Tropical Townsville in Far North Queensland has plenty to keep visiting gourmets on the go. The local dining scene offers delicious delights to suit every budget…
Walking along The Strand in Townsville you could well be forgiven for thinking you’d surfaced in Fiji or even Tahiti.
The mesmerising plane of azure water stretching away to Magnetic Island, and the swaying palms and lush gardens adorned with riotously-coloured bougainvillea create a sublime tropical ambience. And that’s not the only part of a visit to this North Queensland city that will have you ooh-ing and ahh-ing. The local dining scene is pretty impressive too.
From pub grub to fine fare and everything in between, here are some suggestions for great places to eat in Townsville.
Cheap and cheerful
Rock Paper Scissors
No-one visits a coastal paradise like Townsville without chowing down on fresh fish and chips at least once. You’ll probably be back two of three times once you get a taste of the day’s catch at Rock Paper Scissors on The Strand. This place is seriously popular. Grab your order, pull up a pew and soak up that stunning vista as you eat.
There are pubs aplenty in Townsville and good quality pub grub is on offer across the city. With its quaint wrought-iron gables and outdoor seating, the Australian Hotel (dating back to 1888) in Palmer Street is a good bet for a relaxed lunch. It offers daily specials and specialises in smoked meats.
The City Lane precinct on Flinders Street draws its inspiration from Melbourne’s laneway culture, albeit with an industrial-chic twist, and offers great coffee to boot. There are a bunch of eateries to try including Donna Bionda for Italian cuisine, Sakana for Japanese bites, and The Courtyard for Americana-style street eats.
Around on The Strand, Watermark Townsville is a local favourite and offers relaxed al fresco dining opposite the stunning waterfront. How could you go wrong? You can’t. The diverse menu will appeal to absolutely everybody and despite the size of the venue, the service is personal and engaging. Get there reasonably early to snaffle a good possie. The Sydney Rock Oysters are refreshing and awesome.
Ribs and Rumps
If your ideal menu option is meat and potatoes, you’ll be pleased to hear that great steaks abound in Townsville. Billed as Australia’s ‘ultimate ribs experience’, Ribs and Rumps on Palmer Street does slow-cooked ribs where the meat literally falls off the bone. There are super-sized steaks and a big variety of sides. Go hungry!
Townsville Brewing Company
Townsville has a wealth of period architecture to enjoy, much of it these days repurposed as quirky venues for the hospitality industry. The heritage-listed Old Townsville Post Office on Flinders Street is now home to the Townsville Brewing Company. Craft beer aficionados may like to do the guided brewery tour, which includes a tasting and burger lunch. The brewery’s Malt Restaurant is a big surprise, and does cracking mid-priced fare in a superb setting that expertly melds the old and the new.
There were two Townsville recipients of Reader’s Choice Chef Hats in the Australian Good Food Guide’s 2018 honours list — one of them being Jam on Palmer Street. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, you are in for something really special here. Share in the eatery’s passion for quality North Queensland produce, showcased by an innovative menu of small and large plates. The one, two and three-course lunch menus are a good way to get a taste of the action without blowing the holiday budget.
A Touch of Salt
Cross the Victoria Footbridge over the Ross Creek to reach A Touch of Salt — the other recipient of an AGFG nod from the people in 2018. This light-filled venue offers a sense of airy modern elegance with a choice of al fresco terrace or inside dining. The Modern Oz menu is impeccably presented and has an emphasis on seafood. Push the fishing boat out on the five-course degustation menu with matching wines.
Need a place to stay?
Clarion Hotel Townsville enjoys a superb location in the heart of the CBD. The hotel offers stylish, contemporary accommodation that includes complimentary Wi-Fi access. Walk to cafes, restaurants and attractions with ease. Onsite restaurant Gossips serves a buffet breakfast (including barista-made coffees), cafe-style lunch options and an a la carte dinner menu.
About the writer
Adam Ford is editor of The Big Bus tour and travel guide and a travel TV presenter, writer, blogger and photographer. He has previously had the opportunity to travel the world himself as host of the TV series Tour the World on Network Ten.