Food scene takes off
The best places to eat
Townsville may be the gateway to the rainforest, reef and outback but recent developments in the food scene are seeing the city blossom into northern Queensland’s culinary capital. Not too many years ago, a fine-dining experience was a meal at a leagues club bistro but the arrival of award-winning chefs, ingredients sourced from nearby producers, trendy dining precincts, cool cafes, and thoughtful menus have elevated the scene.
“Townsville has grown up a bit,” explains Townsville Enterprise’s marketing executive, and local foodie, Lisa Woolfe.
“There’s always been an underlying health theme with Townsville dining – I think that has something to do with the fact so many young people live here because we’re a military and university town – but the restaurant scene has taken off in the past four years with paddock-to-plate dining becoming a focus in the past two years.
“We now have two great dining precincts with Palmer Street and City Lane and that really thoughtful focus on food is one thing that many people, especially visitors from the big cities down south, don’t expect to find in Townsville.
“And city people are always surprised at how good the coffee is in Townsville and I can recommend Juliette’s on The Strand for good coffee with water views, Hoi Polloi which has a funky laneway vibe going, Otto’s Fresh Food Market, and Coffee Dominion which is a local favourite where the professionals check in before going to their offices.’’
When it comes to fine dining, A Touch of Salt on Ogden Street, Palmer Street’s Michels, and City Lane’s Donna Bionda are top choices, while Cbar on The Strand boasts views across the water to Magnetic Island, and rooftop Rambutan (see review this page) is the hottest new place.
Townsville is also home to one of Australia’s finest morning meals with Jam, the chic openall-day restaurant at one end of Palmer Street, honoured by the Australian Savour Awards for serving the country’s very best brekkie, with the Asian chicken omelette a local favourite. – SARAH NICHOLSON