In 2019, Royal Caribbean renovated its game-changing Oasis of the Seas. The new amplified Oasis of the Seas received a number of updates and even some unique venues. Among them was a brand new casual, specialty restaurant, Portside BBQ. Is this restaurant worth the up-charge? Well, we share all the delicious details with our Oasis of the Seas Portside BBQ Review!
Oasis of the Seas Portside BBQ Review
The new Portside BBQ on Oasis of the Seas is located on Deck 15 aft. As the name implies, the specialty restaurant is located on the portside of the ship.
The restaurant offers both al fresco seating, as well as a small dining room.
You can’t miss the entrance to the Portside BBQ as you walk by it when heading aft on this deck. In fact, there are even some high-top seats along the rail next to the restaurant.
The welcoming façade showcases the restaurant’s Americana motif.
Unlike other specialty restaurants on the ship, this venue is a more casual, family-friendly restaurant. It is also available at a la carte pricing as opposed to a flat fee cover charge.
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Inside the Restaurant
Large glass doors at the entrance offer a small glimpse of what the restaurant has in store for cruisers.
Upon entering the restaurant, the first thing you notice is the open kitchen. It is setup like a quick service restaurant with many of the smoked selections and side dishes on full display.
The other thing that hits you quickly is the aroma that filters throughout the ordering station. This restaurant is certainly not for those who don’t appreciate the fine art of grilling!
To the aft of the restaurant is the main seating area. In this dining room, the metallic art, wood tones, and lighting give the area a somewhat industrial feel.
The theming offered just the right amount of backdrop for a great BBQ meal.
This was the perfect atmosphere for a casual dinner after a long day ashore in St. Thomas.
Getting Ready for Dinner
During select hours on our Oasis of the Seas Eastern Caribbean cruise, there was live country music in this venue. Thus, we timed our dinner to coincide with one of these performances.
Unlike many of the restaurants on Oasis of the Seas, you can not make reservations at Portside BBQ. So, uncharacteristically for us, we had to go stand-by at this restaurant.
When we arrived around 7 pm, there was no hostess to greet us. Instead, there was a small line queueing near the open kitchen.
Above the service counter, you can find the Portside BBQ menu showcasing all the selections and their a la carte prices.
Actually, the modest prices and huge portions make this restaurant an amazing value.
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Dining at Portside BBQ on Oasis of the Seas
For this dining experience, I went with one of the combos. While I debated going for three cuts, I opted for two.
The spare ribs were a tangy, tender selection. There was just the right amount of barbecue sauce to enhance, yet not overpower, the meat.
My second option was the sausage links, which were a juicy, smoky selection.
Additionally, combos come with two sides. The mac and cheese was a warm and gooey addition to the meal, topped with crispy bread crumbs. Of course, to soak up all of this barbecue flavor, I also went with a slice of cornbread.
I may have also ordered the smoked chicken wings just to try.
Honestly, these massive chicken wings were a meal themselves. They offered plenty of meat, with a simple glaze and crispy skin.
Heidi opted for the smoked turkey sandwich with fries. The sandwich featured thick slices of turkey on a toasted brioche bun. It was much better than similar offerings at the complimentary restaurants. Although, the French fries were exactly the same as the Windjammer.
The menu features two desserts, so we tried each one. The banana dream was a lighter option, with vanilla cookies and banana pudding. It definitely felt like a better match for the meal.
The chocolate brookie was a denser, sweeter option that was a rich combination of a brownie and chocolate chip cookie.
Our family members sampled some of the other menu offerings as well. The BBQ half chicken, burnt ends, and pulled pork sandwich all got two thumbs up from them.
Finally, the restaurant features a signature drink, the Portside Spiked Palmer. This take on an Arnold Palmer blends ice tea, lemonade, and bourbon. Therefore, this cocktail paired perfectly with the rest of the meal.
The best part is that this drink is covered in the Royal Caribbean Deluxe Drink Package.
Recap of Oasis of the Seas Portside BBQ Review
The Portside BBQ on the amplified Oasis of the Seas is a great addition to the ship’s dining line-up.
The venue pairs freshly smoked food with a fun atmosphere, making this unique concept a nice alternative for lunch or dinner. With a long day ashore, the hearty meal and quick service nature of the venue was just the change of pace we needed from the main dining room.
The food was definitely an upgrade from the complimentary options on the ship. Further, the pricing structure meant we could try several items and not rack up a huge bill.
The entire meal took us less than an hour. Honestly, it would have been even quicker, but we stayed around to listen to the live country music.
Yes, this venue is similar to Q Texas Smokehouse on Norwegian Cruise Line. As far as the food is concerned, we would say the two restaurants were on par, but Portside BBQ wins when it comes to overall value.
We hope Royal Caribbean adds this venue to future ships in the fleet, as there is plenty more that I need to try on my next visit to the Portside BBQ.
Have you dined at the Portside BBQ on Oasis of the Seas? Do you enjoy specialty restaurants on a cruise? Drop us an anchor below with your cruise ship restaurant reviews.