Viking Octantis Dining

Editor Rating
Colleen McDaniel

All restaurants are included in the cost of your cruise fare, and even on longer cruises, you'll find plenty of variety to keep you satisfied when it comes to food on Viking Octantis.

Most people dine at The Restaurant, the ship's main dining room, most nights, but Manfredi's and the World Cafe are excellent alternatives, as well.

Reservations are needed for The Restaurant and Manfredi's, as the premium times, between 6 and 7:30 p.m., fill up quickly. Many people make reservations online before they even sail, so it makes things especially challenging for the go-with-the-flow crowd. We did find that we could get into both venues at 8 each night, even if we didn't have reservations. And World Cafe was a great option every night, as well, where food is a combination of made-to-order and buffet style.

Room service is available all day, and you can grab coffee and tea all over the ship, including from self-service stations on Decks 2 and 3. For iced lattes and the like, visit the bar in the Living Room.

Tip: If you don't have a reservation but really want to eat at The Restaurant, put your name in at the host station, then grab a drink at the nearby bar. No-shows and cancellations happen.

Free Restaurants on Viking Octantis

The Restaurant (Deck 1): The closest to a traditional cruise ship dining room Viking Octantis has to offer, The Restaurant is open for dinner each night. The menu changes every night, offering a selection of appetizers, main courses and desserts. There's also a selection of always-available items. Many of the dishes are Norwegian inspired, but Viking often will add dishes to the menu from the regions it visits.

Tip: Eat like the chairman: Viking founder Torstein Hagen's choice -- poached salmon served with fingerling potatoes, sauce, roe and a cold cucumber salad -- is available every night and is worth trying at least once.

Manfredi's (Deck 1): A wonderful take on Italian food, Manfredi's offers a set menu at dinner that includes a variety of pastas, seafood, excellent appetizers and dishes for sharing. Portions here are ample, and bread is worth the splurge. Our favorite is the excellent bistecca fiorentina, served with a peppery arugula salad and a big wedge of grilled lemon.

Tip: Many of the dishes are available in half-portions, so just ask.

The World Cafe (Deck 5): Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner (and offering some snacks in between), The World Cafe is the ultimate buffet, combining a number of made-to-order options with premade dishes.

In the morning, you can get a variety of freshly made egg dishes, as well as meat (including smoked salmon and gravlax), cheese, muesli, yogurt, pastries and pancakes. In the afternoon, you can enjoy a nice-sized salad bar, along with hot and cold sandwiches, pizza, so much bread you could fill up on that alone, and hot dishes, like baked cod. There's also a carving station.

The afternoon is also when The Grill comes to life, offering a variety of burgers (including an Impossible Burger), hot dogs, chicken sandwiches and tuna steaks. You can get them with fries or onion rings. Everything here is made fresh to order. If you're feeling adventurous, try the Norwegian hot dog, topped with creamy shrimp salad.

In the evening, the space changes again, as the Sushi Bar opens. Here, you can grab as many rolls as you like (these change each night), or enjoy nigiri or sashimi. The space feels different, thanks in part to the koi mural and ceiling, which replicates bamboo. You can even eat at the sushi bar, or along long tables.

If sushi isn't your taste, you can dive into the cold seafood bar, stocked with king crab legs (conveniently split for you), shrimp, octopus salad and crayfish.

The Grill is a hit, too, becoming a steakhouse in the evening with options like filet mignon, tomahawk steaks, ribeyes, prime rib and sirloin. Make it a surf and turf with lobster tails, and add a baked potato and a variety of hot, fresh, grilled vegetables.

Of course, there's always the salad bar, and hot options, like curry chicken or Chilean sea bass are available, as well. Plus, the carving station offers up delights like lamb or chateaubriand.

Finish off your meal with the incredible desserts, or try the gelato or ice cream mix-in station, where a pastry chef blends your ice cream choice on a cold slab with sauces and toppings, a la Cold Stone Creamery.

Tip: Grab some sushi as an appetizer before heading to your meal at Manfredi's or The Restaurant.

Mamsen's (Deck 5): Tucked away into a small nook on the port side of Deck 5, Mamsen's serves up comfort food during breakfast and afternoon snack time. The favorite of many Viking guests is the waffle, topped with berries, and, for the bold, brown goat cheese and sour cream. Other notable Norwegian treats are available here, including pickled herring and pea soup.

Tip: If you're a smoothie fan, this is where you can grab your morning pick-me-up.

Cruise Critic Restaurant Picks on Viking Octantis

With only a handful of restaurants onboard Viking Octantis, there's no bad pick. Because of the cruise line's Norwegian heritage, a lot of the food might feel a bit outside of your comfort zone. But don't let that stop you from trying new things. Salmon is available in many forms at all restaurants, and we've yet to have a version of it we're not crazy about.

We also like that Viking offers game meat occasionally on its menus at The Restaurant. If you see elk or venison on the menu, order it! We adored the venison prepared with blueberry sauce we had on our cruise and actually wished the portion was a tiny bit bigger. (But we were also thankful it wasn't!)

There is no tea time onboard, as you might find on other ships in Viking's fleets, but if you order tea from the bar in The Living Room, ask for a scone, cream and preserves. They'll accommodate.

Dietary Restrictions on Viking Octantis

All of Viking Octantis' menus and menu placards (in Mamsen's and the World Cafe) show what typical allergens might be included in that dish: dairy, nuts, gluten etc. They also point out things like sugar-free and vegan options.

Viking takes allergies seriously. Guests with special dietary restrictions should make note of them when booking, and again once they're onboard. Those with serious allergies will see a menu early and can pre-order dinners so they can have their special meal at the same time as others in their dining party.

For gluten-free guests, toasters, waffle irons and the like are specifically set aside for gluten-free foods, as a way to avoid cross-contamination.

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