The ship’s best overall meal carried a surcharge, but it was worth it.
The Italian restaurant on Liberty of the Seas rewarded with romantic but understated décor and satisfying dishes with a Ligurian bent. Although the kitchen is open and bright, we were surprised that noise was kept to a minimum and the lighting was still subdued. The rear area of the venue is darker and more romantic, but also busier and more crowded, so we didn’t mind our table in the middle of the restaurant. We found our server to be very polished—attentive but not pushy. Alas, as the restaurant began to fill towards the end of our meal, service slowed to a crawl. Still, we felt the modest surcharge was well rewarded at Portofino.
We got off to a flying start with a bowl of various breads arrives, accompanied by spreads of diced tomato, olive tapenade and red pepper pesto, plus roasted garlic and a tarn of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Appetizers included minestrone, ciuppin (Ligurian style fish soup), carpaccios of tuna or beef, along with several samplers for two—antipasti, fried, crostini. We chose a small, cheerfully stacked salad of prosciutto, thin slices of apple and mozzarella—a perfect starter. The risotto topped by sautéed prawns was delicious, though the fried onions on top might have been overkill.
Among the entrées was pappardelle tossed with mushrooms and Mascarpone, a lemon-herb oil marinated tuna steak, roast lamb chops with asparagus and fried eggplant and a char-grilled T-bone steak. We chose the veal saltimbocca, which was wrapped with salty prosciutto and sage and served atop a mound of mushroom risotto—delicious.
The ship’s standard bar menu was available at Portofino along with an expanded wine list.
Portofino was open nightly from 6 to 10 p.m.