August 19th, 2011, 10:49 AM
We are somewhat of regulars at CN (6 times there, once to CSA). We were there last for the first week of February. One of the things that we really loved about Couples has been the food!! This past trip left us rather disappointed. It seemed that the breakfast and lunch buffets NEVER changed. Every day it was the same food. It got old by the end of the week. We were also disappointed with the changes at Heliconia. It had become our favorite place to eat but it wasn't as good with the changes. On our shuttle back to the airport we were told that the Executive Chef had left 2 weeks prior and hadn't been replaced yet. The trip still cost us the same - executive chef or not so that was disappointing. In fact, we were so disappointed that we booked our Feb 2011 trip to the Dominican Republic instead. But Jamaica kept calling to us. You repeaters know how that is. Yesterday I had our trip switched and we'll be back at CN. My question is this - is the food back up to the old standards? Sooo hoping I did not make a mistake by switching it!
Thanks in advance and please don't throw rocks...I'm calling it like we experienced it.
August 21st, 2011, 11:39 AM
We were at CN one week after you (or perhaps overlapped a bit... 2/4 to 2/12).
We saw Karen L. (the GM) our first morning and learned of Misja's recent departure. With that fore-knowledge we expected to notice some difference in the food, but honestly we didn't experience any drop off. (Well, we did notice the change in Heliconia's menu. But that had been posted on this MB long prior to Misja's departure, and though we preferred the old menus a bit, we still enjoyed our dinners there).
Not to "throw rocks", but rather to provide some information as we've experienced it; the lunch offering at Cassava does change. Heliconia lunch does not, but that is the way it has been for years.
Cassava lunch frequently has a "theme" to it. In years past we noticed a pattern of Sat. = Jamaican, Wed. = Mexican, Thur. = Oriental, Fri. = Italian. But we've lunched at the beachgrill more often in recent visits and are not sure if those theme/dates still are in effect. It is entirely possible that things didn't change during your visit of course, but we've never experienced that.
Breakfast at Cassava does remain largely the same but there are changes. One just may not notice them unless you are detail oriented (btw, whatever happened to Tigger??). The most obvious were differences in the freshly prepared hot items at the grill area (e.g. pancakes vs. french toast vs. eggs benedict). Lately those items have been in the buffet area instead of freshly prepared at the grill but still changed on most days. Some days have pineapple syrup, others have banana syrup, or tropical fruit mix syrup.
Some days have smoked marlin instead of smoked salmon. You'd notice this if you were married to someone who wants the latter and complains about how positively awful it is not to have it, lol.
Also at the breakfast buffet the "Jamaican" item seems to change daily: ackee & saltfish vs. callaloo vs. escovitch.
Another long time repeater couple went to CN a few months after us and were worried that the meals wouldn't be as good. They told us afterwards that the meals were fantastic and that it was their best trip ever.
All of which is to say we think you made the right choice in switching back to CN and hope you'll enjoy it as you once did.
We'll be returning before your trip and will try to remember to post on the menus/food.
August 21st, 2011, 01:09 PM
We were at CN in June this year. I can't comment on the buffets, because we don't spend too much time there. However I did have eggs with ackee one morning and made a special effort to go back a couple of days later to find the items had totally changed. (We never did the lunch buffet.) So I guess they switch their breakfast buffets.
We actually LOVED Heliconia. We didn't have a good experience there our first trip to CN. Didn't go to it our second trip. Went our last night this past trip and loved it so much....we we're disappointed we couldn't go again.
We went to Otaheite twice, menu was the same and the food and service was wonderful!!!
Went to Cassava Terrace one night. Again, we thought it was much, much better than our previous trips. Another pleasant surprise.
Went to Lychee once. For some reason, we really prefer LemonGrass over Lychee. In our experiences, the entrees are just okay (everything else is awesome.) Also think LG lychee martini is better.
We love the beachgrill for lunch. It was great everyday...and we're glad they don't change that menu. I could eat their fish sandwich on coco bread everyday of my life.
So....no rocks being thrown. Sounds like you guys are foodies and that is an important part of your trip. Hope some others chime in to see if our experience is similar to others.
August 21st, 2011, 07:57 PM
We are at CN right now and are first timers, not only to Couples, but also to Jamaica, and to all-inclusives. Therefore, we can't compare CN to other all-inclusives, but here is our general impression so far:
Breakfast buffet at Cassava Terrace is great. Nice variety of foods.
Lychee - had dinner there twice. Sushi platter for two and sampler platter for two are very good. Pad Thai very good, fried ice cream delicious, beef stir fry pretty good. We didn't care for the fried rice and preferred the steamed jasmine rice. Service was spotty although the chef coming around to the tables was a nice tough. Not a very good wine selection for glasses of wine.
