The 8 Best Restaurants on Norwegian Ships

by Sherri Eisenberg

The 8 Best Restaurants on Norwegian Ships

by Sherri Eisenberg

Sure, the mega ships in this mainstream line have long had a wide array of choices for where to dine at lunch and dinner. But, in addition to playful dining choices like dinner theater and murder mystery dinners, the newer Norwegian Cruise Line ships — primarily Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway, and Norwegian Escape — have some restaurants serving up truly memorable food. Here, our favorite choices across the fleet. 

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Margaritaville on Norwegian Escape / NCL
Heirloom tomato salad with tofu and blueberries at Food Republic
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1. Food Republic

On: Norwegian Escape
This bright airy fusion restaurant by Miami’s PubBelly Boys has a modern, casual look and a menu to match. The menu itself feels all over the place. There’s a sushi section, plus noodles, dumplings and Japanese dishes like tuna tataki and miso-glazed cod. But you’ll also find Mexican and Central American dishes, such as beef anticuchos and elote, a Mexican dish of corn on the cod with crema and cheese. Surprisingly, everything we ordered delivered — and it was easily the best meal of our cruise.
Must Order: Buffalo-style rock shrimp and pastrami dumplings
Fee: À la carte

On: Norwegian Escape
This bright airy fusion restaurant by Miami’s PubBelly Boys has a modern, casual look and a menu to match. The menu itself feels all over the place. There’s a sushi section, plus noodles, dumplings and Japanese dishes like tuna tataki and miso-glazed cod. But you’ll also find Mexican and Central American dishes, such as beef anticuchos and elote, a Mexican dish of corn on the cod with crema and cheese. Surprisingly, everything we ordered delivered — and it was easily the best meal of our cruise.
Must Order: Buffalo-style rock shrimp and pastrami dumplings
Fee: À la carte

Slider at District Brew House
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2. District Brew House

On: Norwegian Escape
The beer list is the star at this pub, where 24 taps are complemented by more than 50 other brews in bottles, and fun and games include tabletop beer pong, live bands, and a photo booth. But the small list of pub grub items are tasty and well executed, and the perfect way to extend your time in this cool, modern space.
Must Order: Sliders, lobster rolls, chorizo-stuffed dates, and Korean chicken wings
Fee: À la carte

On: Norwegian Escape
The beer list is the star at this pub, where 24 taps are complemented by more than 50 other brews in bottles, and fun and games include tabletop beer pong, live bands, and a photo booth. But the small list of pub grub items are tasty and well executed, and the perfect way to extend your time in this cool, modern space.
Must Order: Sliders, lobster rolls, chorizo-stuffed dates, and Korean chicken wings
Fee: À la carte

Scallops with caramelized pork belly at Ocean Blue
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3. Ocean Blue

On: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway
This elegant candlelit seafood restaurant, originally helmed by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, is the most upscale restaurant on the fleet. Dishes are light, fresh, plated beautifully, and use locally sourced seafood.
Must Order: Grilled shrimp panzanella salad with olive dressing, scallops with grapefruit and caramelized pork belly, and lemon meringue tart with cassis sorbet
Fee: À la carte

On: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway
This elegant candlelit seafood restaurant, originally helmed by Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian, is the most upscale restaurant on the fleet. Dishes are light, fresh, plated beautifully, and use locally sourced seafood.
Must Order: Grilled shrimp panzanella salad with olive dressing, scallops with grapefruit and caramelized pork belly, and lemon meringue tart with cassis sorbet
Fee: À la carte

Citrus tart at Bayamo
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4. Bayamo

On: Norwegian Escape
Launched by Iron Chef Jose Garces of Philadelphia, this Latin Fusion restaurant has a colonial-inspired feel, with lots of dark wood, palm tree-inspired designs, and mahogany shutters. The dishes in the main restaurants highlight favorites from across Central America, such as a hearts of palm and coconut salad with lime dressing and a cream of corn and quinoa soup.  
Must Order: Ceviche, roasted cod with chorizo croquettes, and citrus custard tart with tres leches cake
Fee: À la carte

On: Norwegian Escape
Launched by Iron Chef Jose Garces of Philadelphia, this Latin Fusion restaurant has a colonial-inspired feel, with lots of dark wood, palm tree-inspired designs, and mahogany shutters. The dishes in the main restaurants highlight favorites from across Central America, such as a hearts of palm and coconut salad with lime dressing and a cream of corn and quinoa soup.  
Must Order: Ceviche, roasted cod with chorizo croquettes, and citrus custard tart with tres leches cake
Fee: À la carte

