This popular seafood restaurant is on The Esplanade, the busy thoroughfare that parallels the seafront of central Cairns. A large and well-stocked fish tank is poised in the front window to lure you in (sorry for the fishing reference).
The dining room has a fun casual look, with a bar near the back. Diners can select from a wide range of fresh seafood (and one or two non-seafood) dishes. This is a good place for couples, families, groups, and even a celebrity or two, as my friend spotted one of the young stars of "American Pie 2" dining here.
My friend splurged and ordered the crayfish entree, and he found it to be delectable and well worth the rather expensive tab. Not being a seafood connoisseur, I ordered the grilled kangaroo on a skewer, served with rich mushroom gravy and white rice. The kangaroo meat had good flavor, but was a bit chewy. The waiter then presented a huge mockup showing each colorful dessert in three-dimensional splendor. We both ordered "pavlova" for dessert, one of the posher Australian desserts found on the menu. Supposedly named after a ballerina, the fancy and pleasingly sweet slice of pavlova was very light due to its thick layer of meringue.
I have a feeling that your rating of Barnacle Bill's would be higher if you like fresh seafood. Still, if you have to pick a nice "touristy" restaurant, this is a good one to choose.