Cairns has its fair share of high quality restaurants; a large quantity of which line The Pier. Exploring the Great Barrier Reef is exhausting. So what better way to wind down following the cruise back to the Reef Fleet Terminal than with reinvigorating food nearby on the marina?
The Pier is Cairns' hot spot for dining, wining and a spot of shopping. With the Shangri-La and a flock of high class resorts nearby, it's also perfectly situated for tourists.
Nathan and I stroll along the wooden floorboards, assessing the various menus on display. There are multiple cuisines and restaurant-types to choose from: seafood, Chinese, Thai, Modern Australian, grills... Some are expensive, while the rest aren't exactly cheap but affordable nonetheless. If you're into the drink, on a a Sunday night the northern-side of the marina is home to a bustling bar (with banging bar food to match).
It's the last evening of our Cairns trip and we've spent too much money. And so we opt for the most decently-priced restaurant (that has a burger on the menu of course) at The Pier. This happens to be Waterbar Bar & Grill.
The menu is extensive: with steaks, salad, a variety of seafood dishes, pork ribs, a vegetarian platter and a lot else. After eyeballing the $30 plus steaks, Nathan, realising the hole in his pockets after shouting me a day at Fitzroy Island, chooses the beef burger featuring 250g lean beaf, smoked bacon and melted cheese. When his meal arrives shortly after he is blown away. The patty is juicy, the bacon crisp with a superb smokey edge and the chips crunchy. Sure, there's no edge to this burger, it's like most others he has tried, but it's smashingly presented and worth the $18 price tag taking into consideration the location and premium prices at The Pier.
It's only 6pm and considering I devoured a hot and cold buffet for a late lunch I am conscious of my waistline. The Thai beef salad of rump steak, coriander, mint, chilli, cucumber, cherry tomato, peanuts and nahm jim dressing ($22) meets all my criteria. And it also met all my expectations. The meat was deliciously deliciously tender; seared to perfection. The salad greens were a diverse and well-matched mix. The mint and coriander definitely stood out giving the dish a tangy flavour. Drizzling the lime over the dish improved it tenfold. The serving size was also generous and by just looking at the picture below, I remember how beautifully the dish was presented.
Waterbar & Grill was an excellent choice. The food was fantastic, the service friendly and the ambience relaxing after a long day on the reef. Overlooking the muddy water and boats in the marina is a decent view but not the nicest. The decor is in the same class; sophisticated but nothing special. Mainly, Waterbar offers one of the most reasonably priced array of meals on the marina. There's lots to choose from, making the restaurant suitable to almost everyone.
Waterbar & Grill Steakhouse, Pierpoint Road, Cairns