With its innovative and exciting cuisine, Silver Spirit raises the bar for at-sea dining. Menu items are not only creative but exquisitely presented.
The Grill, on Deck 10 overlooking the pool area, offers the opportunity to dine under the stars. Meat is grilled tableside on lava rocks heated to 400 degrees. The premium beef comes in all manner of cuts and sizes, as do the veal, pork and lamb chops, along with the salmon steak, Madagascar prawns and fresh fish of the day. The grill is accompanied by Mediterranean veggies, a side salad and a baked potato. The sizzling of the hot rocks and the sloshing of the water in the pool present a whole new twist to dining alfresco. It's very sensory -- a perfect way to celebrate a sailaway or a sunset. As in the other dining venues, wines are complimentary, except for those on the Connoisseur's Wine List. If it's too cold for outside dining, no worries. Silver Spirit provides heaters and overhead covering to protect passengers from inclement weather. The Grill is open from noon to 4 p.m. daily for lunch, and dinner is served 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Reservations for evening dining are necessary.
The two restaurants unique to Silver Spirit, Seishin and Stars, couldn't be more different in terms of cuisine, but they share the same aesthetic: food so beautifully arranged it demands to be photographed.
Seishin, on Deck 4, is an intimate space with seating for 24, where diners can watch the chef sculpt sushi and sashimi at his centrally-positioned chef's station. There's a four-course "teaser" menu, featuring, as an example, a sashimi platter, waterpaper roll of spider crab, tiger prawn tempura and a green tea sorbet. The nine-course menu includes signature dishes like teppan grilled wagyu beef and carpaccio of king scallops with flying fish roe. The four course meal is $30, and a nine-course meal is $40. (The menu is the same every night, but it changes seasonally.) Dinner is served from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and reservations are required.
Stars, on Deck 7, is a throwback to a 1930s supper club with art-deco decor, but its menu is anything but vintage. The five courses celebrate seasonal cuisine from five continents -- playfully presented on stylish, small plates. Oysters poached in sparkling wine, sashimi wrapped in curried aioli, asparagus paired with caviar cream, roasted beetroot with gorgonzola, pine nut and red wine dressing are all part of an inventive menu. Live jazz begins with dinner, and dancing lasts well into the night. Passengers not dining in Stars but wanting to enjoy the entertainment following dinner can check in with the maitre d' for seating. Stars serves dinner from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.; reservations are required.
The Restaurant, Silver Spirit's main dining room on Deck 4, offers breakfast, lunch and dinner with selected evening specialties from Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef Jacques Thorel. This is the traditional dining room, contemporary but classical; while it seats 456 passengers, it still manages to feel roomy. Seating is open at all meals, so passengers can choose when -- and with whom -- to dine. (There's no need to rush to the dining room if you want a table for two, as plenty are available.) Wine is freely poured during meals. The Restaurant is open for breakfast from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m, lunch from noon to 1:30 p.m. and dinner from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
A breakfast buffet is served from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. in La Terrazza on deck 7, which offers both indoor and alfresco dining. Call it the un-buffet, as it's a completely different experience from most grab-and-go buffet bars. Rich linen tablecloths, fine china and stemware adorn each table. Kitchen staffers distribute an array of hot items, while passengers select their own choices from a variety of "cold" bars. Waiters carry passengers' plates to an appointed table and take special orders if asked.
Much of what appears on The Restaurant's menu is also offered there. In fact, breakfast options are pretty much identical, including eggs to order, freshly baked breads and pastries, pancakes, waffles, fruit, yogurt, cereal and a selection of nova smoked salmon, herring, sausage, bacon and corned beef. The menu also includes a "wellness option." At breakfast, that could mean couscous with honey and dates, grilled peaches topped with fresh honey or a low-fat milk smoothie.
Lunch at La Terrazza includes a hot bar selection: roasted beef, endive upside down tart, pizza, meatloaf, mussels, pasta, grilled ostrich medallions, roasted pumpkin soup and Thai beef stir-fry. On top of that, there's a daily selection of wraps, sushi and sashimi, salads, cheeses and desserts. Wine is generously poured by wine stewards.
