 16 The Esplanade, Airlie Beach (at the Airlie Beach Hotel)
Open: 7 days a week for breakfast 7am-12pm, lunch 12pm-2:30pm and dinner 5:30pm-9:30pm (on Friday and Saturday until 10pm)
11. For a local’s go-to dinner… Colonial Palms Restaurant
Don’t let the hotel facade fool you… because the Colonial Palms Restaurant is a local treasure in Airlie Beach.
Traditional with a modern twist, you’ll find a menu ranging from adventurous Japanese miso grilled eggplant and Malay curried laksa, to well-executed favourites like beer-battered fish and chips and lamb shanks that just melt off the bone.
You have to try their… Fish of the day grilled with mango and avocado salsa, and warm apple frangipane tart served with ice-cream or bread & butter pudding with fresh cream. (We couldn’t decide between both desserts, so both it is!)
Address: 2 Hermitage Drive, Airlie Beach
Open: 7 days a week for dinner from 6pm-8pm
12. For a laidback breakfast with your furry friend… Fat Frog Beach Cafe
Grab your pooch and head to the Fat Frog Beach Cafe for brekkie with a view. This quirky cafe opposite Cannonvale Beach is a popular spot with locals and tourists for good reason; serving up healthy homemade dishes, Campos coffee, and yummy treats for little tadpoles (aka kids) and four-legged fur babies.
After scoffing down your meal, walk it off with a stroll along the Bicentennial Walkway.
You have to try their… Ranchero house-made Spanish beans topped with poached eggs, feta and avocado on crusty sourdough, and delicious baked goods!
Address: 44 Coral Esplanade, Airlie Beach
Open: Monday to Friday from 6:45am-4pm and Saturday to Sunday from 8am-2pm
13. For guilt-free treats… Bohemian Raw Cafe
Having kicked off a successful cafe in Brisbane, the lovely ladies of Bohemian Raw Cafe have brought the very best in organics and superfoods to Airlie Beach!
With a rotating menu of fresh and nourishing meals like wraps and salads, delicious smoothies and ice-creams, and Naked Treaties bliss balls and raw cakes, you can spoil yourself with their tasty goodies without feeling guilty.
You have to try their… ‘I AM AMAZEBALLS’ superfood smoothie and Snickers acai bowl. (Yep, you read that right. SNICKERS!)
Address: Abell Point Marina, South Village, Shingley Drive, Airlie Beach
Open: Monday to Sunday from 7am-3pm
14. For fine dining (and a divine degustation)… Clipper Restaurant Bar and Lounge
Picture this: A six-course meal featuring culinary delights such as smoked duck breast, semi-dried tomato gnocchi, pan roasted barramundi with cauliflower puree, and white chocolate bavarois, all with uninterrupted views of the Coral Sea and Whitsunday Islands, poolside.
Yes, that my friends is a degustation with Clipper Restaurant Bar and Lounge at Coral Sea Resort.
You have to try their… Degustation menu, duh! (But if that’s a bit too much to handle, their a la carte lunch and dinner menus are damn good too.)
Address: 25 Oceanview Avenue, Airlie Beach
Open: Monday to Sunday from 6:30am-9:30pm