With nearly 20 years in operation, Caterina's Cucina e Bar is a Melbourne icon.

The restaurant, led by Caterina Borsato of the Regional Italian Cuisine television series, has dedicated years to turning out sophisticated, traditional Italian lunches with a bow to modernism, and shows no sign of slowing down.

It's lunchtime in the CBD and from Queen Street, Caterina's underground dining room is entered through large iron gates. The waitstaff is known for its discretion, and the corporate clientele, from bankers to lawyers as well as foodies, fill the dining room. Whilst lunch can certainly be a lengthy afternoon affair which is simply so Italian, so too can Caterina's do lunch "espresso" style.

Neither is Caterina's Cucina e Bar something from a textbook. At every chance, the restaurant defies the expected and the mood can change according to the occasion.

The dining room is classical and outfitted with Venetian masks, antique pieces and industrial mirrors. You could be anywhere in Italy. With a nod towards tradition, white tablecloths adorn many of the tables, but the rest are left undressed to show off white-marble tops. The restaurant does this to incorporate an air of informality so that lunch can simply be a quick glass of vino and a stuzzichino if desired or the room can be transformed for a romantic wedding or corporate event.

Caterina's Cucina E Bar is available for private functions & venue hire
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