Review In Brief
There are five Oceania Regatta restaurants and dining venues. Between them they serve some of the best cuisine at sea. There is the classic Grand Dining Room with its French-inspired menu, as well as two excellent specialty restaurants - the Polo Grill and Toscana. The relaxed Terrace Cafe has al fresco dining with great ocean views. Plus, there is also Waves Grill for casual poolside lunches.
Regatta Restaurants Review
The Grand Dining Room
The Grand Dining Room is the largest of the Oceania Regatta restaurants. It really impresses, in fact I think it is a classic! They don’t make dining rooms like this anymore. There are spectacular ocean views from three sides of the restaurant. The decor is smart. The ambiance is convivial. The service is attentive. But what really shines is the food – the Regatta Grand Dining Room serves some of the best cuisine at sea.
The four-course dinner menu in the Grand Dining Room is mostly European and it changes every day. Indeed, the French heritage of Executive Culinary Director Jacques Pépin is evident in many of the dishes. However, Asian dishes are also on the menu, as well as specials from the local ports of call. So every night in the Grand Dining Room is like a new culinary adventure.
When I sailed on Regatta I must confess to over-indulging in the Grand Dining Room. It’s hard not to! After all, it is one of the best Oceania Regatta restaurants. I especially enjoyed the Guinea Fowl Escabeche with Carrots, Onion & Saffron. It was a light and refreshing appetiser.
My culinary journey continued with a delightful Tom Yum Talay Soup with Seafood, Lemongrass & Galangal. It was the perfect balance of sweet, hot and sour.
For main course the Roasted Duck Breast with dauphine potatoes and a sweet roasted peach was very good. The duck was bursting with flavour.
Some of Jacques Pépin’s signature dishes are always available too. There is Salmon Supreme with Rice Pilaf & Choron Sauce and the Herb Crusted Rotisserie Chicken with Ju De Roti.
The Grand Dining Room also have a special Food & Wine Pairing menu. It is available each evening. I really liked this offering. Executive Chef, Viktor Malek carefully puts together a four-course menu with his sommelier. Together, they match the wines – even with dessert! If you do not have a beverage package you’ll appreciate the 20% discount on these wines. I think the Food & Wine Pairing menu is a real treat.
Health-conscious guests will appreciate the Balanced Selection menu in the Grand Dining Room. The people at Canyon Ranch devised the philosophy behind the menu. It changes daily and features a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. In fact, healthy eating has never been so tempting. There are dishes like Salmon Tartar, Sarah Bernhardt Chicken Consommé and even sugar-free Chocolate Mousse.
The Grand Dining Room is also open for breakfast and lunch. At lunch time a French bistro-style menu is served. There is no need to make reservations in the Grand Dining Room. However, because it is one of the busiest Oceania Regatta restaurants at dinner time you may have a short wait for a table.
The Polo Grill
The Polo Grill is one of two speciality Oceania Regatta restaurants. It is an American-style steakhouse that serves time-honoured classics like dry-aged beef, spring lamb, veal and succulent seafood.
The distinctive decor of the Polo Grill features crisp, white linen tablecloths and dark wood furnishings with high-back leather chairs. It sets the scene for another great meal onboard Regatta.
The menu in the Polo Grill rarely changes, so I was able to work my way through many of the dishes during my Oceania Regatta voyage. There are starters, soups, salads and a selection of red meats and seafood. In addition, there is a range of indulgent desserts. It’s all exquisitely prepared and mouthwateringly good.
For starters I enjoyed the Timbale of Heart of Palm Remoulade – it was tangy and very refreshing. The Escargot in Casserole with Chive Sauce was also good. Although for my palate the sauce was a touch under-seasoned. However, the signature Crab Cake Tartar was simply sublime.
But the king of the starters was the Roasted Beetroot & Garlic Goats Cheese Napoleon. This exceptionally crafted dish was loaded with beetroot flavour and it had a fresh, zesty kick. I think it is the ideal way to start your Polo Grill experience. I recommend it highly.
The Polo Grill’s small but delightful soup selection is not to be missed either. There is New England Clam Chowder, Southwestern Navy Bean Soup and a most enjoyable Onion Soup with a Gruyère Cheese Crust. However, the Lobster Bisque with its morsels of sautéed lobster was a luxurious treat.
One of the signature dishes in the Polo Grill is the Classic Caesar Salad. It is a genuine showstopper. The waiter prepares it table-side with great gusto! He mixes crisp lettuce leaves with croutons and the classic sauce made from of eggs, olive oil, garlic, Dijon mustard and lemon juice. He then grates fresh parmesan cheese and if you like, he will also add anchovies. However, it’s worth noting that the anchovies are preserved rather than marinated.
The highlight of the Polo Grill dining experience is undoubtedly the main course. There is Filet Mignon, Kobe Beef with Truffle Demi-Glaze, Mojo-Marinated Pork Chop and an exceptionally good Colorado Rack of Lamb. The seasoned Veal Chop was also excellent – a squeeze of fresh lemon juice really brings out the flavour!
