Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cafe Caturra

Rating: 5 stars

Are you looking for a place to enjoy a nice glass of wine on a patio? Want to have a tasty sandwich in a charming, laid back, atmosphere? Craving a great salad?

Well look no further than Cafe Caturra.

This is one of my absolute favorite places to go in Richmond. There are three locations around town, Midlothian, Grove Avenue, and Short Pump. I can personally only speak to the Midlothian branch, but I am sure it is a fair representation of this fast growing, all in one, coffee house/wine bar/cafe.

If you are desiring a fancy night out with a waiter and full entrees, this is not your place, but if you are out shopping for the day and need to refresh yourself, want somewhere fun to have a drink with your friends, or are just looking for a quick bite that is great quality, consider giving Cafe Caturra a try.

When I first started going here I thought it was a new chain that had ventured into Richmond, as great care has been put into making this establishment feel like it has been around for a while and that they know what they are doing. You will not find any peeling walls or dirty floors here, and the bathrooms are all spacious and modern (which is hard to say for many local coffee shops/cafes).

Photo accredited to Cafe Caturra's (Midlothian) Facebook page.

The inside of the cafe is very cute and welcoming, with rich dark woods, warmly colored walls, and soft lighting inviting you in. A variety of table options accommodate all sorts of groups, and a large wood burning fireplace, surrounded by four comfy, high back, chairs presents an ideal option for a little wine and reading.  The decor looks like it came right out of Anthropolgie (love it!), which adds a perfect mesh of classy and hip. There is also a bag of coffee beans and a huge coffee grinder in one corner of the cafe, causing the rich scent of coffee to greet you as you walk through the door. And while you dine or drink, feel free to peruse the interesting images of local artists which are displayed throughout the cafe.

The back patio (my favorite part) has plenty of tables and a few umbrellas, as well as a roof over the middle, so you can enjoy either the shade or the sun, depending on your preference for the day. A second fireplace also adorns the patio, so if you still want to enjoy the outdoors once the weather turns cooler you now have an option!

Awesome outdoor patio! Photo accredited to Daniel A. from Foursquare.
When you have selected your table and are now ready to order your food, head on over to the bar area where you can either go ahead and order or do a little wine tasting before you decide. I highly recommend you do some wine tasting from their extensive list! Cafe Caturra prides itself on being a great wine bar (they actually have their wine "on tap" ... literally), and you can taste anything you want. They offer 3, 6 and 9 oz glasses, as well as bottles, so you can drink several different varieties, or go with one big glass of one you love. While tasting, be sure to grab a few of the appetizers they have at the bar for you to try!

Being that it is a wine bar, and a good one at that, their wine is certainly not cheap. There are only one or two options at around $6 a glass, and the rest range from about $7-10. But, it is all excellent wine and they offer many options you will not see elsewhere in Richmond. We have discovered several types of wine that we now enjoy on a regular basis specifically because we were able to try them at Cafe Caturra (Viognier and Gruner Veltliner to name a few).  They also hold actual wine tastings on a regular basis if you are interested in learning more about the wines you are drinking.  The "bartenders" are eager to assist you and are very knowledgeable about the wines, so if you have questions or want a recommendation don't be afraid to ask! There are also a few different bottled beers to choose from, as well as tea, soda, etc, if you are not a big wine fan.

Wine on tap!  Photo accredited to Cafe Caturra's (Midlothian) Facebook page.

As for the food ordering, they have their menu on a large, professionally done, chalkboard that is clear and easy to read while you are in line, and they also have paper menus you can take back to your table to peruse at your leisure before ordering. Wait ... a legible chalkboard AND paper menus?! Genius! This place is heaven!

Once you have decided, go ahead and give your order to the cashier, and you can either pay at that time or start a tab. You will be handed your receipt and a number to take back with you, and in a few minutes your food/drinks will be brought to your table. Waiters will also periodically ask you if you need more wine or refills, but feel free to go back to the bar and order more when you are ready. Pretty classy, eh?

Ok, on to the food ... finally ;). The menu consists of upscale small plates (such as a cheese plate, caprese crostini, and crab cakes), sandwiches, soups and salads, and desserts. Sandwiches come in full or half sizes and you can get either chips, garden salad, or raspberry walnut salad as your side. I have tried several of the sandwiches and soups and they have all been delicious. The sandwiches are very hearty and filling, no skimping on size here, and the side salads are plentiful as well. I have never walked away from this place hungry.

Caprese crostini ... Photo accredited to Cafe Caturra's website.

I always get the crispy cheese panini with the raspberry walnut salad. It is the best grilled cheese you will ever have!!! Mounds of cheddar spilling out beneath perfectly grilled sourdough bread, with a juicy tomato in between (my idea of perfection!). And the salad is a perfect combination to the sharpness of the sandwich, with sweet romaine, Gorgonzola, walnuts, dried cranberries, and amazing raspberry walnut vinaigrette. I literally crave this meal.  My mom, on the other hand, always gets the Tuscan panini, which consists of chicken, mozzarella, tomatoes, and bacon, which she swears by. We really should branch out and try more of the menu, but we just love our sandwiches and salads too much! (Note: If you get a sandwich, PLEASE try the raspberry walnut salad. I swear it is divine!)

Crispy cheese panini and raspberry walnut Salad ... you will crave it too!
Photo accredited to Foodalicious Follies Blog.

Cafe Caturrra also has specials throughout the week, as well as occasional live entertainment, and a killer happy hour on wine and appetizers if you can make it there before 6pm.

The only issue I have with this place is that it can be a little expensive for a cafe, especially if you order wine. Most of the sandwiches are around $10, but like I said, you get a good amount of food and great quality for your money. But don't go in expecting to eat for cheap.

Instead, go in expecting to have a great experience, delicious food, and to probably find your new favorite casual dining spot ... because this place is much more than your average cafe.

Make it in for the great happy hour and enjoy some awesome wine!
Photo accredited to Cafe Caturra's (Midlothian) Facebook page.

Check out the Cafe Caturra website at:

Be real.

Cafe Caturra on Urbanspoon


Virginia said...

Great review and I agree with all your points. I also love to share appetizers with others and we all end up getting the pick 2 deal!

Sarah @ A T-Shirt and Pearls said...

Just discovered your blog via Virginia is for Bloggers! I am a Richmond blogger too and a Cafe Caturra addict. After reading your post I am craving a glass of wine, the caprese crostini, and a meat and cheese board! Looking forward to reading through your reviews. :)

RonW said...

Thanks for the photo credit, Samantha...


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