Giovanni's Table

5 things you will love about Giovanni's Table on Royal Caribbean

In:
Category: 
29Jan2016

Royal Caribbean's Giovanni's Table has spread to a number of ships across the fleet and serves up to guests some really tasty Italian food.  

Here are five things we think you will love about dining at Giovanni's Table.

5. Scallops

If you enjoy seafood, you will definitely want to order the scallops at Giovanni's Table, because they are truly wonderful dish.

Giant scallops are served individually on decorative clam shells.  A common mistake is scallops can be overcooked, but these are perfectly cooked and a real winner.

In short, the scallops are delectable and delicious. 

4. The filet

When we think of really good steaks on Royal Caribbean ships, one of the most underrated steaks is offered at Giovanni's Table.

The filet served up at Giovanni's Table is essentially Italian-style filet mignon and has an amazing flavor that is contrasted with the Gorgonzola cheese butter. And those steak fries!

An inside tip: there is a steak on the lunch and dinner menu, but the dinner steak option tends to be a better choice.

3. The decor on Oasis class ships

We mentioned earlier in this blog post that Giovanni's Table has spread to many Royal Caribbean ships, but the Giovanni Table locations on the Oasis class ships look and feel a little bit better than all the rest.

Giovanni's Table was originally introduced on Oasis of the Seas and there is just something about the Central Park setting that not only makes the restaurant look like a classy neighborhood restaurant, but it also just looks really nice inside.

Dining at Giovanni's Table on an Oasis class ship offers that perfect mix of great food set in a beautiful setting.  You can dine inside or opt for a table "outdoors" with a view of Central Park all around you.

2. Dessert cart

A trend among the newer Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants is to offer a dessert cart or tray of desserts and the dessert cart at Giovanni's Table is worth saving some room for.

Canolis, flourless chocolate cake, tiramisu are just a few of the options you can expect and they are truly devine.

These desserts are rich, decadent ways to top off a really good meal.

1. Lasagna

At the heart of Giovanni's Table is some fan-favorite Italian dishes that are tried-and-true winners, and this includes the lasagna.

The lasagna at Giovanni's Table is topped in a fabulous meat sauce and has just the right amount of cheese that accentuates the taste of the layers of pasta, sauce and meat.

If you are looking for a great traditional Italian pasta dish, the lasagna is for you.

Giovanni's Table lunch menu on Independence of the Seas

Last updated on November 26, 2017.

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

Appetizers and Salads

Focaccia Della Casa

Flat Italian bread with potatoes and herb, marinated artichokes, olives and pesto

Frittura Mista Per Due

Fried shrimp, calamari, fish fillets and zucchini with aioli

Antipasti per Due

Two kinds of Italian salami, prosciutto, marinated anchovies, grilled artichokes, roasted peppers, zucchini, olives and Gambonzola cheese

Sun, 11/26/2017 (All day)

Review: Giovanni's Table on Brilliance of the Seas

In:
16Dec2015

Of all the Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants available, few have spread as far and as wide as Giovanni's Table has, especially given how relatively new it is to Royal Caribbean.

While aboard Brilliance of the Seas, I just could not resist the temptation to enjoy lunch at Giovanni's Table one more time.

I had no plans to dine at Giovanni's Table, but the tempting favorites along with the lower lunch price swayed my decision on one particular sea day.

Atmosphere

Located on deck 6, Giovanni's Table is across from the ever popular Schooner Bar.

Walking in, the restaurant is rather large and offers seating in a variety of configurations.

The restaurant is essentially one large room, with windows making up one wall, that offer an unobstructed view of the ocean.

On our day to eat here, there were waves of 2-4 meters, so we certainly had some action to see.  Admittedly, these waves were also responsible for not having the largest of appetites with all of the motion.

Giovanni's Table will not win any accolades purely for its aesthetical looks, but it feels like a restaurant that is distinct from its surroundings and certainly more elaborately decorated than Rita's Cantina

Eats

It is no secret that Giovanni's Table is an Italian restaurant and there are plenty of Italian favorites to pick from on the menu.

On my last visit to Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas, I felt I did not do a good job ordering, so this time I would try something more on the "seafood spectrum" as means of correcting the experience.

Once seated, we were served complimentary bread and olive oil.  This is consistent with the every other Giovanni's Table I have dined at and having bread and oil is a standard practice among many Italian restaurants.

