A complete guide to Cairns Restaurants

McDonald's Cairns Central




Family Friendly, EFTPOS, Take Away

Price Guide







Cairns Central Shopping Centre, Cairns

What people are saying...

Alex Blair
16 Feb 2010

I've never been to savour the delights of McDonalds, but was interested to read the reviews. Only one comment:

Where on earth did the reviewers, or anyone else get the idea that Coca Cola was fit to drink with food? The stuff must completely overpower any tastes that the food may have.

Perhaps that's the idea, but it's sad to see.

Mike Hart
1 Jan 2005

Ah McDonalds "Anywhere" the restaurant for everyone, anyplace, anytime, where the food is, hygienic, available to eat away or in house, always 'fresh' and served like lightning with unfailing courtesy. Love em or hate em as a Restaurant, and they are restaurants they are the best. Not for cuisine, that is another matter altogether but as an eating experience they provide safe, comfortable, warm or cool tables and toddler seating, clean rest rooms discreetly placed, diversions for children and parking for families, and generally they are cleaned indefatigably.

I have to say that I have never had a bad experience eating at one yet, even though I am a gourmand and seasoned traveller, anywhere, ever. that is an amazing record don't you think, how many gourmet establishments do you know that wheel through their guests without histrionics or inconveniance? honestly now! What's more no matter where you are night or day, you can easily find one or find someone who knows where they are, those golden arches are more than symbolic, their beacons.

As for what they serve, well let us be charitable and honest but not derogatory. M's foods are a form of nineteen sixties Californian Diner offerings, based on pulverised cheap beef, buns and fried with lots of different fats and sugars. It is not rennaissance food. It's not Victorian, or European, its West Coast American take-away. It's simple food, no herbs or spices, no convoluted cooking techniques, no unduly long cooking times, it can be prepared mechanically or semi-mechanically by your produce suppliers, meat merchants, vegtable growers and refreshment suppliers. This also means you do not have to pay your staff for skills and with their mastery of cooking, finishing and serving times for their food, you can regulate the kitchen, the food delivery can be ramped up or down. Young people can do it and do it well, they can have fun but not be stupid. The M's elevated this food style into a trans-national eating habit.

So here's what eating at the M's is like for a serious gourmand without prejudice or jaundice but who is simply hungry and there is nowhere else!

There are lots of lights, its bright, clean and generally always busy as you approach. Lots of glass so you can see out or in. The door opens and directs you to a counter with a multi-coloured lit display. Here there are no printed or cardboard menus. The menu sits above your head at eye level as you walk in, illustrated with colour photographs.

You are offered your basic group(s) of either a set meal or individual servings You can therefore have meat; either beef, chicken or fish, potatoes and bread and perhaps the touch of a condiment (a pickle, some cheese or a plain dressing or mayonnaise), with a carbonated drink or tea or coffee. Deserts are available and a form of iced cream confection or similar tart. The choice is limited. If you choose to eat in it is delivered to you on a tray, if to eat out, in a brown paper bag. The prices are very economical, quite low, by any standard and a basic meal of meat potatoes bun and a drink will cost you about AUS$5.00. Your average local cafe or take-away food merchant is already much more expensive. So you can eat a lot and very cheaply. Or lots of you can eat and eat cheaply.

A clean and tidy, nicely mannered, uniformed, young woman or man will take your order and have it in front of you in less than two minutes, it is all carefully wrapped so no dirty hands to worry about. The only problem is you have to queue but that is not a problem as they move quickly and there are more than several service staff to help take your order, they actually almost compete to take your order, not avoid you for ages like some restaurants and alters of high culinary art, where disdain and arrogance for the poor diner borders on pathological.

You can choose many seats, the galley style in almost military style diner benches, good for those sports teams I guess, the family or friends settings, the odd booth or two or outdoors. Seating is not reserved so you have to take your chances, not that that is a problem because you soon notice at McDonalds that people eat and move quickly on, so that booth over there will be available soon.

McDonalds also don't look down their nose at their customers, you only want a coffee, that's ok too, no pressure to buy what you don't want here. You have a couple of children, thats ok too. Want to host a party or reception, no problems either, special cakes and ice treats are available.

So looking at the menu, you realise that the blandness is deliberate, the conformity to size and shape of the finely julienned french fries to the seeds on the buns essential, and it is never cold to the eating. The food is so inoffensive that any child of any age and any adult of any age, from two to a hundred will find something on the M's menu they can and would eat. No tantrums about bernaise sauce on the eggs, herbs on meat, spicey sauces or strange vegetables.

So the verdict.


Alas no entrees - unless you simply want a cheeseburger, fries, or similar alone.


The grilled meat (beef, chicken or fish) patty on a bun with onions, mayonnaise and cheese and a splash of ketchup was hardly exciting, it tasted oily, with a constituency of soggy cardboard. The food had a rubbery resistance to folding and bending, but would miraculously quickly vanish like a form of oiled fairy floss. No character to this dish what so ever. For those with an interest in a salad base then a leaf of ice lettuce and a slice of tomato is also available. If you like the taste of animal fat, sugar buns, undercooked chopped onion with the waft of a dill pickle slice then this is for you. Essential food after hundreds of kilometres on the run or after that all night football binge. Cleverly anything remotely having taste or interest, ala dill pickles, can easily be remove by young folk without destroying the dining experience and enhancing the entertainment experience.

Without a doubt their French Fries are superb, seriously. The are perfectly julienned, deep fried and lightly salted (You can now have them without). No bad potato parts left in, no eyes no skin. No body does them better. Whether or not you care for them done in the oils or fats M's use is a matter of taste, if you could reproduce the method with another form of potato at home the result would simply be miraculous. If you have to have fries then these are the best. Forget the calorie/fat arguments, any frie has the same problem, whether you do them or M's does them. If you going to do them, they have to be light, crisp, tasty, retrain the flavour and textrureof the potato which is fresh or snap frozen. M's do this to perfection.

Best accompanied by a 200(*) Coca-Cola with ice.


The chocolate coated icey confectionary looked great but tasted like sweetened chalk. The hot fruit rolls, lacked fruit but contained a strong sweet fruity syrup in the thick cinnamon spiced pie pastry, again short on fruit.

Coffee or Tea

M's do a mean brewed coffee. Well used to, my last visit to M's in Cairns revealed a change, but the coffee they used to serve had taste, was not to strong and a reasonable mass produced coffee. Some restaurants allow you to have as many cups as you like, a generous and not unwelcome offer to the weary highway traveller. Their Tea is tepid and uninteresting, bland beyond belief.

So that's a dining experience at McDonalds.


21 Mar 2003

A winning formula based on mediocrity
Reviewed on: 2003-03-21
Reviewer's rating: 1

Has anyone reviewed the food at McDonalds before? Has anyone thought the food at McDonalds was worth reviewing? Has anyone queried that McDonalds food may not actually fit under the title "food"?

Not me. In the continuing quest to find the best restaurant in Cairns, McDonalds must be a part of that process and endure rigorous analysis of its cuisine by your reviewer. Let's start with the location.

McDonalds has incredible views. You can look out over the Bruce Highway at Woree, watch tourists walking along the Cairns Esplanade, laugh at kids leaping around on play equipment at Smithfield, amuse yourself by dodging cars at Manunda, and capture glimpses of 21st century adolescence at Cairns Central and Earlville. I don't think there are any other restaurants that offer that kind of experience.

The atmosphere at McDonalds is family oriented and fun. The kids can play on the equipment outside while parents suck coffee and chat about their day. It's a handy place to take the kids, or your friends, if you're short on time and need to stuff something down your throat. It's even better if you're short on energy and want someone else to cook dinner for you.

Which brings us to service. Although waiters and waitresses don't come to your table with a notepad and pen, eager to please and top up your wine glass, patrons do receive food extremely quickly. You order and pay at the front counter and a young employee hands the food over on a tray to take back to a table of your choice. McDonalds cunningly omits straws and serviettes from the tray, which allows the kids to skip over to a nearby table and grab a handful of the essentials. For some reason, it fills them with delight.

Food at McDonalds is open to scrutiny and has been attacked by anti-McDonalds activists for decades. The menu is unchanging - a polite way of saying it is stagnant. But it has a winning formula and millions of people around the globe feast on Big Macs and soggy fries every day, like they did the day before, and the day before that. The "New Tastes" menu is an attempt to excite diners with exotic meals like toasted cheese and ham sandwiches for lunch, and omelette for breakfast. But these meals have been around for decades, perhaps centuries. They are not "new tastes".

I usually feast on a Quarter Pounder with Cheese with a side of fries and a medium coke. The Quarter Pounder is like an adult version of the cheeseburger, and just as palatable. Occasionally at home I gnaw on damp newspaper to remind me of the texture and taste. I am still waiting for the day my burger resembles the burger on the picture board above the serving counter.

Overall, McDonalds is adequate for a quick feed. I'd advise consuming McDonalds food less than once a week, once a month if possible. This is for two reasons: your digestive tract will thank you, and you will decompose when you finally shuffle off this mortal coil instead of suffering the indignity of a half-life of 5 million years.

Good eating. Enjoy your meal.

- Diner Diller

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