Food served on the Scenic Gem is plentiful and generally good. Breakfast is the best meal of the day with a wide variety of choices on offer. Pastries and desserts are the most disappointing. Food is sourced locally and the dishes have a strong French influence, as is appropriate. Menus are written in French and English.
Crystal Dining (Sapphire Deck): This is the main restaurant where breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. Meal times vary slightly depending on shore excursions. The decor is bright and airy with large picture windows. A good selection of French wines is stored in a glass cabinet at the entrance. A central service area becomes a buffet for breakfast and lunch.
The breakfast selection is excellent with fruit, Champagne, cereal, yogurts, cheeses and meats, pastries and breads, smoked salmon and fresh juices, eggs, bacon and other hot dishes offered daily. A chef cooks a la carte dishes to order.
Lunches are served buffet style with a wide selection of different salads and hot dishes served daily. Selections might include meat, seafood and vegetarian salads; pasta and rice dishes; roast meats, grilled chicken, poached fish; and a wide array of desserts. There is always a cheese selection and fresh fruit.
The four-course dinners are more formal with excellent professional and friendly waiter service at the table. Passengers may sit wherever they choose.
Appetizers might include seafood vol-au-vent or chilled Camembert tart, oxtail or minestrone soups, main courses of duck confit or salmon with potato mousseline and black truffle au jus as well as a vegetarian option such as stuffed artichokes with goat cheese. Dessert includes chocolate eclairs or pistachio ice cream with lavender sauce, or an international cheese selection. For every meal, there are vegetarian and gluten-free options and the healthy option is always highlighted. Simpler main dishes, such as chicken breast, hamburger, fillet steak, salmon steak and Caesar salad, are always on offer.
There is a good selection of mid-level French and other European wines. Generally, waiters rotate one or two white and red French wines a night from locations such as Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Loire and Rhone wine regions.
Table La Rive (Sapphire Deck): Diamond Deck passengers can book the chef's table at Table La Rive for a seven-course chef's degustation dinner menu with paired wines. It is one long table at the front of the Crystal Dining Room. There are cold and hot appetizers, soup, a main course, cheese and dessert with dishes like duet of salmon and pike, croustillant of lobster and guinea fowl, game consomme, medallions of veal with potatoes gratin, goat cheese with kumquat and Grand Marnier, and French Saint-Honore with forest berry ice cream. There is no extra charge, but the booking can only be made once during the cruise.
L'Amour Restaurant (Diamond Deck): Passengers can book (once during the cruise) one of several tables for dinner at the upscale L'Amour Restaurant. The six-course set menu has two options for each course with paired local wines. Offerings might include breads, a range of hors d'oeuvres, onion or cheese soup, vol-au-vent with veal ragout, duck breast marinated in cider, and creme brulee. There is no extra charge.
River Cafe (Diamond Deck): This casual spot is open all day until late at night for snacks. At lunchtime, it offers more casual dishes, including a couple of daily-changing options as well as quiches, sandwiches, pizzas and a selection of pastries.
Room Service: Passengers in all cabins can use free room service. Guests on the Diamond Deck can also arrange to have breakfast in bed.