If lobster, cheese and wine are prime vocabulary in your culinary language, you will feel right at home in Celebrity's French Continental restaurant, Murano. Billed as "luxury without pretense," the fine dining establishment has a polished feel and features a French menu with contemporary takes on traditional dishes. If you wish, a sommelier will guide you through the extensive wine list from the ship's private cellar.
Your shoes will click on the marble floors as you enter Celebrity's upscale French restaurant. Once inside, you'll notice that the decor of Murano is dark but delicate: wood is a rich brown that almost glows purple, picking up on the pale pinks and violets -- shades of orchid and opal -- in abstract flower patterns on the carpet and on the satin backs of chairs. White wall accents complement the white table linens; a single red rose is clipped and paired with baby's breath in short round vases in the center of each table.
A few semicircular booths are available, with oyster-colored cushions. This setup provides an intimate atmosphere; small tables mean parties of four or six can hear each other talk, and couples can have a romantic meal at tables for two. A private room for 10 people is available; the table is surrounded by bottles of wine and set under a chandelier of pink glass-blown tentacles. Celebrity is known for its modern and eclectic touches, and artwork in some of its Murano restaurants might reflect a moody-looking tree, a giant centerpiece of cherry blossom-like branches or decoupage portraits of female French aristocrats parading through the forest in jewel tones.
Dinner is the only meal served in Murano, but a Champagne High Tea is also served here on select days.
The dinner menu in Murano is divided into starters, entrees and desserts, with a separate section of the menu just for caviar and cheese. Those selections vary by day, and might include Golden Osetra or Sevruga caviar, with buckwheat blinis -- thin pancakes -- and condiments, and an assortment of artisanal cheese varieties served with pain de campagne (sourdough bread) and dry fruits. Starters might include Maine lobster bisque, pork belly with caramelized apples, porcini and morel risotto, Wellington-style diver scallops or a warm goat cheese souffle. Entrees feature heavyweights of French cuisine like a Muscovy duck breast, chateaubriand steak for two, Dover sole Veronique, herb-crusted lamb rack and even venison loin. But the standout dish to order here is the lobster tail that is flambeed in cognac, tableside. Dessert might include a Valrhona cocoa cake with caramel and white coffee ice cream or a Grand Marnier souffle. If you decide to stick to cheese rather than sweets, ask your sommelier to pair it with an appropriate port wine to round out your meal.
For something out of the ordinary, try Murano's "Five Senses" experience, listed as a "gastronomic and vineyard tour." The tasting menu is six courses complete with wine pairings, but the allure is only in the presentation and cohesion of the meal; the dishes are mostly pulled from standard menu options, so nothing is exclusive, per se, to the tasting menu.
Champagne High Tea starts with a glass of Champagne with fresh strawberries, followed by a selection of loose leaf tea. Food choices include finger sandwiches such as cucumber and watercress or curried egg salad; pastries, like an English fruitcake, along with scones; and a menu of truffles and pates.
Murano costs $50 per person for dinner; the Five Senses food-and-wine pairing costs $89 per person. Champagne High Tea costs $25 per person.
Editor's Note: Menus are samples only and are subject to change by ship and itinerary.
Murano is available on: