Izumi

Must-Try Eats at Izumi on Royal Caribbean

In:
Category: 
12Oct2018

Are you planning to try Royal Caribbean's signature sushi specialty restaurant, Izumi? We are big fans of Izumi across Royal Caribbean's fleet for the inspired menu, fresh ingredients and wide selection.

While the entire Izumi menu offers some intriguing choices, here is a quick look at a few of my top choices for ordering at Izumi on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Izumi Ryu Futomaki roll

If you are looking for a sushi roll to satisfy any appetite, then the Izumi Ryu Futomaki roll is sure to fill you up quickly.

This massive roll is one of the Chef's Signature Rolls, and it is a tempura fried mashup of sushi goodness.  It is comprised of assorted sashimi, scallions, scallions, spicy aioli, cream cheese, wakame salad, house ginger teppan dressing and a spicy chili thread.

Not only is this a giant sushi roll, it is also a deeply satisfying roll and the kind of thing to order when you really want a filling meal.  It is also a great value if you have a specialty dining package.

Tuna wasabi

One of Izumi's strengths are the great assortment of starters, and the Tuna Wasabi carpaccio is something I can order each time I visit Izumi and never tire of trying. 

The tuna wasabi is a simple, yet delectable appetizer.  It is also very light, which means you are not going into your main course already feeling full. 

Fresh tuna sashimi and a slice of jalapeño make for a brilliant contrast in flavors.  There is just enough kick from the jalapeño to compliment the tremendous tuna flavor.  Any tuna lover will relish this app.

Hot Rock

Izumi offers some of the best sushi at sea or on land, but it also has a really good option for those that do not like sushi (crazy, I know).  The hot rocks have become a staple of so many Izumi locations and it is as fun to cook as it is to eat.

Hot rocks are essentially a rock slab heated up to 575°F and served with raw meat and vegetables that you can cook at your table.  The hot rocks are available on all Vision, Radiance and most Voyager class of ships (with the exception of Adventure of the Seas) have hot rock and sushi. Quantum Class ships have sushi, hot appetizers and noodles. Oasis class have Hibachi and sushi. Mariner and Independence are the other 2 Izumis with mostly Hibachi.

The appeal of the hot rocks is more than just "something to order if you do not like sushi."  Freshly cooked steak, surf & turf, skewers and more are available to try and the result is a wonderful entrée.  Even as a sushi lover, I cannot help but take a few bites when my wife orders one of these.  

Mixed poke taco

Izumi updated its menu not too long ago and added a few new items, including the mixed poke taco.   Of all the new choices, these are my favorite for the great crunchy texture combined with excellent chopped sashimi.

Tuna, albacore (known also as the longfin tuna) and octopus are chopped up and mixed together with a few other complimentary ingredients to create an inspired take on a Mexican favorite. The mixed poke tacos are great for sharing too. 

If you prefer less carbs, or simply more of this dish, try the Poke Bowl, which is essentially the same ingredients as the taco, minus the shell.

DX Sushi Combo

If your goal is to find the one option on the Izumi menu that offers the best value, the DX Sushi Combo is the choice for you.

Simply put, the DX Sushi Combo offers the most sushi for the dollar on the menu.  8 pieces of nigiri, 2 tamago and 8 pieces of spicy tuna roll for $16. 

While the value is good, the sushi is even better and it has become my go-to sushi dish of choice.

Overall

I will admit that I am terribly biased when it comes to Izumi.  I love Izumi and will go there no matter what is on the menu, because I find so many great choices. 

The highlighted choices here are wonderful options, but I encourage you to seek out other items on the menu.  The soups & noodle dishes offer great non-sushi choices, and the signature rolls menu alone offer some fan favorite choices.

Have you been to Izumi on a Royal Caribbean ship? Share your favorite menu item with us in the comments below!

Review: Izumi on Rhapsody of the Seas

In:
19Apr2018

Izumi, how do I love thee? Shall we count the ways?

Over the years, I have managed to eat at seven different Izumi locations across Royal Caribbean and review them, here on the blog.  You might think the experiences tend to run into each other, but on Rhapsody of the Seas I found fairly unique Izumi experience. 

