The Roma Revolving Restaurant in Durban has been my favourite restaurant ever since I moved to South Africa eight years ago. There is just something about the warm and friendly atmosphere, the old-fashioned (and slightly cheesy) décor, the excellent service, the passionate Italian owners, the stunning view and last but not least: the delicious food!

Roma has been around for quite some time; 36 years to be exact. Run by brothers Gino and Tony Leopardi it is one of only 36 revolving restaurants in the world, and the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere – boasting the unique feature of a revolving window and floor area. Do remember to be attentive when you pay a visit to the ladies’ room, because when you come back your table won’t be exactly where you left it… It can get quite confusing! But it’s all part of the fun.

It was my man’s birthday yesterday, so I decided to treat him to a meal at our favourite restaurant. We have celebrated a number of special occasions at Roma, and I have honestly never had a bad experience. Twice Gino (or Tony) have given me a bunch of perfect, absolutely beautiful red roses when he realised it was my birthday. Once he even put a ‘Happy Birthday’ banner up for me. So sweet! I am a firm believer in the fact that going the extra mile will always be in a restaurant owner’s best interest, as it really does make customers come back.

Anyway, let’s talk about the food! Although Italian cuisine is obviously Roma’s speciality, there’s local food available as well – such as seafood and fresh game. Ostrich and crocodile steaks have been popular items on the menu for years, and so has the Norwegian salmon and the veal casserole. For starters I always go for the Baked Asparagus Parmiggiana – fresh, green organic asparagus baked and served hot with melted parmesan cheese. Ryan is a soup fan, especially in winter, so he had the Minestrone Soup – a delicious homemade vegetable soup served with fresh bread. For mains we were in the mood for beef, so I had the Fillet Pizzaiola – the most tender fillet steak you can ever imagine, topped with a sauce consisting of fresh tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, chilli and Oregano. Ryan had the Rump Pepper Steak – a huge piece of cow that took up almost his whole plate and was drenched in a creamy, spicy pepper sauce. Very rich, but oh so decadent! Mains are served with a choice of starch and vegetables of the day. And good food needs good wine, of course. So we had a few glasses of red, before rounding off our meal with a cup of hot filter coffee. By the time the dessert trolley came around, offering mouth-watering temptations such as homemade Italian ice cream, Créme Brûlé , crepes and chocolate mousse, we were so stuffed and had to give it a miss.

Situated 105 metres above sea level, on the 32nd floor of John Ross House, the Roma Revolving Restaurant is a Durban institution and should be visited at least once by every Durbanite! The harbour view is mesmerising at night, so get yourself a babysitter and take your man for a romantic night out. Don’t forget to book in advance on 031 337 6707, as it’s almost always full.

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