Catalina is undoubtedly one of the most picturesque restaurant in Sydney.
Catalina is a restaurant rich in history, from its location and cuisine to the family that owns and runs the establishment.
It was founded in 1994 by husband and wife hospitality duo Michael and Judy McMahon. In 1978 they both worked at Gay and Tony Bilson’s Berowra Waters Inn, Michael as floor manager and Judy taking the title of first female waitress in the iconic location.
In 1983 Judy and Michael purchased Barrenjoey House in Palm Beach and worked with a young Neil Perry, subsequently opening Perry’s in Paddington, both of which attained Two Hat ratings in the Good Food Guide. By 1988, Judy and Michael had sold both Perry’s and Barrenjoey House and opened Catalina Rose Bay.
They transformed an underutilized space into an icon of the Sydney fine dining and restaurant scene. Michael and Judy’s children Kate and James are also part of the team and bring their own wealth of knowledge gleamed from some of Sydney’s best restaurants and bars.
So, Catalina is a family business. One that has survived and excelled in the, at times, brutal and ever-changing Australian dining scene.
Head chef Mark Axisa has designed a menu that adapts with the changing seasons. We opened the menu and on one side was a list of dishes set for the month, on the other, a special menu that changes each day depending on what inspiring produce comes Axisa’s way.
Lunch began with a range of fresh Sydney Rock Oysters. Available three ways the lime chilli and tobiko dressing was a beautiful zesty twist on an Australian staple allowing the oyster to maintain its salty goodness while adding some punch.
Crispy skin pork belly with pan-seared scallops was next the dish. The best of the sea paired with the best of land always steels my heart. A gourmet surf and turf if you will!
Mains were crispy skin cone bay barramundi with spanner crab parcel and Enoki mushrooms. And a herb and parmesan crusted lamb rack so good it almost made me weep with joy- and I’m a Greek man!
Just launching at the historic spot is a new bar menu featuring delights such as the antipasto plate and tempura prawns with ponzu. The new menu offers a more casual Catalina experience and can be enjoyed at the bar or on the terrance. No booking necessary. A little piece of luxury for less.
Catalina Rose Bay is a restaurant beaming with history, location and emotion. It’s a beautiful place run by a charming family that are seriously good at what they do. Despite being fine dining Catalina doesn’t overextend by offering dishes that resemble science tests more than mains, they stick to beautiful season ingredients and let them do the talking.
Catalina Rose Bay
Lyne Park, New South Head Road, Rose Bay NSW 2029
(02) 9371 0555