The variety of specialty dining options on Norwegian Escape can seem endless. During the first five nights of our cruise, we enjoyed Italian fare at La Cucina, Brazilian food at Moderno Churrascaria, hibachi at the Japanese steakhouse Teppanyaki, and the traditional American steakhouse Cagney’s. To round out this international tour, on night six, we dined at Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape.
Le Bistro is one of Norwegian’s signature upscale restaurants serving up French cuisine and can be found on numerous Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships. Being only our second cruise on an NCL ship, we decided to try this restaurant in addition to some of the other specialty offerings onboard the Escape. The Princess is a picky eater and as luck would have it, the menu for Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape offered a chicken dish that sounded appealing to her.
Entrance to Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape
Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape Restaurant Review
Le Bistro is open nightly for dinner from 5:30pm to 10:00pm and is priced a la carte. You may use a meal from your specialty dining package here, but note that you are limited to only 1 entree selection at this particular restaurant. Additional entrees ordered will be charged at $10 per plate.
For Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape, as well as all of our other specialty dining, we made reservations in advance using MyNCL account. We also pre-purchased a 6 night specialty dining package. If you plan on dining here, or any other specialty restaurant for that matter, we do suggest making reservations beforehand or at least upon boarding as reservations did seem to fill up quickly during our sailing.
Cafe Style Seating – Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape
Located in 678 Ocean Place, Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape offers a main dining room and cafe-style seating reminiscent of a Paris street cafe.This area can get congested as it is directly across from the popular Headliner’s Comedy Club, so we opted to dine inside the main restaurant for a bit more privacy. Arriving right on time for our 6:30pm reservation, there was only one other couple ahead of us. After seating that couple, the hostess quickly checked us in, confirmed that we wanted to use one of our meals in the specialty dining package, and then led us to our table.
Inside Le Bistro
Keeping with the refined French theme, the interior of the restaurant is elegant and sophisticated. We were seated at a small table for two, with a window view of 678 Ocean Place. Even though the restaurant did not appear overly busy, the staff seemed to be spread a bit thin to serve the capacity of the restaurant. Within minutes of sitting down, we were greeted by an assistant waiter who offered us water and delivered a basket of french bread. Merci!
Bread Basket – Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape
I am a big fan of crusty french bread, and Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape delivered with a nice assortment accompanied by some fresh whipped butter. So far, so good. But unfortunately, things started to go down hill from here. Not long after, our waiter showed up, and without much introduction asked for our order. While we had already decided what we were going to order, we wanted to enjoy our experience and try some of the specialty cocktails first. We politely asked to order some cocktails and to have a bit more time with the menu.
I the ordered the French Manhattan (which was quite strong), and the Princess did the Emperor’s Nectar.
Emperors’ Nectar and French Manhattan Cocktails
Upon returning with our drinks, our waiter took our order. For appetizers, the Princess went with what she thought would be a rather safe salad with warm goat cheese. The combinations were not exactly what she expected, so she only ate a few bites then decided to hold out for the entree.
Salade Au Crottin De Chavignol Chaud
I went with the crab salad, which was equally disappointing. The crab was definitely imitation crab and reminded me of tuna fish. A fellow cruiser who saw that I ordered the crab salad asked if I thought the crab tasted like tuna fish. So, I guess it wasn’t just me.
Salade De Crabe Au Raifort et Sauce Aux Agrumes
While eating our appetizers, the couple on the side of us called the waiter over, as they appeared upset that they were waiting so long for their entrees. We overheard them say that they just wanted to skip the entree and take the check as they had a show to catch. The waiter assured them that the entrees would be coming right out. Five or so minutes later, they finally did arrive.
While the staff seemed overworked, and the service was a bit slow, our entrees did not take nearly as long. For entrees, the Princess ordered the Coq au Vin, which ended up being the better of the two. Who would’ve thought the chicken dish would win out? Served in a large pot filled with vegetables and a burgundy reduction, the chicken was well prepared and rich in flavor. This stew-like presentation was good but seemed a bit out of place for an upscale restaurant in our opinion.
Coq Au Vin
Wanting to try something that I hadn’t already eaten this cruise, I was debating between the veal and the duck options. After the waiter explained how the duck was served, I opted for the veal medallions. In retrospect, I guess I should have gone with something else as they did not have much flavor. Throughout the course of the night, it appeared that other patrons of the restaurant were as unimpressed as we were. I guess we were just expecting more of a fine dining experience from Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape.
Medaillons De Veau a La Sauce Morille et Pommes Macaire
Next up, dessert. Even though we saw two orders of the apple tart barely touched at tables nearby, the Princess insisted on ordering it. It turns out, there was good reason why the dessert was left behind at other tables. The filling had a very sour and tart taste, and it was simply just not good at all. It might have been the only dessert that we did not finish all cruise.
Playing it safe, I ordered what looked to be the best (and most popular) dessert, the Profiteroles. These were the saving grace of Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape! The only way I can describe them is delicious. The puff pastry surrounding the vanilla ice cream was fluffy and airy. Coated in warm chocolate sauce, it was simply dessert heaven.
Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape Restaurant Review Recap
This specialty dining restaurant provides cruisers with an intimate and upscale dining experience. Not being French cuisine connoisseurs, we were not impressed with many of the offerings, but don’t let that sway your opinions. If you love French food, you might want to be your own judge on how Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape compares to such establishments back on land. Unfortunately, the service did not win us over either though. The restaurant seemed understaffed and our server lacked personality.
DB and The Princess Dining at Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape
Comparing the cost of our dinners to the cost of the Specialty Dining package, we came out ahead. Adding up the courses the Princess ordered, it would have cost a total of $28.28 (with 18% gratuity) and mine would have cost $33.00. Considering the specialty dining package ran us each $20.45 per meal (for 6 meals- the cost of each meal does vary depending on the number of meals purchased in the plan), it was well worth purchasing the package.
When we sail on Norwegian Cruise Line again, we would probably opt for other specialty restaurants instead of Le Bistro as most of our other dining experiences on Norwegian Escape were superb. Or, if we did decide to give Le Bistro another try, we would review the menu more carefully and be a bit smarter with our dinner choices.
Have you dined at Le Bistro on Norwegian Escape or any other ship in NCL’s fleet? What do you think of the a la carte pricing for this dining experience on Escape? Drop us an anchor below to give us your thoughts on the food choices and specialty dining available on this newest ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s fleet.