Introduction: Why I Decided to Dine at Tuscan Grill
Even though I’m “Select” on Celebrity, I’ve never dined at a specialty restaurant on the line. Why? Because I’m cheap. *Shrug* AND because the included food is superb. But I have over $300 in onboard credit (on a $249 fare, I might add) on my current sailing onboard the Solstice, so I figured I’d try Tuscan Grill. Plus I love Italian food and there appeared to be a decent selection of vegetarian options.
Before I get to the menu, pics, and review, here’s a bonus tip you should know before booking…
Bonus Tip: How to Save on the Cover Charge at Tuscan Grill
I had originally booked Tuscan Grill for night 6 of my cruise, but when I realized I could save 33% by dining on the first night, I cancelled and rebooked.
So I paid a total (including service charges) of $42.46 instead of $58.98, saving $16.52. Be sure to book as far in advance as possible, as earlier times fill up fast. I wasn’t able to secure a reservation until 9pm which isn’t ideal for someone who is normally sound asleep already dreaming of her next cruise by then.
Anyway, here’s the menu:
Celebrity’s Tuscan Grill Menu 2023
Celebrity’s Tuscan Grill Drink Menu 2023
This menu reflects a recent increase in beverage pricing.
Celebrity’s Tuscan Grill Dessert Menu 2023
Tuscan Grill Food Pics
Here are photos of everything I ordered:
Tuscan Grill Review: That was WEIRD
One word sums up this meal: weird. But I’m not capable of brevity and I can’t just let that word leave you hanging in suspense like that time the power went out in the middle of Final Jeopardy and I never learned the answer to: “A Christian hymn and a Jewish holiday hymn are both titled this, also the name of a 2009 Tony-nominated musical.” (Kinky Boots?) So allow me to elaborate…
A kind server greeted me at my table with water and fresh basil which she snipped into a small bowl and mixed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. I looked over the menu and proceeded to place my order with a different server. When she asked if I’d like a “half portion” or “full portion” of the gnocchi, I very clearly stated that I wanted the full portion. She confirmed “full portion” as she wrote it down.
I waited a long time for any food to arrive. In the meantime, the man sitting behind me picked up his wine glass only to have it shatter in his hand, sending wine and glass everywhere. I was unaffected and the gentleman (thankfully) wasn’t injured, but it was a bit of a spectacle as the manager assessed the situation, the couple was moved, and the mess cleaned up. Weird.
As I continued to wait with my glass (thankfully unexploded but now sans water) and dip, I wondered if any bread was forthcoming or if I was supposed to be examining how basil affects the molecular structure of oil and vinegar like at a 5th grade science fair. Weird.
With five tables in her section now neglected, my server’s sweet nature and politeness trapped her in a one-sided conversation with a couple telling the story of the first time they tasted Limoncello in Italy. The story began with, “I was born in 1945 in Ohio…” Weird.
Fifty years later they FINALLY made it to Sorrento and tasted the Limoncello and my appetizer courses arrived. I asked for some bread and a refill on my water. The water was filled; the bread remained elusive.
The burrata was delicious, but the accompanying tomato was underwhelming. On both Princess and NCL, the equivalent dish is prepared with a variety of sweet and flavorful vine-ripened heirloom tomatoes. The tomato at Tuscan was a bland hybrid variety the likes of which you’d toss in your cart at the grocery store to slice up for some burgers knowing it wasn’t the main attraction.
The flatbread pizza was okay, but nothing special. I enjoyed the roasted garlic, but wouldn’t order it again. Still no bread. Weird.
When my entree course arrived, I just sat there frozen and stunned like an injured elephant just spotted by a hungry hyena. And speaking of hunger and elephants, I may be a tiny human, but I have the appetite of an elephant pregnant with twins. My gnocchi was so small, I can only describe it as a side to a side. Like if you ordered a side of sautéed spinach and were like, “and can I have a side of gnocchi with that.” It was like Barbie-sized. No, anorexic Barbie-sized. And that was the full-sized portion?!? SO weird. I’d suggest you order six of them for an entree, but it honestly wasn’t very flavorful, so I’d probably skip it altogether.
But, good news! My bread finally arrived after I’d polished off my three Barbie bites of gnocchi. And it was the highlight of the meal to this point (by far – both by comparison and objectively).
Okay, so this next thing was also super weird, but most welcome and marks a positive turning point in my evening. So I’d ordered dessert and was sitting there waiting for its arrival while I listened to what happened to my dining neighbors from the time of the Limoncello to their embarkation on the Solstice today, when my sweet server comes over (by herself and looking a little embarrassed) singing “Happy Birthday” with a chocolate birthday cake, lit candle and all. Okay, cool. But it wasn’t my birthday. Weird.
When she asked me to blow out the candle and make a wish, in my head I was thinking, “I wish I’d eaten at the buffet.” But man, that cake was delicious!
And so were the other two desserts I ordered. The fig gelato with white chocolate shavings was tasty, but man oh man, I instantly forgave all weirdness when I tasted the Pistachio Marble Crème Brulée with a layer of chocolate ganache at the bottom.
Dine at Tuscan Grill on the first night to save on cash, but dine there on the final night, ordering the Pistachio Marble Crème Brulée, if you want to save the best for last (wait, maybe that’s why they waited so long on the bread?).
Would I Dine at Tuscan Grill Again?
The (three) people who regularly read my reviews may accuse me of being a corrupted MP3 (obsolete for 40+ years, I feel it my duty to replace broken record as an idiom), because I seem to always answer this question with regard to cruise ship specialty restaurants the same way. And that way is this: Yes, I would dine at Tuscan Grill again. But never solo and only if I had onboard credit to burn through. I enjoyed parts of my meal, but it wasn’t $43 better than what I would have eaten at the MDR or buffet. Actually, I think if this meal hadn’t been so delightfully weird, I would have enjoyed the MDR or buffet more.
HOWEVER, I was limited in what I could order due to my vegetarian diet, so I’d like to try it again with my mom or Mr. Cruise to see what they think of the non-vegetarian options. And I think all the weirdness was a fluke. But you’ll have to let me know if a glass explodes and if an older couples graces your server with their life story while she’s trying to work and if you receive some bread to accompany your dessert and a non-birthday birthday celebration the next time you dine there.
And with that…
Homework (10 points): Share your experience dining at Tuscan Grill to the comments and be sure to check out Celebrity’s 7 night MDR menus.
Also, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog (scroll up to the top right if on a computer or keep scrolling down if on a mobile device) and follow Prof. Cruise on your favorite social media sites: