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What food does HAL do well?

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I have been searching for a recent list of foods that HAL does well.  I will be on Westerdam in May but don't want to limit the chat to one ship.  Having sailed on Oceania, Princess and HAL I  believe that each of these lines excels at certain dishes.

Cruisers always love to hear opinions on the must-try dishes and things to avoid;)

Of course food is subjective, but hints are always appreciated from past cruisers.  After all . . . . what is Cruise critic for??  

If you would like to chime in on your favorites and least favorites on HAL ships please chime in!!

Well. . .coffee in Explorations cafe, desserts at Pinnacle Grill,  grilled veg. instead of steamed, burgers and fries at Dive in

Not well, cheesecake in MDR and Lido, MDR and Lido lobster

We enjoyed food in MDR on  Rotterdam more than Zuiderdam

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Ok, I’ll chime in.

 

Lamb - any ship I have been on the lamb has been great.

 

Liver and onions - to die for on the Prinsendam.  People were talking about it for days.

 

Filet on Prinsendam - exquisite.  You could nearly cut it with a fork, it was that tender.  (In the MDR).

 

Escargots in the MDR.  Escargots in Sel de Mer

 

Crab cakes, lobster bisque, lunch in the PG.

 

love the berry desserts.

 

But, I sure miss the cold soups.

 

That’s just a few off the top of my head.

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My most favorite meal on HAL was a sweet & sour shrimp (really big! shrimp) dinner.

 

 

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9 minutes ago, kazu said:

Ok, I’ll chime in.

 

Lamb - any ship I have been on the lamb has been great.

 

Liver and onions - to die for on the Prinsendam.  People were talking about it for days.

 

Filet on Prinsendam - exquisite.  You could nearly cut it with a fork, it was that tender.  (In the MDR).

 

Escargots in the MDR.  Escargots in Sel de Mer

 

Crab cakes, lobster bisque, lunch in the PG.

 

love the berry desserts.

 

But, I sure miss the cold soups.

 

That’s just a few off the top of my head.

Don't forget the Indonesian meals..

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HAL does lamb basically better than any restaurant you’ll ever find - including wonderful Greek places.

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Be careful, lest the HAL Calorie Police from the "One Main Course" thread come over here and lecture you about how you only need a 3 oz. portion of lamb. 

 

Roz

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We love their Grab and Go sandwiches. HAL does breakfast and their breakfast pastries and lunch variety really well. Dinner salads are good.  Appetizers are varied and interesting. Taco bar is good. Pizza is better than in the past, but not great.  

 

Room service club sandwich or chicken quesadillas are a once a cruise must.  And when they offer their version of French Onion Soup, that can always be a winner too. And believe it or not as previously mentioned, they do do liver and onions very well. 

 

Dive-In fries, burgers and hot dogs are very good - love their portobello vegetarian burger especially.  Weakness when they offer it: Banoffee Pie and Peanut Butter Silk Pie. If you have a ship that offers the pan-asian Tamarind restaurant , they have lots of fun things to try and the fresh sushi is very good. Not so good in the Lido. 

 

Breads, breads, breads, with sweet butter,    though not as exquisite in the past as they were required to convert to frozen bread dough (sanitation concerns with be able to thoroughly clean the  former standing bread mixers from what I heard) DH is a meat eater and he is generally happy with their offerings at dinner, but by then I am already pretty filled up so others will have to vouch for that.  Tea and little biscuit scones are good at 3pm.

 

Missing on my list of less favorites are the surcharge  Italian Canaletto and  Pinnacles restaurants- we have found we like the main dining room better.  And we do like the less hectic late(around 8pm)  fixed-dining time in the main dining room too. 

Edited by OlsSalt

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23 minutes ago, Roz said:

Be careful, lest the HAL Calorie Police from the "One Main Course" thread come over here and lecture you about how you only need a 3 oz. portion of lamb. 

 

Roz

 

One "needs" only 4 ounces uncooked - 2-3 ounces cooked,  as a per person serving equivalent for nutritional needs if meat is part of one's diet. (If choosing meat as a source of complete amino acids, vitamins, minerals etc in a balanced diet plan -  portion being about the size of a deck of playing cards)

 

But you can have as much meat as you want. Calories are not part of this serving size nutritional equation.  You and your own metabolism need to work this out - no  imagined Calorie Police can tell you what you need to do.

Edited by OlsSalt

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8 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

We love their Grab and Go sandwiches.

LOL. I agree totally, I think there's a wonderful selection of really tasty sandwiches that are quite original. I'm laughing because your post is in such sharp contrast with some of the highly negative threads when HAL first introduced them a few years ago.

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5 minutes ago, Fouremco said:

LOL. I agree totally, I think there's a wonderful selection of really tasty sandwiches that are quite original. I'm laughing because your post is in such sharp contrast with some of the highly negative threads when HAL first introduced them a few years ago.

 

You mean the "soggy" pre-made sandwiches laying in their baskets all day long? :classic_biggrin:

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Just now, Fouremco said:

LOL. I agree totally, I think there's a wonderful selection of really tasty sandwiches that are quite original. I'm laughing because your post is in such sharp contrast with some of the highly negative threads when HAL first introduced them a few years ago.

 

Wrong - I was never negative, though a lot of people were when they were first introduced. In fact I was one of their first defenders once I started enjoying them. I was never a "sandwich" person at lunch before, so I had no loyalty to the loss of custom made sandwich station,  so I think there is a case of mistaken identity here.

 

Grab and Go sandwiches were another cataclysmic end of HAL forever and ever, and they still have some pretty rabid critics.  But I find them quite quite wonderful and convenient.  And I can't stop at just one half like I promise myself each time I get the chicken BLT. Something really simple like the baguette- turkey and cheese is all the tummy wants when the seas are moving around. It is the really fresh breads that really make Grab and Go sandwiches zing.

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I dislike the grab ‘n go sandwiches.  I find them quite soggy with an unnecessary amount of sauce.  Perhaps I have been unlucky but I am 0 for 2 so I am not trying another.

 

The raspberry cheesecake in the Pinnacle Grill is to die for, as is the no-sugar-added Black Forest cake in the MDR.  And I am not a dessert person.

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2 minutes ago, OlsSalt said:

Wrong - I was never negative,

You misunderstood. I never suggested that any of the negative threads were attributable to you. Bon appétit! 

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They often offer a "crisp" of some kind in the MDR for dessert -- peach, berry, apple, etc.  Any crisp with a scoop of ice cream is a reliably tasty dessert, I think.  I agree with others that the lamb is very good.  Really, lately, we've enjoyed all of our choices in MDR.  At the Sel de Mer specialty "pop-up," the bouillabaisse is great.  It's seasoned differently than what is in regular Pinnacle Grill.  I really enjoy it.

Also, any of the "shank" dishes are wonderful in MDR -- lamb or veal. I think they do a great job with their "braises" like this.  And the escargot -- oh, my.  I've never had such delicious escargot as those served in the MDR.  They have perfected escargot, IMHO.

 

I do think it's worth the effort to get to the MDR for dinner.  Lots of people say, oh, they have the same stuff in the Lido.  We've found that the execution of all dishes is inferior in the Lido to what you'll find in MDR.  That's been our experience, anyhow.  Unless we're super tired, we always make it to the MDR. 

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2 hours ago, OlsSalt said:

 

One "needs" only 4 ounces uncooked - 2-3 ounces cooked,  as a per person serving equivalent for nutritional needs if meat is part of one's diet. (If choosing meat as a source of complete amino acids, vitamins, minerals etc in a balanced diet plan -  portion being about the size of a deck of playing cards)

 

But you can have as much meat as you want. Calories are not part of this serving size nutritional equation.  You and your own metabolism need to work this out - no  imagined Calorie Police can tell you what you need to do.

