The largest main dining room offers breakfast and dinner daily.
Being in the rear of the ship, the Manhattan has a huge, two-story high panoramic window. A live band plays in front of the windows every night. As with the rest of the ship, tables and chairs are made of dark wood, lending a certain elegance. Depending on the meal, the tables are laid with white linen or left plain, with just a small vase on the table. Surrounding the diners are some lovely paintings, the largest hung just at the entrance.
On all cruise days, the Manhattan offers breakfast and dinner, but is never open for lunch.
As with several NCL ships, breakfast on the Epic is pretty standard fare: eggs and omelets, cereals, breads, and some sides like hash browns. Pancakes, waffles, and French toast are also available. It’s nothing special and you get the same at the buffet in the Garden Cafe.
Lunch is not served in the Manhattan.
As for Dinner choices, it’s the same menu as in the main restaurants on the Norwegian Dawn. The permanent menu offers burgers and other comfort food. But even the daily menu has the same options – salmon tartar, portabello, file mignon, angus burger, New York strip steak, etc.
There’s the so-called Chef’s Special, normally a specialty of some region, like spaghetti vongole in Italy, but sometimes the choices are questionable (such as Bermudan tacos).
Honestly, all the food we got at the Manhattan and Taste was mediocre at best. One big difference to what we found on a recent voyage on the Norwegian Dawn was the preparation. When we asked for a medium rare steak, we got it. Unfortunately, that’s just not enough. The food is bland and tastes like it’s been sitting around for a while. Sure, there are a lot of people that need to be fed on a ship like the Epic, and it might take a little while for food to get to the table, but it seems to take too long.
Thankfully, there are some dishes that really delivered, like prosciutto with melon, figs and a balsamic glaze. Finding the good dishes is a matter of luck, though.
If you don’t mind bland food and want to dine in a nice environment, don’t hesitate to go to Manhattan. Overall, though, we’d recommend spending a little more money and going to one of the specialty restaurants (like La Cucina or Shanghai’s). Or just go to the buffet, where you get the same dishes without the wait.
There’s not much to say about dessert at Manhattan: strange-tasting pana cotta, a mousse au chocolate that is more pudding than mousse, ice cream, and sherbets. A blueberry cheesecake and strawberry shortcake were items we hadn’t seen on earlier Norwegian ships, but also nothing exciting.
The same dishes are served throughout the complimentary restaurants. The best desserts are the cheese plate, with blue cheese, brie and parmesan, and the fruit selection – not much to mess up there.
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