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csj092809

Specialty restaurants-"must try" items

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Good morning all! I am going to be on the Horizon in September and have booked several specialty restaurants and also plan on trying a few of the places that do not require reservations. Living in the Caribbean, it has always been more convenient for us to hop over to Puerto Rico and jump on the Fascination. This time, we decided to get on a ship with all the bells and whistles! My question is what are some of the "must try" foods at the specialty spots. I am mostly wondering about Cucina (heard the meatballs are amazing), Jiji , Bonsai sushi and the Seafood shack (I do not do mayo, heard you can get lobster rolls without it-true?), but if anyone has something they found amazing anywhere on the ship please share. Thank you all! (I tried searching, but the search function on here leaves much to be desired, so if there are already threads on this that I missed, please let me know)(also, please note that I am not looking for food hacks such as peanut butter with chocolate melting cake or soft serve with root beer-just mainly what specific dishes to try at the food joints) 🙂

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The antipasto in the Cucina is the only menu item this Bronx born Italian would recommend.  The other items on the Cucina menu remind me of the Olive Garden.

 

Try the 9 oz filet mignon in the Steakhouse, medium rare, and the dessert art if only for the show of creating it at your table.

 

The hibachi menu is typical (perhaps over-priced) and it can be a fun meal with the right chef and group at your table.

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The burrata in the Italian restaurant. It had candied tomatoes with it. So delicious

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2 hours ago, evandbob said:

The antipasto in the Cucina is the only menu item this Bronx born Italian would recommend.  The other items on the Cucina menu remind me of the Olive Garden.

 

Try the 9 oz filet mignon in the Steakhouse, medium rare, and the dessert art if only for the show of creating it at your table.

 

The hibachi menu is typical (perhaps over-priced) and it can be a fun meal with the right chef and group at your table.

Thank you! I love antipasto...I will try this for sure.  I am up in the air about the table art. My travelling companion is 10 years old, so would maybe be fun for him to see done. We will see. I appreciate the recommendations 🙂

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2 hours ago, pohlerbear said:

The burrata in the Italian restaurant. It had candied tomatoes with it. So delicious

Yummmm...burrata...thank you for the recommendation! 

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While we have only had the Steakhouse for dinner (recommend the art dessert if for nothing else than the experience!), I recommend JiJi for lunch!
It is a different menu than dinner (no hibachi) but was still very tasty.
We liked being able to "build your own bowl" by choosing the type of ingredients you wanted in it.
Also, you can order it "to go" so you just fill out the slip and take it to one of the decks or back to your room!

 

Best part is that during lunch it is FREE (so is Cucina) so you can get a sample of what they are like before deciding to splurge on them for dinner.

We ate at JiJi a couple of times and will definitely make it a lunch stop again on our next cruise!

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We loved the Italian short ribs, fell off the bone. The comparison to OG is not deserved, as a chef. 

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All good info here, as I am on the fence with Cucina. We are def going to try JiJi's on our upcoming in August. I have read alot about it and it is highly recommended. With our steakhouse experience on the Pride, the steaks were off the chain, namely the cowboy and the other seasoned one. I am ashamed to admit my son and I could not finish ours, haha. But dang they were so good and tasty and a great size portion. The crab cakes are quite good as the appetizer and shrimp cocktail, although common fare, were nice and plump and tasty. I thought Bonsai was quite good and well made considering they are offered on a cruise ship. I was skeptical at first, but ended up enjoying their sushi very much. Actually we went to the demonstration and got samples, which sold us on them. Delicious. 

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16 minutes ago, PhillyFan33579 said:

This may sound weird, but the mac n cheese in the steakhouse is outstanding. 

Not weird, it's high class mac n cheese, lol

 

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The cheesecake in the steakhouse is fantastic.  If you can't finish it, they will box it up for you to take back to the cabin.

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5 hours ago, csj092809 said:

Good morning all! I am going to be on the Horizon in September and have booked several specialty restaurants and also plan on trying a few of the places that do not require reservations. Living in the Caribbean, it has always been more convenient for us to hop over to Puerto Rico and jump on the Fascination. This time, we decided to get on a ship with all the bells and whistles! My question is what are some of the "must try" foods at the specialty spots. I am mostly wondering about Cucina (heard the meatballs are amazing), Jiji , Bonsai sushi and the Seafood shack (I do not do mayo, heard you can get lobster rolls without it-true?), but if anyone has something they found amazing anywhere on the ship please share. Thank you all! (I tried searching, but the search function on here leaves much to be desired, so if there are already threads on this that I missed, please let me know)(also, please note that I am not looking for food hacks such as peanut butter with chocolate melting cake or soft serve with root beer-just mainly what specific dishes to try at the food joints) 🙂

 

Make sure you do the guys pig and anchor bbq (free) at lunchtime. Became my fav lunch stop. I think you have guys pig and anchor smokehouse too which is for dinner. I’d bet that is amazing too. 

 

That ship pretty much much has a lot of amazing food options and you can’t go wrong. My number one suggestion would be shrimp cocktail, filet mignon and cheesecake at the steakhouse. Always my #1 dinner. As someone else said the antipasto at the Italian place is amazing and the other menu items are very very good. Not close to an Olive Garden. The chicken part seemed to be my families fav. 

 

If you have the bluelguana cantina, they are very very good and ours even did a breakfast burrito that was great. Free also. 

