Katarina’s in Eastleigh town centre is run by Val and Kat who have firmly established themselves in the local community since opening in the high street. The restaurant offers traditional British fare and a full Greek menu too, the latter cooked by a chef from Rhodes.

Val, who is frequently to be found at the front counter, knows many of his customers by name including the daily visitors who pop in for their favourites. All of the food is freshly prepared by Kat and on Sundays they offer a pre-ordered takeaway roast dinner.

Val said: “We first opened on the high street as Kat’s Kafe – we’d been looking for a mobile unit when we came into Eastleigh and realised that the place we were actually eating in was up for sale. We opened Kat’s Kafe around 5 years ago and we had the caff until lockdown when we ended up moving into what was previously La Fenice Italian restaurant.

“We were able to do so much improvement work during lockdown and we had a vision of what we wanted for the restaurant. Lots of our customers followed us from Kat’s Kafe and since we have been open as Katarina’s, we’re picking up a lot of new returning customers too. We like to get to know them as individuals and we’re passionate about the vital social link we offer; we also host a veterans’ meeting every couple of weeks.

“It’s definitely hard work – we work seven days a week with no real breaks, helped out by our family – but we have a great team. I know a lot of the locals now and Eastleigh is a really nice place to be.” 

Val’s Borough Gem: “We eat at Saffron regularly and we absolutely love it. We try and support our fellow businesses as much as we can.” 

Nominate your favourite local business as a Borough Gem – email RHSS@eastleigh.gov.uk