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Townsville fast becoming a place for foodies

A Touch of Salt, Townsville.

A Touch of Salt, Townsville. Photo: Townsville Enterprise

The average regional city is lucky to have one Chef’s Hat restaurant from the Australian Good Food Guide Awards, but Townsville is home to three.

The north Queensland region’s dining scene has seen it become a place for foodies to take seriously. But it’s not only fine dining – Townsville has a diverse mix of cafes, bars and take-away options.

Townsville’s Chef’s Hat restaurants are JAM, Bridgewater and A Touch of Salt. Chef Matt Merrin recognised a local appetite for new eateries when he first arrived in Townsville in 2005, later opening JAM in 2010 and Bridgewater in 2018.

He said both restaurants serve modern Australian cuisine using a wide variety of produce sourced from the region.

Chamber of Music

Australian Festival of Chamber Music is at Townsville every year. Photo: Andrew Rankin

“People travel for food so much these days and they want to explore and taste produce from the region so that’s why I think it’s important for us to showcase it in the restaurants,” he said.

“We have some stunning seafood up here, scallops, prawns, reef fish, beautiful tropical fruits and vegetables as well as dairy from the Tablelands and cattle from the Gulf.”

Townsville is fast becoming synonymous with excellent food – whether it’s fish and chips at the Strand or a three course meal. Merrin said the region’s reputation is rising.

“There’s not many regional places in Australia where you can say there’s three chef hatted restaurants so that on its own tells you there’s quality offerings in Townsville,” he said.

“We might not have an abundance of restaurants, but what we do have is quality and there’s a diverse food offering in the city from mixed cuisines to mixed price points and really there’s something for everyone.”

Beer lovers can enjoy local ales from Townsville Brewing Co, Magnetic Island Brewery and the TapHouse. While spirit connoisseurs can enjoy locally made gin at Tanlines Distillery or rum from the Burdekin Distillery.

Townsville’s buzzing food scene comes as the town’s tourism cred gathers momentum. New luxury accommodation venues have opened there in recent years, with others planned later this year and a range of cultural and art events are now based in the area.

Visitors to Ardo will soon be able to gaze at panoramic views across the Coral Sea to Magnetic Island on the rooftop pool deck when it opens in late 2023, while guests at Orpheus Island Lodge will feel like they’re a world away from their troubles at the Great Barrier Reef resort.

And those who enjoy a resort destination will be catered for at The Ville, a resort-style hotel with a range of plush features including an infinity-edge pool and swim-up bar.

Visitors to Townsville are spoilt for choice when it comes to entertainment with groups such as DanceNorth, one of Australia’s leading performing arts companies, based in the region.

The Australian Festival of Chamber Music draws classical music enthusiasts from all over the country, while the North Australian Festival of Arts brings an eclectic array of performances each year. As the events capital of the North, everything from concerts to major sport  feature an impressive line-up and held at venues across the Townsville region.

You’ll find something for every appetite in Townsville North Queensland.

Up for unexpected – Townsville North Queensland.

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