The Carnival ships have had specialty restaurant steakhouses for a long time. The names of the restaurants have changed through the years but the tradition of providing a superior steakhous experience has continued.
On Carnival Vista, the steakhouse is Fahrenheit 555. Located midships on Deck 5, it is decorated like an upscale contemporary restaurant. The décor is sophisticated but not formal. The restaurant also has an outdoor seating area on the Lanai.
Fahrenheit 555 continues the Carnival steakhouse tradition. The experience begins with the server bringing a cart with different cuts of meat to your table. He then explains the various cuts and you get to see the quality of the product. After ordering, there is an amuse boche from the chef. In this case, it was a minature slider - - an amusing contrast of this haute cuisine practice and the most informal mass market dish. Even leaving the joke aside, it was enjoyable because it was a good tasting slider.
Getting down to the real meal, the lobster bisque was excellent, creamy and flavorful. This was balanced by a nice green salad. And then the beef - - tender and cooked just as ordered.
The dessert menu is not an afterthought. It includes a huge slice of cheesecake as well as a chocolate sampler. For those looking for something lighter, the fresh fruit plate is beautifully presented.
There is a cover charge for Fahrenheit 555. Not only is it much less ($35) than you would pay for a comprable meal ashore but it is less than the cover charge at the steakhouses on most other cruise lines.
Ji Ji's Asian Kitchen
Ji Ji Asian Kitchen is an Asian fusion restaurant. At lunch time it is a complimentary Mongolian wok, stir-fry venue. For dinner, it has a larger menu but has a cover charge.
As the staff point out, Ji Ji's is not a Chinese restaurant but one that incorporates dishes from a number of East Asian cuisines. Thus, there are Mongolian dishes, Vietnamese dishes and dishes from other countries as well as Chinese dishes.
For dinner, the dishes are meant to be shared. Thus, Ji Ji's works best for couples or for groups who like family-style feasts. Since the menu items may be unfamiliar to many westerners, this allows people to sample a number of different dishes rather than gamble everything on one dish that sounds good from the description in the menu.
There are downsides to this sharing approach. If you know what you like and really only want that one dish, you end up giving most of it away and sharing dishes that you did not really want or like. Also, if one person likes spicey food and one does not, there will have to be compromise and disappointment. In addition, if someone in the group is ill sharing dishes by definition increases the likelihood of catching something.
I went to Ji Ji's for dinner as part of a group of eight. The server said that we would be able to order two appetizers, two main dishes, two side dishes and individual desserts for each person. The dishes arrived in sequence and each person took as much as he or she wanted. All of the dishes were very tasty. However, in the end, it was difficult to remember which dish was which.
The service in Ji Ji's was friendly and prompt.
Ji Ji's is located on the port side of the ship aft, high on Deck 11. The room has large windows on the port side and is decorated with faint Asian overtones.
Cucina del Capitano
Next to Ji Ji's on Deck 11 is Cucina del Capitano (Kitchen of the Captain). At lunch, this venue is a complimentary pasta bar while at dinner, it is a specialty restaurant with a cover charge. The dishes on the dinner menu are said to be derived from recipes provided by Carnival's almist exclusively Italian captains and bridge officers.
We had lunch at Cucina del Capitano several times. When you enter the restaurant, the hostess gives you a menu on which you check off what you want. Once you are seated, a server comes round and picks up the order. A short time later, the food is delivered to your table.
The menu offers four types of pasta and four types of sauces. In addition, you can add a number of ingredients such as chicken, garlic shrimp, Italian sausage, pepper, mushrooms etc. Essentially, you can design your own pasta dish.
The kitchen did not disappoint in the execution. Each time, the pasta was fresh and warm. The combination of flavors was exactly as hoped for.
In addition, to the pasta, you can order a specialty dish, which seems to always be beef lasagna. Rather, than the usual ground beef, more solid shredded beef is used here. I liked this dish better on the Vista than the same dish on Carnival Sunshine. But I enjoyed the beef lasanga in Vista's main dining room more so.
Other menu items include a nice light caesar salad (an appetizer portion, not a main course) and bread.
Cruise review - - Carnival Cruise Lines - - Carnival Vista - Caribbean