Nothing quite captures the laidback waterside glamour of Sydney like a leisurely lunch at Catalina. The sparkling waters, the passing ferries, the circling seaplanes and the white yachts bobbing in the distance… the curvaceous dining room with vast windows and a sprawling balcony captures it all.
But none of it takes the shine off executive chef Mark Axisa’s food. His tender scallop and squid entrée with romesco crumb is art on a plate, while the orange-drizzled poached marron is too pretty to eat. Well, almost.
For the main course, snapper is the signature dish, having stayed on the menu since the opening of the restaurant 24 years ago. But seafood lovers should also give the toothfish a try – paired with shiitake dumplings in a dashi consommé, it’s a beautifully silky and satisfying dish. Steak connoisseurs, on the other hand, will delight in the wagyu scotch fillet served with smoked onion aïoli.
All of this is ably supported by an exhaustive wine tome – pick a light pinot noir from Orange, NSW, to go with the fish or a deep cab sav from the Barossa Valley to bolster the fillet. Service is impeccable and shows years of refinement – the waiter serving us, for instance, has worked at the restaurant for 12 years. And have we mentioned the views?
Atmosphere: Old-world glamour on steroids
Best for: Impressing clients or popping the question
Cuisine: Modern Australian
Standout dish: Glacier 51 toothfish with mushroom dumplings
Open: Seven days for lunch and Monday to Saturday for dinner
Address: Lyne Park, Rose Bay
Phone number: (02) 9371 0555