My family’s recent cruise on Holland America’s ms Noordam was full of firsts – first time embarking from Sydney, first visit to New Zealand, first time sailing in a suite, and first time purchasing HAL’s “have it all” premium cruise package featuring wifi, drinks, and specialty dining. AND, despite numerous cruises on Holland America, this was our first time dining at Canaletto, the onboard Italian specialty restaurant. Read on to see what we ordered and if we’d dine there again. But first…
The cost to eat at Canaletto is $19 for adults (+18% gratuity). Kids 12 and under eat for half price if they order off the regular menu or for free if they order off the ship-wide kids menu. Many passengers who dine at Canaletto will also receive it as part of a dining package. The dining package will cover one appetizer course (small plate), one entree course (large plate) and one dessert per person. A few items have a supplemental charge (noted on the menu below). Bread service is unlimited and complimentary.
Canaletto Menu 2023
Here’s the current Canaletto menu. No, you’re not losing your vision (I mean, you might be, but don’t use this tiny, blurry menu as the judge), it’s difficult to read. I’ve typed out each item below to save your eye doctor a frantic call.
Chicken Parmigiana: fresh buffalo mozzarella, tomato, basil roasted potato
Osso Bucco Milanese: saffron risotto
Beef Short Rib Brasato Barolo: creamy polenta, roasted turnips
Veal Liver Veneziana: mascarpone whipped potato
Veal Saltimbocca Alla Romano: garlic spinach
Chicken Curry (Cipriani Style): rice pilaf, apple, leek
Grilled Jumbo Shrimp: jumbo shrimp, olive oil, garlic, rice pilaf
Antipasto Plate: prosciutto di parma, finocchiona salami, truffle salami, Terre Ducali coppa, Parmigiano Reggiano, Sicilian olives
Veal and Sage Meatballs: glazed cipollini onions, rustic tomato sauce
Langoustine-Tomato Soup: mussels, clams, langoustine, snapper
Minestrone Soup: farro, borlotti bean, minestrone, Pecorino cheese
Canaletto Salad: mixed lettuce, roasted beets, candied walnuts, Gorgonzola, balsamic reduction
Mozzarella Di Bufala: grilled eggplant, Genoa pesto, micro basil, Parmesan grissini
Beef Carpaccio: caper berries, mustard aioli, Parmesan, extra virgin olive oil
Grilled Calamari: salsa verde, lemon, herb pangrattato
Jumbo Lump Crab Risotto ($12 supplement): chives, lemon, brand
Lasagna Bolognese: mozzarella, pomodoro
Spaghetti Alle Vongole: garlic-chili clams, shrimp spaghetti
Datterini Tomato Risotto: bocconcini, basil, grilled vegetables
Braised Beef Short Rib Gnocchi: mascarpone, butter-roasted carrots, celery
Grilled Lamp Chops: truffled polenta, broad beans, chanterelle mushrooms
Branzino Alla Siciliana: grilled branzino fillet, zucchini, mint, pistachios
Scaloppine Alla Caprese: veal scaloppine, tomato, mozzarella, basil, garlic spinach
Grilled New York Strip Loin: cipollini onions, asparagus, roasted baby chat potatoes, amarone
Pasta Genovese: roasted almond, semi-dried cherry tomato, basil pesto
Spaghetti All’Astice ($18 supplement): lobster, tomato, garlic, white wine
Tiramisù: mascarpone, espresso, chocolate
Gelato: malaga, pistachio, bacio
Chocolate Hazelnut Tart: Nutella, chocolate sauce
Sicilian Marzipan Cassata Torte: ricotta, candied fruit
Orange Blossom Ricotta Tart: fresh berries
Affogato: vanilla gelato, espresso, chocolate shavings, lemon zest
Selection of Italian Cheeses: with artisan crackers
Aperol Spritz: Aperol, prosecco
Americano: Campari, sweet vermouth, soda water
Bellini: prosecco, peach purée
Bicicletta: campari, white wine, soda water
Frangelico Tuscan Mule: Frangelico, ginger ale
God Father: amaretto, scotch
God Mother: amaretto, vodka
Negroni: Campari, sweet vermouth, gin
Rossini: prosecco, strawberry purée
Canaletto Food Pics
Here are photos of everything we ordered at Canaletto with a few observations. For those new to my blog, my son and I are vegetarians, but my husband isn’t.
As someone who really only hates two things in life, war and olives, I was very disappointed with the bread service as it only featured one type of bread: OLIVE. The toppings also included whole green olives, a green olive spread, and olive oil (along with a red pepper spread I dipped my finger directly into for lack of a more suitable receptacle). While I get that olives feature heavily in Italian food, a few different bread choices would have been less awful.
The Rossini, with strawberry purée instead of peach, was a nice change from a Bellini and I tried a new cocktail: the God Mother. It was strong and tasty and I’ve added it to my “go to” list for future cruises. We also ordered Irish coffee (at an Italian restaurant?) and limoncello with dessert.
The Grilled Calamari and Mozzarella Di Bufala were both delicious. However, I wouldn’t order the Canaletto Salad again – mainly because I don’t like iceberg lettuce, which featured strongly (the description promised “mixed lettuce,” but I guess “mixed” means they toss around the chopped iceberg hoping no one will notice it’s the soggiest, least flavorful green if it’s in motion).
All entrees were flavorful and satisfying, but I’d recommend the Pasta Genovese over the Datterini Tomato Risotto for vegetarians. For non vegetarians, Mr. Cruise strongly recommends the Spaghetti Alle Vongole.
The Orange Blossom Ricotta Tart was tasty, but Mr. Cruise and I were both low-key jealous of our son’s 3-pack of Gelato and wish we’d ordered it (he took a break from ice cream for this one meal). Next time! Speaking of which, will there be a next time?
Canaletto Review: Would We Dine There Again?
So would a female adult vegetarian who hates olives, a male adult non vegetarian who grew up in an Italian neighborhood, and a male 10 year-old vegetarian who survived nearly exclusively on ice cream for the duration of our 16 day cruise eat at Canaletto again (wow, that was very specific)? Yes! But only if it was included as part of a dining package or if we had onboard credit to spend. Even at $19, which is very reasonable for a cruise ship specialty restaurant, we wouldn’t pay out-of-pocket. It was delicious, but we find the complimentary food on Holland America delicious too. A slight step up? Maybe. But not $19 worth. And with that…
Homework (10 points): Share to the comments what you’d order at Canaletto (or if you’ve dined there before, share your favorite items).
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