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“Dine Around Experience”

Catalano Restaurant & Cicchetti Bar
Ranked #23 of 1,180 Restaurants in Victoria
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $13 - $21
Cuisines: Italian, Mediterranean, Canadian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Business meetings, Bar scene, Special occasions, Large groups, Romantic, Local cuisine
Dining options: Lunch, Drinks, Breakfast, Late Night, Dinner, Brunch, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Full Bar, Outdoor Seating, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Waitstaff, Wheelchair Accessible, Wine and Beer
Description: Featuring the Mediterranean flavours of Italy and Spain, views of the inner harbour and an intimate summer patio
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
24 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Dine Around Experience”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 5, 2014

We decided to try out Catalano's as part of the 'Dine Around' experience as the menu looked interesting and quite different from the other restaurants in the 'Dine Around' listing. We had a reservation so arrived on time and were excorted to a small table overlooking the Legislative Building. The lights of the building made it seem quite romantic. The server brought menus and rushed away. When she came back we ordered wine as well as our meal as she seemed to be in a rush. There was hardly anyone in the restaurant; a table of 4 next to us and 2 other tables of two. I ordered the $30 dine around special: lobster bisque, elk short rib and a trio of sample desserts. My partner ordered a rockfish from the menu plus a caesar. The bisque and salad came before our glass of wine quite strange given how quiet it was. The bisque was a little bland but okay. The elk ribs came on a bed of creamy polenta and some veggies. The ribs were to die for they were so good. Shared with my partner so she could enjoy a taste and I tasted her rockfish which I found overcooked and quite dry. Glad I had ordered the elk. We then ordered coffee to have with the dessert. The dessert was good as well: flourless chocolate cake, creme brule and a lemon recotta fritter...yum. However, we waited and waited for our coffee and were finished the dessert before the coffee arrived.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Marguerite R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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355 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    210
    102
    27
    15
    1
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Victoria, Canada
Level Contributor
77 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
“Trying too hard?”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 4, 2014

We visited for breakfast (staying at the adjacent Magnolia Hotel for an "in our hometown getaway"). We had vouchers for $10 each for continental and neither server on hand could clarify if they were a set discount on other offerings (non-continental brkfst). We were told that "some discount would be applied" but it remained a mystery until the bill came.

The breakfast offerings were varied, but a little too "fusiony" or elaborate for my taste. I'm an adventurous eater but at breakfast eggs and octopus just don't jibe! A blend of the exotic with some more standard fare might have been more advisable.
My partner opted for what she thought was a standard eggs benedict. The "peameal bacon" was a disconcerting gray colour, very thick, and looked and tasted like an old ham steak. My "traditional" breakfast was better, but the bacon was overdone and the toast so slathered in butter it was mush.

I think they have the potential to do better, and with their affiliation with the successful Ferris' Oyster Bar, I expected better. I'll try again in a month or so but thus far they are overdoing it at the expense of losing hotel customers and locals.

Visited March 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank phoodee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
141 reviews
105 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 85 helpful votes
“Disappointing”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2014

My wife stayed an evening at the Mongolia, easily our favorite hotel in Victoria. We've stayed at the hotel easily a dozen times over the last few years and love it. We have typically loved the attached restaurant and breakfasts as well.
Catalano has changed that. I freely admit we only took breakfast here, but the experience is enough to ensure we won't go bake for dinner. If you can't get a simple breakfast service right, you're doing something wrong.
First of all, the food was, at best, mediocre. We had been up in Courtenay the four days prior to being in Victoria, and found the diversity, uniqueness of morning fare invigorating. Any number of places were committed to the AM meal and producing memorable product. There was nothing memorable about Catalano's version but cold food, greasy unappetizing presentations, and diluted orange juice.
The worst, though, was the service. Why does it take more than five minutes to be seen by a waitress? Why does it takes ten more minutes to get a cup of coffee? Why does it take another five to ten minutes to get orange juice... over ice... that had obviously sat for a time to be more water than juice? The meal itself... simple breakfast mind you... took nearly 45 minutes. What's worse, the service staff didn't seem to be bothered about that. In their defense, the service staff was entirely amateurs...post high schoolers whose job resume likely only included mother's house and McDonald. Someone needs to point out to these folks that true customer service is a pro-active consideration, not reactive.
Love the Magnolia, but will always skip this restaurant... even though the breakfast is free.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank navswo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver
Level Contributor
7 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Glad we stayed in!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 23, 2014

Spent a rainy snowy weekend at the Magnolia and decided to stay in the hotel for dinner. Wow! Braised rabbit was amazing and my husband had the elk. We thought everything was delicious and well priced. Glad we stayed in!

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank running-girl2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
British Columbia
Level Contributor
13 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“"Non-Pretentious Gourmet" Brunch + Inspired Dinner Menu”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 15, 2014

My husband and I stayed at the Magnolia Hotel last night, and we had dinner reservations at a different Victoria restaurant, but we wandered downstairs to Catalona for a drink first. We sat at the bar; I ordered a gin and tonic with spirulina (!), and he ordered a whiskey sour. The bartender (who was very busy yet attentive) asked all the right questions about his whiskey sour -- would he like egg white? would he prefer bourbon? -- and made it delicious. The spirulina twist on the G&T was also unexpectedly tasty; I'll note that there were at least 10 brands of gin behind the bar, which is way more than I'd have expected for what we thought was "just" a hotel restaurant.

We added a cheese-and-cured-meats plate onto our pre-dinner sips, and we were again delighted by how tasty everything was. The portion sizes were nice --- not big enough to leave us stuffed (which we didn't want!), but not so dainty as to make us wonder why we just spent $20 on a cube of cheese. Very good. The atmosphere was also very friendly; we ended up chatting with a cool couple next to us, who had ordered dinner and couldn't rave enough about the duck special (which looked so good, we considered cancelling our dinner reservations elsewhere).

This morning, we stopped into the restaurant for brunch... which was outstanding. I normally find brunch both overpriced and disappointing, but this was gourmet without pretense. My hub and I each ordered the pacific omelet, which was made with smoked salmon, cream cheese, dill and caramelized onions; the eggs were light and fluffy, and the omelet wasn't "stuffed" full of ingredients, which is especially nice if you don't want to feel stuffed-to-bursting first thing in the morning. It was served with the most mouth-watering crispy potatoes (yum!!!), a fresh fruit salad (no yucky slime or bruising) and toast. For $15 each, it was incredible. I've spent $90/person on brunch and been sorely disappointed; this could easily have been a $80 breakfast bill -- instead of the mere $30 it was -- and we would have been pleased. Planning to return for Father's Day brunch.

Delicious. Great service. Inspired menu. Don't underestimate this understated restaurant. It may be surrounded by other restaurants you've heard of, but if you're a foodie, you WILL love what you find here and you WILL tell others to check out Catalano.

  • Visited February 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank joieBC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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