Member Rating 5 out of 5 by stomps on October 12, 2006

After walking through the markets on the Esplanade on Saturday morning, James and I headed toward Budget Rent-A-Car by turning on Aplin St, which spanned the block between the Esplanade and Lake St, our destination. After passing three or four shop fronts, James suddenly stopped and started pointing at "Swordfish", advertised as a combination fish market and restaurant. "We're eating here tonight," he stated.

And eat there we did. After going in several circles looking for a parking place, we lucked into finding one and walked through the spitting rain to the brightly-lit market. Half of the restaurant was tables, while the other half was taken up by the "market"--essentially, seafood display coolers. It was definitely a different experience; we were able to walk up, look at the menu, and then look into the displays in front of us to see what our dinner would actually look like!

While there are the standard "fish and chips" meals here, the best deals were definitely the platters. These offered a combination of different seafood for two people and looked fantastic. However, James and I decided on a bucket of prawns, which cost $25 for the bucket and 2 Coronas. When we got to the counter, though, we promptly changed our minds when we saw that the special of the day was a barbecued seafood platter. Even though it cost $60, plus drinks and a side salad, we decided that we were on vacation and might as well splurge.

We found an open table on the sidewalk just outside the restaurant, which was covered, luckily, because it was spitting rain throughout the night. When the meal arrived, we were both instantly happy that we had decided to splurge. On the plate, there were 6 Moreton Bay bugs (one of the most expensive types of seafood you can find, and very good--if you can dig the meat out of them!), a pile of calamari, 2 fish fillets, and lots of prawns. Talk about a feast! After taking pictures of our meal, which at $60 still seemed like a steal for the amount of food we got, we dug in. We managed to finish all the seafood (especially the bugs!), but we had absolutely no room for the salad and fries, and had to roll back to the car! Unfortunately, this meant missing out on the yummy-looking yogurt bar next door.

We enjoyed our meal so much that we went back the following night for more. We didn't have the money to afford another barbecue platter, which wasn't the Sunday night special anyway, so we went for our Saturday night "reject", the bucket of prawns. Rather than a normal side salad, we split an Italian pasta salad, which went very well with our massive pile of prawns. It was a perfect meal--we didn't have to wait at all and it really hit the spot.

I would have loved to try everything else on Swordfish's menu, but unfortunately, we had to leave Cairns. There's always next time!
Swordfish Market and Cafe
5 Aplin Street
Cairns City, Queensland, 4870


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