The freshly cut prosciutto you pass on the way in sets the tone for a delicious, savory Italian meal.
Giovanni’s is an inviting, trattoria-style Italian restaurant located along Allure’s tree-lined Central Park neighborhood. There are tables for two and four, as well as for ten or more people, with both inside and (assuming its not raining) outside seating. Other than the Windjammer, it’s the only restaurant open for lunch on embarkation day. It also offers lunch on sea days. The service charge is $15 for lunch and $20 for dinner.
Reservations are recommended, especially for dinner.
Before even starting to choose what to eat, the waiter brings a basket of Italian bread and a small plate with olive oil, balsamic, and parmesan to dip the bread in. The menu is full of Italian specialties like lasagna, saltimbocca, osso buco, veal meatballs, and pasta. The antipasti platter looks great. It’s simply mouth watering to watch the waiters cut fresh prosciutto as you first walk into the entrance.
The lunch menu is not very long, but has some delicious choices, such as arugula salad with cured beef, big pieces of parmesan, and balsamic vinaigrette. We also enjoyed the taglierini ai calamari, capesante, pomodorini e pesto (pasta tossed with calamari, scallops, cherry tomatoes, and a creamy sauce). The calamari was not chewy at all and the bay scallops with the tomatoes and the cream sauce were the just right addition. In short, the dish looked and tasted amazing.
Dinner at Giovanni’s is only a little more formal, and the menu choices just somewhat more diverse. There are more pasta and fish dishes on the menu. Our favorite appetizer was the sformato di fontina e spinaci con funghi trifolati e pomodorini – a fontina and spinach soufflé with spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. It was perhaps not the lightest appetizer, but everything complimented each other so well, we couldn’t stop enjoying it.
Because the appetizer was on the heavier side, we decided to go for a lighter main course. The baked sea bass was the perfect choice. The melt-in-your-mouth bass was perfectly cooked, served with baby lentils in a delicious red wine reduction and artichoke cream.
We think Giovanni’s is one of the best specialty restaurants on the ship and a relatively good value at $20 per person. Just be sure to make your reservations early, as choice table times book up quickly.
For dessert, Giovanni’s offers bomboloni, cannoli, tiramisu, panna cotta, chocolate cake, zupa inglese, and a trio of chocolate textures. Of these, the zupa inglese, a traditional sponge cake with layers of Italian custard and brandy-infused berries, is the best and not too heavy.
Giovanni’s also offers specialty coffees with liquor for dessert at an extra charge.
Giovanni’s wine list is a section of Royal Caribbean’s complete wine list. Most wines are from Italy, but you also find some from France or other parts of the world. Prices start at $7 per glass or $27 a bottle and go up to $240 for a bottle.
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