Food scene takes off

The best places to eat

Paradise - - Contents -

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

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