Today we are taking a closer look at the restaurant on Royal Caribbean's Quantum of the Seas where it's formal night, every night, The Grande.
The Grande is one of five complimentary sit down restaurants aboard Quantum of the Seas and it's a throwback to the classic days of cruising where everyone is dressed up and the food matches the elegance of the dress.
The Grande is open for dinner and I had a chance to check it out for myself to see what it's like to have formal night on a ship that did away with formal night.
Walking into The Grande, the look and feel of the restaurant is exactly what you might expect to find in a restaurant where getting dressed up is a must.
There's lots of whites with simple, yet elegant designs on the furniture, walls and tables. The restaurant evokes a sense of classiness that I think most people expect when they hear about a restaurant that is formal.
Unlike the other complimentary restaurants for dinner, The Grande requires its guests to be dressed up. Royal Caribbean does note that Smart Casual dress code is acceptable on embarkation day but other days, it's formal.
For fans of getting dressed up for dinner, the Grande is your restaurant and you can get dressed up as many nights as you want when you dine here.
Like the upscale dress, the menu at The Grande is about traditionally fancy foods. You will find escargot, bisques, and cuts of meat that are typically found at upscale restaurants.
When you are seated, you are served small baguettes along with butter. Whereas in the American Icon Grill there were rolls, at the Grande we are moving up to higher end bread.
For appetizers, I started with two choices I had come to really enjoy on Royal Caribbean ships: beef carpaaccio and escargots.
I found both dishes to be just as good as I rememberd on other ships. The carpaaccio was so thinly sliced that you could not even pick it up with a fork, but had to scrape it off the plate.
Royal Caribbeans fans will know that escargot was hard to find on many ships due to a worldwide shortage (who knew!) but it was readily available on Quantum of the Seas and with the bread an absolute delight.
Moving onto my entree, I opted for the eggplant Napoleon, which is a combination of Ratatouille and eggplant parmesan.
This was the kind of entree I could have had another serving to enjoy. The eggplant was not breaded and together with the goat cheese fondue, tomatoes and spinach created a very vibrant taste.
I think of all the complimentary restaurants I ate at on Quantum of the Seas, The Grande was my favorite.
The dishes served at The Grande are traditional and going with what's known to work I believe is a good angle.
It should be noted The Grande does serve Lobster Tail every night. I do not eat lobster but I know there are those that always looked forward to "lobster night" on Royal Caribbean cruises and so this is the place for you. In fact, this is the strength of Dynamic Dining. Rather than lobster tail just once per cruise, you can now have it every night.
The dress code was not a problem for me because I always enjoyed dressing up for dinner to begin with. It's not to say you must wear a tuxedo or formal ball gown to eat here. Rather, a collared shirt and nice pants with appropriate shoes will get you in for men. Women can opt for a cocktail dress or something equivalent and satisfy the requirements.
I came away impressed with The Grande because of the particularly tasty food, much of which will be familiar to fans of the main dining room on other Royal Caribbean ships.