Having never been on a cruise before, I only had stale punchlines to go by when forming my expectations. Options limited to a buffet – perhaps an omelette bar? I didn’t expect 7 different dining venues and bars in my Central Park neighborhood alone. As I mentioned in my first post, as part of my partnership with Royal Caribbean, The Harmony of the Seas organizes its ships into neighborhoods, each area with a distinct look and feel. I got to spend some time in Central Park, home to some of the premiere dining options and shops perfect for the discerning palate.
Other than bouncing around the different food options – I only got to a handful of the options, so more to explore next time I visit! I also got to visit the belly of the ship, and go on a tour of the main kitchen. The ship’s capacity is pretty astonishing – in just one voyage it will go through 60,000 fresh eggs, and that’s not including the hundreds of fresh eggs that Jamie’s Italian uses to make fresh pasta every day. The high end restaurants, such as the fanciful molecular gastronomy at Wonderland, the seasonal white tablecloth concept 150 Central Park, and the rustic Jamie’s Italian, all have their own, independent kitchens as well.
My favorite meal was at Jamie’s Italian, which I actually dined at twice. I’m a sucker for pasta, and the handmade quality is very impressive, considering we’re in the middle of the ocean. The bolognese is a rich, dense ragu with thick al dente tagliatelle. The cacio e pepe is dusted with black truffle, making it even more indulgent and over the top. I’m not even mentioning the planks of meats and cheese, which are honestly a meal to themselves.
The hand cut dry aged steaks, a first at sea I learned, at Chops Grille were delicious, the ribeye being my favorite.
But the most visually stunning dish was from the “farm to ship” concept, 150 Central Park. The carrot puree with scallops was delicate and savory, and I love a classic “swoop” of sauce across my plate.
If you want to create dishes similar to the ones featured here, make sure to check out my recipes for cacio e pepe (add your own truffles if you’re fancy) and my favorite bolognese, perfect for lasagna or tagliatelle.