Cruise Dining Review: Eataly on MSC Divina

“Life is too short to not eat and drink well.” This quote greeted the team as we entered Eataly on MSC Divina during a recent ship tour. 

The first Eataly at sea opened in 2013 on MSC Preziosa, but it’s actually a well known Italian-based chain found throughout Italy as well as Chicago, New York City and even Japan. Designed after the famed Manzo steakhouse in New York City, the Eataly on Divina actually felt more like an Italian market that happened to be in the middle of a cruise ship – it was like we were transported to Naples without needing to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Dining room at the Eataly restaurant on MSC Divina

After our ship tour wrapped, the group sat down for lunch at Eataly — which doesn’t typically open on embarkation days, due to the busy turnaround schedules, but they made an exception for us.

Lunch was tasty and even though most of us ordered the same dishes, our experience of Eataly was as diverse as the team.


APPETIZER | Prosciutto, Italian cheeses and toasted Carasau bread

Prosciutto, Italian cheeses and toasted Carasau bread

This was an appetizer done right. Each plate was prepared with 4 – 5 paper-thin slices of prosciutto, a selection of Italian cheeses (asiago, gorgonzola and grana padano), which looked and tasted like they were freshly cut off the wheel, and toasted Carasau bread. The portions were extra generous for an afternoon appetizer and could have been shared, but none of us was about to consider that.

Heard around the table

“The thinly sliced prosciutto was amazing – the flavor was subtle and the meat positively melted in my mouth. The cheeses that accompanied the prosciutto were delicious – the grana padano and asiago were incredibly flavorful, but mild enough to eat on their own, without the toasted Carasau bread.”

“You can’t go wrong with a good selection of salami and cheese; although the portion screamed, ‘don’t eat me all, you pig.’”


PASTA  |  Afeltra Gragnano spaghettone

Afeltra Gragnano spaghettone

There’s pasta, and then there’s pasta that’s freshly made every day and cooked to a perfect al dente, which is how we’d describe the Afeltra Gragnano spaghettone we had as our second course. Simply plated with all of the colors of the Italian flag, which took the form of two pieces of fresh green basil, roasted sweet Corbarino cherry tomatoes from the Campania region of Italy and two slices of buffalo mozzarella drizzled with olive oil. This would have been the perfect dish had it not been for the cold mozzarella.

Heard around the table

“The sauce in the spaghetti dish was sop-it-up-with-bread delicious. I like my red sauce to be chunky and on the oily side, which this was thanks to pieces of crushed tomatoes and a drizzling of good-quality olive oil. Although, the mozzarella cheese was cold and did not belong in this dish.”

“The spaghettone was cooked perfectly al dente – the extra thickness of the noodle made for an incredibly satisfying bite.”

“The pasta was the perfect temperature but the dish could’ve done without the cold mozzarella cheese that literally stopped my fork in its tracks.” 


STEAK | Tagliata (sliced steak)

Tagliata (sliced steak)

A 10.5-ounce steak, grilled, cut and served in thick slices alongside roasted potatoes, a tablespoon of coarse salt from Gargana in Southern Italy and a bed of mixed greens. The server explained how this particular cut of beef came from Piedmontese cattle in Northwestern Italy. Unfortunately the steak was bland in flavor and only somewhat enjoyable after adding the accompanying salt.

Heard around the table

“The roasted potatoes that came with the steak were tasty, cooked well and perfectly seasoned.”

“There was little consistency around the table in terms of temperature. I ordered medium and received medium well. The person across the table ordered medium rare and she got rare.”  


FISH | Pan-fried Chilean sea bass

Pan-fried Chilean sea bass

The pan-fried Chilean sea bass was a special offering on this particular sailing. It was served with black olives, fresh cherry tomatoes and red onions, and plated beautifully, but the execution left something to be desired as the fish was a bit undercooked and the dish was saucy.

Heard around the table

“The sauce was amazing and the flavor was similar to the pasta dish except this dish had roasted olives and red onions.”

“Plating was comparable to what you’d find at any upscale restaurant on land —colorful ingredients, seasonal produce, fresh garnishes, etc. The fish itself was underdone. I had some flavorful bites of flaky sea bass and oven-roasted tomatoes but the center could’ve used a few more minutes in the oven.”


DESSERT | Fior di fragola ice cream, whipped cream and fresh strawberries

Fior di fragola ice cream, whipped cream and fresh strawberries

The dessert was a hit. The whipped cream and fior di fragola vanilla ice cream (similar to gelato) were light and creamy. The fresh strawberries were cut into perfect bite-sized pieces and balanced the sweetness of the milk ice cream with a hint of bitterness. This was a refreshing dessert, especially after a warm day in Miami.

Heard around the table

“The simple combination of freshly whipped cream and vanilla gelato was the perfect amount of sweetness to cleanse my palate.”

“Fresh and simple. I wouldn’t have typically ordered it, but I found it to be a surprisingly perfect way to end the meal.”


The Bottom Line

Everything we’ve heard about the food at Eataly has been uniformly good. The staff was attentive, knowledgeable and accommodating, but the cheese in the pasta dish was cold and both of the main courses had temperature issues — the steak was overdone and the fish undercooked.

If we were cruising on MSC Divina, we would not have had the option to eat at Eataly until the following day due to the restaurant not being open on embarkation days. We recognize that eating at a floating restaurant while docked might not be a completely fair judgment of the food. We’ll just have to cruise on MSC Divina in the future to fully experience Eataly in its typical sailing environment.

Main entrance to Eataly Restaurant.


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