As I said earlier, the ship was rocking quite a bit so we ordered lightly.  

To start with, we shared an insalata caprese.

This is your standard tomato and mozzarella salad. If I can be picky, I would point out the tomatoes are the same previously frozen tomatoes served in the Windjammer.  Not the end of the world, but I was hoping for something fresher.

I also ordered the eggplant parmigiana.

The eggplant parm from Giovanni's Table is not breaded and is more of a baked eggplant than traditional eggplant parm.  Nonetheless, I would say this was the best eggplant parm I have had at Giovanni's Table in quite a while.

For our entrees, I ordered the sole filets, while my wife opted for the pappardelle pasta.

My fish was a lightly fried sole filet that was served on top of sautéed garlic zucchini spaghetti.

The fish was light and pretty good, but it was the zucchini that I really enjoyed.  Combining the zucchini and fish together was a real treat and if I were to order this again, I would ask for extra zucchini.

My wife's pasta came in a white cream sauce and the little she ate of it, she enjoyed (the motion of the ocean was starting to get to her by this point).  

I sampled a bit of it too and thought the pasta tasted better than something out of the box.

Overall

Giovanni's Table on Brilliance of the Seas is a good option for those looking for Italian food that is more than just the typical pasta and sauce served in the Windjammer.

It is far from my favorite specialty restaurant, but the price (especially for lunch) makes it almost impossible to ignore. 

I will point out that when we dined there, there were perhaps six tables but only one waiter who also was serving as maître d'.  

Because of this, the service was extremely slow.  It did improve towards the tail end of the meal when more servers showed up to assist. 

Our overworked waiter was still quite generous, because he opted not to charge my wife for her meal because she barely ate it due to her not feeling well.  Definitely a welcome gesture and a credit to his service.

If you are asking, "should I eat at Giovanni's Table on Brilliance of the Seas," my advice is go for lunch on a sea day and take advantage of the lower cost and ease of which it is to get a table.  Stick with traditional Italian dishes and enjoy the view!

Giovanni's Table is open for lunch 12:00pm to 1:30pm and open for dinner 6:00pm to 9:30pm and we reviewed Giovanni's Table on Brilliance of the Seas.

Giovanni's Table lunch menu on Brilliance of the Seas

Last updated on December 22, 2016

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

Appetizers and Salads

Focaccia Della Casa

Flat Italian bread with potatoes and herb, marinated artichokes, olives and pesto

Frittura Mista Per Due

Fried shrimp, calamari, fish fillets and zucchini with aioli

Antipasti per Due

Two kinds of Italian salami, prosciutto, marinated anchovies, grilled artichokes, roasted peppers, zucchini, olives and Gambonzola cheese

Thu, 12/22/2016 (All day)

Giovanni's Table dinner menu on Serenade of the Seas

Last updated on December 14, 2017.

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

Appetizers and Salads

Focaccia Della Casa

Flat Italian bread with potatoes and herb, marinated artichokes, olives and pesto

Carpaccio di Manzo

Thinly sliced seared beef tenderloin, crispy lettuces, shaved fennel, julienned sundried tomatoes, crispy garlic chips and herb-oil drizzle

Thu, 12/14/2017 (All day)

Restaurant Review: Giovanni's Table on Royal Caribbean's Freedom of the Seas

In:
24Aug2015

Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas offers guests fresh made Italian food that has been getting a lot of attention lately, so we decided to try it out on our recent cruise.

Part of Royal Caribbean's update to Freedom of the Seas in early 2015 saw Giovanni's Table replace Portofino as the Italian specialty restaurant onboard.  The replacement of Portofino by Giovanni's Table has been a fleetwide initiative for a few years now and while we will miss Portofino, Giovanni's Table offers a different kind of experience that we have enjoyed on other ships.

It is always interesting to see how this Giovanni's Table compares to other Giovanni's Table restaurants in the fleet, as well as dearly departed Portofino.  Let us head in and try out this new restaurant!

Atmosphere

You will find Giovanni's Table up on deck 11 in the Windjammer area.  It is located to the left as you walk into the Windjammer, in the former location of Portofino.

As you step inside Giovanni's Table, you will find a lot of browns and greens, with a hint of orange.  This is a different color pallete from Giovanni's Table on Navigator of the Seas, which had more of a blue tone to the location.

