We have enjoyed Manfredi’s on both Viking Sea and Viking Sky. This is one of our favorite restaurants on land or sea.
Manfredi's is one of two 'specialty' dining venues aboard Viking Ocean ships. There is no charge to dine in Manfredi's; however, advance reservations are required. Viking limits the number of times guests can dine in Manfredi's to ensure everyone has the opportunity to experience the restaurant. Reservations can be made online, weeks before your cruise. How far in advance you can make reservations depends upon your stateroom/suite category. Guests occupying larger suites can reserve the earliest and can opt for two dinners in Manfredi's per cruise.
Manfredi's is located on Deck 1 aft, starboard. Unlike The Chef's Table (the other reservation-only restaurant), Manfredi's decor is a departure from the Viking Sea's Scandinavian theme. The decor here is warmer, darker and perhaps a little more elaborate.
There are tables for two, four, six and eight. The tables for two are a little more "private" than in The Chef's Table with a fair amount of space in between the tables. There are also booths along one wall that offer a casual, comfortable seating option. The presence of beautiful marble flooring adds to the ambiance, but also increases the noise level during peak periods.
We found Manfredi's to be the most elegant, sophisticated restaurant on Viking Sea with the most impressive menu.
We only had one opportunity to dine in Manfredi's on our ten-night cruise. That's a shame because the menu is so packed with delicious-sounding choices that we would require several visits to try everything.
The selections are decidedly Italian and the menu is divided into courses. We decided to try three appetizers, purely for journalistic integrity reasons (LOL). The asparagus and polenta with poached egg was Rickee's favorite. It was a delicious start to the meal and Rickee ate every bite.
The Beef Tartare was a mixture of raw prime beef, onions, and parsley topped with a quail egg. It was served with crispy baguette croutons and truffle butter. The beef was fresh and tasty, but the portion was too large to finish. Our waiter warned us that portions at Manfredi's are large. He was correct.
I ordered the antipasti plate which was a collection of Italian salami, ham and proscuitto with parmesan shavings, artichoke and grilled zucchini.
We each ordered the Cream of Mushroom soup, or zuppa. The soup had a good flavor, but would have benefited from the addition of mushroom pieces blended into the soup. Its smooth texture was almost too thick, more like a mushroom gravy or sauce.
We were already getting full by the time our main courses arrived. Rickee had the mushroom Risotto as her main course. The rice was perfectly cooked with a starchy, creamy base that was quite flavorful. A few shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano on top would be the only improvement we could suggest.
My Bistecca Fiorentina Rib Eye steak was a thick slab of prime beef that was perfectly cooked medium rare. The steak has been rubbed with olive oil, mushroom powder and spices, all combining to give the meat a mild sweet flavor. It is delicious. In fact, it is one of the best pieces of meat I have ever had on a cruise ship. The accompanying arugula salad was a wonderful addition to cut through the fatty flavor of the prime beef.
We normally would not order dessert after such a huge meal. But, once again, journalistic integrity requires a sacrifice. I order the Nutella Panacotta and Rickee has a scoop of gelato. Our waiter informs us that the gelato is the same ice cream that is served in World Cafe. My Nutella Panacotta is creamy and delicious and is topped with a cookie crumble.
Our meal at Manfredi's will go down as one of the better cruise ship meals we have ever enjoyed. Unquestionably, it was the best meal we had on Viking Sea. A reservation at Manfredi's will be our first priority should we sail with Viking Cruises in the future. Don't even think about it, just book a table at Manfredi's!