For many years, dinner was only served in the main dining room on Grandeur of the Seas. Then, in 2012, as part of the Royal Advantage revitalization, Grandeur was given a battery of specialty restaurants and the Chef's Table specialty dining experience. In this review, we look at two of the most popular specialty restaurants - - Giovanni's Table and Chops Grille.
Giovanni's Table is a concept that first premiered on Oasis of the Seas. The goal was to create an Italian-themed restaurant that was more casual and family-style than Royal Caribbean's existing Italian fine dining specialty restaurant Portofino's. To that end, the décor was styled to resemble an Italian country kitchen and there was an emphasis on sharing dishes. While over the intervening years this venue has become more upscale and less-family style, Giovanni's remains a somewhat more casual restaurant than its predecessor.
On Grandeur, Giovanni's is located on Deck 6. Prior to the Royal Advantage refit in 2012, the bulk of the area now occupied by Giovanni’s was an interior conference center. The remainder of what is now Giovanni's was part of the Singing in the Rain lounge, a multi-purpose public room on the port side, which mirrored the Schooner Bar on the starboard side.
There are no visible reminders of this area's former lives. However, its history does explain why the restaurant has two sections. Part of the restaurant is an interior space while the other part has a wall of floor-to-ceiling windows. The interior space has a warm cozy feel while the other area has the advantage of having a view, at least until nightfall.
The decoration unifies the two sections, which are adjoining but slightly offset from each other. A palette of earth colors was used in the carpeting and the fabric covering the upper portion of the walls. Dark wood paneling covering the supporting pillars and the exposed ceiling beams provides an accent that frames the venue. Paintings of Tuscan scenes and a few polished kitchen utensils allude to the Italian theme. Overall, the atmosphere is restrained and does not demand attention.
Carrying on this theme, the tables are also dark wood. Consistent with the objective of creating a relaxed, more casual environment, the narrow table coverings leave most of the wood exposed. But a banquette that runs along the forward side of the restaurant gives the restaurant an elegant tone.
Shortly after we were seated, a waiter brought a basket of bread along with a mixture of olive oil and cheese. He explained the concept of the restaurant, gave recommendations and pointed out that dinner would be a two-hour experience as everything was prepared ala minute.
The menu at Giovanni's allows for at least four courses - - appetizers and salad; soup; pasta; main course and dessert. Guests can chose which ones to have or have them all.
For the appetizer, we selected the Melanzane alla Parmigiana - - baked eggplant parmigiana. This dish arrived at the table hot from the oven. A tempting aroma arose from the plate. This made it difficult to resist digging in right away but it is best to let eggplant parmigiana cool for a minute or two at the table so that the heat does not overwhelm the subtle flavors. Such flavors were there in abundance as the moist eggplant contrasts nicely with the cheese. It was eggplant parmigiana the way it should be cooked.
Ravioli Polpa di Granchio, one of the pasta dishes, is a ravioli made with Maryland crab. Sailing on a ship that is based in Baltimore, this was a natural choice. Although this was a nice ravioli, the crab flavor was not particularly evident.
For entrees, Giovanni's offers chicken, jumbo shrimp, veal ossobucco, veal tenderloin, sole fillets and lamb chops. However, the highlight of the menu is Filletio di Manzo alla Griglia, essentially filet mignon Italian-style. This premium cut of beef arrived cooked exactly as ordered. Its flavor contrasted with the saltiness of the Gorgonzola cheese butter. A side of asparagus provided a good balance.
On Grandeur of the Seas, Giovanni’s is open for dinner each night and for a brunch on one of the sea days.
Cruise ship specialty restaurant review - - Royal Caribbean - Grandeur of the Seas - Giovanni's Table and Chops Grille