The Restaurant (Deck 4, aft) is the ship's main dining room. Meals are open seating, with passengers dining when and with whom they choose during restaurant hours. Breakfast is generally from 7:30 to 9 a.m.; lunch from 12:30 to 2 p.m., and dinner from 7:30 to 9 p.m.
The tables are set with crisp Frette linens, Fortessa china, Christofle flatware, Schott Zwiesel crystal, fresh flowers and, for dinner, candlelight.
Breakfast offers the option of buffet-style fare and waiter service. The serve-it-yourself selection includes berries and other fruits, and breakfast favorites including eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, juices, yogurts, cereal, pastries and breads. In addition, waiters take orders for such dishes as made-to-order omelets and eggs Benedict. The staff, which seemed to know your name and preferences from the first evening, helps passengers bring their plates from the buffet to their table.
Lunch in The Restaurant is also buffet-style, with items such as salads, cold sandwiches, hot pasta, side dishes and a carving meats. There are a variety of desserts on offer, including fruit tarts and compotes, fresh fruits, cakes and pies. When the ship experienced rough seas, waiters took over the food service operation.
Dinner is a multi-course gourmet affair, with an incredible selection for an expedition ship. Dishes are inspired by the chefs of Relais & Chateaux -- sumptuous options like filet mignon with foie gras-poached potatoes and shallot jam or wild boar with porcini mushrooms. There are an abundance of choices -- appetizers, salad, soup, pasta, palate-cleansing sorbet, poultry, seafood and beef. (Beef Wellington, rack of lamb or turbot, anyone?)
Low-fat and vegetarian selections include pan-fried Rainbow Trout with Almond and Lemon Butter Sauce and Crespelle Alla Fiorentina (spinach-stuffed pancakes baked in tomato sauce and gratineed with cheese).
The service was excellent, with everyone warmly greeting us by name, from the maitre d' to the assistant waiters. The wait staff was exceptionally solicitous, remembering preferences (and dietary requests, such as a non-dairy requirement).
Coffee comes with a selection of desserts like creme brulee, souffles and Silversea's delicious petits fours, which are presented on a two-tier silver tray.
During dinner and lunch, the expedition team leader and members join passengers at their tables, and the conversation often turns to the current expedition and anecdotes of expeditions past.
Lunch is also served with waiter service at the Outdoor Grill each day from noon to 2 p.m., weather permitting. The menu includes hamburgers, hot dogs and such treats as grilled salmon.
Other meal and snack options include Continental breakfast, with fresh squeezed orange juice, fruits, pastries, muffins and coffee, served daily in the Observation Lounge (Deck 6, forward) from 6:30 to 10 a.m. Then there's mid-morning bouillon. Remember that? Silversea still has it and it is very welcome during polar voyages. It is served with crackers in the Panorama Lounge (Deck 5, aft) from 11 a.m. to noon daily. Afternoon tea with scones, finger sandwiches and pastries is also served in the Panorama Lounge from 4 to 5 p.m. daily. Tapas -- perhaps seafood bites, melon balls with prosciutto ham and bruschetta -- are available in the Panorama Lounge during the cocktail hour, from 7 to 8 p.m.
Our butler, Vishal, from Mumbai, India, served us tea once and hors d'oeuvres a couple of afternoons in our suite, tempting us with such goodies as chilled mixed berry cups, ham and asparagus sandwiches, crab claws and mini cherry cheesecakes. He also served us dinner, course-by-course, some evenings. During restaurant hours, we dined off of the regular menu; other times it was from the 24-hour room service menu, which includes such items as bruschetta, spinach salad with salmon, grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables, pizza and pasta.