With the recent upgrades to Mariner of the Seas, the ship is now home to a Japanese steakhouse. For cruisers looking for something unique, the Izumi Hibachi on Mariner of the Seas offers an authentic teppanyaki experience.
So, on our recent cruise, we were very interested to see how this new concept fared on this updated ship. Here is our honest review of Izumi Hibachi on Mariner of the Seas.
Review of Izumi Hibachi on Mariner of the Seas
While we have cruised on over 13 Royal Caribbean ships, we have never tried Izumi.
Mainly, we have avoided this restaurant as in the past as neither of us are big sushi eaters. However, on more recent vessels, the cruise line has been adding a hibachi experience to several Izumis.
For those who are unfamiliar with this style of cooking, in this traditional Japanese steakhouse, the chef prepares the meal in front of you. While usually interjecting some song and humor into the presentation, tepanyaki restaurants are truly dinner and a show.
Like all of our other reservations, we pre-booked it before boarding for 6 pm. We were seated at a table within moments of arriving at the restaurant.
Preparing for the Show at Izumi Hibachi
Part of this experience is interacting with your tablemates as the chef begins his show. We have had some lively, and unforgettable, dinners at this type of restaurant on other ships. However, this was not one of those occasions as we could tell the other couples were not going to be too interactive.
The restaurant is rather small, with about 7 or 8 hibachi stations and a small bar that serves only sushi. Many of the other tables were in different stages of the dinner and the show, so it was already quite lively.
Our waiter came over to take our drink order and to ask us if we had questions about the menu. Along with the traditional multi-course dinner, the restaurant also offers sushi and Asian inspired apps. Instead of ordering food, we ordered drinks!
I went with the spicy Okinawa and the Princess did the She’s a Geisha (see the menu below). Both drinks were covered in the Deluxe Beverage Package. We also placed our dinner orders to save time.
With our cocktails in hand, we were ready for the dining and culinary mastery that was about, to begin with, the arrival of our chef.
An Immersive Dinner Experience
The multi-course dinner comes with two appetizers, Edame Soybeans and a salad with ginger dressing. The soybeans were already on the table, and I had one or two just to say I ate them.
As our chef was beginning his introduction, which included some signing and clapping, our waiter began to make the rounds with the salads.
Instead of focusing on our salads, we were paying attention to the tricks and movements of the chef.
He began by preparing the side dishes, which included fried rice and some stir-fried vegetables.
More singing, knife tricks, and predictable jokes ensued as he prepared the different main selections.
As you would expect, the wife went with the chicken yudon.
The Princess’ meal was actually the first entree the chef completed, and it looked delicious. I can’t speak for how it tasted, as the Princess devoured most of it. So, needless to say, she must have enjoyed it.
I opted for a combination of lobster and shrimp. Given the different selections, the shrimp was done first and the lobster was one of the last items cooked. He suggested preparing the lobster with just some butter, salt, and lime. Who am I to argue with the chef?
Both of the main selections excellent. The shrimp had a light soy sauce glaze on top, while the lobster was rich and smooth. Mixing these two seafood options with the fried rice and vegetables, I was in stir-fry heaven.
As a couple of our equally stuffed tablemates began to exit, we did stick around for dessert.
Perhaps not the greatest options, we both went with the Mochi ice cream. Both of us agreed that the strawberry flavored scoop of this gummy and cold treat was the best.
But really, we didn’t need any additional food after the mammoth main course we just consumed.
Recap of Izumi Hibachi on Mariner of the Seas
We really enjoyed the food and the entertainment during our close to two-hour dinner. Compared to other Japanese steakhouses, we would rank the food on this one better than average.
Our chef was also pretty entertaining. He was not the most comical or engaging of the chefs we have had at other venues. But, overall the dinner and show portion were well executed and we had a very enjoyable, and filling, evening.
For $39 you have one option, and for $45 you can order a combo with two selections. Note, that if you pre-book online they charge you the $45. So, pay attention to your charges and bill, especially if you prepay.
Unfortunately, if you are dining on a specialty dining package, you can not use it at Izumi Hibachi. Hopefully, Royal Caribbean reconsiders this policy.
On future cruises, we would certainly dine at Izumi that has the Hibachi option. This is especially true if you are cruising with a large group and get your own table.
Have you dined at Izumi Hibachi on Royal Caribbean ships? Drop us an anchor below to share your restaurant review with your fellow cruisers.