Monday, March 31, 2014

The Specialty Restaurants Aboard Quantum of the Seas

Today’s cruisers want more than a voyage that takes them from port to port, regardless of how inspiring the itinerary is. They want a vacation experience that will also take them on an epicurean journey…one that will provide opportunities to discover and experience new and diverse cuisines!  Royal Caribbean has met that challenge on the Quantum of the Seas by showcasing distinct 18 culinary concepts, representing cultures from around the country and around the globe. We’ve already talked about the concept of Dynamic Dining and the many complimentary choices it offers guests.  However, Quantum of the Seas also allows guests the opportunity to dine at seven additional restaurants, all presenting irresistible fare in intimate settings, well worth the surcharge.

If you’ve ever even half tuned into the Food Network or any of the morning show cooking segments, Jamie Oliver is a name that you are no doubt familiar with.  What you may not know is that this British chef and restaurateur is passionate about Italian cuisine!  In fact, there are over thirty Jamie’s Italian restaurants worldwide, with the newest opening on the Quantum of the Seas! The menu exemplifies a modern interpretation of home-style rustic dishes with bold and simple flavor. Handmade pastas and risottos are made fresh onsite every day. Jamie’s Italian is open for lunch ($15pp) and dinner ($25 pp).

James Beard award-winning chef Michael Schwartz isn’t new to life on the high sea. In the past he has created menus for 150 Central Park onboard Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. His new gastropub, (yes, that’s a real word meaning a watering hole that serves high quality food…seems they’re all the rage in big cities across the country) on the Quantum of the Seas is aptly called Michael’s Genuine Pub. Stop in for munchies washed down with the homegrown craft beer on tap or in the bottle, such as Michael’s Genuine Home Brew. Pricing is a la carte.

I always felt the Solarium Bistro was a little-known gem of a place onboard Royal Caribbean ships, however it looks like it won’t remain much of a secret any longer! Now under the direction of celebrity chef Devin Alexander, Devinly Decadence at Solarium Bistro offers healthy breakfast (no charge), lunch ($10 pp) and dinner ($20 pp) options with an emphasis on freshness and lite cuisine. Devin’s philosophy on food is that you don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods to be fit and healthy.  She demonstrates that way of thinking with a menu of scrumptious 100 calorie snacks and delicious meals under 500 calories. I like that!

Wonderland is just what it sounds like – a place of wonders, and of the strange and curious! The restaurant is surreal and whimsical…you might even say a bit “mad”!  Royal Caribbean calls the cuisine the “new post modern style of cooking”, but I call it cooking ingenuity! There are no courses to order.  Instead, the progressive menu is segmented into elements… wind, sea, ice, earth, fire, and dreams! This is indeed an unusual dining adventure ($45 pp) in which guests are presented with different textures, tastes, and arrangement s that delight all the senses at once.

If you are in the mood for great Japanese food Izumi has got you covered.  This restaurant features the finest Japanese dishes, both traditional and contemporary, including a wonderful selection of the freshest sushi, special rolls, the hot rock grill, and more. Hot Rock cooking is just as it sounds: a rock, heated for several hours in a hot oven. The waiter brings the hot rock grill and fish, meat and veggies of your choice to your table, so you can cook your own meal to your preferred level of doneness. Izumi is a fun way to dine on delectable Asian cuisine and is open for lunch and dinner with a la carte pricing.

I’m glad to see that Chops Grille will be included on Quantum-class ships. It will showcase a more contemporary décor and menu, with the pièce de résistance being the dry-aged steaks! Have you heard people talk about dry-aged beef and wonder what the buzz is all about? Dry-aging beef gives it a remarkable depth of flavor as well as tenderness.  Because of the high price and the space necessary to age meat, dry-aged beef is only served in the most trend-setting, expensive restaurants.  However, now it can be enjoyed at dinner ($35pp) on Quantum of the Seas. 

 Within Chops Grille is a private area reserved for the Chef’s Table ($89 pp).  This intimate dining experience is limited to sixteen guests. The five-course chef’s selection is the only option and the only one you'd want, as each expertly prepared course is more beautiful, flavorful and artistically presented than the next. The meal includes wines which are expertly paired by the sommelier.   To celebrate a special occasion, or create one, a reservation at the Chef’s Table is a must!

I’d be quite surprised if your mouth wasn't watering as you read through the options for specialty dining that will be available on Quantum of the Seas. Add to that the five complimentary full-service restaurants and the many casual dining options and you are certainly on your way to an epicurean journey aboard Royal Caribbean’s newest ship!"

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