You would think before heading out on a two hour ferry ride to Catalina The Monster would have called to make sure all the final Zagat restaurants he needs to hit are open, right? Wrong. And so we’re a little (a lot) shocked to hear that the Catalina Country Club is closed on the evening The Monster wants to go for a private party. And they don’t open up until 4 pm the next day. A problem when our ferry back leaves at 5 pm.
So Catalina Island Country Club may be final Zagat meal #4 if The Monster can squeeze in a bite to eat and make the ferry…
We arrive early hoping perhaps they’ll take pity on us. Finally, something that appears civilized in a world of cut off jean shorts and tank tops. A Spanish Colonial style building, the radiant smell of fresh flowers, a cool breeze on top of the knoll overlooking the ocean, water fountain gurgling, relaxing music playing. Catalina Country Club is an island of respite on an island of respite. This is the way to end Catalina and be down to three restaurants left in the entire 2011 Zagat Guide.
The dining room is dignified with a large back terrace and small alcove of patios off the front and side. A high, beautiful wood beamed ceiling, large fireplace, cast iron light appointments, the only negative is carpet in need of replacing.
The manager, whom we spoke with (pleaded with) the day before comes over personally to say hello and open early for us. He’s an amiable sort and tells us he’ll make sure we get served and make it to the ferry on time.
The menu is an eclectic look at international cuisine and includes such items as a suckling pig for eight people for $500 (ten days notice needed to order) and a roasted leg of lamb for eight that is $350 and similarly requires advanced notice. Less novel but equally appealing are seafood towers and plenty of meat and fish dishes.
The Monster decides on the shrimp cocktail, the ahi tuna tartare and the salmon with asparagus and baby carrots. After the other four meals on Catalina being average to bad there is high hope that CCC will surpass them all.
The shrimp are huge and slightly grilled. The cocktail sauce uniformly good. A promising start.
The tuna tartar is overly sauced but fresh. It’s a nice sized portion for an appetizer and could easily be split by two diners.
The salmon is simply prepared and a perfect ending to the five restaurant adventure on Catalina.
The nicest treat, the meal was taken care of by the manager of the Country Club. Classy and most appreciated. On a return trip to Catalina, the Country Club will be The Monster’s first stop to eat.
Now, will The Monster make the ferry? Not much time and a bag to schlep across Avalon…
Why go? You actually want to eat good food in a beautiful setting when visiting Catalina.
Monster rating: 4 ½/5 Monsters
1 Country Club Drive
Avalon, CA 90704