Just before we jetted off to Tonga to go swimming with humpback whales, we were invited to Sydney’s iconic Catalina restaurant in Rose Bay to celebrate their 20th anniversary. Catalina is one of Sydney’s most coveted fine dining restaurants that’s famous for its incredible waterfront location, its rich and famous clientele (Beyoncé, Leonardo DiCaprio and Charlize Theron have all dined there), and its exceptional fresh seafood.
With many of Sydney’s top restaurants changing hands or closing down, it’s great to see one that’s been owned by the same original family since it first hit the scene. Open by the McMahon Family in September 1994, the restaurant is perched on the edge of Sydney Harbour with floor to ceiling windows that take in the 180-degree views across the beautiful harbour.
After plugging such epic water views, you may be wondering why I’ve only included photos of our food. As a Rose Bay local, I’d been wanting to dine at Catalina for ages, but our lunch date had a gatecrasher – TORRENTIAL RAIN! You know the rain that is so heavy it blows sideways in every direction and your windscreen wipers can’t even cope? That’s the kind of weather we woke up to. As a sunshine, alfresco dining junkie, I was skeptical. But we soon discovered that Catalina’s dining room was an incredible place to take in the storm as it moved across the harbour. I loved the contrast of feasting on a summery menu in a warm setting while the rain lashed the windows.
I’d heard the food at Catalina was beyond amazing and I’d have to say, it really was one of the best lunches I’ve ever had. The food, the drinks and the views weren’t the only things that stood out. I loved how the floor manager wore new season Willow and it was mentioned on the menu (we already clocked her silk top when she seated us and were wondering where it was from). I also love that they are participating in the OzHarvest and Virgin Mobile #mealforameal campaign – a social media initiative that donates meals to people in need.
TIL Tip: If Catalina is a bit out of your price range but you’d really like to check it out, head there one sunny afternoon for a glass of wine and some bar snacks out on the balcony.
Lyne Park, Rose Bay, Sydney.
How to get there:
By Air: Got an unlimited budget? Add a scenic flight over Sydney’s spectacular coastline to your meal and arrive by seaplane. Details here.
By Water: If you’re getting to Catalina by water, you’ve got a few different options:
- Budget: The wharf is right next to the restaurant so you can hop on a Sydney Ferry to Rose Bay. Details here.
- Splurge: Have trouble sticking to a timetable? Book yourself a Water Taxi. Details here.
- Extravagant: Go all out and book a private Italian speedboat with wooden detailing. Details here.
By Land: With an incredible wine and cocktail list, you’re going to want to leave the car at home. For a car ride to match your dining experience, book an UberLUX. Details here.
Monday – Saturday: 12 noon until midnight (restaurant stays open all afternoon, they don’t close between lunch and dinner YAY!)