Caterina's seems like it's been around forever; a fixture on Oklahoma Avenue since 1982.
The restaurant's heyday was in the 80's, but as new restaurants opened, Caterina's customers scattered elsewhere. The food, however, remains as good and well executed as it did back then.
That's not to say Caterina's does not have a good crowd - it does. Reservations are always recommended.
As you sit down, you will be served a complimentary antipasto platter, complete with cheeses (Mozzarella, Provolone and Fontina), meats (Mortadella, Salami, and Pepperoni), and a Sicilian olive salad.
The wine selection is outstanding. The book for the reds alone is quite a read.
The menu offers classic Italian dishes such as Linguine with clams, Italian sausage, Veal Marsala, Sicilian Style Whitefish, and Breaded Sicilian Steak. All entrees are served with soup, salad and a side.
It's easy to make a meal consisting of just appetizers. The fried Calamari is excellent, as are the fried Eggplant strips. The hot and cold Conch are also both winners. A side salad with the creamy garlic dressing is a must-have.
If you happen to be there on a night when the Pork Tenderloin stuffed with Asiago is a special, order it. The pork is delicate and the rich Asiago cheese blends perfectly to make this dish hearty and satisfying.
The Scampi are large and garlic is abundant in this dish, as well as many others. Garlic lovers are very welcome here.
The main drawback of this place is the decor. It hasn't changed since it opened, and the interior seems dated, dark and dusty. It's definitely seen better days, and Caterina's would benefit from a facelift, or a change of location altogether. The prices seem a little on the high side, especially for the neighborhood. The quality and amount of the food is definitely worth the price, but the setting and ambiance is not.
The waitstaff are friendly, and service is prompt. Meals end with a bowl of luscious gumdrops and chocolate mints.
For More Information:
99104 W. Oklahoma Avenue Milwaukee, WI 53227
Hours: Mon - Thurs 11 AM - 10.30 PM; Fri & Sat 11 AM - 11 PM; Sun 4 PM - 10 PM
Parking: Small lot; small adjoining lot, street
Use of Tenderizers, MSG, or Sulfates: No
Vegetarian dishes: Yes
Celiac-friendly dishes: Yes
Low carb options: Yes
Lunch specials: Yes
Take out/to-go: Yes
Friday Fish Fry: Yes - Pan-fried Perch and Walleye Pike