The pattern of dining that's typical on Costa's other ships is different here -- and this was one the major concessions to its Chinese clientele. Asians tend to dine fast (they're not terribly interested in three-hour, five-course meals). Menus are basic and choices somewhat limited -- and that suits them just fine.
During dinner, for example, there is a choice of three appetizers, one soup and five main courses -- basically prepared for Chinese tastes and served with either steamed rice, wok-fried rice or egg noodles. However, the Italian corner (again capitalizing on Costa's Italian heritage) offers a few native specialties each evening.
The primary dining venues are the ship's main restaurants. Montmartre and Veranda are both located on Deck 5. Breakfast is served from 7:30 - 9:30 a.m., lunch from noon - 1 p.m. and dinner from 6:30 - 8 p.m. All meals are open seating.
Similar to the multi-tiered dining on Cunard's ships -- your dining room is based on your cabin category -- folks in Allegra's suites and mini-suites eat in the Veranda (an upscale offshoot of Montmartre), while all the others are assigned to Montmartre.
If you are looking for a casual alternative, the Yacht Club on Deck 7 is open for buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner. Asians like buffets, so the place gets crowded during meal times. Again, buffet options are rather limited in terms of choice. Expect Asian mainstays such as stir-fried fish, meat or chicken, and of course, steamed rice! Here, as in the dining rooms, there's also an Italian Corner, and you can find spaghetti with meat sauce, pizza, and other dishes.
If you are looking for a quieter and more leisurely dinner, Amalfi Restaurant on Deck 7 serves Italian cuisine nightly from 6 - 8 p.m. (dinner ends earlier than does the evening meal at Western alternative restaurants because the room transforms into a disco). This is an a la carte venue -- you pay, restaurant style, for everything. Appetizer prices range between $6.50 - $8; different pastas and risotto cost $4.50 to 7.50; and a main course of fish, poultry or meat will run $11 - $18. Amalfi's wine list is the best onboard (not necessarily a big compliment as selections of vino in other venues are pretty limited).
The Amalfi Restaurant itself is attractive with semi-circular glass walls facing aft and a glass dome featuring a starlit view.