Of course, the sushi at Izumi remains very consistent (and excellent) across the fleet, thanks to the hard work of the specialty restaurant's ongoing efforts. The sushi alone is worth my many visits to Izumi, and why I continue to make reservations for Izumi.  It is pretty much one of those spots I visit whenever I have an excuse to do so.

Speaking of excuses, on our Rhapsody of the Seas cruise, there was an advertisement in the Cruise Compass towards the end of the cruise where you could pay $25 and get a $50 credit to use at Izumi. You may not run across such a promotion, but always keep an eye out for specials!

Atmosphere

Izumi on Rhapsody of the Seas is not easily stumbled upon, as it is located at the very top of the ship on Deck 12.  In fact, it's kind of on a half hidden deck, behind the Viking Crown Lounge.

Suffice to say, there is not a lot of foot traffic in this part of the ship.

For those that do venture to deck 12 to see Izumi, it is arguably the most beautiful Izumi location I have ever been to across Royal Caribbean's fleet. 

The restaurant sits in a kind of half circle, with an "upper deck" that overlooks the Viking Crown Lounge below.

Out the back of Izumi, you have a perfect view of the aft of the ship, with the Solarium roof providing the perfect viewing angle to the ocean and sky behind it. During our lunch, we spent most of the time just gazing out to the back of the restaurant (when we were not gorging on the terrific food).

Eats

If you are new to Izumi specialty restaurant, it is a specialty restaurant that is priced a la carte.  That means, there is no cover charge and you simply pay for the food you order.

All meals at Izumi begin with a complimentary bowl of edamame, which is a boiled soy beans sprinkled with salt.  A perfect starter to nosh on while you look over the menu.

I always start my meal with a bowl of miso soup.  To me, it is a quintessential Japanese meal starter.

Izumi has a fairly large menu, and their appetizer selection includes some really tasty options.  The gyoza dumplings and chicken kara-age are great shareables (although one person can easily finish them off).  

Having tried the Mixed Poke Taco on Brilliance of the Seas last year, I gravitated right back towards them again on this go around.  Tuna, avocado, albacore and octopus in a crispy wonton shell is a really good combination.

Also somewhat new and already a favorite choice is the Boxed Yellowtail.  When it comes to sushi, yellowtail is never a bad choice.

I also opted for another sushi staple, the Crispy Spicy Tuna.

Overall

I never shy away from an opportunity to dine at Izumi, and when I found that $25 for $50 deal in the Cruise Compass, I found my perfect excuse.

In a nutshell, the food at Izumi is excellent all around.  Their sushi is of outstanding quality, and their non-sushi items are also quite good (if not underrated).  Even if you are not much of a "sushi person" I think you will find something to enjoy on the menu.

By far, if you happen to be sailing on Rhapsody of the Seas (or another Vision Class ship with Izumi on Deck 12), do yourself a favor and go up there for lunch.  The views on worth the price of the food you get.

When it comes to dining at Izumi on Rhapsody of the Seas, come for the sushi, but stay for the views.

Experiences: Izumi sushi making class on Royal Caribbean

In:
20Feb2018

For a few years, Royal Caribbean has offered guests the opportunity to try making sushi in a special class.  There is no doubt that making sushi seems like a daunting task, but Royal Caribbean promises a fun and informative experience. 

As an avid sushi fan, I look for any excuse to enjoy sushi on sea or on land.  Believe it or not, there was a sushi experience on a Royal Caribbean cruise that I had never tried before, so I sought to rectify that on a recent Brilliance of the Seas cruise.

The sushi class is offered on most Royal Caribbean ships, but I had resisted trying it primarily because I do not eat shellfish and I knew many of the rolls made used shellfish.  While dining at Izumi on Brilliance of the Seas, my waiter informed me the chef could adjust my offering for something I could eat, so I decided to give it a try.

What to expect

There is no cooking experience required to try the class. In fact, that is the appeal of the class.  

You will arrive to the class and be required to wash your hands prior to doing anything.  Once everyone arrives, an Izumi chef begins the class by introducing what sushi really is, its origins, and what type of sushi you will make.

In our class, we made three kinds of sushi:

  1. Maki (Rice and filling wrapped in seaweed)
  2. Nigiri (A topping, usually fish, served on top of sushi rice)
  3. Temaki (Sushi that has been hand-rolled into a cone shape)

The sushi chef introduces each roll, and goes step by step in showing everyone how to create the roll.

