Janice Wald Henderson
Cruise Critic Contributor
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Dining

Although you might be sailing far-flung corners of the globe, count on sophisticated modern European cuisine, with an emphasis on Italian dishes per the line's lineage. Icebergs may float outside, but there's caviar in the kitchen. In fact, chefs regularly showcase luxe ingredients, like lobster and prime meat. Tarts and cakes look (and taste) fancy.

All tables are preset with high-quality extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Vegetarian and sugar- and gluten-free choices are always available. (For other dietary concerns, let Silversea know in advance, preferably 60 days before departure.) Servers provide attentive service, even at buffets.

All meals are open seating, with numerous tables for two. The complimentary wines, although inexpensive to moderate-priced, are well-chosen, and pair well with offerings. (Their quality matches bottles poured on other luxe lines.) All restaurants are complimentary except for La Dame by Relais and Chateaux.

The Restaurant (Deck 4): The Restaurant, warmly decorated with teak and brass accents, can seat all passengers at once. The best tables are by the windows, which offer sweeping ocean views. The Restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and scores daytime visits mostly on sea days (otherwise, it's sleepy). Passengers often order two- or three-course lunches and four-course dinners (courses are portioned appropriately).

At breakfast, servers quickly offer juice, coffee and a silver tray laden with freshly baked pastries, including admirably flaky croissants. Expect the usual suspects, including fluffy omelets and great buckwheat pancakes, plus British faves such as English bacon and baked beans. The daily Vitamix juice blend tastes healthy and satisfying. Try the superb Agrimontana preserves from Italy; they're intensely fruity.

At lunch, the best bets are often the soup of the day, salads and pastas. Daily specials, reflecting the crew's heritage -- like laksa (Southeast Asian spicy noodle soup) -- taste surprisingly authentic. Separate dessert menus are presented after lunch. Some wellness desserts, like a chocolate coconut brownie, are standouts.

At dinner, starters include mesclun salads, soup like oxtail consomme and great entrees such as Maine lobster tail or grilled duck breast with duck jus. Pastas, such as an excellent cannelloni with spinach and bechamel, perpetually please. Although desserts include froufrou cakes and tarts, gelato always is popular. Or, choose a custom cheese plate from six to eight selections.

Complimentary wines primarily showcase regions where the ship sails. On an Antarctica cruise, expect South American selections such as the organically grown Cono Sur sauvignon blanc from Chile. One white and one red are offered nightly, but if not satisfied, the sommelier will open new bottles until you're pleased. (They also leave a whole bottle that a group loves on their table.) The Connoisseur's Wine List includes high-end champagnes, Italian Super Tuscans and Chateau d'Yquem sauternes.

La Dame by Relais & Chateaux (Deck 4); $60: Its menu designed by Relais & Chateaux, La Dame serves dinner only. Expect a lavish and leisurely six-course repast, with each course paired with wine. Wine selections should be more premium than other restaurant selections. Some grumble about the cost or simply don't bother to dine here as other eateries amply satisfy. However, with only 12 tables, the restaurant remains a popular choice, so reserve online before sailing.

La Dame is Silver Cloud Expedition's most beautiful -- and romantic -- restaurant. Think richly grained dark wood and beautiful high-back black leather chairs with curved wood arms. Modern Italian light fixtures -- with burnt-orange and gold glass -- set the room aglow.

Admire the delicate new Relais & Chateaux-emblem china, the multiple preset wineglasses and napkins nestled inside gold rings. The menu stars every luxury ingredient imaginable. As it should.

Order the ounce of caviar and note the accompaniments shaped into a flower. Entrees, like lobster tail with truffled leeks, or France's fabulous Limousin beef with truffle-infused jus, possess impressive flavors, ingredients and presentations.

Consider the Grand Marnier souffle a must-order dessert. A server presents this French finale quivering under a glass dome, before piercing its center and pouring in an astonishing amount of creme anglaise.

La Terrazza (Deck 7): A Silversea passenger favorite fleetwide, La Terrazza remains popular for open-seating buffet breakfast and lunch and (reservations-only) sit-down Italian dinners. After the redo, afternoon tea is now served in La Terrazza, too. During buffet hours, servers take special orders, retrieve any buffet items requested and insist on carrying passenger plates to tables (which can either make you feel spoiled rotten or somewhat embarrassed).

