Oceania Cruises like to say their’s is the finest cuisine at sea. Indeed, the food on Riviera is mostly very good. However, some restaurants are better than others.
There are eight dining venues on Riviera including four, free-of-charge specialty restaurants:
The Grand Dining Room.
The Polo Grill.
La Reserve by Wine Spectator.
The Terrace Cafe.
We rate Red Ginger as the best of Riviera’s restaurants. In fact, it is one of the best Asian-inspired restaurants at sea. On the other hand, during our sailing The Grand Dining Room could, at times, be underwhelming.
Restaurants & food
Food quality & presentation
Red Ginger is a specialty restaurant on Riviera. It has a thoughtfully curated menu of astounding culinary delights.
The decor radiates a sense of harmony with gold and ebony tones, as well as modern Asiatic artwork. It sets the scene for a night of innovative oriental cuisine.
The menu is delectable. Indeed, it bristles with fresh interpretations on Asian classics. For instance, the Spicy Duck & Watermelon Salad is a sensation – an explosion of sweet, savoury and sour – all in perfect harmony. There is also the Tempura selection with Orange Ponzu Sauce – it’s not to be missed. The Crispy Ginger Calamari with Cilantro, Shallots & Sweet Chilli Sauce is also excellent.
However, the Miso Glazed Seabass is the star of the show. Exceptional in its simplicity, the tender white flakes of perfectly cooked fish carry a delicate sweet Japanese miso. It’s hardly surprising the Seabass is the most popular dish on the menu. Also, the Twice-Cooked Crispy Chicken with Chilli Jam & Ginger-Scallion Dressing is delicious, not to mention the spectacularly good Thai Vegetable Curry.
Even the desserts in Red Ginger are exotic. There are temptations like Steamed Ginger Cake with Apple Cardamom Ice Cream as well as Caramel Tapioca with Mango & Ginger Cookies. But I relish the Yuzu Citrus Sorbet – it’s refreshingly light with a subtle sweetness that makes it the perfect end to a culinary journey through Asia.
Insider’s tip: To get the most out of your Red Ginger experience I recommend sharing dishes, just as you would in Asia.
Red Ginger is the most popular of the Oceania Riviera restaurants, so reservations are essential. It is open for dinner only.
Dinner: 6:30pm – 9:00pm.
Jacques is the place to indulge your passion for French cuisine. In fact, it is named for celebrity chef Jacques Pépin and it celebrates his culinary heritage.
Jacques reminds me of a Parisian bistro. There is timber flooring and antique furniture, as well as artwork from chef Pépin’s own collection.
The menu includes hot and cold Hors d’Oeuvres and Soups, as well as a great selection of Plats and even La Rotisserie.
Starters include excellent Escargots, as well as traditional Foie Gras and a very nice Braised Oxtail Salad.
Main course includes classics like Bouillabaisse and delightful Dover Sole as well as Provencal Roasted Lamb Loin with Tarbais Bean Puree. However, I recommend chef Pépin’s Lobster Thermidor. It is a real treat!
There is also a tempting selection of French desserts. The Mille Feullie and Mousse au Chocolat are always good, but the Tarte aux Pommes is even better.
Jacques also has a great AOC French cheese selection, so it’s worth spoiling yourself.
It’s important to remember that Jacques is open for dinner only. Also, reservations are essential.
Dinner: 6:30pm – 9:00pm.
The Polo Grill is a steakhouse in the classic American tradition, with crisp white table linen and high back leather chairs. Not to mention a menu of time honoured classics.
For starters I recommend the the Roasted Beetroot & Garlic Goats Cheese Napoleon. It blends the sweet notes of beetroot with the sharpness of chèvre. Although on this voyage it wasn’t quite as good as I remember.
The Lobster Bisque with Morsels of Sautéed Lobster is also very good.
Main courses include delights like Filet Mignon as well as Pancetta Wrapped Filet of Veal. There is also Kobe Beef with Truffle Demi-Glaze and a delicious Colorado Rack of Lamb. Seafood dishes include Whole Maine Lobster with Drawn Butter as well as Grilled Jumbo Shrimp Scampi, Swordfish and Tuna Steaks.
A small dessert selection is also available, although it has to be said it is somewhat heavy. There is a Chocolate Layer Cake, Key Lime Pie as well as Marshmallows. If you’d prefer something lighter just ask your waiter for the house sorbet.
The Polo Grill is open for dinner only. Reservations are essential, however there is no additional charge to dine in this Oceania Riviera restaurant.
Dinner: 6:30pm – 9:00pm.
Toscana is a northern Italian-style restaurant with damask tablecloths and Versace plates. As the name suggests, it celebrates the food of Tuscany.
