The Neopian Review: A Guide to Fine Dining
Up until the year 7, The Golden Dubloon, located on the south side of Krawk Island,
was the best, the worst, and the only restaurant in all of Neopia. Amidst the
reconstruction of Maraqua, a new restaurant set up shop and is now vying for the
attention, and neopoints, of Neopians everywhere. Kelp, located at the heart of
the new Maraqua, has had waiting lists hundreds of names long every night since
its opening and anyone with a desire to taste Maraqua’s finest cuisine must make
a reservation months in advance. Is Kelp worth the trouble? How is Kelp different
from the Golden Dubloon? What is the best way to get an evening of fine dining
without completely draining your bank account? The answers to these questions
and more will be addressed in the following guide, written just for you, the average
The restaurants will each be evaluated individually; descriptions will be given
of the following categories: Atmosphere, Service, Cuisine (quality, taste, presentation),
and Price. Based on these four categories, an overall grade will be awarded.
THE GOLDEN DUBLOON
For years, The Golden Dubloon has withstood the tides, the pirates, and the
health inspections, while still defending its name as the best restaurant in
all of Neopia. Its guarantee that “every customer is treated like the captain”
has drawn a wide variety of eaters, from tourists to dissatisfied sailors to
pirates that just want to eat something other than slop. Here, the champion
scoffers of Food Club get their training, taking full advantage of the Golden
Dubloon’s belt bustin’ motto. Under the scrutiny of Captain Hackett’s only eye,
no more than one pet per owner is allowed in at a time, and for no longer than
15 minutes per visit.
A visitor’s first impression of the restaurant may be one of surprise, shock,
or complete disgust – all depending on which pirate he or she sees first. As
can be expected, the Golden Dubloon is stuffed with ravenous pirates, and is
NOT a family restaurant. The air is filled with the smell of brine and sweat;
unless you start scoffing down food, the unique blends of aromas may more than
just overwhelm you. Food goes flying constantly, and though the sea-weathered
patrons are mostly concerned with their meals, a few may involve themselves
in a short scuffle before Captain Hackett tosses them out. Once you grow accustomed
to the vulgarity and the sticky floors and the filthy tables, the atmosphere
becomes one of great jollity and high spirits. Music is constantly playing,
whether it is from the splintered old piano in the back of the room, or from
a pirate that has had a bit much to drink. The sailors are generally happy to
be on dry land again and the pirates can’t help but celebrate any plunder made
out on the high seas. Seafarer or not, every customer at the Golden Dubloon
leaves with a happy grin on his face, a “yarrr” on his tongue, and a major headache
to be anticipated the next morning.
Captain Hackett is the first Neopet each customer sees upon entering the Golden
Dubloon. With a squint of his single eye, he will tell you brusquely whether
there is room or not for your pet. If there is a seat available, he will quickly
lay down the rules of his restaurant and leave you to navigate the chaos to
your table. As intimidating as this encounter is, it is to maintain Captain
Hackett’s idea of quality within his restaurant. However, with a flip of a one-dubloon
coin, anyone can walk right in, regardless of the Neopian Health Committee’s
100 pet maximum occupancy rule. Once you are seated, one of the lovely Fontaine
sisters will come right to your service to take your order. The three Fontaine
sisters are the gems of Krawk Island, but while you admire them, do not forget
to order! They are as courteous as the patron they serve, and have been known
to toss unruly and rude customers out the window. On weekend nights, these girls
can strike up quite a tune and will have you on your feet, stomping and clapping
to their incredible voices. Food is always delivered promptly, and your cup
is always full to the brim. Now that’s what I call good service!
In adamant spite of the Neopian Health Committee, Captain Hackett brings in
the finest chefs from the galleys of some of the most renowned pirate ships
that ever sailed the Neopian seas. The chefs at the Golden Dubloon use ingredients
harvested right from the waters around Krawk Island, and occasionally ship in
fruits from nearby Mystery Island. Meals are almost always prepared with fresh
catches from earlier in the day, and leftover ingredients are stored and preserved
with all-natural methods (no artificial preservatives, ever!). One chef proudly
boasts that every Bilge Rat Madeira (4 dubloons) is made from the best rats
found on his ship. There’s no denying it, customers are served the best of the
best from the best pirate chefs.
For visitors new to the pirate culture, food at the Golden Dubloon is an acquired
taste. The chewy textures of some of the seafood and the strong, burning sensation
of the restaurant’s famous grogs (Grog in Four Fruity Flavors, 2 dubloons; Grog
Light, 2 dubloons per tankard) are a lot to absorb in one sitting. For pirates,
however, it is like a home-cooked meal. There is one thing that is always for
certain: you will never be bored of the same old, same old, since meals at the
Golden Dubloon never taste the same as they did the last time. The restaurant
has only one identifying flavour, and that is the underlying taste of the sea
salt used to season the food.