Otaheite - ate there on Lobster Night. Food and service was fantastic. We are going back tomorrow night for our last night's dinner.
Heliconia grill - ate there once for lunch and once for a snack. Snapper sandwich and calamari were pretty good. Other food was ok.
Heliconia restaurant - eating there tonight for the first time, so have no opinion right now.
One thing that we really observed was that there really aren't many options for lunch. There's the Cassava Terrace buffet or the Heliconia Grill. We liked the Cassava Terrace buffet selections today, but didn't care much for them, other than the salad bar, yesterday.
We did the Trading Places to CSA on Friday and had lunch at Sea Grapes. We loved the Grilled Snapper Sandwich and the sweet potato chips! We also really like the size of the balconies at CSA, so we maybe staying there in the future!
At any rate, we are having a great time at CN and are not looking forward to going home in a cpl of days!
One more thing, we had lunch at the "original" Office of Nature this past week and I really can't recommend it for decent and sanitary food. Although the people are very nice, the lobster we had tasted like ammonia (decomposition) after being taken out of a cooler with no ice in it and the lobster being dead, and the sanitary conditions questionable. If this place were in the US, the dept of health would most likely shut the place down!
We were just happy to escape without food poisoning! We had delicious lobster at Otaheite the next day!
August 22nd, 2011, 11:58 AM
We just got back last night from CN. The food is excellent. You don't have a thing to worry about.
August 22nd, 2011, 12:41 PM
We just returned from CN, we were there August 1st thru the 18th. I have to say we always have enjoyed the food at CN its always been good, we where there this past February also, but this trip I must say the food was superb it was really kicked up a notch at all the restaurants. The Repeaters dinner at Lychee was excellent, as was Otaheite ( we were a little disappointed in Feb) we ate here three times and menu changed weekly. Lychee superb and very fresh seafood. Halleconia is our favorite for food and ambiance and was also outstanding this trip also great on lobster night. Cassava Terrace we only dine on ala carte evenings as we are not buffet fans, this was excellent also.
I did notice more of a variety for lunches this trip at Cassava Terrace and also that they scaled back a bit on the abundance that is put out but filled rather quickly when something gets low. I like this as it cuts down on un-eaten food that may go to waste. Breakfast was very good, it varied somewhat but breakfast is breakfast there are only so many options, but I did enjoy the smoked salmon and smoked marlin that was out at breakfast time.
In five trips this was the the most impressive dining we have had at CN, keep up the good work at CN as you have definitely hit the mark with the little changes that have been made in your dining options, loved it!!!!!
Last edited by columbo; August 23rd, 2011 at 03:15 PM.
August 22nd, 2011, 01:57 PM
We were at CN in May and felt somewhat the same way as you. Mostly in the beach grill. We felt the jerk chicken which we always looked forward to was really different. The service was also really slow. We didn't notice as much in the other restaurants as we did the beach grill. I too hope things get better. We have been to CN 5 times and are now considering trying CSA on our next trip.
August 24th, 2011, 01:20 PM
Thanks to all for your input. Past years we'd noticed and enjoyed the "themed lunches" at the buffet. We did not experience that the first week in February. We found ourselves really looking forward to lunch at Margaritaville at the airport to have a different lunch. Breakfast didn't have the changes we'd noticed in the past. And we thought the meals in the Terrace and Heliconia were not as good as in past trips. So I'm hearing many of you saying the food is good. I'm counting on it since we switched our p;lans to return. This will probably be "do or die" however since we pay more to go to Couples for 2 reasons - the GORGEOUS beach and the outstanding food. We have always thought the rooms are merely adequate compared to other places. So take away the food or the beach and it's hard to justify the higher cost. Here's hoping for a trip that compares to most of our other visits to CN!
August 24th, 2011, 10:50 PM
We visited CN in April 2011 and this is the first time in 8 years of visiting all ins all over the Caribbean that we were sad to leave on day 7. At any other resort RIU, Breezes, etc by day 3 we had pretty much had it with all the salt in the food and the repetitive menu. At CN every meal was different with the standards always available we will be returning next year because of this, plus the great service and of just being at CN. Wise decision to return enjoy mc
August 25th, 2011, 11:18 PM
Good to hear things are back. We were there last week of January 2011 and thought the food wasn't as good but thought it was just our selection. What was really, really disappointing was how long we waited for the food. Must have been some confusion in the kitchen. Isn't detering another trip : ) but good to know there was a reason for the little slide back.
August 26th, 2011, 03:15 PM
We were at CN the end of February, our normal time in the past 3 trips, and the food was great as usual. The buffet had something different everyday, but the differences were subtle if you did not pay attention to everything. We ate there every breakfast and every lunch except once. I believe the menu does change somewhat based on season there though. Only 174 more long dreary days till returning home.