Best Palm Cove Restaurants: A Taste of the Tropics

Palm Cove

When it comes to dining out in Queensland, the charming coastal village of Palm Cove offers a gastronomical adventure for travellers and locals alike. Here’s our pick of the best restaurants in Palm Cove.

This seaside sanctuary in Tropical North Queensland (around 20 minutes from Cairns) is home to a diverse range of eateries showcasing local ingredients and international flavours. From award-winning restaurants to laidback local haunts, there’s something for every foodie.

And finding your next favourite meal is easy! Just stroll the region’s iconic palm-lined esplanade (Williams Esplanade) for beach vibes, Coral Sea vistas and a taste of the tropics.

Join us as we journey through 10 Palm Cove restaurants, highlighting the unique culinary experiences that await you in this tropical paradise.

Nu Nu Restaurant: a taste of modern Australia by the sea

You can’t share Palm Cove’s best restaurants without one of Australia’s best restaurants: Nu Nu. This much-loved eatery enjoys an absolute beachfront position with tables set just meters from the sand and sheltered by coconut palms.

Executive Chef Nick Holloway has been crafting his signature dishes here for almost 20 years, using seasonal, locally sourced produce with a subtle Asian twist that perfectly complements the tropical setting.The restaurant is famous for its inventive approach to modern Australian cuisine, using ingredients from the rainforest, the reef, and the outback cattle stations of Tropical North Queensland.

While Nu Nu has been celebrated by Gourmet Traveller, the Australian Good Food Guide and more, the restaurant retains its irresistible easy-breezy vibe. For the quintessential tropical dining experience, book a table for two on the timber deck among the swaying palms. Whether you opt for a leisurely breakfast, a languid lunch or a romantic date-night dinner, the breathtaking Coral Sea vistas will add an extra touch of magic.

Address: 1 Veivers Road, Palm Cove

Temple of Tastes Restaurant: an Asian flavour explosion

Tucked away in the tropical gardens of Pullman Palm Cove Sea Temple Resort & Spa, just off the southern end of Williams Esplanade, Temple of Tastes Restaurant offers a sophisticated and modern dining experience. The menu is inspired by Southeast Asia flavours, with Executive Chef Anthony Smith favouring organic, seasonal ingredients from the rich soils of the Atherton Tablelands. The excellent selection of Australian and international wines and beers is the perfect complement to a special night out. Dine inside or surrounded by greenery on the terrace.

Address: 5 Triton Street, Palm Cove

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Vivo Palm Cove: alfresco dining with a view

Vivo Palm Cove is a hugely popular restaurant among locals and tourists — and for good reason. Housed within an elegant white Queensland colonial on the esplanade, Vivo offers a deliciously diverse menu. From fettucine marinara and duck pappardelle to twice-cooked lamb and reef fish tacos, there’s something for everyone here.

Our tip for a balmy afternoon or evening? The Cojito, a coconut-infused twist on the classic Mojito. Then again, an Aperol Spritz is always a great choice in North Queensland! Vivo also has a resident art gallery showcasing the works of emerging and established local artists. Be sure to check with the restaurant about their monthly opening night events.

Address: 49 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

Il Forno Pizzeria: a slice of Italy

Il Forno Pizzeria Palm Cove

Looking for authentic Italian pizza in Palm Cove? Add Il Forno Pizzeria to your list — many say they serve the best pizzas in the region! Il Forno means “the oven” in Italian, and the team has been serving up the good stuff here since 1992. The secret of their success lies in the carefully crafted, handmade dough which ensures each pizza is crispy and delectable. This laidback eatery combines traditional family recipes with genuine Italian flavours and quality local ingredients, making it a must-try restaurant in Palm Cove.

Address: 7/111-117 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

El Greko Greek Taverna: Greek delights in paradise

The experience at El Greko Greek Taverna feels akin to stepping into a lively taverna on Santorini — but in the heart of Palm Cove. The expansive menu features traditional Greek dishes made with locally sourced Australian ingredients that will transport you to the magical Med.

Address: 115-117 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

La Mesa: A fiesta of flavours

Located within Peppers Beach Club & Spa, La Mesa is a vibrant restaurant that brings Mexican and Latin American flavours to the Cove. The restaurant offers a shared dining experience (perfect if you love stealing from your partner’s plate!) served up with stunning Coral Sea views. While the menu may be traditional, hero ingredients are sourced from the local reef and surrounding tropics. Our tip? Order a smorgasbord of small dishes, washed down with one of La Mesa’s delicious tequila cocktails.

Address: 123 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

Choc Dee: Thai cuisine with a twist

Directly opposite the beach (use the Life Guard Hut as your marker) you’ll find Choc Dee, a casual Thai restaurant known for its authentic cuisine and relaxed atmosphere. The Thai owners have brought a touch of Thailand to Palm Cove’s lush surrounds with a menu of classic dishes and more unique offerings like crispy duck salad and Thai-style fish cakes. In their own words: “it’s nothing fancy: just good quality food that tastes great.”

Address: 123 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove (just in front of Peppers Beach Club & Spa)

O’Donnells Palm Cove: Irish charm by the beach

In need of a cleansing ale? That’s the tropics for you. Head to O’Donnells Palm Cove for a cold Guinness, a warm welcome, and a delicious menu of traditional Irish favourites plus pizzas, seafood and grills. The live-music lineup makes O’Donnells perfect for a fun night out with a touch of the Emerald Isle.

Address: 5/139 Williams Esplanade

Beach Almond: A modern Asian seafood extravaganza

Beach Almond Palm Cove

Rounding out our list of Palm Cove restaurants is the beguiling Beach Almond. Located at the northern end of Williams Esplanade, the rustic setting of this modern Asian seafood restaurant nods to the ‘Long Houses’ of Lombok with a generous helping of fishing-village charm. Blending Australian beach vibes with traditional Asian flavours and techniques, Beach Almond is a real gem. Seafood-lovers will adore the choice of char-grilled crispy whole fish, tropical lobster, Singaporean chilli crab, black pepper butter prawns and much more.

Soak up sea views from the large deck, feast to your heart’s content, then stroll on to Palm Cove Jetty where you can watch the tide roll in and the locals cast their fishing lines out.

Address: 145 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

The Surf Club Palm Cove: A casual favourite

Is it even a beach holiday without surf club nosh and a cracker sea view? Poised within a hot-chip toss of the sand, The Surf Club Palm Cove is the perfect perch for sunset drinks and a bowl of fresh tiger prawns.

Address: 135 Williams Esplanade, Palm Cove

As you can see, Palm Cove isn’t just a Queensland holiday paradise; it’s heaven for food lovers. And if you’re planning to stay and play, several of the best restaurants are housed within the village’s top-notch resorts.

For a taste of the tropics, just look for the coconut palms!

All photos via establishments featured.

Related: Discover the very best things to do in and around Cairns with this comprehensive guide

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