Succulent Prime Rib is also available. It is slow roasted and served medium-rare with Au Jus and Traditional Accompaniments. However, owing to the exclusive nature of the dish there is only a limited supply each evening.
The Polo Grill has plenty of tempting alternatives if you are not in the mood for red meat. There is Whole Maine Lobster, Grilled Jumbo Shrimp Scampi, as well as Swordfish and Tuna Steaks. The curiously named “Black Foot” Roast Chicken was excellent. There are also daily specials which reflect the cuisine of Regatta’s ports of call.
If you have room for dessert I recommend the refreshing Key Lime Pie, or the more indulgent Chocolate Layer Cake.
The Polo Grill is open from 6:30pm for dinner only. You do need to make reservations, however there is no additional charge to dine in this excellent Oceania Regatta restaurant.
Incidentally, the Polo Grill has a great bar and you don’t need to be dining there to use it. It is small, but bursting with atmosphere and the bartenders mix excellent pre-dinner cocktails.
Toscana – the best of the Oceania Regatta restaurants
Toscana is the second of the two speciality Oceania Regatta restaurants. It serves authentic Italian cuisine with a focus on the region of Tuscany. I rate Toscana as the best Oceania Regatta restaurant, in fact it is one of my favourite restaurants at sea.
Toscana is perched high at the back of the ship, so it has spectacular sunset views. The decor is classic Italian with crisp, white linen and custom-designed Versace china.
The five-course Toscana menu lends itself to the Italian concept of ‘slow food’. That is to say the meal is better enjoyed at a slow pace, with great wine and good friends. The extensive menu includes both hot and cold antipasti, soups, fresh pasta as well as meat and seafood main courses. There is also a tempting selection of desserts too.
Everything on the menu in Toscana is good, so rather than trying to choose the best of it I will simply share my personal favourites.
For the antipasti I can’t resist the Carpaccio di Polpo – Octopus Carpaccio with Champagne Vinaigrette & Warm Potato Salad. It’s like the Mediterranean on a plate. Also, I really enjoyed the Fritto di Calamari – Lightly Breaded Calamari served with Spicy Marinara or Aioli. I like it best without the Marinara or Aioli, just served with lemon wedges.
Toscana also has a magnificent selection of pasta which is made fresh every day. There are nine different pasta dishes on the menu, including Beef Ravioli in a Veal Jus with Rosemary & Tomato, Penne with Porcini Mushroom & Meat Sauce, as well as mouthwatering Tortelloni stuffed with Ricotta & Spinach.
The Toscana chefs have daily pasta specials too. When I sailed on Regatta I enjoyed the Linguine alle Vongole – pasta with clams that have been steamed open with white wine and garlic. It was as good as any I’ve eaten in Venice.
For main course I couldn’t resist the Scaloppine di Vitello – veal medallions – served with Marsala Sauce. The veal was perfectly seasoned and full veal flavour.
Desserts include Italian classics like Tiramisu and Cannoli di Ricotta, but I recommend the Semifreddo di Zabaione. It is a chocolate covered spongecake soaked in Bacardi Rum and filled with coffee zabaione. It looks great and tastes even better!
Toscana also have a special Sommelier’s Selection wine list. These wines showcase the best of Italy with prices from US$53 to US$345. I enjoyed the 2015 vintage Gaja Ca’Marcanda Promis IGT.
Toscana is open from 6:30pm for dinner only. It is one of the most popular Oceania Regatta restaurants, so eservations are essential. However there is no additional dining charge.
The Terrace Cafe
The Terrace Cafe is a relaxed, buffet-style restaurant on Oceania Regatta. It has terrific ocean views as well as a teak terrace for al fresco dining.
In fact, this is one of my favourite places for lunch on Regatta. Sitting under the shade of an umbrella with an ocean view and a gentle sea breeze is idyllic.
The Terrace Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast there is a lovely spread of hot and cold options, but at lunch time the Terrace Cafe steps up a notch. They serve fresh lobster and jumbo shrimps as well as roasted meats and fish. If you prefer a light meal there is also antipasti and salads.
For dinner the buffet offering is different. It is usually themed around the local ports of call. On my voyage we were treated to fresh caught seafood from Fiji in the pristine South Pacific.
On other nights the Terrace Cafe showcases the menu from Red Ginger, the pan-Asian specialty restaurant on Oceania’s larger ships. Executive chef Viktor Malek, told me the most popular dish on these Red Ginger Evenings is the Miso Sea Bass. There is also top quality sashimi, as well as Teriyaki Steak and Shrimp Pad Thai. However, I especially liked the Duck & Watermelon Salad.
The Terrace Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. You do not need to make reservations.
Waves Grill is the most casual of Oceania Regatta restaurants. It’s located poolside and has great ocean views.
The menu has poolside favourites like burgers and hot dogs. Toasted sandwiches are also available, as well as grilled fish if you prefer.
Orders are placed at the counter and then delivered to your table. Waves Grill also have a buffet salad bar.
Waves Grill is open for lunch every day.
The author sailed as a guest of Oceania Cruises.