10 Culinary Highlights Aboard Holland America Line’s Newest Koningsdam
All photos by Jason Leppert
As much as Holland America Line is refining its brand onboard the Koningsdam via entertainment, it is also doing so with its dining options. Either complimentary or specialty, many venues will suit the tastes of a broad palate.
Carried over from Holland America’s other ships is its Italian specialty restaurant. Tasty pastas and other traditional dishes are featured in what is essentially a dressed-up corner of the Lido Market. It’s a bit surprising that the line still hasn't given the concept a dedicated restaurant, but practically it works to use the space for buffet seating during the day and more elegant fare at night.
Culinary Arts Center
What has received its own space for the first time on the Koningsdam is the Culinary Arts Center presented by Food & Wine Magazine. In previous iterations, the demonstration kitchen was housed within the Queen’s Lounge where B.B. King’s Blues Club is also presented. This time around, the venue is specific to both classes and dinners that emphasize microgreens grown onboard. Plus, across the way, Blend offers a space where guests can balance wine varietals to their own taste in a custom bottle.
The Dining Room
With so many great specialty restaurants onboard, it may be easy to lose sight of the main dining room, but the primary complimentary restaurant remains a highlight onboard. For one, the space is absolutely beautiful, showcasing bright whites accented by appetizing yellows and reds, and, of course, the courses cooked up by the line’s signature Culinary Council are wonderful as well.
A recent favorite introduced by the line that is also free of charge is Dive-In, the ship’s poolside grill. Gourmet burgers and hot dogs are assembled with homemade ingredients like brioche buns, fresh ground beef and its own secret sauce that delightfully smothers both the sandwiches and crispy fries. This is a must try.
Grand Dutch Cafe
Bringing attention back to Holland America’s Norwegian heritage is the Grand Dutch Cafe coffee and snack bar, and it’s a popular spot for sure. The Explorations Cafe in the Crow’s Nest also serves similar coffees, but the venue here is a great themed space with whites and blues and architectural nods to the Netherlands.
The line continues to offer one of the best complimentary lido buffets at sea and has done an admirable job of delineating stations with insets and alcoves in between them. The food is great, especially the bread pudding, but crowding can still be an issue. A sense of where lines should and should not begin and end would be very helpful to control the flow.
New York Deli & Pizza
Another new offering for the line is the free pizza place where each pie is made to order. Types range from traditional favorites to a gourmet variety from Elizabeth Faulkner that was particularly yummy. Sandwiches can be made here or at the buffet, and bagel ones are even available for breakfast.
Pinnacle Grill remains a fantastic specialty steakhouse onboard with cuts up to porterhouses included in the surcharge. Lunch offerings are an even greater value thanks to a reduced cost. Also now featured is a Taste of De Librije as an overlay to the restaurant that features the dishes of Culinary Council member Jonnie Boer. The experience is definitely a memorable one as flavors are delicate yet bold.
Sel de Mer
Sel de Mer is entirely new to the Koningsdam and follows a slightly different specialty restaurant model. Rather than a single surcharge covering the entire meal, dishes here are made available at a la carte pricing, which can add up but are worth the extra. The fish is very fresh here, and portions are robust, from dover sole to lobster thermidor.
Last but not least is Tamarind for pan-Asian cuisine first introduced on the Eurodam and the Nieuw Amsterdam. The wasabi encrusted beef tenderloin is still definitely the hit of the venue, balancing savory and spicy and topped with crispy tempura onion rings. Sushi is also on point here.
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