“Yarrr, food be food,” snarls Captain Hackett when asked about the presentation
of his restaurant’s food. “What good does it do ye if it be sittin’ pretty like
some golden goose?” And indeed, it doesn’t do any good at all. Dishes are served
in a practical manner: quick, with everything laid out to see. There are no
garnishes to distract the hungry eater from what matters most at the moment
– the food. Chefs do cater to each customer’s inner child, though, with their
newest creation: Joy Fun Pops (2 dubloons each), in fun shapes like ships and
For a good time and a hearty meal, these prices are fair:
Starter courses range from 1 dubloon for a Tropical Breeze (a mix of Mystery
Island fruits) to 5 dubloons for a Double Stuffed Guppy (one small guppy within
a larger guppy).
Main courses range from 3 dubloons for a Baby Bloater (steamed, seasoned, and
presented on a bed of pickled seaweed) to 9 dubloons for Cap’n Threeleg’s Cutlass
Crusade (a prime selection of meat, cooked as desired).
Desserts range from 2 dubloons for a Kraku Berry Cove (cake drizzled with warm
berry sauce) to 4 dubloons for a Pinanna Paradise (a delectable puree of Pinanna
and cold sweetened cream)
All drinks are 2 dubloons each, and all fruity grogs come with free refills.
For the brave Neopet, the famed Golden Dubloon Hogshead is available for a whopping
The least expensive meal: Tropical Breeze, Baby Bloater, Kraku Berry Cove or
Joy Fun Pop, and a Fruity Grog (8 dubloons total)
Although it is uncommon to see a pirate not finish his food, the Fontaine sisters
will gladly pack up any leftovers to send home. After all, it cuts down on how
much they have to clean after their customers leave. Trying to lose weight?
The Fontaine sisters encourage you to stop by anyway, even if just for a drink
Overall Grade: B (Yes, the influence of the Neopian Health Committee does stretch
far, doesn’t it?)
THE KELP RESTAURANT
Months after its Grand Opening, Kelp in Maraqua still draws a crowd. Little
is known yet of who the owner is, where the owner is from or why the owner decided
to build a restaurant in the middle of the ocean, but that does not matter while
the Neopian public still cannot get enough of Kelp’s “eclectic blend of both
modern and traditional cuisine.” Every menu featured by Kelp contains something
for everybody. Already, the small restaurant has established quite a name for
itself, and the benefits used to appease dissatisfied customers seem not to
exist (or is it the dissatisfied customers that do not exist?). The average
Neopian would be fortunate to have even a glimpse of the inside of the incredible
Kelp, as the tabs are rumoured to be in the tens of thousands of Neopoints,
and there never seems to be any end to the waiting lists.
The inside of Kelp is like a celebrity ballroom, filled with only the most
privileged of Neopia. Pleasant fragrances of steaming entrees and floral decorations
waft through the entire restaurant, and the clink of wine glasses and silverware
sound above the muted murmur of intellectual conversation. In the background,
instrumentalists play faintly enough not to be a disturbance but are an integral
part of Kelp’s elegant aura. The underwater setting allows the Maraquan waiters
and waitresses float in a smooth, dignified manner between tables, thus preserving
the calm and relaxed mood of their patrons. This is certainly not a family restaurant,
exclusively reserved for small dinner parties, couples, and perhaps the odd
restaurant reviewer. Any young Neopets present must be dressed well and kept
quiet and behaved. For the cultured and worldly Neopet, Kelp is the ideal place
to savor some of Neopia’s finest company and dining.
As every fine dining connoisseur knows, excellent service is essential to an
excellent dining experience. As can be expected from any top-tier restaurant,
customers at Kelp are treated like royalty. Upon entering Kelp, a smartly dressed
Maraquan Scorchio asks for your reservation, looks you up and down, and then
gives you a smile as if he knew you had a reservation, but had to simply ask
as a part of his job. If you are not dressed properly, you will be treated as
if your name were never on the list to begin with, so dress well before leaving
your Neohome. A waiter escorts the customers to their table, and for a lady
Neopet, will seat her by pulling her chair out for her. A beautiful waitress
comes to take orders a little while later, and appetizers and drinks are served
promptly. The waitresses at Kelp are specially trained to be polite and courteous
at all times, without seeming superficial. At the slightest movement of a hoof,
paw or finger, a waitress will be at the table, ready to do her best to serve.
Be sure to leave a substantial tip for their services, as they are known to
never forget a bad customer!
