Royal Caribbean added a number of updated dining venues on the newly amplified Freedom of the Seas. However, one cruise staple still remains on the ship. The cruise line’s signature steakhouse, Chops Grille, is still searing up freshly made steaks and other premium entrees. During our 7-night Southern Caribbean cruise on Freedom of the Seas, we dined here on night 5. How did it compare to other visits to this popular restaurant? We are back and share all the details with our Freedom of the Seas Chops Grille Review.
Freedom of the Seas Chops Grille Review
Inside Chops Grille on Freedom of the Seas
The two main specialty restaurants on Freedom of the Seas are conveniently located on Deck 11, inside the Windjammer. While Chops is positioned in a more sequestered spot on some other ships in the fleet, once you enter the restaurant on Freedom of the Seas, you completely forget about its location.
This traditional steakhouse has an open kitchen. The interior design is rather understated with dark red and wood tones that give it a warm and formal feel. One side of the dining room is lined with floor to ceiling windows. For earlier dining times, this offers unobstructed ocean views and perhaps a scenic sunset.
For this particular sailing, our travel agent provided us with a free specialty restaurant as one of the perks. So, on the first day of our cruise, we stopped in to the restaurant around lunch time to make a reservation. Given our itinerary, we opted for a reservation on night 5. Luckily, there was a time slot of 6:15 pm available. This was perfect for us.
When we arrived, the restaurant felt a bit empty. We were escorted to a table for two towards the back of the restaurant. While there was some turnover of tables, the restaurant was never really busy.
The Food at Chops Grille
To begin the dinner, we each ordered a drink. I went with a glass of Malbec, while the Princess ordered her usual Cosmopolitan. Our waiter was swift to grab our drinks, along with a selection of rolls, including my favorite – the pretzel sticks.
For starters, I ordered the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake and the Colossal Shrimp Cocktail. The crab cake was light on breading and full of crab, with a lighter and fresher taste than the similar offering in the main dining room. The shrimp cocktail was perfectly chilled, with a mild cocktail sauce and just the right amount of kick. While I have not always been impressed with the starters at Chops Grille, this time around, I was pleasantly surprised.
The Princess ordered her usual Wedge Salad, which is pretty hard to mess up, but it met her approval.
Moving on to the main attractions, I decided on the bone-in ribeye. This flavorful cut was cooked medium, as requested, with a slightly pink center. I decided against any accompaniments as there was plenty of juiciness with this cut of beef. It was certainly the best steak that I had on this trip. As you would expect, the Princess ordered the only chicken dish on the menu.
For sides dishes, we decided on the truffle French fries and the sauteed mushrooms. The fries were pretty basic, but I really enjoyed the mushrooms. There was not much sauce or seasoning, which allowed the bold flavor of these fungi to shine.
For dessert, I ordered the warm chocolate cake and the Princess did the red velvet cake. Compared to the desserts that we had at Giovanni’s Italian Kitchen a few nights ago, neither dessert was all that impressive.
Recap of Freedom of the Seas Chops Grille Review
Overall, the meal at Chops Grille was well timed and to our liking. The bone-in ribeye was probably the best steak I have had at this venue on various visits across ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet.
For our sailing, the pre-cruise price for the restaurant was $42.99, which we feel is a bit pricey. This flat-fee pricing structure entitles cruisers to order as many starters, sides, and desserts, along with one entree selection. The restaurant will charge extra for a second entree. Also, you will need to pay extra for lobster at Chops Grille, which we feel is a big miss.
However, if you have the Unlimited Specialty Dining plan, then you do not need to worry about the price. If you want to sample the restaurant for a reduced cost, there is a small lunch menu on sea days priced at $21.99 per person.
You can make reservations prior to your cruise using the Cruise Planner on Royal Caribbean’s website, or you can make reservations once onboard the ship. Keep in mind that prime dinner times do fill up quickly. On our sailing, Chops Grille was open nightly from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm.
If you are a carnivore at heart, we would certainly recommend dining at Chops Grille on Freedom of the Seas during your cruise.
Have you dined at Chops Grille on a Royal Caribbean ship? What is your favorite item on the menu? Drop us an anchor below to share your review of this popular specialty restaurant.