One of the oldest specialty restaurants on Royal Caribbean ships is Chops Grille, their steakhouse restaurant and fan favorite
Chops Grille is featured on all of its cruise ships, and it offers patrons a steak lunch or dinner that costs extra.
While the restaurant has a cover charge to dine there, it's a great choice for a special night out.
You might be wondering if it's worth it to eat at Chops Grille, and there's a few factors to consider.
Chops Grill menu
Being a specialty restaurant, Chops Grille typically has an elegant, steakhouse look to it. Many ships feature dark woods, with light beige accents throughout the restaurant.
Given the restaurant's smart casual attire, dining here definitely has the look of an upscale appearance.
The exact look and size of the room will vary from ship to ship, but it's usually one of the larger specialty restaurants. The Oasis and Icon Class cruise ships have their Chops Grille located in the Central Park neighborhood, with outdoor seating available.
Chops Grille on all other ships feature large windows with a view of the ocean, usually located near the Windjammer marketplace.
Chops is open for dinner on all nights, and lunch on select days. It's often open for lunch on embarkation day too. You will want to make reservations whenever possible.
Royal Caribbean wants to evoke a classic steakhouse vibe, so there isn't much here to surprise in its aesthetics if you've ever been to a similar restaurant on land.
Many restaurants have a view into the kitchen, where you can see the chef preparing the steaks and of course plenty of tantalizing smells too.
Chops Grille food
Chops Grille offers a fairly simple menu of appetizers, entrees and sides. The appetizers and entrees are served individually, but the sides are served family style. Given the serving size of the sides, it makes sense to share them although it does require some planning to ensure you don't over order.
After you are seated, a selection of breads and butter will be brought to your table to try. The pretzel bread rolls in particular are really good.
For our appetizers, we went with the Asian-Inspired tuna tartare and crispy goat cheese salad. In Chops, you can order more than one appetizer or side if you choose. They do limit you to one entree per person.
The fried goat cheese alone is worth ordering this entree, and it's something we order on every visit.
Equally good was the tuna. I love ahi tuna, and the small cubes along with avocado are a great choice for anyone that enjoys sushi-grade tuna.
Another very popular appetizer is the wild mushroom soup. It has a good flavor to it, and seems to be such a good fit when having a steak dinner.
Of course, the steaks are the star attraction at Chops Grille.
The Chops menu has a few different steaks to choose from, and all are included with your cruise fare. It's really a matter of personal preference as to which cut of steak is best for you: filet mignon, New York strip, or a ribeye.
I generally go with the filet mignon since it's usually regarded as the best cut of steak. If you prefer a richer flavor, the ribeye is the way to go.
If you're new to steaks or just not sure what to order, it's hard to go wrong with filet mignon because of how soft and flavorful it is.
Your waiter will ask what temperature you like to have the steak cooked.
In any case, the steaks are usually very consistent in flavor across the fleet.
Chops Grille also offers for all their steaks various sauces to try including classic bearnaise, chimichurri sauce, green peppercorn sauce and cabernet reduction.
Personally, I'm of the opinion a steak should taste good on its own, but I did try the chimichurri sauce on the side. I thought it was a nice change, but I think steak lovers will prefer their steaks to remain au natural. You can, however, ask for the sauces on the side to try.
If you don't want a steak, you can also order chicken breast, lamb, or even a filet of salmon.
Having sampled each of these alternatives, they're all quite good, but I'm not sure I would book a reservation at Chops just for those dishes. I've found the non-steak dishes are satisfactory, but nothing special.
Sides include cheese tater tots, jumbo asparagus, mashed potatoes, French fries and more.
Sides come in small pots that you can serve yourself with from the table. Your waiter will give you the choice of ordering individually or sharing with your tablemates.
We just had to try the desserts and I went with the red velvet cake and my wife chose the chocolate mud pie. These desserts were very rich and very good. I ordered the red velvet cake simply to have a taste but before I knew it, I had eaten half the slice. Saving room for either of these is a must-do.
You can expect to pay $69.99 per adult to eat at Chops Grille for dinner on an Oasis Class ship, and $24.99 per adult for lunch. Kids will pay $14. Children under the age of 6 are free.
Dinner at Chops Grille is not cheap, but it's designed to offer an alternative choice for a special night out, or simply somewhere to get steak every day of the cruise.
You can knock down the price by purchasing an unlimited dining package, and if you plan to eat at more than 2 specialty restaurants, this can be a great saving.
Quality wise, their steaks are good, but maybe not the best I've ever had. Certainly if you want a good steak onboard the ship, this is as good as it gets and when you try for the beef filets they have in the main dining room, Chops' steaks will seem like divine intervention. The rest of the food (appetizers, desserts and sides) are good choices and all met or exceeded our expectations.
The bottom line is I enjoyed eating at Chops Grille for its good food, but I have reservations about the cost. For a special night out, Chops is a good choice especially for people that really like steaks.