The Best Restaurants on Luxury Ships

by Sherri Eisenberg

The Best Restaurants on Luxury Ships

by Sherri Eisenberg

The main dining rooms on luxury cruise ships are generally excellent — from the dishes themselves to the service and the willingness to cater to guests’ whims. Some of these ships also have equally special fine dining restaurants, which not only offer a change of scenery from the main dining room but, in some cases, focus on a certain cuisine. Here, a few of the favorites that lure us away from our regular table when we’re at sea:

5
Prego on the Crystal Serenity / Crystal Cruises / Henrike Schunck
Seabourn's Restaurant 2
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Restaurant 2, Seabourn Cruise Line

Tables for two here are easily the score of any sailing, and for good reason. The creative, modern take on continental and American cuisine is innovative yet doesn’t take itself too seriously — a rare feat. The menu changes all the time, but dishes always include decadent ingredients in lavish presentations with foams and toiles and elaborate plays on texture.

Surprise Dish: The foie gras crème brulee appetizer is rich, as is the smoked duck carpaccio served with a foie gras terrine.

Tables for two here are easily the score of any sailing, and for good reason. The creative, modern take on continental and American cuisine is innovative yet doesn’t take itself too seriously — a rare feat. The menu changes all the time, but dishes always include decadent ingredients in lavish presentations with foams and toiles and elaborate plays on texture.

Surprise Dish: The foie gras crème brulee appetizer is rich, as is the smoked duck carpaccio served with a foie gras terrine.

Silk Road on the Crystal Symphony
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Silk Road, Crystal Cruises

Not all celeb-chef restaurants are winners, but this joint venture with Food Network’s “Iron Chef” Nobu Matsuhisa is as good as his Nobu outposts on land, serving the serene Japanese styling and new-fashioned takes on sushi and sashimi that are his signature. The restaurant is split in two, with a sushi bar and a main area, but you can order from either menu no matter where you sit. Look for spicy creamy king crab, rock shrimp tempura with ponzu sauce, grilled Wagyu beef with a trip of sauces, and new-style sashimi.

Surprise Dish: Ask what else the chef can whip up that’s not on the menu, from sashimi or whatever was caught that day to Japanese comfort food dishes he’d make for his family.

Not all celeb-chef restaurants are winners, but this joint venture with Food Network’s “Iron Chef” Nobu Matsuhisa is as good as his Nobu outposts on land, serving the serene Japanese styling and new-fashioned takes on sushi and sashimi that are his signature. The restaurant is split in two, with a sushi bar and a main area, but you can order from either menu no matter where you sit. Look for spicy creamy king crab, rock shrimp tempura with ponzu sauce, grilled Wagyu beef with a trip of sauces, and new-style sashimi.

Surprise Dish: Ask what else the chef can whip up that’s not on the menu, from sashimi or whatever was caught that day to Japanese comfort food dishes he’d make for his family.

Seven Seas Navigator's Prime 7
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Prime 7, Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Steakhouses are common on ships of all price points, but this modern take on the restaurant classic aims to set the bar higher, with USDA prime cuts of porterhouse for two and — most impressive of all — a daily special of seafood caught in port. Other choices include a double-cut Kurobuta Berkshire pork chop and a tomahawk-style veal chop, plus rich and flavorful (and calorie-indulgent) sides like twice-baked potatoes, creamed spinach, and onion rings. For the truly decadent, order the truffle-laced asparagus.

Surprise Dish: Watching your waist? You can ask for smaller portions of anything, or create a meal of low-cal faves like shrimp cocktail and seared ahi with roasted root vegetables.

Steakhouses are common on ships of all price points, but this modern take on the restaurant classic aims to set the bar higher, with USDA prime cuts of porterhouse for two and — most impressive of all — a daily special of seafood caught in port. Other choices include a double-cut Kurobuta Berkshire pork chop and a tomahawk-style veal chop, plus rich and flavorful (and calorie-indulgent) sides like twice-baked potatoes, creamed spinach, and onion rings. For the truly decadent, order the truffle-laced asparagus.

Surprise Dish: Watching your waist? You can ask for smaller portions of anything, or create a meal of low-cal faves like shrimp cocktail and seared ahi with roasted root vegetables.

Le Champagne on the Silver Shadow
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Le Champagne, Silversea Cruises

The only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea takes the already-fine dining experience — crystal, fine china, memorable wine, impressive Champagne — on board and ups the ante. How do you even do that, you may ask? With luxurious ingredients and elaborate dishes.

Surprise Dish: From the risotto laced with gold leaf to the caviar with blinis, the feeling that no expense has been spared makes eating here feel like a special occasion indeed.

The only Relais & Chateaux restaurant at sea takes the already-fine dining experience — crystal, fine china, memorable wine, impressive Champagne — on board and ups the ante. How do you even do that, you may ask? With luxurious ingredients and elaborate dishes.

Surprise Dish: From the risotto laced with gold leaf to the caviar with blinis, the feeling that no expense has been spared makes eating here feel like a special occasion indeed.

Prego on the Crystal Serenity
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Prego, Crystal Cruises

Legendary Italian Chef Piero Selvaggio of Prego Beverly Hills helms one of the most impressive Italian restaurants at sea, with both seasonal and traditional dishes. Start with fritto misto — crispy fried seafood with aioli — or the slow-poached lobster salad with basil oil vinaigrette. Pasta dishes include beet ravioli with a poppy-seed sauce, and the Amalfi lemon risotto with bay scallops is unusually light. Entrees include familiar family favorites, such as veal scaloppine in a Marsala sauce, as well as lavender-roasted duck breast with a chestnut cappuccino and salsify.

Surprise Dish: The soup course is not something to skip here: Order the cream of mushroom soup, which is served in a sourdough bread bowl. It’s everyone’s favorite dish on the menu, and worth skipping dessert to make room for. (Listen to us on this one.)

Legendary Italian Chef Piero Selvaggio of Prego Beverly Hills helms one of the most impressive Italian restaurants at sea, with both seasonal and traditional dishes. Start with fritto misto — crispy fried seafood with aioli — or the slow-poached lobster salad with basil oil vinaigrette. Pasta dishes include beet ravioli with a poppy-seed sauce, and the Amalfi lemon risotto with bay scallops is unusually light. Entrees include familiar family favorites, such as veal scaloppine in a Marsala sauce, as well as lavender-roasted duck breast with a chestnut cappuccino and salsify.

Surprise Dish: The soup course is not something to skip here: Order the cream of mushroom soup, which is served in a sourdough bread bowl. It’s everyone’s favorite dish on the menu, and worth skipping dessert to make room for. (Listen to us on this one.)

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