When my friend Chris Gialanella, Publisher of Riviera Magazine heard I’d never been to The Ritz restaurant, he was aghast and quickly gathered together a bunch of mutual friends together for lunch. Let’s just say, he was eager to introduce to us, one of his favorite restaurants in the area.
I was excited to try a new restaurant, especially when there were six of us at the table and I insisted that no one duplicate their orders so I can maximize what I’ll be tasting — off everyone’s plate, that is — for the sake of research. Yes, that’s what I always tell them when I am about to embark on a rather gluttonous journey.
But as luck would have it, my photos were on the same faulty memory card as the one I used for Tommy Bahama‘s so I returned again in order to get some photos for this post. I will mention that we did a reprisal of some of the items because they were really good but some others were lost.
We all started with a meatball both times — Chris insisted upon it and he was right. These homemade meatballs are hearty, substantial and a couple of these might be enough for a light lunch. The sauce is flavorful and with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes, was indeed a great start to any meal. My friend Brenda’s little girl Maddie devoured this and ended up dipping her bread into the remaining marinara sauce.
Since on our first trip we omitted The Ritz Egg ($16.50), we decided to order it this time. It arrives in a carefully cracked egg shell filled with a lightly scrambled egg with smoked salmon. Topped with caviar, each mouthful was a smoky, salty, umami-filled delight. Again, it is very telling when a 6-year-old couldn’t stop eating it.
Our entrees include Seafood “Mixed Grill” ($21.75), a broiled skewer of shrimp, scallops, swordfish and halibut served with remoulade and a crab cake. The swordfish and halibut were a tad over cooked hence dry, but otherwise, a nice light alternative for those wanting a substantial, yet relatively healthy meal — just don’t eat the crab cake.
Another seafood item we tried was Pan-sauteed Barramundi ($19.50). This Australian seabass is cooked perfectly with a lovely beurre blanc sauce and served with fresh asparagus and spoonleaf spinach and portabella.
The special of the day was a Ravioli dish which our 6-year-old guest chose. It was rich, delicious and definitely a great item kids love.
There is a Prix Fixe 2-course lunch menu for a mere $17.50 with several choices for an appetizer or dessert, and entree. We loved the Wild Mushroom “Cappuccino” both times, served with a parmesan cheese straw.
The 8oz top sirloin steak was very tough and when we mentioned this they immediately took it away and brought us our alternate choice.
Filet of Petrale Sole — sorry, no photo — was delicious with sauteed with domestic mushrooms and served with seasonal vegetables. What I love is there isn’t a lot of carbs in these meals. Everything comes with vegetables and if you want to go even lighter, ask for the sauce on the side.
We finished with Harlequin Souffle ($10.75) but this takes some time so if you want it, order it when your entree is brought to the table. This Grand Marnier and Belgian chocolate souffle is served with a Grand Marnier creme anglaise. Absolutely delightful.
If you’ve never been to The Ritz, now is the time to visit. Service is awesome and food is good. I have a $100 gift certificate to The Ritz Restaurant courtesy of Riviera Magazine. To enter, you have to follow Chris Gialanella of Riviera Magazine on Twitter and then leave me a message that you’ve done so. Entries close Sunday July 8th and winner will be announced Monday July 9th. Good Luck! This is one giveaway you don’t want to miss!
The Ritz Restaurant
880 Newport Center Drive
Newport Beach, CA 92660