Please don't tell my son who loves PG because he orders the largest steak he can get.  The fruit soups used to be "to die for", but cost cutting has almost eliminated this daily treat from the dinner menus.  I love the Paddle Dog and fries from Dive-In.  Room service 3-bean chili is awesome, a complete meal.  No one has mentioned the bread pudding with its sauce, which I have to have at least once during a cruise.  Oh, and don't forget the room service chocolate cake.  Ditto from everyone else's suggestions.  I've found a 7-day cruise isn't long enough because it doesn't give me an opportunity to sample everything I've come to enjoy about the food selections.  What's a person to do?

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Just a few to add.

Things we found good everywhere we ate them: french fries, hamburgers, crab cakes, spring rolls, mac n cheese, lamb chops

Everything we had at Tamarind except we didn't like the Tamarind Chocolate dessert, very gingery, not our thing.

The banana crisp dessert was super tasty too.

 

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I agree with the previous assessments of the lamb on HAL (so far, I've sailed only on the Amsterdam and the Rotterdam -- I'll get to experience the Eurodam in a couple of weeks, and yes, I've already made a couple of reservations for Tamarind).

 

I would also add fish -- just about any fish I've had has been beautifully prepared, but especially the salmon on the Alaska cruises and the cedar-planked halibut w/ shrimp scampi in the Pinnacle Grill.

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

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9 hours ago, OlsSalt said:

 

One "needs" only 4 ounces uncooked - 2-3 ounces cooked,  as a per person serving equivalent for nutritional needs if meat is part of one's diet. (If choosing meat as a source of complete amino acids, vitamins, minerals etc in a balanced diet plan -  portion being about the size of a deck of playing cards)

 

But you can have as much meat as you want. Calories are not part of this serving size nutritional equation.  You and your own metabolism need to work this out - no  imagined Calorie Police can tell you what you need to do.

 

Whatever....another lecture about how much/what to eat.  

 

Roz

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My best meal on HAL was in the NA Tamarind Wasabi Crusted fillet, the best steak on any cruise including in the HAL PG. Was also surprised how good the sushi was in Tamarind too.

 

Some of my other favorites from the past, but not sure if they are all still offered on HAL cruises:

The Oso Bucco in Canaletto was very good, in the MDR disappointing.  

Lamb Shanks in MDR 

Veal Chops in MDR

French Onion Soup in MDR

Leg of Lamb, but ask for thick cut and medium rare in MDR

Beef Wellington in MDR

 

Some dishes I have tried but found to be hit or mostly miss:

Prime rib, very good one night but another time thin cut with too much fat. I order it to be thick cut medium rare.

The everyday sirloin steak is usually tough and tasteless

Baked Turkey too dry and tasteless with dry dressing (my wife makes the best turkey and dressing)

Lamb chops on last cruise they were about 1/4" thick and way over cooked

Shrimp Cocktail sometimes OK but the shrimp tend to be rubbery and tasteless.

 

Edited by terrydtx

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The bleu cheese crusted steak in the Pinnacle Grill on the lunch menu! Yum!!

DH  says the cold soups.

Karen

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I use to love HAL's onion soup, but the last two cruise K'dam and Zuiderdam I didn't see it on the menu once.   I still love their bread pudding but only if it is plain.  One day they added chocolate chips!  yuck!

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35 minutes ago, Hflors said:

I use to love HAL's onion soup, but the last two cruise K'dam and Zuiderdam I didn't see it on the menu once.

That's a bummer as I think it use to be on the everyday available part of the menu. 

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12 minutes ago, terrydtx said:

That's a bummer as I think it use to be on the everyday available part of the menu. 

IIRC, it was still there on the NA's MDR menu at the beginning of February.

 

Edited to add that richwmn has posted the dinner menu on his current NA thread and it does indeed include the French Onion Soup on the "available daily" section of the menu.

 

 

 

Edited by Fouremco

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