Anyone who's been around for the last few decades will remember the Ritz from the old days.
A colleague, now in his 60s, told me how he took his girlfriend to dine at the Top of the Ritz as a romantic teenager and one hears similar stories from others who used to go there to impress on a special date with a truly authentic "retro" meal.
The latter years saw it fall, if not into disrepute, then into one of those hotels that was somewhat seedy. But the Ritz is now back in fine fettle - after a R120-million rejuvenation, the Sea Point hotel opened its doors at the end of last year just in time to welcome visitors for the festive season.
An icon of the city’s skyline since the early 1970s, work began in 2016 by the Ritz Hotel Management Company to reimagine this faded star of the Atlantic Seaboard
The 23-storey building was completely revamped with swish, bright contemporary fittings and furnishings, including in each of its 213 rooms, and that famous revolving restaurant completely reinvented with a new revolving mechanism.
The revolving restaurant is the only one of its kind in the Western Cape. And needless to say, Top of the Ritz offers spectacular views - unfolding deliciously before your eyes are vistas of the Atlantic Seaboard, the Mother City with its impressive skyscrapers, the shimmering ocean and the imposing mountains.
Executive chef Adrian Cook (and that is really his surname - I kid you not!) has created a menu that will be served to guests called "A Journey of Flavours through Cape Town" which changes according to what is available and the seasons.
Diners will be treated to a starter (in our case a beautifully plated salad with goats cheese and beetroot three ways - delicious) and a palate-cleansing sorbet.
Main courses include Ocean View (fresh line fish), Countryside and The Karoo. I sampled a superbly-done fillet of sea bass with kelp crisps and a potato cigar with creamy homemade sauce tartare; while Countryside proved to be a tender cut of beef sirloin served with a perfectly cooked tiny free range quail egg, prego jus and morogo puree. There's also Karoo rack of lamb with a fynbos croquette and celeriac puree - all demonstrating Cook's creativity and innovation in the kitchen where the flavours truly stand out.
Mountain View dessert as a finale is interpreted on the plate as smoked chocolate mousse with chocolate soil pebbles, white mushroom and smoke - an interesting taste sensation and beautiful to look at.
The five course set menu costs R895 per person. Seatings start from 6.30pm onwards and vegan and vegetarian menus are also available. You need to make a booking and no children under 12 are allowed.
* There's also The Dom Perignon Champagne Lounge just below the restaurant for pre-dinner bubbles and sundowner cocktails, with local DJs spinning laid-back beats from late-afternoon every day. And on the 21st floor, The Hennessy Cognac Cigar Lounge for after-dinner digestifs and late-night cocktails.
* The more pocket-friendly Casa Restaurant and Cabanas offers all day al fresco dining that ranges from brasserie-classics to sushi and wood-fired pizza. Tables flow out from the interior to a pool deck, with a Veuve Clicquot Bar, pouring French champagne alongside chilled Whispering Angel rosé from acclaimed Côtes de Provence producer Chateau d’Esclans.
The Ritz is located on the corner of Main and Camberwell Road, Sea Point. 021 439 6010 www.theritz.co.za