Cruise ship specialty restaurant review - - Celebrity Century - - Celebrity Cruises - - The Murano Restaurant
Richard H. Wagner
The Murano Restaurant on Celebrity Century is the
original Celebrity Cruises Murano Restaurant. The
restaurant concept pioneered here has since been
transplanted to Celebrity's new Solstice class ships
(Solstice, Equinox and Eclipse) where it is the
top-of-the-line fine dining venue. Having enjoyed those
Muranos, I was anxious to see what the original was
Not part of the original equipment on Century, the
Murano was added in 2006. It is located off the Grand
Foyer in an area once occupied by a lounge and by the
Guest Relations operation. A portion of the ship's main
galley was walled off to give the Murano its own
The décor of the restaurant bears no relation to the
area's former life. Instead, the area has been
transformed into an elegant European-style dining
room. Large windows allow natural light into the room.
Overhead cut glass chandeliers provide soft light after
the sun has set. While I missed the artifacts from the
great ocean liners of the past that decorate the fine
dining venues on Celebrity's Millennium class ships, this
is a very pleasing room.
Actually, it is a room in three parts. In addition to its
rectangular main area, which runs along the port side of
the ship, Murano has two alcoves. One is the Wine
Cellar, which is lined with racks of wine and which is
dominated by a single large table. It is well-suited for
large groups or extended families. The other alcove is
the Venetian, which is an intimate area with several
The menu in the Murano is the same as the menu
used in the fine dining restaurants on the Millennium
class ships and in the Murano restaurants on the
Solstice class ships. It was developed by Celebrity's
master chef Jacques Van Staten. Those who are
familiar with Chef Van Staten's work know that his
name is a promise of good things to come.
With its elegant décor and Chef Van Staden's recipes,
the Murano has the building blocks for a great dining
experience. However, the real test is in the execution.
An unenthusiastic restaurant team or poor quality in
provisioning for the restaurant can ruin even the best
plans. Thus, while I approached the Murano with great
expectations based upon the meals that I have had on
other Celebrity ships, I was anxious to see whether the
original Murano maintains the same high standards that
I have found in other Celebrity specialty restaurants.
After walking through the Murano's glass door
entrance, I was greeted by the Maitre'd Bekir Ileri or
"Mister B" as he prefers to be called. The greeting was
warm and friendly. As I would soon see, Mister B is
everywhere throughout the evening - - flambeing
dishes table side and making sure that everything is just
right down to the small details.
The first choice one has to make in the Murano is
whether one would like a glass of champagne from the
restaurant's champagne cart. The correct answer to
this question is "yes". This is not the sparkling wine
that is so often called champagne at receptions or in
lower quality restaurants. Rather, it is wine from some
of great houses (e.g. Mumm, Pommery) of the
Champagne region of France. This wine is made
differently than sparkling wine, giving it a much
different taste and no after effects. A glass of good
champagne opens the taste buds for the meal to come.
Next, the server pointed out that the menu gives the
diner two alternative paths to follow. First, there is the
Five Senses, which is a multi-course dinner where each
course is paired with a specified wine. The second path
is the traditional ala carte approach to dinner.
After I indicated that I would take the ala carte path,
the server (one of two who served the table) offered his
personal recommendations on the ala carte items. This
shows an interest in the guest's dining experience and
thus is part of good service. In addition since the server
has seen what past guests have preferred, it is often
good intelligence. Accordingly, I decided to go with his
As a prelude to the selected courses, the chef sent a
small gift. These surprise dishes are completely within
the discretion of the chef and allow the chef to flex his
creativity. This one was a tasty salmon mousse in a
The first of my selected courses was subtlety different
- - Divers Scallops Wellington. Sea scallops in a pastry
- - nothing rubbery or overcooked here. Rather, the
scallops were at their peak.
Next, I had the lobster bisque. The soup was poured
over a leak mousse which makes for an interesting
combination of flavors.
The main course is where The Murano really hit its
stride. This was the classic Surf and Turf - lobster tail
and filet mignon. Broiled until tender, the lobster tail
was full of quiet flavors that cautioned one to proceed
slowly so as not to miss anything. The beef
counterpoint with its bold pepper sauce commanded
attention. It had been prepared to the height of
tenderness so that it was more like a fine cut of roast
beef than a steak. Altogether it was an excellent main
Before dessert, the waiter brought a cart with a
variety of French cheeses. He offered guidance on
each variety and then assembled the selections on a
plate with a fig puree, which provided a nice balance to
the cheese. Again, the execution was superb.
For dessert, I chose the Grand Marnier soufflé. This
turned out to be the lightest soufflé that I have ever
countered. Each bite seemed to disappear in the mouth
as if it had evaporated. Tiny pieces of apple released a
slightly tart taste to balance the Crème Anglaise sauce.
The Murano lived up to expectations. The chef
executed Chef Van Staden's recipes not mechanically
but rather like an artist. The service and the
atmosphere could not have been better - - attentive,
timely but not smothering..
Maitre'd Bekir Ileri finishing a dish tableside
Above: The main dining area.
Below: The Wine Cellar.
Above: A gift from the chef.
Below: Divers Scallops Wellington.
Above: Surf and turf.
Below: A Grand Marnier soufflé.
After dinner petit fours.
Above: The Murano Restaurant.
Below: A window table.