Should you book the Izumi pre-fixed sushi option?
Izumi is Royal Caribbean’s popular Japanese specialty restaurant on almost all of its ships, so is it a good idea to buy the pre-fixed option instead of pay-as-you-go?
I’ve been eating at Izumi since it was first introduced on Oasis of the Seas when the restaurant was tucked away on deck 16 and have always loved the assortment of sushi (and non-sushi) options. I have always thought that in addition to the variety of dishes, it also allows a very hearty or light meal because everything is à la carte.
Recently, many blog readers have chosen the prefixed menu option and I wondered if that was a better idea. Would I save money with this, and leave the restaurant feeling as satisfied as if I paid as I went?
On a recent Allure of the Seas cruise, I opted to go with the set menu option to see how well it would work for my style of food.
What is the prefixed menu?
The Izumi menu is individually priced for each item, meaning you pay for what you order.
Royal Caribbean has an alternative option where you pay one price and get a certain amount of food included. They’ve tweaked what’s included over the years, but today it’s:
- 1 small plate, such as miso soup or pork gyoza dumplings.
- 2 large plates from a selection of signature rolls, sushi and sashimi, tasty bowls of ramen and more.
- 1 mochi ice cream dessert offered in several flavors.
Cost on board is $34.99 per adult or $10.99 per child (children ages 6-12. Children ages 0-5 are free). You can find a better price if you buy it before your cruise at a Cruise Planner sale. If you have a meal plan, you can opt for the prefixed menu.
Royal Caribbean sometimes offers the Sushi & Sake lunch, which is different from the pre-set menu because it includes alcohol, is not available for children, and is more of an experiment with the instructional aspect of sake.
I had the unlimited dining plan for my cruise and decided to try the pre-set option.
The server gave us all a choice, and once I chose, he took my order based on the three dishes I could choose from.
The online menu didn’t make the distinction, but at the restaurant a bowl of miso soup was included in addition to the 1 small plate. I went with the soup and the vegetable fried rice. I usually only make sushi, but I was really craving fried rice.
When it comes to large plates, there are quite a few choices to consider.
I ended up with the spicy crispy tuna roll and the chef’s selection of sushi. The sushi selection has a wide variety of sushi for what I like, and the crispy tuna roll helps bring a different texture to the meal.
To top it off, I went with the chocolate lava cake for dessert.
Izumi Fixed Price Review
After trying the prefixed menu, I walked away from my meal thinking it was an option to simplify the menu for someone who may be completely new to Japanese cuisine.
I eat a lot of sushi on cruise ships and on land, so I have a pretty good idea of what I like and what I don’t like. Also, I spent years trying different things on the Izumi menu to find the right combination for me.
Through years of meal plan prowess, maximizing every dollar of my meal plan has proven to be a successful endeavor.
Depending on how adventurous you are, the prix fixe menu may be worth the value.
I think it’s fair to compare it to the meal plan, which allocates $35 worth of food to each person. Unlike the fixed-price option, the meal plan allowance can be pooled among everyone at your table, meaning light eaters can offer greater value to friends. This is usually the case when I eat with my wife as she rarely comes close to a $35 worth of meal plan.
Adding up the fixed price menu option I chose, I walked away with $46 in value compared to if I purchased the same items a la carte. It looks like a great value, but there are a few things I would have done differently had things not been included. I would have only had one small plate, but since miso soup was provided at no extra charge, I opted for the soup and a small plate.
I also never order dessert from Izumi. I would much rather get my extra calories from another sushi roll because I love their sushi so much.
Of course, if you don’t eat sushi, the prix fixe menu has fewer options and I think teriyaki beef and a bowl of udon or ramen sounds like a lot of food.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a big meal, everyone who gets a meal plan and pools your money should get you more food than everyone else on the fixed price. If you’re a light eater, I think you’ll find more food than you can handle with the option and better pay for Izumi a la carte.
I certainly didn’t leave disappointed or hungry, but I think for how I enjoy sushi, I’ll stick to the individual item pricing at Izumi for now.