If there’s an eatery with a top location, this is it: Café Catalina, an eatery offering fine casual dining with superb water views across the Broadwater to SeaWorld. Situated adjacent to the expanded Broadwater Parklands leisure area, the Rockpools play and picnic area and the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, Café Catalina is well worth seeking out.
Great dining with a water view is a rare commodity on the Gold Coast. Yet, in many ways, much like its namesakes, Café Catalina is a bit of a hidden secret. You could pass by on the Gold Coast Highway and not realise that there’s a café located in the complex.
Named after the Catalina aeroplanes that landed on this shore in WWII, the café reminds us of our rich history. The planes played a similar role in Australia to what Spitfires did in Britain: ‘long-range mine-laying, torpedoing, rescue, evacuation, and holding open far-distant lines of communication’. They were our guardians of the sea, keeping us safe from invading troops.
Serving breakfast (until 11.30am) and lunch (from 12 noon) daily to make the most of the views, dinner is also served on Friday and Saturday evenings.
A large bar overlooking an alfresco area serves drinks and beer on tap to diners, with live music livening up Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There’s a special tapas or bar menu (that’s quite extensive) available from 3pm daily.
With Chef Denzyl Plyther (Bin 232 and Smash Sausage, Newtown) in the kitchen along with seasoned chef Laurence Griffen as consultant chef (ex-Salty Plum, Liquid Amber and Gold Coast Convention Centre), there’s some stunning food coming out of the kitchen.
Perched almost on the water’s edge, Café Catalina is just the place to enjoy the freshest seafood, and the dishes we tasted were magnificent:
Two large pieces of tempura softshell crab are served as an open DIY sushi roll with black sesame-dotted rice, jalapeno cream, avocado and watercress;
Continuing our grazing, Grilled ocean trout comes with a refreshing green papaya salad;
Crisp snapper and prawn dumplings are served in a decadent chilli and coconut lime broth with Chinese greens. Given a lazy afternoon, we could keep going indefinitely, sipping wine or cocktails and ordering share dishes, our meal is such a delight.
But seafood doesn’t comprise the whole menu. While seafood and Japanese dishes are featured, the menu covers all bases including vegan and food intolerance options. The wide range of dishes and the venue layout make this a place suitable for a range of occasions.
Don’t forget dessert, either. Besides the cakes in the cabinet, Sticky date doughnuts with butterscotch sauce and rich mascarpone is pure decadent delight. Don’t let its simple looks deceive you!
Cafe Catalina is a perfectly ambient spot to meet. Its large wood-framed bi-fold windows show off a stunning view, making it a romantic haven for couples to enjoy a leisurely meal, ladies to catch up over coffee, or as a wedding or function venue.
Don’t let it stay a secret!
Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, 10/11 Broadwater Parklands, Gold Coast Highway, Southport; Ph: 07 5571 0390
Open Mon – Sun Breakfast and Lunch; Fri – Sat dinner, Tapas daily from 3pm.
NOTE: Good Food Gold Coast dined as guests of Café Catalina. This is an updated review. This review has also been published in Blank GC.