Dining aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas Specialty Restaurant, Giovanni’s…Excellent!

Tom and I during dinner at Giovanni’s specialty restaurant for a fabulous meal.

Many travelers choose to cruise for the food, more than anything. Although the cost of meals is included in the fare, one’s perception that the food is “free” and “all you can eat” is a driving force.

The window view from Giovanni as the sunset behind the fog and clouds.

Also, many travelers who may not eat three meals a day and snacks at home, find themselves eating several meals a day and snacks at every opportunity. We often hear passengers commenting on how much weight they gain when cruising and how full and uncomfortable they feel.

For me, my way of eating, the food is only important in that the food has flavor and I’m no longer hungry.  Since boarding the ship we’ve had two meals a day except for the few days with early morning tours. On a few occasions, I didn’t have breakfast when I simply didn’t feel like eating, not having anything until dinner.

Deli meat and prosciutto slicing machine Giovanni’s purchased from the restaurant but were unable to use due to possible safety issues.  It stands in an area near the entrance to the restaurant as a decorative item.

As I perused the lunch menu on the days I’ve missed breakfast, there hasn’t been anything acceptable except plain, unseasoned baked fish and steamed vegetables, not worthy of my attention when many of my dinners in the main dining room have consisted of the same.

Page 1 of Giovanni’s menu. Gluten-free items are marked with a wheat symbol.

Other than dining in the specialty restaurant, my meals in the main dining room, Minstral, have been mediocre at best. For Tom, the sauces over his meat have added enough flavor and depth to his meals that he’s rarely complained. Other passengers have commented that the food in the main dining room is inconsistent and tasteless at times and fabulous at others.

Page 2 Giovanni’s menu.

Serving 2000 or more passengers at two separate seatings for dinner is comparable to serving at a convention when the food is rarely the highlight of the event. This is usually the case in the ship’s main dining room.

Our new friends, Judy and Gary, whom Tom met communicating on Cruise Critic, joined us for dinner in Giovanni’s on Friday night.

On other cruises, such as on the Celebrity Century, we had extraordinary food, making the diners feel as if they are in an expensive restaurant with each item cooked to order. We experienced the same high quality of food on the Carnival Liberty in both the dining room and also our most extraordinary specialty dining experience to date.

Carpaccio di Manzo.  It was delicious.

Here on the Brilliance of the Seas, the specialty restaurants one of which we’ve highlighted today have been excellent with some of the best service we’ve seen anywhere. The food has been “over the top.” The effort to accommodate my way of eating has been impeccable by the conscientious chefs eager to please.

Mozzarella in Carozza alla Giovanni was Tom’s appetizer.

On Friday, September 5th,  we dined at Giovanni’s specialty restaurant with another fine couple, Judy and Gary, whom we’d met aboard ship through Tom’s perpetual perusing on the website, CruiseCritic.

Focaccio Della Casa, a shared cheesy bread item for three, not including me.

The food at Giovanni’s was fantastic at only US $20 per person. Since we’d booked three reservations at specialty restaurants, we received a 20% discount at each of the three venues. Thus, the dinner at Giovanni’s for both of us was only US $32. Although tips were included, we couldn’t resist leaving a generous tip for our fabulous waiter

Capesanti al Forno, scallops with buttery parmesan crust was my second appetizer. Unbelievably delicious!

Not only did the four of us have a superb time chatting through the divine four-course dinner, we all thoroughly enjoyed the food as shown in these photos. On Tuesday evening we dined again with Judy and Gary at Chop’s Grille, a steak house, and then again we’ll be dining with another couple we adore Laura and Michael, whom we met on a private tour early on in the cruise.

Tom’s second course, Risotto al Fungi Trifolati.  He said it was excellent.

Chop’s Grille has been rated as another fine venue with excellent starters, succulents steaks, sides, seafood, salads, and desserts. We opted for the 9-ounce filet mignon as we often do when dining in steak restaurants. Again, the conversation was sheer pleasure, as well as the food and service. 

Judy’s second course, Ravioli di Polpa Granchio, crab-stuffed ravioli. She said it was excellent.

With the one night in Giovanni’s and two at Chop’s Grill, we qualified for the 20% discount at both venues since we’re dining in Chop’s Grill twice. The cost for dinner in Chop’s Grill, after the discount, totaled US $48 without cocktails.

As with my other plates, the chef prepared this dish or me to comply with my restrictions, Fagottini di Vatella Ripienni al Funghi..long name. It was delicious. I’d love to have it again.

The Windjammer Café, the buffet restaurant on the 11th deck, is a mixed bag. There are few items in this restaurant that work for me. At breakfast each day, I’ve ordered three fresh eggs over well. (We don’t like eating raw yolks aboard ship). 

After wrapping a cloth napkin completely around my hand to avoid germs (which I dispose of as soon as I get to the table, taking a fresh napkin for my lap), I usually take a few pieces of reasonably good bacon, sliced cheese, and cucumbers. Other than those items, there is nothing additional that I’m able to eat at the buffet.

Tom’s main course at Giovanni’s, Filletto di Manzo, filet mignon with an au jus, fries, and broccoli. I tasted the steak and it was great.

Most shipborne illnesses are a result of dining in the self serve buffet restaurants. Touching the tongs and surfaces in and about the buffet restaurant is an illness waiting to happen. As soon as we’ve finished dining, we immediately wash our hands with hot soapy water and continue to wash many times throughout the day.

My dessert, a cheese platter minus crackers and fruit. 

Although neither of us has ever been stricken by Norovirus even when there’s a rampant outbreak aboard a ship, on prior cruises we’ve both fallen prey to the “cruise cough” which for me had resulted in chronic sinus infections on three occasions, one requiring antibiotics which luckily we had on hand. In most cases, passengers aren’t charged for a visit to the ship’s doctor when the illness is contracted from being onboard. Otherwise, a single doctor visit is usually US $250.

The dessert cart from which Tom, Judy, and Gary chose. Tom selected Tiramisu and Chocolate Cannelloni.

When living in a foreign country, often far from quality medical care, allowing an illness to linger for an extended period may be foolhardy. It’s been almost two years since either of us has yet to visit a doctor. One must exercise caution aboard ship, touching door handles, surfaces, stair railings, and particularly when dining.

There are other casual dining areas on other ship which we haven’t and most likely won’t try when there’s nothing on the menu that is acceptable for me. Tom is always content to dine where it works for me, never complaining or mentioning other options he may prefer.

When we arrive in Boston, I’ll have seafood on my mind. Tom, not so much. As always, we’ll figure it out.

Photo from one year ago, September 12, 2013:

My most dreaded creature when we were in Kenya, the poisonous centipede whose bite requires a trip to a hospital for care. For details of this post one year ago today, please click here.

Comments and responses Dining aboard Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas Specialty Restaurant, Giovanni’s…Excellent!

  1. liz Reply

    Hurray! So glad to hear you have at last had a delicious meal after several weeks (sadly) in London with mediocre meals.
    Has Tom had another haircut? Have you not encouraged him to grow it long for the colder climate Jess?!!!!

  2. Jessica Reply

    Thanks, Liz! Tonight, we're doing another specialty restaurant with new friends for the second time. There, too, the food s perfectly wonderful. So another great meal s coming up. Tom had one more haircut before we left London making his life easier aboard ship. Now, I think he's committed to letting it grow longer. No more cold weather for us! On the 23rd we heading to Hawaii. Hope you both are doing well.

    Hugs from both of us,
    Jess & Tom

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *