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Easter Dinner in Port Douglas

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  • FNY Jan 18, 2008 07:45 AM

Any suggestions for an easter family dinner in Port Douglas or the surrounding area? We're visiting from NY and enjoy good food! Thanks.

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  1. We liked the seafood restaurant "2 Fish" when we were there.

    We didn't end up eating here but you like good food you might like Nautilus too (http://www.nautilus-restaurant.com.au/). It's probably the most "upmarket" restaurant in Port Douglas, and the dining setting looks quite exotic.

    Dined out at a couple of other places during the week but they elude my memory probably for good reason.

    Enjoy your trip and make sure you go snorkelling on the reef : )

    1 Reply
    1. re: Tsar_Pushka

      2 Fish was good, but their specials ran out very early. If going, make sure you get an early reservation.

      I personally found Salsa better value. But, it might be because I did not get to try the trio coral trout dish at 2 Fish.

    2. I highly recommend Nautilus, which provided our best meal in Australia. Their signature whole coral trout is outstanding - lightly spiced, tenderly cooked and topped with a tropical fruit chutney. The crabs and bugs are also great; can't vouch for their skill with turf (would you order a roast chicken at a place called Nautilus?). I forget if it came with the dessert or was just a palate cleanser, but after dinner they brought out the best mint sorbet we've ever had - wish I knew their trick. Service is attentive and appropriate, the setting is beautiful. Reservations are necessary (make them now!); get a table out on the patio among the palm trees and ferns under the stars.

      19 Replies
      1. re: grg

        Apparently it's bill clinton's favourite too!

        1. re: kmh

          Thanks for the suggestions!

          1. re: FNY

            anything vegetarian friendly on the menu? i'd love for my bf to eat there & don't want to hold him back in this pescetarian paradise!

            1. re: lavendula

              http://www.nautilus-restaurant.com.au/

              1. re: kmh

                sounds great :)

        2. re: grg

          Indeed, I was turned away from Nautilus last time I was in the area, without a reservation. To be honest however, it was slow season, there were a few empty tables, and we got a definite look up and down from the host, with what appeared to us to be an attitude, before we were turned away. My distinct impression (since he made an absolute point of looking us up and down, to the point of moving his head along with his eyes) was that we weren't dressed appropriately...(though dress has admittedly NEVER been an issue anywhere else I've ever dined in Australia)...

          1. re: susancinsf

            Wow, what a snot. We have reservations, but I wasn't expecting to have to dress up so much!

            1. re: susancinsf

              what were you wearing?

              1. re: kmh

                I can't remember (has been a few years). Knowing us, it was definitely not shorts or anything like that (hubby simply won't wear them to dinner under any circumstances...and it was fairly warm, so I doubt if it was jeans though it could have been. Most likely just sandals and casual pants, though it is possible we were in (dive related) t-shirts...

                at the time, I wasn't upset about being turned away, but I WAS annoyed at the way he made a point of looking us up and down. He could have turned us away without that bit, whether or not dress was an issue or they just had reservations for those empty tables. I do remember that when we decided to get a bit dressed up and go out the next night we went to Zai, the upscale Japanese restaurant at the Sheraton, rather than give our business to Nautilus after that little bit. BTW, I think Zai is still there, and it wasn't bad: I remember liking the atmosphere, thinking there were some good and somewhat unusual cooked dishes, and more than anything else enjoying watching a large family of at least three generations at a nearby table chowing down on an amazing amount of food!

                Sorry, don't remember much more than that.

                ....for lavendula, I'd suggest calling to ask what they expect about dress, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. I honestly had the feeling it was the particular host, not necessarily a restaurant policy....

                1. re: susancinsf

                  ok, went back and did a search, and found this thread. Note that it has two posts, one with a direct reference to getting turned away from Nautilus, and a link to an earlier post where I did in fact have positive things to say about my dinner at Zai.

                  Apparently, at the time, I was more concerned with the host looking back and forth to the room and looking us up and down. I just remember being very turned off by the whole thing, but I'd say my earlier recollection is likely to be more accurate, though I definitely also remember him looking us up and down. That said, I seemed to think that our dress was fine and shouldn't have been an issue. But truly, as I said above, my impression was that the individual host was the problem, not the restaurant.

                  OTOH, I DID think the wine list at Nautilus appeared to be very pricey. Don't know if that is still the case or not, but the dollar certainly isn't getting stronger...

                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/268073

                  1. re: susancinsf

                    well it does sound rather rude, but I certainly wouldn't be going to Nautilus in jeans and a t-shirt. smart casual dress / trousers and top/ skirt and top.

                    Another dead give away with Americans is the white trainers/sneakers/sandshoes (whatever you call them I can't remember) with jeans - think Jerry Seinfeld

                    1. re: kmh

                      I am pleased to say that I have NEVER owned a pair of white shoes.... :-)

                      1. re: susancinsf

                        phew! (wipes brow)
                        I was trying to convey an impression.

                        It all sounds rather odd and definitely rude. I certainly have had one of the MOST entertaining dinners in my life there and it was over 2 decades ago! but too long and too long ago to bother anyone with it here.

                        1. re: kmh

                          abridged version?

                          1. re: lavendula

                            i can't do it justice here. I'm sorry.
                            Needless to say 20+ years later, it's a dinner my family recalls with much laughter!

                      2. re: kmh

                        I'm pretty sure I showed up for my reservation in jeans and a button-down, and if my trail running shoes weren't white it was only because of all the trail dust on them. ;) They didn't seem to have any problem with that whatsoever.

                        Maybe that marks me as an american tourist several seconds before I would otherwise be so identified, but hey, I'm a tourist from america. The best I can hope is to be a nice, polite, dignified one. :)

                        FWIW, we found Nautilus to be extremely friendly and gracious, even to an obvious american tourist, in addition to being delicious. I didn't rave enough about it in my original post here, but they really did have exceptionally friendly & helpful service - they'd interrupt whatever they were doing to handle our requests promptly, they had amazing communication in the back with each staff member who talked to up updating every other one with everything we said & needed, they were attentive to the table without hovering at all, and they followed our lead in the level of friendliness we wished. (Why I say all this: we wandered in apparently through the side and a busboy noticed us, asked us to wait there for a sec & immediately brought the maitre d' over, who had the reservation list and helped us straight to our table, orienting us along the way; our server quickly showed up & she already knew the small talk we'd had with the busboy about the air travel troubles; when she saw we appreciated the mint sorbet she brought an additional round of mandarin orange sorbet (which was her favorite); etc.. In other places, the busboy would have ignored us, since people aren't his job; or he would have told us to go to the maitre d' instead of bringing her over; or the maitre d' would have taken us back to the entrance because that's where you check in, etc. - every choice was made correctly for our comfort & convenience. Really impressively & consistently good.)

                        [BTW susaninsf, your second post on 4mar says that in your earlier thread you were more concerned with the host looking to the room "and" looking you up&down, but reading the thread you referenced I think you meant "than" looking you up&down? the original thread doesn't mention the host scoping out your attire at all, and you just wondered if it were attire or a $20 which was the problem...]

                        1. re: grg

                          I did note that inconsistency myself in one of my posts above, and specifically said that my earlier post was more likely to be accurate given that my memory is not perfect.

                          My main point was: do NOT go without a reservation (well, at least when I tried to, I was turned away, so I was agreeing with the hound who said they were necessary), and my secondary point was that I definitely detected attitude on the part of the host, which I found to be a turnoff (obviously, since I didn't eat there since they wouldn't seat me I had no opinion re attitude on the part of the wait staff, nor did I have or express an opinion on the food.)

                          I am glad you enjoyed your meal and the service, but to get to the important stuff: other than the sorbet, how was the food? EDITED: oh, I see you mentioned the rest of the meal in your post above, sorry, and you were the one who said that reservations were needed.

                          What did you think of the wine list? (If you drink wine)

                  2. re: susancinsf

                    We went to "Nautilus" a few years ago and they led us to a table next to a family with young children. The restaurant was empty so we requested to be sat at a table further away - I am child phobic - but this request was refused.
                    We walked out as we took this intransigence to be the sign of a restaurant with a bad attitude. Looks like we were right.

                    1. re: PhilD

                      WOW!