During the class, one of the Izumi waiters will be happy to use your phone or camera to take photos of your progress.

Following creating the various rolls, you get to eat everyting your created.  Considering you we made three rolls and two pieces of nigiri, that was a lot of food.

On our cruise, the sushi making class included a complimentary tour of the ship's galley.  It is always fascinating to see how the ship prepares so many meals for its guests, and to have a galley tour part of the class price is an added bonus.

The sushi making class was just about an hour long (including time to eat the sushi), and the galley tour was an additional 30 minutes.

Summary

I really enjoyed the sushi making class, perhaps even more than I anticipated.  Part of the enjoyment comes from the fact the Izumi chef helped us make the sushi so well. Frankly, I was expecting to butcher my attempt at creating sushi, so when the final product actually looked like something I might order, I was impressed.

The pace of the class worked well, and I feel like we all were able to pick up the key concepts quickly. The chef was always quick to walk around and provide assistance where necessary, and offer guidance to improving the techniques applied.

At $33 per person, the price is an excellent value when you consider you are getting three rolls, a few pieces of nigiri and a tour of the galley. I felt that we got a lot for the cost.

Overall, I think the sushi making class is a fun opportunity for anyone to try.  It is great to do alone, or invite friends and family to do it together.  Be sure to come hungry!

Cost: $33 per person on Brilliance of the Seas.

Izumi on Adventure of the Seas

Last updated on August 6, 2018.

Menus provided by RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com are unofficial and subject to change.

Starters

Edamame (complimentary)

Boiled soy beans, kosher salt

Salads

Seaweed Wakame Salad

Sesame oil, white sesame seeds $6

Deluxe Seafood Citrus Salad

Blanched lobster tail, octopus, and shrimp Ebi with pickled sweet cucumber and kaiso seaweed, daiko sprouts and roasted sesame seeds $9

Mon, 08/06/2018 (All day)

First look at menu and prices for Izumi restaurant on Adventure of the Seas

In:
12Feb2018

Royal Caribbean has added an Izumi specialty restaurant to Adventure of the Seas, and we have a first look at this new style of Izumi experience.

Photo by Carl Luxford

Izumi on Adventure of the Seas is the first Izumi location to be positioned on the Royal Promenade, which means it will be unique in its offerings.

Since Izumi took over a space that was previously occupied by a sports bar, Izumi on Adventure of the Seas will offer simply sushi and sake/beer.

Photo by Travis Kamiyama

Photo by Travis Kamiyama

Photo by Carl Luxford

Izumi on Adventure of the Seas represents the 19th Izumi location to open across Royal Caribbean's fleet.

Review: Izumi on Brilliance of the Seas

In:
06Feb2018

It does not take much to convince me to eat at Royal Caribbean's popular Japanese specialty restaurant, Izumi, so when I learned that there was a menu update on Brilliance of the Seas, I just had to try it out for myself.

Izumi has spread to much of Royal Caribbean's fleet in just the last few years, and its success has a lot to do with the restaurant's creator and master chef, Chef Travis Kamiyama.  Chef Travis spends a great deal of his time visiting Izumi restaurants across the fleet, and trying out new ideas and offerings.

Last year, a few new menu options found its way to Izumi, and in the name of research, I took it upon myself to sample these changes.  You know, for science!

Atmosphere

I have dined at many Izumi restaurants across Royal Caribbean's fleet, but the Izumi locations on Radiance class ships are particularly lovely for their location and decor.

Izumi on Brilliance of the Seas is located on deck 12 aft, above the Windjammer and near the kids waterslide. 

Walking into the restaurant, you will find a mostly circular room, with tables lining the outside, a sushi bar, and tables in the interior.  In short, there is plenty of seating throughout the restaurant.

The seating by the window offers a view out to the ocean, while the booth seating on the back wall features the most comfortable seating.  Never hesitate to ask to sit at the sushi bar, where you can watch the sushi chefs at work.

The decor of Izumi on Brilliance of the Seas features a lot of dark woods and oranges mixed with bright colors, notably a light blue.

Eats

The Izumi menu on Brilliance of the Seas is very similar to Izumi restaurants across Royal Caribbean, but as we mentioned earlier, there are a few new menu items to consider.

It is also important to note that Izumi on Brilliance of the Seas features a hot rock option, which is incredibly popular among non-sushi eaters.

Dining at Izumi is unlike most other Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants, in that there is no cover charge.  Rather, you pay for what you order. What is nice about a la carte pricing, is you can drop in for a small bite to eat without fear of overpaying.

All meals at Izumi begin with a refreshing hot towel and a complimentary bowl of edamame, lightly sprinkled with salt.

For this meal, I focused on what was new on the menu. I was a man on a mission, so to speak.  You might even say I was hungry for the truth...and for tuna.

First up was the Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna, which features creamy tuna on hot crispy rice, topped with a slice of jalapeno.

As an appetizer, this is a great starter and easily shareable (not that I offered to share any of this, but theoretically it would be possible).  The consistency of the tuna was different than most of the other tuna offered on the Izumi menu, and I am a fan of jalapeno with any of my sushi offerings.

I then moved onto the Mixed Poke Taco.  The taco combines tuna, albacore and octopus to form an interesting mix of fish in a crispy wonton shell.

I really liked the taco, because you get the tenderness and flavor of the fish, mixed with a rigidness of the taco shell.  Combining the two made for another fun and shareable appetizer (note, I did not share this either).

Moving onto the entrees, Izumi now offers a Poke Bowl option, which is essentially the exact same ingredients as the Mixed Poke Taco.  The Poke Bowl is significantly larger than the tacos, while offering much more of those great ingredients.

If you enjoyed the taco and want more, the Poke Bowl is for you.  Likewise, if you fear your tablemates may want to try one of your tacos, get the Poke Bowl so you can selfishly devour all the sushi-grade goodness yourself.

I also gave the Boxed Yellowtail roll a try, as I did not recall seeing it before.  Like the Crispy Rice Spicy Tuna appetizer, this roll also features a spicy creamy tuna terrine, topped with yellowtail sashimi, scallion, and a ponzu sauce.  

While I was guarding my sushi like a lion protecting its fresh kill on the African Savanna, my wife ordered a hot rock entree.

The hot rocks (known as Ishiyake in Japanese), are essentially a really, really hot rock (heated up to 575 degrees Fahrenheit) and served with your choice of protein to be cooked on the rock.

With the recent menu change, Royal Caribbean dropped the chicken option, but added some other choices.

My wife went with the beef tenderloin, which is thinly sliced beef tenderloin that comes with assorted vegetables.

If you are concerned with cooking the meat correctly, your waiter is happy to jump in and assist.  It takes just a few minutes to cook the meat to your liking. Plus, it is fun!

Conclusion

As someone that loves anything tuna, the new Izumi menu choices were right up my alley.  Izumi has always had a strong and varied menu, but these new appetizer choices are a great addition to the menu and theoretically shareable with your tablemates (not that I even considered doing that).

Whether you go for the sushi, hot rocks, soups or anything else inbetween, there is a lot to like while at Izumi.  It is a strong menu, and I think fans of Japanese food will enjoy eating here on Royal Caribbean.

Izumi is open from 12:15 - 1:30pm on sea days for lunch, and 6:00 - 9:30pm for dinner.

Izumi Hibachi menu on Allure of the Seas

Last updated on November 22, 2017.

Menus provided by RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com are unofficial and subject to change.

Izumi Teppanyaki

Complimentary

Edamame Soy Beans

Green mix with ginger dressing

Vegetable fried rice or brown rice

Teppan premier combo $45

Samurai

Beef and tiger shrimp

Origami

Chicken breast and tiger shrimp

Geisha

NY steak and chicken breast

Izumi

Sea scallops and lobster

Wed, 11/22/2017 (All day)

Review: Izumi Hibachi on Harmony of the Seas

In:
26Sep2017

I have reviewed a lot of Izumi restaurants on Royal Caribbean ships, but I had never tried the relatively new hibachi option that Royal Caribbean added not too long ago.

Izumi's teppan style dining is offered only on the Oasis Class ships, but I had never dined at any of them.  Sure, I have eaten at many hibachi restaurants on land, but I never had the opportunity to try Izumi's take until our recent Harmony of the Seas cruise. 

We headed down to deck 4 to try it out for ourselves.

Atmosphere

Izumi hibachi is a teppanyaki-style restaurant, which is sometimes referred to as a “Japanese steakhouse."  Made famous by Benihana restaurants, the experience combines cooking and service into one fun performance.

On Oasis Class ships, Izumi is split into two restaurants: the sushi side and the hibachi side.  Reservations and availability are exclusive to each other, with often the hibachi side booking up quite quickly because of the limited space and high demand.

Located on deck 4, Izumi is to the right of the Silk main dining room and around the corner from the entrance to the casino.

Photo by Michael Poole

The decor of Izumi is comprised of dark reds, browns and blacks.

The hibachi area is made up of three cooking tables, surrounded by chairs for guests to sit on during their meal. Each cooktop is a communal table that can accommodate up to eight guests, with the chef at the center of the table doing the cooking.

Remember, since seating is communal, you will be seated with strangers unless you have 8 people in your party.

Soon after we were seated, our server greeted us. Since our food would be prepared before us by a Chef, the server's primary role would be to take our drink and food orders and take care of us throughout the meal.

Eats

The Izumi hibachi menu is comprised of two basic choices.  There are the Teppan Classics, which offer a choice of Chicken Breast, Beef Tenderloin, Tiger Shrimp or Tofu for $45 per person.  Alternatively, you can opt for the Teppan Premier Combo at $49, which offers the option to do combos (half of one meat and half of another), as well as the choice of lobster, sea scallops, and NY Steak.

All hibachi meals include Edamame, a salad, and choice of vegetable fried rice or brown rice.

Photo by Ken Licwinko

In addition to the teppenyaki options, there are also a some appetizer and sushi options rounding out the menu.

Our chef soon took the stage and introduced himself. After he confirmed our orders, he set to work preparing dipping sauces for the meal. These go out to everyone in individual servings, and include three dipping sauces: Sweet Chili, Teriyaki, and Ginger Onion.

As is common with nearly all teppanyaki meals, the grill preparation and cooking is incorporated into a show, where the chef includes a number of tricks, jokes, and flamboyant demonstrations to keep everyone at the table entertained.

Our chef did many of the tricks that have made Japanese steakhouses so popular.  If you have been to a teppanyaki restaurant before, some of the tricks may be familiar to you, while others were a surprise to me.  

Speaking of tricks, there is no fire incorporated in any aspect of the cooking, so no onion volcano tricks here.

Soon, the cooktop was full of meats, vegetables, and rice.  This part of the meal is what brings people back time and time again, because it just so darn fun to watch.

Photo by Michael Poole

I made two visits to Izumi, and the first time ordered just the chicken.  The chicken was great, but on my second visit, I opted for the chicken and steak combo.  I can say with certainty paying $4 more for the combo made the meal that much better.

Photo by Ken Licwinko

Dessert is also included with your meal, and by far the Mochi ice cream is a favorite.  Mochi is best described as, "ice cream dumplings" and is worth a try.

Photo by Ken Licwinko

Conclusion

Having dined at Izumi Hibachi, I can see why the reservations are as hard to come by as they have been. The servers who take care of you here are warm and friendly, and the chefs are the best of the best at what they do. Food is always cooked well, and entree portions are generous. As a bonus, I really like that I can see my food before and during the cooking process. What other type of restaurant ensures that you know first hand how fresh your food is? Plus, you get a show!

Moreover, the variety of food choices makes Izumi hibachi a great choice for groups because it can satisfy a wide range of tastes and preferences.  

I also brought my six year old daughter with us, and this meal is by far the most succesful specialty restaurant experience we have had with her.  Usually she gets bored quickly, due to the length of the meal, and she also tends to be too picky to make many specialty restaurant experiences "worth it."  At hibachi, she loved every second of it and insisted we bring her back on the second evening we dined there.

Overall, I can recommend Izumi hibachi to Royal Caribbean cruisers who seek a fun dining experience that also has some really good food.

Cost: The cost for Izumi hibachi on Harmony of the Seas is $45 per guest for dinner, or $49 per guest if upgraded menu selected.

Do you love Izumi hibachi? Leave us a comment below and share your favorite experiences!