Just like Navigator of the Seas, the Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas has a great view of the ocean.  If you happen to dine here for lunch or early dinner, you should have a very nice view of the sea as you dine.

The restaurant is divided up between two rooms and it is a rather large space, relative to most specialty restaurants.  The first room as you enter is more rectangular shape, while the second area opens up a bit more into a box shaped room.  Both rooms have large floor to ceiling windows with views of the ocean.

Compared to Portofino, the look and feel of Giovanni's Table is a bit less formal.  Where Portofino had an upscale look to it, I think Giovanni's Table does not have quite that formal look to match, but it certainly feels like a specialty restaurant.

Eats

We ate at Giovanni's Table for lunch and the menu certainly offers a lot of choices. I think Giovanni's Table appeal is that there is a lot of good Italian food to choose from and most of it are foods you have probably heard of.

Giovanni's Table also tends to be among the least expensive Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants, and I think that is welcome by most guests.

For our meal, I tried to go between favorites and new dishes. I will admit two friends of mine onboard raved about their Giovanni's Table experience, although they went heavier into the seafood choices than I did.  

Most dishes, especially the appetizers are on the small side, so be sure to order extra to share.  

We started off with two classics: insalata caprese per due and malanzane alla parmigiana.

The eggplant parmigiana came out in a small white bowl and I really enjoyed it.  It might have been cooked a bit too long, but I love eggplant parmigiana and when I got below the top layer of cheese, I really enjoyed it!

The caprese salad is an Italian classic as well, and to me it is the perfect appetizer because of its light nature.  Grab a piece of bread and put some of the mozzarella and tomato on top and it is perfetto!

On to entrees and we wanted to try something different, so I picked the 8 ounce grilled strip loin steak.  My wife opted for the chicken breast filled with ricotta and mushroom, wrapped in prosciutto.

I wanted to try the steak to get a sense of something a little different than I might otherwise order.  Our waiter also mentioned the steak as being a good choice, so I went with it.

Out came a very tender piece of beef that I enjoyed.  It was simple, but I liked the Barolo reduction and thought it was a good choice.  It was also on the small side, which I did not mind since I wanted to sample lots of food.

I also ordered the traditional meat lasagna because I have had it at other Giovanni's Tables and enjoyed it.

Sure enough, this lasagna was equally as good and as someone that enjoys a lot of sauce with his lasagna, this did not disappoint.

The chicken was incredibly moist and tasty and my wife really enjoyed the contrast between the chicken and the prosciutto.  She said this was something she would definitely order again.

Alas, no meal at Giovanni's Table is complete without a visit to the dessert cart.  Luckily, after all this food, the dessert cart comes to you.

We tried the canoli and chocolate cake, both of which were incredibly rich and even better than they look in these photos.

Overall

Giovanni's Table offers some tasty and satisfying Italian food that I think most guests will really enjoy. If you like Italian food, it is hard to go wrong with eating at Giovanni's Table. 

What Giovanni's Table lacks in "WOW factor", it makes up for in an enjoyable meal experience.  The view of the ocean combined with a wide selection of Italian dishes makes for a great spot for a meal away from the usual.

I really think Giovanni's Table is a great choice for lunch, perhaps even more so than dinner.  The reason is for lunch, the cost is only $15 and I think guests will find the menu offerings a nice change of pace compared to what is available for lunch elsewhere on the ship.

It is also not difficult to get a table at Giovanni's Table, especially given the large size of its restaurant.  Royal Caribbean encourages reservations, but if on a whim you decide to try Giovanni's Table, I think you will find there to be a table open for you.

Giovanni's Table is open for lunch 12:00pm to 1:30pm and open for dinner 5:30pm to 9:30pm and we reviewed Giovanni's Table on Freedom of the Seas.

Royal Caribbean Italian food showdown

In:
07Apr2014

Royal Caribbean has been offering Italian food for years on its cruise ships and in recent years, has been changing its Italian food offerings up in recent years.  

So today we're going to compare the various Italian restauants Royal Caribbean serves up and see which one comes out on top!

1. Portofino

Royal Caribbean's reigning Italian food champ, Portofino, has been available on many ships across Royal Caribbean's fleet for many years. 