Kelp is world-renowned for its exquisite cuisine, and a look inside its kitchens
does nothing but exalt the quality of its dishes. The Neopian Health Committee
praises Kelp for its impeccably clean kitchens, and the immense care taken into
handling ingredients. Kelp has three large storage freezers that are kept at
a specific temperature at all times to maintain freshness. Chefs do not start
cooking dishes until they receive the order from the waitresses, and therefore
patrons are guaranteed the freshest quality possible, though the wait may be
excruciatingly long. All seafood is harvested from the waters surrounding Maraqua,
and sea vegetation is grown in Kelp’s special greenhouse, along with rare herbs
The chefs of Kelp hail from all over Neopia, bringing in the finest ingredients
from their homelands, and the variety of styles is reflected in the variety
of dishes offered on the course menu. Kelp drinks are by far the most exotic,
with specialized drinks from as nearby as Mystery Island (Foozette Juice, 9,000
np) to as far as the Lost Desert (Aged Tchea Juice, 8,000 np) and the Virtupets
Space Station (Blue and Orange Rambus Blend, 8,000 np). Kelp is especially proud
to be able to make the claim that its menus cater to all preferences – red meat,
white meat, fish, and vegetarian dishes are served with the most unique and
tasteful seasonings. For the picky eater and those with particular taste buds,
Kelp guarantees that there will be a dish suited to your taste. For more curious
Neopians, Kelp offers its signature ice cream, made of the finest, but most
mysterious, ingredients (Kelp’s Signature Ice Cream, 12,100 np).
To the chefs of Kelp, presentation of food is an art form. Sauces are poured
to form patterns on the plate before the main course is placed upon it, and
garnishes add flair and beauty to an otherwise plain, but succulent, piece of
meat. Desserts are presented in stylish wafer shells, hand-dipped and arranged
(Triple Chocolate Shell, 12,400 np; Peachpa and Stramberry Shell, 12,200 np).
The chefs take pride even in their drinks. Take for example Aged Tchea Juice,
served in a specially shaped glass to help “aerate the fine vintage and bring
out the bold Tchea flavours”, and garnished with a grilled Tchea fruit. One
chef, from Mystery Island, highly recommends the Luxurious Vegetarian Star Pie
(29,100np), his unique take on a vegetable quiche, infused with Grunions and
Zeevines, and arranged in the shape of a star. The food is so beautifully presented
at Kelp, customers cannot help but admire it for a moment before digging in.
It is highly encouraged to order a full course meal, and customers find that
the food, service and overall dining experience at Kelp is very much worth these
Appetisers range from 13,000 neopoints for an Angel Hair Salad (a light pasta
salad sprinkled with meats and vegetables) or a Tropical Fruit Bowl (a unique
selection of some of the freshest Maraquan fruits) to 16,300 neopoints for Fresh
Oysters (three fresh oysters with a lemon butter sauce).
The main course can range from 28,400 neopoints for a Spicy Radish Salad (thinly
sliced and spiced radishes with fresh, crisp vegetables) to 33,000 neopoints
for a Filet of Beef (a succulent steak with a whirl of asparagus) or Ocean Platter
(a blend of Maraquan treasures).
Desserts range from 12,000 neopoints for a Honeyed Horn Of Plenty (ice cream,
sorbet and assorted Maraquan berries all drizzled with honey) to Octopi Souffle
(three delicious types of chocolate souffle shaped like Octopi).
Drinks are by far the most expensive per amount, and duly so, ranging from
7,000 neopoints for a Thornberry Brew or Lemwart Fizz, to 9,000 neopoints for
all other drinks except Aged Tchea Juice and Phear Juice, which are 8,000 neopoints
The least expensive meal: Angel Hair Salad or Tropical Fruit Bowl, Spicy Radish
Salad, Honeyed Horn of Plenty, and Thornberry Brew or Lemwart Fizz (60,400 neopoints
The chefs at Kelp are staunch believers that good food should never go to waste,
and if you should not be able to finish a meal in one sitting, the waitresses
would be more than happy to pack it up for you to take home. However, one bite
out of any dish here at Kelp, and it is almost guaranteed that you will not
stop until you are finished.
Overall Grade: A- (In spite of everything, the food is still a bit overpriced.)
The Kelp Restaurant and the Golden Dubloon are both excellent, sit-down restaurants
that offer a wide variety of tastes, styles and ingredients. Between the two,
there is something for everyone, and one restaurant is better than the other
based only on the preference of the customer. So, readers, give both restaurants
a try and decide which is best for you! Bon Appetit!
Search the Neopian Times
|The Meepit War: Part Two|
"We should first find out what
our enemy wants. Since they're too strong for us to actually beat, at least
without reinforcements, we need to have a plan of action."
|Twenty Terrifying Items of which to Beware|
Do you and your pets enjoy taking frightening voyages into the Haunted Woods?
Are you fascinated by terrifying items? Do you want to explode every time you
come across a cute, cuddly Snowbunny? If so, then you have come to the right article...
|How The Drenched Came To Be: Part Four|
Dread just snickered and rolled her eyes at
him. "Don't you think we already took care of your guards? They'll wake to find
you back in your bedchamber, probably some time tomorrow..."