13 of the best spots to get your seafood fix in The Whitsundays
When you’re in the heart of the Great Barrier Reef, you can expect some pretty fine seafood platters and seafood restaurants to be on offer on dry land.
Bareboating caterers, cafes with stellar views, and celebrity-studded island restaurants are among the best places to get your seafood fix in The Whitsundays.
Fish D’vine, Airlie Beach
In a state renowned for its fresh seafood, Fish D’vine is easily one of the best places to splurge on mud crab. You can order it three ways: wok-tossed in a Thai curry sauce, with a spicy pepper sauce, or served natural and chilled.
Open from 5pm, this laid-back eatery has a tonne of other seafood dishes, too.
The Boathouse FishBar, Port of Airlie Marina
Another restaurant you can’t go past is The Boathouse FishBar, where the menu is swarming with crustaceans and their ocean friends. The trendy menu options include a salmon sashimi poke bowl, a soft-shell crab burger and seafood pie.
There are also themed nights, such as oyster Tuesday, prawn-bucket Thursday and seafood-platter Saturday.
Tides Restaurant and Bar, Airlie Beach
Away from the hubbub of Airlie town centre, Tides Restaurant and Bar is among the best hotel restaurants you’ll find in the region.
Chef Gregory Devine is the mastermind behind it all, and is passionate about sourcing local produce for an Asian-infused modern Australian menu.
Go at night for the “four tastes of the sea” dish that includes a half-shell scallop with Champagne mornay.
Clipper Restaurant Bar and Lounge, Airlie Beach
With views of bobbing sailing boats and a stream of accolades, Clipper Restaurant Bar and Lounge will impress any seafood restaurant connoisseur.
Situated in Coral Sea Resort, you can opt for a casual lunch of king fish ceviche and Pacific oysters, or step it up a notch and enjoy a fine-dining experience in the evening.
If you’re a seafood lover, pick the latter so you can feast on octopus balls with sriracha mayo, king prawns with wasabi avocado mousse and Pacific oysters with a Szechuan pepper crust.
Bommie Restaurant, Hamilton Island Yacht Club, Hamilton Island
One of the region’s most picturesque places to dine is Bommie Restaurant on Hamilton Island, but you don’t only come for the water views.
Celebrate a special holiday with a delicate plate of cold-smoked ocean trout and Hydeaway Bay squid, while enjoying a glass of Champagne or two. Be sure to make a reservation.
Coca Chu, Hamilton Island
Fun, modern and with a sharing-style street-hawker menu, Coca Chu has locals – and regular visitors – talking. Try the salt and pepper cuttlefish or tiger prawn betel leaf to start, before moving onto the Moreton Bay bug curry.
You can enjoy it all while watching dusk descend on Hamilton Island’s popular Catseye Beach.
Mariners, Hamilton Island
Casual but sophisticated, the menu at Mariners has recently been given an overhaul by Hamilton Island Yacht Club Executive Chef Trent Dawson. It now has a strong Japanese influence and dishes that will excite you.
Expect yellow tail with buttermilk, scallops with finger lime, octopus with rice wine, and seafood platters unlike any you’ve seen before.
3 PLACES TO BUY FRESH Seafood
- Fishi – The Whitsundays region: Whatever you have a hankering for, Fishi will deliver. This environmentally conscious seafood specialist creates platters of locally caught Easter king and tiger prawns, scallops, crayfish and mud crab, which can be ordered online and delivered to your hotel or picked up on Hamilton Island.
- Bird’s Fish Bar – Bowen: If you’re staying in Bowen, Bird’s Fish Bar is a must-visit for a seafood feast. The takeaway shop has a balcony overlooking the marina, so you can dine there, but it’s also a great spot to grab fresh seafood, with local coral trout, Spanish mackerel, and banana and tiger prawns the top picks.
- Whitsunday Pacific Seafoods – Cannonvale: Watch the staff shuck oysters at this Cannonvale co-op. Open six days, Whitsunday Pacific Seafoods specialises in local red throat emperor, coral trout, clams and oysters. If you’re not confident in filleting fish, ask the in-store chefs for advice.
3 TOP seafood TAKEAWAYS
- Perfect for travellers about to set sail or holidaymakers simply wanting a night in, Whitsunday Provisioning has a range of catering options and seafood platters that can be delivered to mainland or island accommodation, as well as bareboat charter companies.
- For classic Aussie fish and chips, head to Whitsunday Seafood Bar in Airlie Beach. Family friendly with grilled, crumbed and battered local fish, plus fresh seafood, platters, burgers and a seafood salad, this is the ultimate takeaway shop.
- If you’re holidaying on Hamilton, head down to Popeye’s Takeaway for an easy lunch you can whisk back to Catseye Beach for a picnic. Local’s tip: order the homemade potato scallops.