Regatta Dining

Editor Rating:  4.0
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Why Choose Regatta?
  • Pros: Gorgeously refurbished in 2014
  • Cons: In rough seas, movement is quite noticable
  • Bottom Line: One of the most beautiful ships at sea

Regatta Dining

Editor Rating

Regatta features open seating in every venue for every meal. There are four restaurants: The Grand Dining Room, its main eatery; the Terrace Cafe, its buffet venue; Polo Grill, for a steak-and-chops experience; and Toscana, featuring upscale Italian. Other options include the ultra-casual Waves Grill and its adjacent milkshake/ice cream bar. There is no service charge to dine at any venue.

The Grand is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and its menus reflect the cruise line's partnership with celebrity chef Jacques Pepin. For breakfast, there's a vast array of choices, with options that range from the usual (omelets and Eggs Benedict and muesli and yogurt) to the more exotic (such as lamb chops and steak). There's a nice "express breakfast" option (scrambled eggs, toast, bacon) for folks who want to eat fast -- while avoiding the buffet mayhem. And each day, there's a selection of dishes via Oceania's partnership with Canyon Ranch; these could include whole-wheat blueberry pancakes with chicken sausage. The Grand is open for breakfast 7:30-9:30 a.m.

One nice touch on Oceania: The Grand is open every day for lunch, 12:30-2 p.m., whether in port or at sea. In addition to a massive range of choices, including CanyonRanch "healthy living" soups, salads, entrees, sandwiches and desserts, there's also the "Taste of the World" option each day that highlights cuisine from different places. One favorite was the India menu, which included chicken tikka salad, lamb samosas, curried prawns; you can order it as a main course or a sampler plate for two to share. Otherwise, The Grand's lunch menus feature a choice of appetizers, soups, entrees, and desserts. There's an "always available" menu, too; choices are simple: Grilled chicken breast, Black Angus cheeseburger and chicken consomme are stalwarts.

Evenings in The Grand, 6:30-9:30 p.m., feature the same wide range of categories with an addition: Each night, there are options from the menus of Red Ginger and Jacques, two specialty restaurants that are only offered on the line's larger Marina and Riviera. "A Taste of Red Ginger" could include Malaysian beef Penang or the restaurant's hallmark sea bass. Jacques, the French restaurant overseen by Jacques Pepin, Oceania's head chef, one night featured a fantastic Provencal dish with shrimp. The dinner menu at The Grand also includes Pepin's signature comfort dishes such as steak frites, roast chicken and poached salmon.

The Grand also offers a tasting menu option in which recommended wines are paired with dishes for a per-glass fee.

Kudos to Oceania for including The Grand's daily lunch and dinner menus for the next day in its Currents newsletter.

On Regatta, the other breakfast, lunch and dinner venue is The Terrace Cafe, the ship's buffet. It's largely organized into stations and offers Regatta's only alfresco dining opportunity. Breakfast, 7-10 a.m., revolves around morning staples: a bountiful fruit display, eggs prepared a'la minute, breakfast meats, yogurt and cereals. Each day there are specialty items. At lunch, The Terrace Cafe operates noon-2 p.m. Stations feature appetizers, salads, a carvery, freshly made sandwiches, pasta dishes and a bountiful array of desserts, including home-made ice cream. The sushi counter was popular.

The Terrace Cafe for dinner, open typically 6:30-9 p.m., is a casual alternative. The array changes nightly; on one night choices included tapas-style bites of seafood salad, arancini fried rice balls and oysters Rockefeller. There's a cold buffet with a handful of salads and a hot buffet with heartier fare, like Lobster Thermidor, shrimp risotto, a carving station with veal loin and a wok station for lamb tikka. Desserts are also plentiful; in addition to the ubiquitous ice creams, there might be cheesecake, apricot fritters and banana flambe.

The cafe has indoor and outdoor seating; its "terrace" on the back of the ship is an absolutely charming spot in good weather.

Adjacent to the Terrace Cafe is Waves Grill, one of the biggest hits onboard. Open typically 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Waves has cooked-to-order sandwiches and burgers, such as a Reuben, surf and turf (grilled lobster medallions with filet mignon), gravlax and five different beef burgers, including one made with wagyu beef and black truffles. Waves does a terrific job with grilled fish as well, and the rare tuna burger and the Alaska-inspired salmon burger are both excellent. There's a veggie burger option, too. The venue also has a small buffet station with cold salads for those who want a quick, light meal. And next door is the ever-popular Waves milkshake and ice cream stand.

Regatta's two alternative restaurants, Toscana and the Polo Grill, feature Italian and steakhouse fare, respectively. Open only for dinner (typically 6:30-9 p.m.), they're popular, and reservations are highly recommended.

Toscana was consistently superb, both in cuisine and service, and for many passengers on our trip it was the ship's best restaurant. The menu features hot and cold antipasti (favorites included a light and crispy fried calamari and beef carpaccio) and nine different pastas. One night, our table did a sampler of almost every pasta on the menu, and all were superb, though standouts included the lasagna and a deceptively simple angel hair pasta with tomato sauce.

Continuing with its theme of hearty cooking, entrees like the bone-in veal chop and osso bucco are signatures, as are fish dishes such as Dover sole and pan-seared sea bass.

Tiramisu might seem a cliche but we encourage you to save room for dessert. It's worth it.

We didn't have as much luck with the Polo Grill. Service was erratic and food, over several visits, was inconsistent. On the service front, waiters didn't know the menus well and weren't terribly attentive. As for the menu, it reads better than its dishes taste. There's classic steakhouse fare for starters, such as chilled shrimp, oysters Rockefeller, overly breaded crab cakes and a baked onion soup with a Gruyere crust. There's Cobb Salad, as well. The "surf" part of the surf and turf menu featured tuna steak with lime beurre blanc, and a Maine lobster either steamed or served with gratinated breadcrumbs that never should have been allowed out of the kitchen. On the turf side, the usual suspects include New York strip, which was grisly and fatty, filet mignon, veal chop, rack of lamb, prime rib and, for the truly ravenous, a 32-ounce porterhouse. Desserts were mediocre; while "homemade" marshmallows with sweet dipping sauces sounded intriguing, they were flat and devoid of flavor, and a key lime pie was lumpy.

One culinary event not to miss -- and on our trip it seemed that fellow passengers managed to attend every single day -- is the ship's afternoon tea. Held 4-5 p.m. in the Horizon's lounge, there's a superb array of crustless sandwiches, cakes and pastries. You can get your scones with clotted or whipped cream. And the tea comes in a variety that should please just about everyone. This was a popular tradition on our trip, and tables, elegantly dressed with linen tablecloths and fine china, would fill up fast. Regatta's classical quartet played each day, a nice touch that added to the elegant ambience.

Early- and late-risers can find continental breakfast fare beyond restaurant hours at the Horizon Lounge and in Baristas.

In-cabin food service for standard stateroom categories is somewhat limited, but there's enough to choose from, including vegetarian options, and hot breakfasts are available. Residents of suites can order from The Grand menus during mealtimes and also from the alternative restaurants.

The Terrace Cafe has 24-hour coffee, tea and juice, and Baristas, which is open 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m., dispenses all coffees on a complimentary basis.

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