With its incredibly varied menu, lunch in The Restaurant has something for everyone. Every day, the chef recommends a three-course selection. Here's one: to start, a tower of marinated crab meat accented with avocado, poached quail egg and American caviar, followed by cauliflower cream soup with vegetable pearls, and finished with slow-roasted goose in a raspberry jus. Of course, there are desserts, as well: pink Champagne sorbet, pastries, a low-calorie fruit gratin and a selection of cheese. There's also a daily carving trolley (marinated short ribs one day, salmon coulibiac the next) and Asian specialties like Thai seafood, vegetable stir-fry and Malaysian beef curry. Vegetarian selections are part of the mix, among them a leek tart with baby leaf and walnut salad. Wellness options on the lunch menu include a char-grilled chicken and vegetable salad. (These items also include a per-serving calorie, fat and carbohydrate count.)
As for the The Restaurant's dinner menu, each one features three signature dishes created by the executive chef. Sample choices could include beef filet mignon with foie gras-poached potatoes and shallot jam, a layered partridge tart with Rouennaise sauce, and wild boar ragout with porcini mushrooms. It's just 198 calories per serving with four grams of fat and seven carbs. In fact, a number of the wellness options were quite inventive, including the smoked eel tower with lemon salad and the fresh salmon tartare with passion fruit infusion. Have a hankering for pomme frites and they're not on the menu? Just ask. Many of the menu items are sourced locally.
Afternoon tea is served at La Terrazza. A choice of 10 different teas is served by waiters, along with scones, cream and a variety of sweet treats and sandwiches as a pianist entertains.
In the evening, La Terrazza is transformed into a fine Italian restaurant featuring a menu that's been enhanced on Silver Spirit to offer a regional selection of Italian antipasti, a wide variety of handmade grano duro pasta and specially selected cheeses. There's also a wine and food pairing recommended with each course that contributes nicely to la dolce vita. Starters include traditional fare like beef carpaccio, caprese salad and salami and cold cuts served with Tuscan bread. Incredibly, there are six pasta offerings, among them: Ligurian ravioli with a vegetable and herb filling, topped with walnut sauce; pappardelle pasta with duck ragout; and linguine with seafood and fresh tomatoes. The post-pasta course includes veal scaloppini, the fresh catch and grilled fillet of salmon. And what would dessert be without tiramisu, amaretto flan and pistachio creme brulee? The menu remains the same for 10 days and then changes. Hours for dinner at La Terrazza are 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Reservations are required.
Poolside on Deck 9, The Grill features a Wellness Breakfast that offers smoothies, blended fruit and vegetable drinks, as well as a smattering of low-calorie entrees like cumin-scented egg white omelets Florentine. It's a nice option for people who want to eat right after an early morning workout. The Grill, open from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., does a big business at lunch with casual fare that includes a variety of pasta dishes, all-in-one salads, sandwiches, wraps, burgers, hot dogs, and grilled salmon, steak and chicken breasts.
Notably, the in-suite menu, available 24 hours a day, is the same as the poolside grill's. You can also order from The Restaurant's menu during dining hours, and your butler will serve it to you, course by course, in your stateroom. Room service breakfast is served from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Along with wellness options found on the poolside grill menu, there is a wide selection of juices, freshly baked bread, pastries, fruit, yogurt, cereal, pancakes, waffles, eggs and pork products.
Last but not least is Le Champagne, an elegantly appointed 24-seat restaurant with a wine cellar in the center and superb cuisine prepared in partnership with the Relais & Chateaux cooking school. Dining revolves around luxury French-inspired seasonal ingredients like truffles, foie gras and asparagus. Four of the six cleverly presented courses involved asparagus, including asparagus consomme with a truffle-coated scallop, shellfish with asparagus sorbet and smoked salmon with asparagus tips. The food is so beautifully arranged you hate to even disturb it. A dining fee of $30 per person is applied, with premium wines available for an additional fee. Hours are 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Reservations are a must.
When booking your cruise, it's advisable to book your restaurants in advance, as they tend to fill up quickly, necessitating a waitlist. La Champagne has only 24 seats, as does Seishin. La Terrazza, the superb Italian restaurant, seats 70 for dinner. (We only had the opportunity to dine there once during our seven-night cruise but wished we had booked another night in advance.) The main Restaurant, which seats up to 456, is always available with no wait.