We decided to forgo the main dining room for our last meal aboard the MS Veendam. Instead, we decided to check out their Italian specialty restaurant, Canaletto. We never got a chance to try this restaurant (which is essentially a cordoned off section of the Lido Buffet) on the MS Oosterdam, but we figured that we should satisfy our curiosity despite what others have said about it on the Internet. To get a sense of the menu, we decided to order one of everything.
Since we ordered all the appies, they all came at once for us to share. The first item we tried was the best being the Zuppe di Pesce. It featured a briny and sweet tomato broth that was flavourful from the seafood without a high reliance on salt. There was a bevy of ingredients including mussels, clams, shrimp, scallops and fish. This tasted exactly how it appeared which was a good thing. Next best were the Veal & Sage Polpettine bathed in a light, yet flavourful tomato sauce. It was mildly tangy while completely seasoned including the use of fresh basil. The meatballs themselves were tender and nicely prepared. They featured a seared exterior while being moist inside.
Another surprising appie was the Eggplant Caponata with crostinis. I found the tender nuggets of eggplant soft, yet at the same time, not mushy nor wet. As much as it didn’t look particularly flavourful, it was very tasty sporting a tanginess evened out by a balancing amount of sweetness (from the golden raisins) and saltiness. The crunchy and airy crostinis were the perfect textural compliment. The Salumi Plate was pretty standard and simple consisting of buttery and salty prosciutto and sweet capicollo. There were some olives to compliment. We also had the Canaletto Salad (not pictured) that featured an overly large slice of Gorgonzola.
For our entrees, we were thoroughly impressed with the Rigatoni with Italian sausage as it featured firmly al dente pasta coated with a fresh-tasting tomato sauce that was tangy to start yet exhibiting a tasty spiciness to finish. Even the sausage was on point being tender and bouncy with a nice salty meatiness. The addition of Kalamata olives added a wine-type of saltiness. A popular item with the kiddies, the Spaghetti Bolognese also sported firmly al dente pasta (which was to everyone’s liking) bathed in a meaty sauce that wasn’t didn’t have too much moisture nor oiliness. Rather, it was rich and naturally flavoured with the light tang on tomato.
Although the Parpardelle was also texturally on point, the creamy sauce didn’t deliver on the promise of citrus. With that being said, it was a solid cream sauce where it didn’t separate and was silky and well-seasoned. The large prawns were excellent exhibiting a meaty snap and being naturally sweet. Our last pasta was a hit with my son as it contained short ribs. Therefore, he almost dusted off the Potato Gnocchi all by himself. The pasta was soft with a bit of firmness, yet could’ve been softer. The rich meat braising sauce was full of depth and appealing saltiness. The dollop of mascapone made it even richer. The short rib itself was mostly tender with some chewier parts.
Moving onto the larger dishes, the Sauteed Veal Piccata with angel hair pasta was excellent. With nicely tenderized veal slices that were beautifully seared, the meat practically needed no chewing (it wasn’t mushy though). It was topped with a rich and silky sauce that once again had an appealing saltiness and natural meat juices. The angel hair pasta was buttery and tender while not mushy. Although the Bistecca was merely a steak with a porcini mushroom cream sauce (not looking all that interesting), it was solidly prepared. Tender, well-seared and seasoned, it was nicely medium-rare. The mushroom sauce added a meaty Earthiness.
With a crispy and nicely salted skin, the Grilled Lemon-Thyme White Sea Bass was yet another properly prepared dish. It was moist and flaky while completely seasoned enough by the skin. Underneath, there were tender yet firm fingerling potatoes and on the side was a tart lemon juice tossed frisee and fennel salad. Our last dish was a vegetarian offering in the Portobello Mushroom with zucchini spaghetti. I was shocked how much I enjoyed this as the mushroom was buttery and flavoured by balsamic and olive oil. On top the zucchini spaghetti was not mushy at all, rather it was crunchy while still cooked through. Loved the texture and the flavours. By the end of the meal, we were pretty stuffed, so we skipped dessert. We were pretty surprised with the food as it was generally well-prepared and tasty.