I could fill the internet with words on the many Cape Town restaurants but I’m not a restaurant reviewer so I leave that to the experts. However, two dining experiences last week prompted me to write about two very unusual Cape restaurants.
The first is the Two Oceans Restaurant situated in the Cape Point Nature Reserve. If its location at the tip of the peninsula, overlooking False Bay high above the cliffs, isn’t sufficient, it also manages to consistently receive quality awards and accolades despite being a ‘high tourist spot’. When you hear those words you imagine a restaurant that is over-priced and under-whelming but that’s not what happens here.
For a few hours over lunchtime it’s a frenetic buzz of busy staff serving hundreds of meals to tourists, some of whom are in buses that must depart at a specific time. Luckily, our tours are leisurely enough that we are seldom in a rush, but many others are and I’ve never heard of delays caused by slow service.
The food is very good. It’s our top choice for lunch on our peninsula tour because all our clients like it and we are never disappointed.
There’s a sushi menu and a few meat items but the house specialties are seafood and fish. When I don’t have sushi I either like a light prawn and avocado salad or maybe line fish. Last week I decided to push the boat out and have the crayfish special. It was excellent, and my guests enjoyed theirs too. One of my clients had a sweet tooth and urged me to join her in selecting desserts – she didn’t need to ask twice. My choice was the apple crumble which is a very unusual but delicious version of this classic.
There were no whales in the bay this time but the view was, as usual, remarked on and photographed several times during the course of the meal. This is definitely an unusual restaurant offering the best of everything – food, service, views and location location location.
Our tip: get there at about 12:30 before the crowds so you can get a good table with a view and we suggest you book!
Putting on the Ritz
My second experience was what one can only describe as ‘going retro’. When the Ritz Hotel was built in Sea Point over 30 years ago it featured an amazingly innovative revolving restaurant on the top floor. Everyone flocked to experience it and it became a firm favourite among locals. Cape Town dining habits are fickle, however, and many new venues took over in popularity. The Top of the Ritz Restaurant faded from the trendy scene and many locals don’t even know it still exists.
A friend of mine was in town, booked into that hotel, and invited me to lunch. I jumped at the chance because it’s been a few years since I was there. Oh and my friend is also great company and always brings interesting people to the table, literally.
The menu is as retro as the decor and concept – nothing has changed. Except perhaps the building line of houses at the top of Fresnaye. They still offer avocado ritz on the menu, as well as a selection of flambé desserts, prepared at the table with flair. Something else that is seldom seen these days in restaurants was the sizes of the portions – huge! The quality of the food doesn’t stand out but there was nothing wrong with it.
We spent hours over lunch so were treated to four revolutions (one revolution takes 75 minutes so you do the math). A lot of attention was given to trying to figure out what some buildings are and how many swimming pools there are in the neighbourhood. I’m only sorry I didn’t think to take my proper camera to zoom in and better capture some of the sights. It’s more popular with hotel guests in the evening which is crazy really because you get to see much more in the daytime. Make a booking, you know you want to.