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“Wonderful Setting, Over Bearing Service, Above Average Food”

Nautilus Restaurant
Ranked #13 of 130 Restaurants in Port Douglas
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $15 - $75
Cuisines: Australian, International
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Special occasions, Local cuisine, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Late Night, Delivery, Reservations
Description: Elegant outdoor dining in the tropical rainforest of North Queensland. We specialise in romantic dinners for 2 to group functions and weddings.
Reviewed November 18, 2008

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.

1  Thank BostonPetvet
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,787 - 1,791 of 1,823 reviews

Reviewed November 9, 2008

For a romantic dinner, the setting is unbeatable. The service was very attentive, but the food only average, and like everyone says, overpriced. I can't even remember what we ate for dessert, it was that forgetable. We'd eaten the night before at Bistro 3 and thought the food was much better. For the ambience it's well worth a visit, but don't place too much hope in the menu.

Thank buttonlily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 2, 2008

Having spent 3 nights in Port Douglas last week before Cape Trib and been recommended to Nautlilus, we were expecting great things for our 1st Wedding Anniversary dinner, on our last holiday before our new born arrives in December.

But alas, the setting and the service (which were superb as everyone else agrees with) does not make a restaurant and certainly does not warrant the extortionate and pretentious prices of both food and wine. $16 for one glass of average wine and $80 starting price for a bottle - why?

My wife had the Reef Trout at $50 and I had the Sirloin at $42, both of which were expensive, average and had bland accompaniements (potato cake was poor), a glass of wine each, a non alcoholic cocktail and some bread for $154. Ridiculous.

Unfortunately the ambience was also spoiled by a loud mouthed oik from Northern England on a table of four, who were "degustating" so the restaurant didn't care as they were pulling in the cash. When we asked to be moved somewhere quiet, it was just too much effort for the staff, so we cut short our time and spend and left.

There are much better options to eat at half the price, don't waste your money here, you'll leave disappointed.

1  Thank RichieRhubarb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 31, 2008

The Nautilus has a really lovely and original setting, giving the effect of being in the rain forest yet just off the main street in Port Douglas.
The food was fine - there are many excellent places to eat in Port Douglas -but the idea of customer service eluded the staff. The information that that there would be one bill per table is (just) understandable alhough other places manage a split bill on their computer system.
What did annoy was that half of our table were told they could order drinks at the bar, either paying or starting a tab, and the rest being told their drinks would appear on the bill - an added complication when working out costs.
Our party took up two tables and when the first table were given an inflated bill, the second bill was checked and also found to be over the due amount.
The most polite description of the service at our table would be 'unhelpful and curt' and the other table fared little better, doubly disappointing as the gathering was for a special occasion.
The Nautlus is probably a great place for an intimate dinner for two but not a good choice for a group. And make sure to check the bill!!

1  Thank Retiredadventurer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 19, 2008

What a wonderful place to eat.

This place is amazing,i am so so happy i finally went. My husband and i have been to Port Douglas 5 times and have always had our children so have never been able to go.

The meal was sensational.

Would go back again and again.

Thanks for a truly wonderful night.

Thank meltash
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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