The five-course menu is best enjoyed slowly, just like they do in Italy. There are hot and cold antipasti, soups and fresh pasta, as well as meat and seafood dishes. Not to mention a tempting selection of desserts.
Antipasti includes the Carpaccio di Polpo – Octopus Carpaccio with Champagne Vinaigrette & Warm Potato Salad; I recommend it. On the other hand, the Fritto di Calamari was somewhat overcooked on my voyage.
Pasta is king in Toscana. Indeed, there are nine pasta dishes to choose from – all of which are made fresh every day. The Penne with Porcini Mushroom & Meat Sauce is delicious, so too is the Tortelloni stuffed with Ricotta & Spinach.
For main course I always enjoy the Scaloppine di Vitello al Limone – veal medallions served with lemon sauce. However, there are also veal, pork, lamb and seafood dishes available.
Toscana has a decadent dessert menu, including classics like Tiramisu and Cannoli di Ricotta. However, Semifreddo di Zabaione was the most popular dessert when I dined there.
Toscana is open for dinner only. It is one of the most popular Oceania Riviera restaurants, so reservations are essential. However there is no additional dining charge.
Dinner: 6:30pm – 9:00pm.
The Grand Dining Room
The Grand Dining Room is the main restaurant on Riviera. Indeed it is grand, with high ceilings, large windows and chandeliers.
The menu in The Grand Dining Room is mostly European. In fact, it often showcases French dishes by Executive Culinary Director, Jacques Pépin. There are also specialities from Asia, India and the Americas. On occasion the menu also includes dishes from the local ports of call.
The Grand Dining Room serves some delightful dishes, not least of which is the classic Salad Niçoise. On our sailing there was also a delectible Steamed Cod with Sweet Mashed Potato, Spring Onion, Leek Oil & Champagne Sauce.
The Grand Dining Room has a healthy eating menu as well. Indeed, it adheres to a philosophy of balancing fresh fruit, vegetables, healthy fats, grains and protein. There are dishes like Mykonos Salad and Grilled Salmon Tournedos, not to mention a popular Carrot Cake.
There are desserts to satisfy guilty pleasures too, like New York Cheese Cake with Rasberry Coulis as well as Pear-Almond Tart with Chocolate Sauce & Chantilly Cream, not to mention the White Chocolate Mousse Cake.
Additionally, there is a Food & Wine Pairing menu crafted by the Head Chef and Sommelier. It is a four-course menu which, incidentally, is made even better because the wines are offered at a discount.
However, it’s worth noting that on my voyage the cuisine in The Grand Dining Room was somewhat hit-and-miss. Indeed, other guests made the same observation. That said, these things have a habit of improving at short notice.
Insider’s tip: Service in The Grand Dining Room can be patchy. So I recommend finding a preferred waiter and asking to be seated in his or her section whenever you dine there.
The Grand Dining Room is open daily for breakfast and dinner. On sea days it is also open for lunch. Check the daily Currents for opening hours. You never need to make reservations.
The Terrace Cafe is a buffet restaurant where you can dine indoors or al fresco. In fact, enjoying a meal on the terrace with a gentle sea breeze is a delight.
The Terrace Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. In the morning there is a traditional selection of hot and cold breakfast choices. Later, at lunch time, there is antipasti and salads as well as jumbo shrimps, grilled fish and roasted meats.
In the evening there are themed dinners with dishes from the local ports of call, as well as steaks and chops cooked to order.
Waves Grill is a casual poolside dining venue. At the time of writing it was open for breakfast and lunch daily.
At breakfast there are cold-pressed juices as well as healthy energy bowls. While at lunch time Waves Grill serve burgers and hot dogs, as well as BBQ seafood and salads.
La Reserve by Wine Spectator
La Reserve is a unique food and wine experience at sea. In fact, it is a partnership with Wine Spectator and France’s premier Champagne house, Moët & Chandon.
The venue offers a range of food and wine pairings, all of which come at an additional charge.
Also, it’s worth noting that La Reserve is only open on select evening during each voyage.
The Odyssey menu: US$112.5 per guest. The Dom Pérignon Experience: US$295 per guest.
Privée is a private dining room on Riviera. If you are sailing with companions it offers is an exclusive enclave in which to share a meal. Although, Privée’s enormous white dining table is perhaps not well suited for couples.
If you dine at Privée there is a choice of menus, including a food and wine paring option, a selection from Toscana and Polo Grill, or a chefs tasting menu.
Dining in Privée is by reservation only and it costs extra.
Read the Nightlife section of this Riviera review by clicking the image below.