We dined at Nautilus in mid October 2008. As as has been mentioned, the setting is very interesting as you hike up the path to the restaurant from the street. You feel as you are walking on a path in the rainforest only to emerge at the restaurant which itself looks like it's set in a rainforest.
We were show to an "outside" table under the canopy of trees and were seated in large "bamboo" chairs. The ambiance of the restaurant is certainly toward the romantic side and most of the tables were occupied by couples.
After receiving our menus from the woman who escorted us to our table, we had a few moments to peruse the menu before the waiter arrived. Unfortunately, our waiter was a former US citizen from Chicago who had not a clue how to act in in upscale restaurant. Even though we had responded that we didn't have any questions regarding the menu, he spent the next 5 minutes (no joke) explaining the entire thing to us anyway as he described ingredients, food preparation and the nuances of chef's signature dishes. He even went so far as to turn the pages of my wife's menu while it was in her hands.
Despite the fact that we risked having to put up with him for an extended period, we ordered the 6 Course Tasting Menu with wine pairings. Courses consisted of scallops, tiger prawns, smoked tuna, duck breasts, grilled fillet and a Chocolate/Hazelnut brownie. Along the way, other wait staff served us wine and some of the courses but each course was accompanied by our US friend who could not resist asking questions about each course and making uninvited comments about the courses. Perhaps he thinks this is a good way to interact with the diners. I found it obnoxious. The food, ambiance and company should be the highlights of the meal -- not the waiter.
During our meal, the heavens opened and rain filtered down form the sky. The staff quickly jumped into action and closed a series of plastic coverings on a pulley system that quickly sheltered all but one table for the deluge. 10 minutes later when the rain stopped, the process was reversed and the open-air atmosphere of the "rain forest" was restored
While I can say that the food was not as inspiring as other tasting menus that we experienced in Australia it was not bad as some have made it out to be. Is it more expensive than other choices in Port Douglas - yes. Is it outlandish compared to other restaurants we visited in Australia - no.
Our hosts at our B & B were interested to hear our report because previous guests have provided mixed reviews. Of the 18 restaurants we visited during our 3 weeks in Australia, my wife and I rated Nautilus as being in the middle of the pack.
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