Izumi on Navigator of the Seas restaurant review

In:
15May2017

Izumi has developed a reputation across Royal Caribbean's fleet of offering top-notch Japanese cuisine, namely sushi.  While sushi is a popular choice for many guests, there are other great menu options to consider.

On Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas, Izumi's theme fuses and function for a restaurant that has a sleek, modern look to it.  Located on deck fourteen in a rather small area, the restaurant makes the best utilitarian use of their limited space. There are tables throughout the restaurant that provide views of the ocean, along with a sushi bar that has ample seating as well. 

We dined at Izumi on a number of occasions while onboard Navigator of the Seas and one thing worth noting about Izumi is the level of service.  Based on our interactions with numerous the servers at Izumi, I am confident in saying that the service is top notch. The crew members were attentive, stead-fast in their service and made themselves available to answer questions or assist throughout the meal.

Often we hear from readers who tend to avoid Izumi because they, "don't eat sushi."  In fact, my wife is one of those people that does not eat sushi (no one is perfect), but Izumi's menu offers a good variety of choices that go beyond just sushi.  So while I indulged in a steady serving of underwater goodness, my wife and friends who joined us, were able to take advantage of the land-based foods.

Izumi is priced a la carte, which means there is cover charge and you pay for only what you order.  What I love about Izumi is the option to drop in for soup and a roll, or untighten my belt and dare the sushi chefs to do their worst best .  In fact, there is a takeout sushi option that I regularly took advantage of, and brought a roll or two back to my stateroom balcony.

Every meal at Izumi includes an edamame appetizer, which is perfect for sharing. It is topped lightly with salt, and a great start to our meal. 

Personally, I always order miso soup to accompany my meal.  There is something about having miso soup that makes the meal complete.  Plus, it is light and has great flavor.

For guests who prefer not to eat sushi, the best choice on the menu are the hot rocks (Ishiyake), which are literally slabs of rock that are heated to 575°F.  Your food is served raw on the side, and you then place the food on the hot rock and cook it in front of you. 

There are four varieties of ishiyake to choose from, and all are served with vegetables and steamed white or fried rice:

  • Mixed seafood (scallop, shrimp, lobster, salmon)
  • Chicken breast
  • Chicken and beef skewer
  • Beef tenderloin

All hot rocks come with lemon ginger vinaigrette, teriyaki sauce and Thai sweet chili dipping sauces. Cooking the food is as fun as actually eating it.  Our waiter made himself available to assisting in the cooking process, which we took advantage of to avoid any concerns that our food might be undercooked. While Navigator of the Seas (and most other ships in Royal Caribbean's fleet) lack a hibachi option, this is the next best thing.  For anyone that has no desire to eat sushi, this is a solid alternative.

Being the sushi maven of the group, I opted to try freshwater eel (unagi) sashimi, along with DX Sushi combo.  The eel sashimi had terrific flavor, and worked on its own or as a "topper" to one of the sushi rolls in my combo.

A friend went for the rainbow roll, which is a classic sushi choice.

For dessert, we ordered a round of assorted Mochi ice cream.  After the typically salt-infused foods earlier, having something sweet in the form of Japanese ice cream was the perfect way to finish the meal.

Overall, Izumi earns high marks for its reasonably priced, yet all around terrific, menu. Offering relatively mild options and more adventurous fare makes it a restaurant that most people will enjoy if they give it a chance. With the advent of Royal Caribbean's specialty dining packages, having $30 per person to spend at Izumi will likely result in a very filling meal. 

Looking around Izumi, it always seems like everyone dining in Izumi is satisfied with their choices. I have been dining at Izumi since it was a small outpost at the very top of Oasis of the Seas, and in the years since, Izumi has become a great choice that is unlikely to disappoint.

Izumi menu on Anthem of the Seas

Last updated on February 27, 2018

Menus provided by RoyalCaribbeanBlog.com are unofficial and subject to change.

Starters

Edamame Soy Beans (complimentary)

Boiled edamame soy beans sprinkled with kosher salt

Shrimp & Vegetable tempura

An assortment of shrimp and fresh vegetable tempura served with tentsyu bonito stock 11

Chicken Kara-age

Crispy chicken thigh meat, marinated in soy ginger mirin, served in Thai sweet chili sauce 9

Tue, 02/27/2018 (All day)

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