The food at Portofino is based on Northern Italian cuisine and offers traditional Italian pasta, fish and meats. What Portofino does well is mixing traditional Italian favorites with modern style.  You can get a plate of pasta in a tomato sauce or go with the Saltimbocca alla Romana.  

Sadly, Royal Caribbean is in the process of phasing out Portofino in favor of some of the other Italian restaurants we will be discussing in this post but it remains the stalwart of Italian food on many Royal Caribbean ships.

We think of Portofino as the veteran champ that has been around for a while but still has what it takes to comepete.

2. Giovanni's Table

Giovanni's Table is the up-start "new kid on the block" that offers traditional Italian fare, family style.  Royal Caribbean describes Giovanni's Table as, "an Italian Trattoria influenced by the Tuscan countryside".

Whereas Portofino offers a mix of new and old, Giovanni's Table mostly sticks with tried and true Italian dishes.  Eggplant parmigiana, lasagna, meat balls and more are available.  

Having first debuted on Oasis of the Seas, Giovanni's Table has been spreading to other Royal Caribbean ships with each new ship revitalization and stands to be the new standard by which Royal Caribbean serves up Italian food.

Giovanni's Table is the up-start that is making a name for itself but hasn't "won it all" quite yet.

3. Jamie's Italian

The "new kid on the block" is the newly announced Jamie's Italian, which is coming to Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas.  The restaurant is the product of celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver, a famous cook from England.

Royal Caribbean promises you’ll enjoy rustic dishes, handmade using seasonal ingredients, and authentic recipes that are tried and tested crowd-pleasers.

The menu is comprised of Jamie’s Italian Famous Plank piled high with cured meats, pickles and tempting cheeses. From there, try delicious pastas made in-house everyday—like indulgent pumpkin panzerotti and zingy prawn linguine to name a few.

We had a chance to sample a number of the dishes that will be available at Jamie's Italian at the recent Quantum of the Seas dining reveal event in New York and it's clear this Italian restaurant will focus on completely rewriting the book (or menu) on what you think of when it comes to Italian food.

For Italian food on Royal Caribbean ships, Jamie's Italian is like the "dark horse" that could tip the balance in what guests look for on at dinner.

4. Windjammer

Sometimes you just want to enjoy simple Italian food with as much red or white sauce as your plate can handle.  Or maybe you prefer very little sauce.  Whatever your preference, the Windjammer serves up an assortment of Italian food throughout the day at our leisure.

There's something to be said about a plate of pasta with sauce combined with unlimited refills.  And of course you can always grab a burger, salad and sushi to put on your plate too.

The Italian choices in the Windjammer vary daily but there's almost always a pasta dish or two and other traditional Italian dishes here and there.

The Windjammer is a crowd favorite for its simplicity and mass-appeal.

And the winner is?

Which Royal Caribbean Italian restaurant has your vote for the crown? It's a tough choice so share your vote in the comments for this post and choose wisely!

Restaurant Review: Giovanni's Table on Navigator of the Seas

In:
27Feb2014

Of all the specialty restaurants on Navigator of the Seas, the one that slides in "under the radar" has to be Giovanni's Table and I'm not exactly sure why.

Giovanni's Table serves family-style Italian food and replaced Portofino's as the Italian specialty restaurant onboard Navigator of the Seas in February 2014.  

This is our second time eating at Giovanni's Table, with our first back on Oasis of the Seas in 2010.  I rather enjoyed my meal last time so this time we wanted to try lunch and see how good (or bad) Giovanni's Table is on Navigator of the Seas.

Atmosphere

Giovanni's Table is located on deck 11 near the Windjammer and across from Chops Grille.   As I stated earlier, it was added as part of the ship's refurbishment and I made reservations online as soon as they became available.

When I showed up at 12:30pm for our lunch reservation, I found literally no one else in the restaurant. At the time this was our first specialty restaurant of the cruise so we thought maybe they just weren't popular but later found all the other specialty restaurants onboard packed. 

The space Giovanni's Table occupies is a large rectangular room, with lots of blues and whites. There's no checkerboard red and black stereotypical Italian restaurant decor here, it looks more like its upscale Portofino sister than Sorrento's Pizzeria.

The nice thing about eating lunch at Giovanni's Table is you can see the ocean quite easily.  We were seated at a window table and being able to watch the ocean during our meal was calming and quite beautiful.  

