If you follow San Diego's food scene at all, you don't have much of an excuse for not knowing about Catania, the latest concept opened by WhisknLadle's hospitality group. For the past 8 months it has attracted rave reviews praising everything from its food to its craft cocktails to its prime sunset-viewing location on the top floor of the La Plaza La Jolla.
Its primary focus? Italian coastal cuisine. And now? Brunch.
About three months ago, Catania started serving brunch every Saturday and Sunday from 10am-3pm, offering gorgeous views of the Pacific as you sip your mimosas. And about three weeks ago, they invited local food writers and bloggers (that's me!!) to check out the new menu.
I have to admit, given my aversion to seafood and most meats, I was a little worried about how much of a prix fixe brunch menu I was going to be able to eat at restaurant that serves Italian coastal fare. But then I remembered the best part about brunch: alcohol.
We showed up to a basket of Nutella brioches (YUM) on the counter and waitstaff taking espresso orders as we chose our seats. And then we took in the ocean views as the food started to come out family-style.
The first plate that came out was their Arugula and Eggs, a poached egg, pancetta and roasted mushrooms salad topped with pecorino toscano cheese. I helped myself to some of the greens and the cheese and promptly started searching the drink menu for my first cocktail. Meanwhile my bestie Bonnie started off with their Bloody Mary.
Served in short succession was Two Eggs and Ham, a sampling of fresh tomatoes, eggs, toast, ham and Italian sausage from their brunch sides menu. Those tomatoes though. *heart eyes emoji*
As I enjoyed little bites from the shared plates, my first and very favorite cocktail of the morning arrived. I had opted for their Pera Cannella, a delicious scotch drink with gin, pear, cinnamon, lemon juice and peat. It was perfection. If you're looking to ease your way into appreciating scotch, this is surely the drink to start with.
The second course of dishes arrived shortly after my drink did, however both unfortunately featured meats that I don't eat: pork and veal.
The Eggs All' Amatriciana which looked so, so yummy, is comprised of baked eggs, swiss chard, white beans, fontina and bread crumbs. Five foods that warm my little heart when I think of them served together in a stoneware dish. There was however a mystery ingredient listed in the description: guanciale, which turned out to be pork jowls. Mega bummer. The Veal Milanese was a no-go for me based on the title alone, but featured breaded veal, fried eggs, tomatoes and toast.
However, the rest of my table seemed to enjoy them, even though I think everyone was getting a little egg-ed out.
I took this break to sip on two more amazing cocktails: the Il Piccione, a tequila drink with grapefruit and lime, and the Sgroppino, with lemon sorbet, vodka and prosecco. Then it was time for the two dishes I had been most anticipating.
First was the fruit-drenched Polenta Pancakes, drizzled with lemon simple syrup and sprinkled with mint. Then, my absolute favorite dish of the morning came out, their Farro Oatmeal, with pistachio mascarpone, figs, persimmons, currants, honey and cinnamon. Talk about a perfect fall brunch dish! Catania definitely saved the best for last.
Because the brunch prices were on the fancier side (all these dishes ranged from $12-17, while the cocktails were all around $12 or $13 each), this is definitely a beautiful "special occasion" brunch spot. I'm sure Mother's Day and Easter will book out far in advance, so now you have the inside scoop!
As for me, I hope to be back to sample their pizza and pasta offerings, as well as their all-Italian draft beer selection... which, if you know me at all, you know are three of my favorite things in life. Hope to see you there!
7863 Girard Ave
San Diego, CA 92037
Phone: (858) 551-5105