Lobster Roll from Ocean Blue at The Waterfront
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5. Ocean Blue at The Waterfront

On: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway
This lunch-only spot on the ships’ “boardwalk” area was the first New England-style seafood shack at sea. (Now, Carnival has one on the new Carnival Vista, too.) And, whether you’re in the Caribbean or still in U.S. waters, there’s nothing like a casual, fresh seafood lunch to make you feel at one with the sea.
Must Order: Lobster rolls and fried clam sandwiches
Fee: À la carte

On: Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway
This lunch-only spot on the ships’ “boardwalk” area was the first New England-style seafood shack at sea. (Now, Carnival has one on the new Carnival Vista, too.) And, whether you’re in the Caribbean or still in U.S. waters, there’s nothing like a casual, fresh seafood lunch to make you feel at one with the sea.
Must Order: Lobster rolls and fried clam sandwiches
Fee: À la carte

Tapas platter at Pincho
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6. Pincho Tapas

On: Norwegian Escape
Truth? We may actually like Garces’ transporting Spanish-inspired tapas bar better than his main restaurant. Here, you’ll find all the classics you would enjoy in sunny Barcelona — from Idiazabal and manchego cheeses to meats and seafood grilled “a la plancha” and Iberico and Serrano hams — all washed down with Spanish cava, Garnacha, Albariño, and Tempranillo.
Must Order: Bacon-wrapped lamb, shrimp with lemon aioli, garlicky chorizo, and duck confit montadito
Fee: À la carte

On: Norwegian Escape
Truth? We may actually like Garces’ transporting Spanish-inspired tapas bar better than his main restaurant. Here, you’ll find all the classics you would enjoy in sunny Barcelona — from Idiazabal and manchego cheeses to meats and seafood grilled “a la plancha” and Iberico and Serrano hams — all washed down with Spanish cava, Garnacha, Albariño, and Tempranillo.
Must Order: Bacon-wrapped lamb, shrimp with lemon aioli, garlicky chorizo, and duck confit montadito
Fee: À la carte

Fish tacos at Margaritaville
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7. Margaritaville

On: Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway
This casual restaurant on the pool deck isn’t complimentary, but it is a big enough of a step up from the poolside grills you find on other ships to be worth the fee. You’ll find Caribbean-influenced fare — strangely uncommon on ships that sail these waters — such as conch fritters, Key West-style grilled fish sandwiches, and Key lime pie, as well as comfort food and Mexican favorites such as the signature Cheeseburger in Paradise and fish tacos.
Must Order: Quesadillas, pretzel sticks, and fresh watermelon margaritas
Fee: À la carte

On: Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Breakaway, and Norwegian Getaway
This casual restaurant on the pool deck isn’t complimentary, but it is a big enough of a step up from the poolside grills you find on other ships to be worth the fee. You’ll find Caribbean-influenced fare — strangely uncommon on ships that sail these waters — such as conch fritters, Key West-style grilled fish sandwiches, and Key lime pie, as well as comfort food and Mexican favorites such as the signature Cheeseburger in Paradise and fish tacos.
Must Order: Quesadillas, pretzel sticks, and fresh watermelon margaritas
Fee: À la carte

Steak at Los Lobos Cantina
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8. Los Lobos Cantina

On: Norwegian Dawn
When Norwegian Dawn was retrofit in spring 2016, the line added this new dining concept to the older ship. And it's a beauty: Inspired by fun and casual Mexico City, you'll enter to see wrestling masks on the walls and a cool, modern vibe with long wood tables and black leather chairs studded with nail heads. And the food is as delightful as the atmosphere: Look for guacamole made table side, as well as enchiladas bathed in rich mole sauce and handcrafted tequila-laced cocktails. 
Must Order: Tacos al pastor and grilled skirt steak with lime
Fee: À la carte

On: Norwegian Dawn
When Norwegian Dawn was retrofit in spring 2016, the line added this new dining concept to the older ship. And it's a beauty: Inspired by fun and casual Mexico City, you'll enter to see wrestling masks on the walls and a cool, modern vibe with long wood tables and black leather chairs studded with nail heads. And the food is as delightful as the atmosphere: Look for guacamole made table side, as well as enchiladas bathed in rich mole sauce and handcrafted tequila-laced cocktails. 
Must Order: Tacos al pastor and grilled skirt steak with lime
Fee: À la carte

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