I often point out Chops Grille misses out on having a view since it's only open for dinner and glare from the lights prevents from seeing outside, so it's nice having a view with our meal at Giovanni's Table.

Eats

The menu at Giovanni's Table offers a number of choices, which are all supposed to be family style.  Family style usually means it's a large serving meant to be shared among two or more people.  

Frankly, I found most dishes to be small enough for just one person to enjoy, although I may be a victim of gluttonous American dining standards.  That's in contrast to my time on Oasis of the Seas a few years ago when our meal at Giovanni's Table had much larger serving sizes.  That isn't a bad thing necessarily, just pointing out the difference.

As with many Royal Caribbean specialty restaurants, you can order as much as you like from the menu so we started off with appetizers.

The Caprese salad is always a good choice and we were quite pleased with the freshness of the ingredients.  

I also ordered the baked eggplant parmigiana.   I'm a bit of a connoisseur of eggplant parmigiana, as it's become my go-to Italian dish in recent years.  It wasn't just fried eggplant in sauce with some cheese, rather the eggplant was more lightly fried and then baked in with a combination of a great sauce and light cheese.  I really enjoy it.

Last, but not least, my wife also wanted to sample their Caesar salad.  My wife's ideal Caesar salad is a salad where it's only made up of the dark green lettuce leaves, as opposed to the light green crunchy part.  This salad was about as close to perfection as she's seen in some time in that regard.

For our entrees, I decided to keep it traditional and try their lasagna and meatballs.  First came the lasagna, which is described by Royal Caribbean as a traditional meal lasagna. 

What I liked about the lasagna was that it was topped in meat sauce and a light use of cheese (not the shredded kind).  I feel like lasagna should be more about the meat and pasta and less about the cheese and this hit the nail on the head.

I ordered the meatballs because the waiter mentioned the meatballs as being what the restaurant was known for and I think I read a few other places about the meatballs too. 

Being someone who usually goes for a "When in Rome..." kind of attitude, I ordered the veal meatballs to give it a try.

I will be honest and say I did not love the meatballs, however, I feel that could be because I don't really like veal and not because the meatballs were of poor quality.  

Dessert at Giovanni's Table is offered from the dessert cart (there is no menu, per se).  The waiter brings the cart over and you pick out what you would like.

My wife decided to try the pappardelle pasta in a radicchio cream and pancetta.  It sounded good to her but it was something she had never tried before.

She found the pasta to be interesting and she ate it but different than what she was used to ordering at an Italian restaurant.  I think she liked it overall but noted it was a little more different than she thought it would be.

I was stuffed so I took the chocolate cake to try and it was tasted great, although I chose not to eat more than a bite or two.

My wife sampled the canoli because in her perfect world, after the Caesar salad with only dark green leaves are served, it will be followed by a parade of canolis.  She really enjoy their canoli and gave it a thumbs up.

Overall

Giovanni's Table stood out for us because of the freshness of the food we had.  My pet peeve is food that tastes like it just came out of a microwave but I really felt like what we ordered was prepared at the time and tasted wonderful.

It's also worth noting lunch is only $15 per person, which for what you get is a great value.  Given what you get for the money, it's one of the better deals on Navigator of the Seas and for lunch it was well worth it.

I also need to point out how good our waiter was because my daughter was in a foul mood that day (she needed a nap and was hungry).  Had the restaurant not been empty, I'm sure me or my wife would have brought her back to the stateroom as not to bother the other diners.

Our waiter really went above and beyond by trying to entertain her with tricks, tours of the galley and even letting her sit on the Vespa scooter that is near the entrance.  The little things he did to keep her happy really made our meal enjoyable and stood out as why specialty restaurant waiters are among the best Royal Caribbean has.

I think the food at Giovanni's Table is quite good and if you like Italian food at all, it's hard not to go wrong here.  I won't pretend that the food at Sabor and Chops Grille were tastier, but considering Giovanni's Table is open for lunch whereas the others are not, I think it makes for a perfect choice for lunch.

Giovanni's Table is open for lunch 12:00pm to 3:30pm and open for dinner 6:00pm to 10:00pm and we reviewed Giovanni's Table on Navigator of the Seas.

Video: Royal Caribbean guests enjoy Italian fare at Giovanni's Table

In:
19Dec2012

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