 

Make sure to do the sea day brunch. Excellent. 

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Lots to agree with here, absolutely love starting my sea day with the brunch.  I have read the bbq is free for lunch, but didn't know Cucina was, is that true?  Not into Asian or going to the Steakhouse alone, but many other opportunities I am looking forward to.

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2 minutes ago, comiso13 said:

Lots to agree with here, absolutely love starting my sea day with the brunch.  I have read the bbq is free for lunch, but didn't know Cucina was, is that true?  Not into Asian or going to the Steakhouse alone, but many other opportunities I am looking forward to.

 

Yes, Cucina is free at lunch. 

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52 minutes ago, comiso13 said:

Lots to agree with here, absolutely love starting my sea day with the brunch.  I have read the bbq is free for lunch, but didn't know Cucina was, is that true?  Not into Asian or going to the Steakhouse alone, but many other opportunities I am looking forward to.

Cucina and JiJi are both free for lunch, however they are very streamlined menus.
You fill out a checklist telling them what you want and then hand it to your server.
Cucina is more a build your own pasta lunch - choose the pasta, the sauce and any meat or vegetables in it.
JiJi you build your own bowl with rice or noodles, meat, vegetables, sauce, etc.

We weren't thrilled with the Cucina lunch so haven't had dinner there. 
The food itself was okay, no better than Olive Garden, though.
However the service was terrible. It took forever to get our order taken and the server was a bit cranky and disappeared after awhile never to be seen again.
Not sure what was going on, but it soured us for actually paying for a meal there on that cruise.
I would take into account that it was a one-off service wise, so you will probably have a different experience.
We might give it another try this next cruise.

However we loved JiJi and will eat there for dinner one night this next cruise.

As a Texan, I found the BBQ was just okay. Nothing special but not bad either.
Especially for free. That always helps.
 

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Thank you all so much. These are great! I have made a list of all your suggestions and will be trying them all😁

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You can order the Lobster roll with melted butter instead of mayo but they will tell you it will take a bit longer because they have to prepare it instead of using lobster & mayo that has already been mixed together.  It was good though so do try it.

We liked Cucina in the evening and found the service to be fine.  Only thing we could have lived without is the servers singing Italian songs with a Russian, Croatian, etc accent. LOL

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12 hours ago, Chervil said:

We weren't thrilled with the Cucina lunch so haven't had dinner there. 
The food itself was okay, no better than Olive Garden, though.
However the service was terrible. It took forever to get our order taken and the server was a bit cranky and disappeared after awhile never to be seen again.

 

 

The day menu is a pasta bar and has nothing to do with the dinner menu. Not sure about the service you are talking about as you fill out a little form to order. The dinner menu is delicious and miles above OG. Their Italian short ribs are to die for. The service was also excellent and we must have missed the singing.

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Just now, coevan said:

 

 

The day menu is a pasta bar and has nothing to do with the dinner menu. Not sure about the service you are talking about as you fill out a little form to order. The dinner menu is delicious and miles above OG. Their Italian short ribs are to die for. The service was also excellent and we must have missed the singing.

We were seated at a table and given a slip to fill out when we were seated.
Since this was our first time, we had a few questions about the slip and our server (female) seemed frustrated that she had to answer them. (Can you get the sauce on the side, etc.)
She took our drink order and then vanished!
Simply disappeared!
We waited about 5 minutes or so (figuring she had gone to the back or something) and finally had to flag down another server to give her our slips and let her know our drink order still hand't arrived.

She brought them just as our food was coming out.
Never saw the first server again and the other server who seemed a bit surprised that we had been abandoned, but never gave an explanation for where she went.
 

Granted this was on the Breeze about 2 years ago, so maybe they have refined things a bit.

But I know it worked the same way when we went to JiJi on our January cruise.
Get seated. 
Server takes drink order and gives you a slip to fill out.
Fill out slip.
Server returns with drinks and takes slip.

Order up!

 

As far as food quality, it's good to know it is much better at dinner.
I do love a good lasagna and Cupcake likes Chicken Marsala, so we may need to give it a shot.

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I've looked at the menu for Cucina on Panorama and while it is a decent menu, I don't see Chicken Marsala.  

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On 7/20/2019 at 11:55 AM, PhillyFan33579 said:

This may sound weird, but the mac n cheese in the steakhouse is outstanding. 

 

You calling me weird?

 

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The sushi at Bonsai was outstanding!

 

I loved the lobster roll at the Seafood Shack and DH liked the clam chowder bread bowl... I tried the Fried Buffalo Shrimp once but no matter what I said, I couldn't convince the guy working there that fried shrimp with a side of cocktail sauce is NOT buffalo shrimp! They were tasty fried shrimp, just not Buffalo Fried Shrimp!

 

I love the escargot in the steakhouse (the ones in the MDR? Not so much).

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Twice we had the lobster roll and a dozen oysters for lunch, YUM

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Good to know the buffalo shrimp is just fried shrimp and cocktail sauce.  That is what I prefer.  Hope it is the same way on Panorama.  Maybe I can ask for it that way if not.  Lobster roll, fried shrimp, clam chowder, damn I'm getting hungry

 

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Good foods, as mentioned! Also, DH loves the Pork Belly at Jiji’s. I don’t. But, we both love the special ice creams and sorbets in the Steakhouse desserts menu.

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