We normally do not book specialty restaurants when cruising. We feel that part of the cruise experience is going to the main dining room. So, with Quantum of the Seas’ new Dynamic Dining concept, there is no main dining room. We, of course, would try all of the complimentary restaurants, but there were a few specialty dining venues that we both agreed that we wanted to try as well. At the top of that list was Wonderland.
Dynamic Dining Review Wonderland- Inside
From the moment you walk on the ship at Deck 5, you are greeted by the exterior of this unique restaurant. You can tell right away that this is going to be unlike any dinner you have had before, either on land or at sea. From the entrance, to the interior of the restaurant, you venture deeper into the rabbit hole until you are completely immersed in this one of a kind environment.
The restaurant has almost a Disney-like feel, bu not in a childish way. From the furniture, to the table settings, and even the menu, once you enter this restaurant you are in a completely imaginative world. While in Wonderland, you forget you are on a cruise ship!
The tables and chairs are very inventive and unique, with lots of different patterns and shapes. The plates and cups are all “different”, and even the utensils are oddly designed.
Not only is the decor truly magical, even the menu is! Here, you have to work for your food. You literally see the menu come to life as you are instructed by the waiter to use the paintbrush and water on the table to make your menu appear.
Dynamic Dining Review Wonderland
As for the menu, it is something you have probably never seen before. It is not organized around different courses, rather, it is designed around five elements: Sun, Fire, Ice, Sea, and Earth. The first three elements consist mostly of small plates, which you can consider starters, whereas the last two elements tend to be comprised of larger plates that can be shared among multiple individuals as entrees. Sun plates are comprised of vegetables prepared different ways, the Ice elements are all cold appetizers, and the Fire elements are all warm starters.
Our waitress indicated that there were no rules, just be creative and pick items we liked. She suggested that we select multiple items from the first three elements to sample, and then order 2 larger dishes to share. The servers here really try to customize the meal to your specific tastes, and just keep bringing you food! This is probably the most full we felt after any dinner on this cruise. It is definitely an experimental menu, and as to be expected, there were some dishes that we thoroughly enjoyed, and others, well at least we can say we tried them.
First, we started with a few drinks. The Princess tried to order the Cotton Canditini, but they were out of the ingredients, so she settled for the Balsamic Blast, which arrived in a giant glass and proved to be rather tricky to drink. I ordered the Salt Water Taffy Manhattan. Honestly, it tasted mostly like a Manhattan to me. The glassware with the drinks stole the show.
While the order in which the food was delivered is now a blur, we can at least recount our opinions on each of the dishes. One of the first appetizers was from Ice, Crispy Crab Cone.
The Princess does not eat seafood, so I was left to eat these alone, and I gladly accepted the challenge. The crab was very sweet, and the accompanying crunchy cone and the creamy avocado topping really made this dish pop. I was able to knock out 3 of the 4. These are a must try at Wonderland.
Another must try, from Sun, are the Slow Cooked Baby Beets. I know what you are thinking, beets? They are actually different than I expected, with a light yogurt sauce and almond garnish. I was pleasantly surprised as they were quite tasty.
Another must try item at Wonderland are the Buffalo Chicken Eggs, from the Fire category. You may recognize them from the commercials about Dynamic Dining, as they are presented to the table with smoke billowing from the plate.
I am not a huge egg fan, but the heat and blue cheese did win me over. The wife really liked this dish. We both agreed they were much better than the Truffled Egg in the Shell, another starter from the Earth element that we did not order but the waitress brought over for us to sample anyway.
Do you see a trend with this order? A lot of small tastings leading up to a larger main course. Next up on the list was the Liquid Manzanilla Olive, from the Sun category. It was explained to us that it takes about three hours to make this appetizer. All of the juice from the olive is removed, and then it is reconstructed in this jelly membrane. You are told to place the olive on your tongue and bring it up to the roof of you mouth until the olive bursts with flavor. Honestly, it tasted like, well, an olive. I think the preparation and uniqueness of this dish was lost on both of us.
Something that was not lost on me was the Liquid Lobster from the Sea. While small, this dish is topped with caviar, and the lobster is surrounded by a rich butter sauce. My mouth is watering all over again just thinking about it. Too bad it takes only one bite to finish this dish!
For the entrees, we each got our own. The Princess, of course, ordered the Slow Roasted Chicken. It was served sliced with a rich potato puree. The chicken was pretty basic, but that is what she liked about it. It was a nice departure from some of the other “heavy” flavors and was also the best cut of chicken.
Based on the server’s recommendation, and seeing this dish on at least two other tables, I ordered the pork shank! It was fall of the bone good. The meat was very tender and the mojo sauce was not overpowering. The cole slaw was lightly seasoned and crunchy; although, I did try to focus my attention on the pork because it was massive. Looking back, this was probably the best entree I had all cruise.
As if we needed dessert after all that food, the server brought out the dessert box next–a box of playing cards in which the menu was written. There were five dessert options which all sounded scrumptious, but to be conservative we only ordered four of them!
The recommend dessert was the Key Lime Lollipops–please do. They were very tasty with not too strong of a key lime flavor. This was The Princess’ favorite dessert item of the evening.
We would not say the same thing about the Boston Cream Pie Maze. We were warned by our server that it was not the most popular dessert, and now we know why. The cake had very little flavor and still can not reason why it is called Boston Cream.
The Baked Alaska is slightly different than your typical variety of this dessert, but it wouldn’t be a cruise if we did not have this dessert at least once. The layer of vanilla foam (which tasted like marshmallow to us) was very heavy but delicious and lead to a chocolate ice cream center. I do like my chocolate, but The Princess did miss the other ice cream flavors. If you are a fan of traditional Baked Alaska, you should probably give this one a try for yourselves.
Saving my best for last, it was the Molten Chocolate Cake. Here, the twist is the ice cream that comes with the dessert is pistachio flavored. You do not mess with the molten cake! Good thing Wonderland did not. It was warm and gooey, and the pistachio ice cream provided that cool, creamy cut for the dark rich chocolate.
A full two hours later, we had sampled much of the the Wonderland menu and had now been totally engrossed in this amazing experience. Most of the food was very good, but we think you are truly paying for the whole “wonderful” experience. We do not have very delicate palettes, so it is possible that some of the more interesting food combinations were lost on us.
We are sailing on Anthem of the Seas in a year and do have a reservation for this restaurant. For us, this is not a restaurant in which we would dine every cruise, but definitely worth doing every once in a while.
- Type of Food- “Experimental and Creative”
- Meals served-Dinner
- Dress code- Smart Casual
- Cost- $45 per person
- Menus- Dinner, Drinks, Dessert
Have you had a chance to try Dynamic Dining yet? If so, what were your thoughts on Wonderland? Drop us an anchor below to let us know your favorite meals. We would love to hear about your experiences with the restaurants on this new ship, Quantum of the Seas!