With sweeping sea views and glass cases of fine wines, La Terrazza is inviting, especially at night when reservations are limited, servers don suits and ties, lower blinds and dim lights. Many passengers dine outdoors in good weather.

At breakfast, order eggs or other custom dishes from your waiter (there's no special menu as Silversea believes you should get whatever you want, whenever you want, within reason) or visit the buffet for typical breakfast selections that are freshly prepared. Beyond the basics, expect English bacon, smoked salmon and mackerel, cheeses such as Brie, and accoutrements like pricy pine nuts. Freshly baked breads (including irresistible pumpkin seed-studded whole-grain mini-muffins) and pastries are beautifully displayed. Try a daily Vitamix juice blend, such as apple and cucumber.

Even with just 200 passengers onboard, the luncheon buffet teems with choice. Pick an ever-changing pre-made salad, like octopus, shrimp or white bean. The salad bar has so many ingredients -- from frisee to anchovies to flax seeds -- you could probably create a different plate daily. I counted seven different dressings, besides vinegar and olive oil.

A chef carves a loin of beef or pork, or turkey, while a cook spoons sides like ratatouille and potato gratin on your plate. Expect a daily quiche, sushi, cold cuts, gourmet cheeses and two different pizzas. Pizza devotees can also order from a menu of 10 custom pies. (Try the piccante, with spicy Calabrian sausage.) Freshly baked cookies (love the chocolate chip), tarts and cakes also tempt.

An English tea service is offered daily in the late afternoon, featuring about 10 types of Ronnefeldt loose-leaf teas. Nibble on sandwiches, such as smoked salmon; wee tarts and cakes; and buttermilk, raisin or chocolate chip scones with clotted cream, butter and jams. It's a kick to experience such a proper tea in polar climes.

In the evening, La Terrazza becomes a sit-down Italian restaurant with waiter service. The new-in-2017 dinner menu thankfully leaves the signature bread basket -- breadsticks, lavash, seeded rolls, focaccia and roasted garlic bulb -- untouched. A roaming sommelier quickly refills glasses. The mostly Italian wines poured, such as Luccarelli Primitivo Puglia, pair well with food.

Nightly family-style platters of regional Italian meals -- like chicken liver crostini, panzanella salad and beefsteak Florentine -- are a fun switch from fancier plated fare. The many pastas, like a rich ricotta-filled ravioli in walnut cream sauce, are highlights, as is the thick veal chop. Fantasia -- pistachio cake with sour cherry compote, cream sauce and ice cream -- is deliciously decadent.

The Grill (Deck 8):  Dining at the poolside Grill, with hovering servers and tables set with delicate hem-stitched cream-hued napkins, feels quite yacht-like. The lunch menu includes lighter Mediterranean dishes -- like a fine Middle Eastern mezze plate with fluffy pita -- besides typical pool eats like burgers with caramelized white onions. The sundae with homemade triple chocolate chip cookies rules as the most indulgent dessert.

As on other Silversea ships, The Grill morphs each evening into a cook-your-own-dinner over lava rocks (when weather permits). Passengers dine under the stars, relishing comfort food like Caesar salad, grilled prime steaks and apple pie. Dining here's a hit -- even on polar sails -- as The Grill provides heat lamps and thick wool blankets. Many passengers consider dining bundled up outdoors an adventure.

Room Service: Ensuite dining is available 24 hours a day, served wherever you like on the ship. During breakfast, lunch and dinner hours, you can order from the Restaurant menu. All reasonable custom requests are readily fulfilled.

The extensive breakfast menu basically duplicates The Restaurant's. You can order via a door card the night prior or page your butler in the morning. Butlers, delivering breakfast on silver trays, spread fine linens and set tables with Villeroy & Boch china. (Plates, disappointingly, have plastic, not silver, covers.) Butlers fuss over settings and usually offer to pour tea or coffee.

All-day dining features everything from melon and prosciutto and Thai chili chicken spring rolls to linguine with pesto and an 8-ounce New York sirloin. Silversea's signature hamburger -- using high-end Fassone Piedmontese beef -- with porcini mushrooms and polenta fries, and the New York hot dog with sauteed onions in a homemade bun, are standouts. Philadelphia cream cheese cheesecake and bitter chocolate mousse are among dessert selections.

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