Darwin’s Best Waterfront Restaurants
Darwin is renowned for its multicultural market scene and relaxed, slow-paced vibe oozing from every corner.
The feeling when you're in Darwin melts away any stress associated with big city hustle and bustle. Even more relaxing is being expertly looked after as you savour mouth-watering multicultural delights, inventive fine dining to casual, eclectic meal options accompanied by a cold beverage while encapsulated with a calming water outlook and sizzling kaleidoscopic sunset. Darwin offers all this in spades. It’s a slice of tropical paradise where life borders on being in heaven.
From Stokes Hill Wharf, the purpose-built Darwin Waterfront Precinct, Cullen Bay, Mindil Beach, Fannie Bay, East Point and Nightcliff Foreshore, visitors and locals are spoilt with soul-soothing water views and delectable foodie choices.
Stokes Hill Wharf
The historic Stokes Hill Wharf buildings house a labyrinth of shopfront options to enjoy along the jetty’s edges. Perfect if you’re after casual alfresco eateries. Relish char grills, burgers, fish and chips, and Asian. Finish with a trip to the Liquor Bar, ice cream shop or indulge in delicious desserts. Plus, every Wednesday and Sunday from April to September, you can relax and listen to live entertainment. Book a table at Crustaceans or The Jetty Restaurant for an abundance of fresh, local seafood offerings.
Crustaceans on the Wharf
Photo by: Tourism NT
Stokes Hill Wharf
Sit back, relax, watch locals fishing, ships passing, and a fiery sunset glow lit up the sky over the city as you savour fresh mud crab, towering seafood platters, lobsters, or succulent steaks (for the carnivores). Crustacean’s harbourfront terrace is at the end of Stokes Hill Wharf.
The Jetty Restaurant
39 Stokes Hill Wharf
At the beginning of Stokes Hill Wharf, jutting out over Darwin Harbour, this all-you-can-eat buffet of seafood, steak, salads, Asian, modern Australian and desserts have something to tingle everyone’s taste buds. Dine in air-conditioned comfort inside or soak up the cooling harbour views, colourful skies, and boating activity from the deck.
Darwin Waterfront Precinct
This purpose-built precinct tucked between Stokes Hill Wharf and a ten-minute walk from the CBD is a haven for safe seawater swimming and relaxation, ensuring you don’t become a crocodile’s meal. Mere steps from the water’s edge, there’s no shortage of dining options, even for the most fastidious. Whether you’re after breakfast, brunch, lunch, a refreshing drink, coffee, ice cream or a decadent dinner between relaxing, swimming and sunbaking the multitude of cafes, pubs and first-rate restaurants have you covered.
Wharf One & Bella Darwin
Photo by: Tourism NT - Shaana McNaught
3/19 Kitchener Drive
Only the fresh, tantalising, passionately in-house made Bella pasta and bread surpass the dazzling water views from every table at this contemporary establishment. Wharf One is renowned for gastronomic surprises, including crispy-skin barramundi, suckling Berkshire pig feast (carved at the table), local seafood, a range of charcuterie and shared plates, and drool-worthy desserts. Or check out the exotic tapas and cocktails at Bella. It’s an all-encompassing culinary experience, whether lunch or dinner.
7 Kitchener Drive
Superbly fresh, local seafood is the main attraction here. Top of the menu is the whole wild-caught local snapper served with creamy cashew sauce and papaya salad. Be tempted by marinated salt and pepper crocodile bites – it’s also a snapping success. Soak in the cooling Lagoon Pool outlook daily during breakfast, lunch or dinner.
F2 19 Kitchener Drive
Heaving with multi-colour Mexican joy, this is where you overload on spicy margaritas, sangrias, creative cocktails, guacamole, jalapenos, habaneros, tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and a side of Elote con Crema (indulgent-cheesy corn dip). It’s a tangy party for your mouth with effervescent fun times and soothing water views.
19 Kitchener Drive
Perch yourself at a high table and cherish Darwin’s freshest and finest assortment of oysters – chilled, grilled, savoured, spiced – all while sipping a glass of bubbles and soaking in the breezy Waterfront Precinct views. Other specialty seafoods, meat dishes and shared plates fill the menu, ensuring relaxed, satisfying lunches and dinners for all.
3A/19 Kitchener Drive
This rustic, relaxed, family-owned, operated, friendly Irish pub makes everyone feel welcome. Fiddlers is a local favourite. Dine inside, surrounded by quirky memorabilia or alfresco, soaking up the swaying palm tree and cooling water views. The food is hearty and value for money. Favourites include lamb shanks, surf and turf and traditional Sunday roasts. The daily specials are a real hit. Open every day for lunch and dinner and breakfast on weekends.
Photo by: Tourism Australia
7 Kitchener Drive
Craving a craft beer or cider? You’ll have fun discovering the 46 on tap here, along with cruisy cocktails and wonderful wines to accompany the hearty pub fare available across three bar areas at this Australian-themed pub. Be sure to check out the daily specials, live entertainment, and people frolicking in the Wave Pool out front. Or grab an antipasto picnic basket and relax on the lawns.
Curve Cafe and Bar
7 Kitchener Drive
Begin your day with the only all-you-can-eat waterfront buffet breakfast. Chill and immerse yourself in outstandingly tasty, fresh Australian-flavoured lunches and dinners. Choose sticky, licky chicken wings, superb chicken BLAT, power salads and melt-in-your-mouth beef cheek burgers, to fully loaded wedges, crispy-skinned Humpty Doo barramundi, or homemade pasta and risotto. Settle back with a signature Mojito and let the cosy, modern décor and soothing Lagoon Pool view cocoon your soul.
D1, D2 19 Kitchener Drive
For kitschy-cool, tropical Southeast Asian cuisine, fine rice noodles and fun cocktails, fresh coconut, or icy fruit slushies, head to palm-fringed Chow. Tingle your taste buds with Malaysian laksa, chilli-salt chicken wings or Vietnamese pho in this informal, funky setting. Open every day for lunch and dinner.
Created in 1990s, Cullen Bay is a marina and luxury housing estate with a plethora of eateries. While you can’t swim in the marina or sea (but you could spy a crocodile), the private yachts and sunset views won’t disappoint. Grab a barista coffee and all-day breakfast (and lunch) at Boatshed Coffee House on the marina boardwalk. At Seafood on Cullen, enjoy a delectable hot and cold all-you-can-eat seafood buffet dinner with uninterrupted sunset ocean views. Or order fish and chips at La Beach to eat on the open deck or the vast lawns leading to the west-facing beach. For a bit of carnival-themed fun, head to the funky waterhole, Lolas Pergola. Enjoy refreshing beverages, burgers and snacks surrounded by carousel ponies and arcade machines overlooking the marina as the twilight turns to a starry night.
Yots Greek Taverna
Photo by: Tourism NT
54 Marina Blvd, Cullen Bay
Soak up the Cullen Bay Marina vistas from either air-conditioned comfort inside or on the outdoor boardwalk at family-owned and operated Yots. You’ll be transported back to Greece while indulging in their modern and traditional Greek foods, from freshly grilled seafood, home-style mezedes, slow-cooked lamb kleftiko to mama’s decadent syrupy sweets.
Exotic North Indian Cuisine
2/52 Marina Blvd, Cullen Bay
Discover a unique, soul-soothing blend of Darwin and the essence of northern India here. Tantalising, spicy aromas meld with the sea breeze and balmy evenings as you savour karahi, ever-popular butter chicken, Amritsari fish, mango beef and live-fire tandoori delights against a mellow marina background.
Picnic at Cullen
6/68 Marina Blvd, Cullen Bay
Celebrating something special or love top-notch, stylish picnics? Picnic at Cullen does all the hard work and set-up. All you do is show up relaxed and ready to toast the flaming sunset from your exclusive and cosy marina or beachside picnic setting.
Il Piatto Restaurant
Gilruth Ave, Mindil Beach
Overlooking magical Mindil Beach, Mindil Beach Casino Resort’s premier, white-tableclothed Italian restaurant perfectly pairs a la carte, in-house traditionally cooked pasta, woodfired pizzas, lobster ravioli, lamb or steak and matched vinos. Be transfixed by the aquamarine sea at lunch or dreamy sunsets and salty breezes at dinner while indulging your tastebuds. Complete your meal with a traditional affogato or tiramisu.
Darwin Trailer Boat Club
Photo by: Tourism NT
Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay
Grab a table on the manicured lawns under tall swaying palms, watch people strolling the beach, yachts bobbing up and down in Fannie Bay and unobscured epic sunsets. Even the locals think life doesn’t get any better than this. As Darwin’s oldest seaside club, it’s an institution offering stylish bar beverages and modern Australian bistro meals for lunch and dinner every day. There’s even a swimming pool and playground for the kids.
Darwin Sailing Club
Atkins Drive, Fannie Bay
Another local favourite, situated beside the Trailer Boat Club. Their award-winning Waterfront Bistro offers a diverse menu of flavoursome Southeast Asia fare, flame-grilled meats, seafood and pasta for lunch and dinner. Plus, the same sensational outlook surrounded by massive palms and tropical garden.
Pee Wees at the Point
Alec Fong Lim Drive, East Point Reserve
Located on a heritage-listed site within East Point Reserve, Pee Wees seamlessly blends its unique historical position, surrounding nature and a mesmerising Fannie Bay view back to the city with its innovative, multicultural Territorian a la carte menu. Let elegantly plated pearl meat, nut-encrusted wild-caught barramundi, crocodile wrapped in betel leaf, kangaroo carpaccio and coconut, kaffir lime and lemongrass mackerel with green paw-paw delight your taste buds.
This is another local’s favourite, an easy 20-minute drive north of the CBD. From Wednesday to Sunday, you’ll find an assortment of pop-up street stalls and food vans adorned with fairy lights and people gathered around picnic tables and sprawled on blankets toasting life and the scorching sunset. Try Cucina Sotto Le Stelle, traditional Italian bruschetta and woodfired pizza van, or stuffed zucchini flowers, golden snapper, and other sensational seasonal specialties at Needle in a Haystack Street Bistro.
The Foreshore Restaurant & Cafe
225 Casuarina Drive, Nightcliff
Next to the Nightcliff Public Swimming Pool and bike path, this stylish, tropical cafe is open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, attracting many fitness fans, families and retirees. Vast glass doors open for the sea breezes and endless ocean vistas. The menu has everything from traditional, modern Australian fare, acai bowls and banana pancakes to coffee-braised beef at dinner, washed down with excellent coffee and an extensive cocktail and wine list.
De La Plage
Darribah Rd, Brinkin
Another hidden gem set under the Darwin Surf Lifesaving Club on Casuarina Beach. Come as you are. You could even be overdressed in thongs and shorts. Pull up a beanbag, hammock, or lay your rug under a colourful umbrella, and even bring the dog. De La Plage boasts a grassy expanse with lurid nature reserve and ocean views as soothing as their morning caffeine fixes. Dine on vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free and organic meaty menu items. Don’t skip the colourful homemade breads – detoxifying black, anti-Inflammatory yellow or antioxidant-rich purple. Their special events include street food cuisine on the first Wednesday each month and Friday fish & chips from 6pm. Lay back at the Sunday Sessions from 5.30pm listening to live local musicians. It’s the perfect way to finish the weekend.