Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community

Specialty Restaurant choice recommendations

Recommended Posts

I will freely admit that my chief interest in Cruising is the food choices and restaurant quality. NCL has a wide range of choices for cruise lovers and I have sampled a few of the older specialty restaurants more than once, but with different results. I am hoping to guage everyone else's opinion about food quality at the specialty restaurants from past experiences.


I've been on the NCL Gem for 7 days Bahamas-Florida Cruise out of NYC May 2017 and NCL Breakaway 7 days Western Caribbean Cruise from Miami May 2019


Here's my perspective on food quality at the specialty restaurants:

1. Le Bistro: I was enchanted by the French restaurant on the NCL Gem, it was my first specialty restaurant and the food did not disappoint. The Escargot was just as good as the snails from France that I have sampled in Strasbourg, the French Onion Soup was divine, the Veal Medallions were extremely tender, and the dessert Creme brule melted in my mouth. I just loved this restaurant based on my first visit, so I went back this year on the Breakaway. Sadly, the food quality had diminished considerably. The Escargot had the taste of a being frozen for too long and over-seasoned, the onion soup did not have the rich meat juice that I remembered and cheese appeared to have congealed being at room temp versus piping hot as it was 1st time I had (as those of us know, melted texture of cheese in this soup is what makes its delicious and dip like for french bread), the sole that I tried this time also had a strong freezer taste, and only the Profiteroles for dessert appeared to hold a high quality taste.


Overally I thought NCL Gem had much better food in 2017 compared to Breakaway in 2019


2. La Cucina: NCL Gem's la Cucina was forgettable dinner of pizza and antipasto, but NCL Breakaway actually shined. I think the brick oven pizza and Ossobuko really helped make this an amazing meal. I would easily go back for seconds or thirds just to enjoy the quality Italian cuisine.


3. Moderno: I only tried this at Breakaway, the Brazilian steakhouse was okay and if you never tried this kind of food, then it might interest you. I have been to Fogo de Chao in Boston, so the concept of a cold buffet and meat on a stick were not foreign to me. The quality of the buffet was good, but the meat were inconsistent, some cuts were better than others and the sad truth was they put poorer cuts of steak and chicken ahead of prime cuts of steak and lamb later in the meal. That means that you could not enjoy lamb chops when they were served. I don't fault them for this, but a Brazilian steakhouse should be an experience in indulgence, not strategic maneuvers to save on meat costs.


4. Cagneys: I loved this steakhouse on NCL Gem, there is nothing that can describe the quality of the meat and appetizers, except heavenly. I wish I had sampled them instead of going to Le Bistro on NCL Breakaway, based on word of mouth on the ship, they were by far the better choice at the time.


I have not been to Ocean Blue or Teppanyaki, the former merely due to my lack of interest in seafood and latter appeared to be normal food for me with a fancy show.


I have also dined in the tsuedo-specialty restaurants:


1. O'Sheehans: This I loved on both NCL Gem and Breakaway, there's nothing like a late night snack of Wings and Onion Rings after a Broadway show. I loved everything there.


2. Orchid Garden/Shanghai Noodle Bar: Ugh, this is why I vowed to never go to an Asian restaurant on NCL. Neither of these venues had any authenticity or taste that resembles Asian food: store bought or otherwise. The Noodles were bland, rice dishes were not wok cooked as advertised, the egg rolls had extreme freezer burn, and to ad insult injury, the dumplings had bones in them. What are the odds that on 2 different sailings, across 2 different ships and 2 years that I eat the same kind of Dumpling with the same problem.


My advise to NCL is either hire an actual Asian Chef de Cuisine or stop adding these Asian inspired concepts.




Sorry for ending on a negative,, but I really do love NCL food and specialty restaurants, except the bad Asian inspired ones.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Moderno, it just can't compare to land based Brazilian restaurants but mainly because the ships can't use the same cooking techniques. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Thanks for the replies and for Moderno, I am not saying the food was bad per se, may not be up there with land Brazilian restaurants, but it was good meat. I just wish they would have been a little more courteous and spread the meats throughout the service, also they kept refilling the cheese bread, rice, and Yucca fries, which I love, but I came in to be a carnivore, not to fill up on starches.


I'll be on the Escape in November and Epic in May 2020, I've heard a lot of good news about the tapas restaurant and the fusion restaurant Food Republic on Escape, should I venture in?


Anyone have any recommendations for the Epic? I know it's Breakaway-like, but it's a different layout.

Edited by time391

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

1) Le Bistro

2) Cagney's

3) Back to the better one on the day!!


Teppanyaki in some ways over-rated

La Cucina was "off" it for a long time but surprised last time

Moderno used to be a favourite in 3) but now right down the scale.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Best Le bistro and Cagneys since they put back the jumbo shrimp at no additional charge. Most improved La cucina and Osheehans has improved their menu. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter for a chance to win a $3,000 Norwegian Cruise Line Gift Card
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
  • Create New...