LEGENDARY AMERICAN architect Frank Lloyd Wright once wrote that “dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity”. A polymath if there ever was one, Wright was well-versed in chasing artistic passions and clearly, he understood what it took to get his creative juices flowing. And for what it’s worth, he was right. After all, mankind often finds inspiration in beauty, and there is certainly beauty to be found in gastronomy.
In Sydney, however, the fine dining experience is a crowded space. With experimental pop ups emerging every week, and established forces holding the fort, finding a restaurant that could inspire an artistic endeavour on par with the Sistine chapel is no easy task. But be assured, they’re there, if you know where to look.
Amidst Sydney’s overpopulated fine dining scene, one eatery in particular stands tall: Catalina. Tucked away in Rose Bay in the heart of Sydney’s Eastern suburbs, where leafy blue-ribbon suburbs meet the harbour’s ocean breeze, Catalina distinguishes itself as a culinary tour de force. With 29 years of an unyielding commitment to luxury and culinary excellence under its belt, Catalina is an institution—and it just got even better.
To celebrate 29 years in the business, Catalina has revamped its menu and undergone a tasteful refurbishment. For nearly three decades, the McMahon family has steered the Catalina ship through the waters of fine dining, and with the recent refurbishment, they’ve not just stayed afloat, but shored up what makes it an unmissable experience in the first place. Catalina now boasts a refreshed interior, designed by native Sydney architects Bedbrook + Bunting. With dark wooden flooring, light-textured walls, and a dash of brass cladding, Catalina has been given a contemporary makeover, seamlessly blending modernist design with the timeless allure of its harbourside heritage. No doubt, Frank Lloyd Wright would be pleased.
The Catalina revamp extends to the kitchen, where anniversary celebrations bring forth a renewed focus on Catalina classics. Imagine pan-fried snapper, Sydney rock lobster risotto, and Catalina’s iconic steak tartare, all elevated to new heights. But that’s not all, brace yourself for this one. Catalina has a commitment to sourcing the very best Australian seafood. And in line with that commitment, Black River caviar churros are now on the menu. Yes, you read that correctly—caviar churros. As if caviar wasn’t lux enough, they’ve brought everyone’s favourite guilty pleasure—churros—to the table.
For those seeking a more relaxed rendezvous with Catalina, the expanded ‘small bites’ bar menu is a welcome addition. With Sydney Rock oysters, fish and chips, Queensland mud crab, an assortment of tacos, and Nardin anchovies on toast now beckoning, you can indulge in the lighter side of Catalina, without compromising on luxury.
Catalina isn’t just a restaurant with a decent view, it’s an ode to Australian luxury, a celebration of the country’s finest produce, seafood, and design. With a stylish refurbishment, a renewed menu, and the same tried and true commitment to excellence, Catalina stands firm as one of the best dining experiences Sydney has to offer.
As Catalina approaches three decades in business, it’s plain to see how the waterside restaurant has lasted so long, and why it will continue to set the standard for Antipodean fine dining. So, whether you’re a loyal patron, a first-time visitor, or simply keen on seeing what Frank Lloyd Wright was banging on about when he called dining an artistic opportunity, Catalina awaits, and it won’t disappoint.
For reservations and more information, visit Catalina’s website.