Fine Dining on the High Seas at Disney Cruise Line’s Palo
Palo can be found on all four of Disney Cruise Lines ships. Taking cues from Northern Italian cuisine, you find yourself on a culinary journey to exceed your expectations. Palo is an “adult only” experience reserved for guests ages 18 and over. Reservations are highly recommended prior to sailing but you can also check with guest services once onboard to see if there are any openings available. There is an additional charge for dining at Palo, currently the base cost is $30.00. You also have the option to add in the wine paring (Esperienca del Vino) for an additional $59.00 per person.
My husband and I booked dinner the evening of our Cayman Island stop on our last cruise. This was an early day back to the ship and we didn’t feel we would be missing much on board this particular night. Our daughter was checked into the Oceaneers Club, with her own dinner plans for the evening, and we were off. Palo is located on the topmost aft deck on each of Disney’s ships. This location provides stunning views of the ocean if you dine before the sun sets.
When you arrive you are greeted at the check in desk by friendly cast members who lead you to your table. We were seated at a booth that is on a slight riser so that you still have a gorgeous view of the ocean over the tables located next to the windows. Just as we got settled and comfortable we were greeted by our server for the evening, Jenny. Introductions were made and we immediately jumped into discussing our evening. This was not our first time dining at Palo so we knew the routine. Jenny let us know of some changes to the menu and then presented us with the most interesting menu of the evening. The H2O selection. Yes, you read that correctly, a menu of 20 different waters from around the world. Jenny was very helpful when it came to selecting a water as the servers all had to attend a water tasting class! We each decided on a different water to sample. I selected a water from Wales, Tau. Joe’s selection came from Italy, San Benedetto. I never knew waters could taste so light and airy. And such different flavors from each other. The water that we did not drink that evening was labeled for us to enjoy in the main dining rooms for the rest of the cruise. We also selected a red wine for the evening that was also stored for us to have later in the cruise.
The first course consists of an antipasti platter. Jenny rolled the cart to our table and began to assemble our plate. Roasted red peppers, artichoke, prosciutto, bresaola, marinated olives, and parmesean reggiano. This is all drizzled with olive oil and aged balsamic. Three breads are also brought out to accompany the platter. Grissini sticks, ciabatta rolls and focaccia bread. I would be happy with just this platter as my meal but I knew there were more delicious selections to come!
It was time to order appetizers, yes after the delicious antipasti platter I was expected to eat even more before dinner was served. I didn’t mind at all! We selected the soft potato gnocci that was tossed in a light tomato sauce with kale and what could quite possibly be the best tomatoes I’ve had in 41 years. They are grown on the side of Vesuvius in Naples, Italy and have a wonderful ashy flavor to them. I am not a fan of tomatoes in general and I could have enjoyed these the rest of the cruise. We also ordered the Fritto di Calamari e Gamberi, deep-fried shrimp and calamari, the addition of flash fried basil and preserved lemon was an added experience. What flavors!
A palate cleansing lemon sorbet was brought out as it was now time to choose our main course. I found this to be a difficult decision, I wanted something different from our last visit but Joe knew he wanted the lamb again. The last time we dined here, he said it was the best lamb he had ever tasted. I finally decided and our orders were placed. Roasted rosemary-rubbed rack of lamb with roasted carrots, caponata, olive oil potatoes, with rosemary jus on the side for Joe and the grilled prime beef tenderloin with pancetta potato, sautéed spinach with barone chianti wine sauce for me. Every single thing was perfection. The lamb and tenderloin were cooked to the temperature we requested. Each bite melting in your mouth. We were doing our best to save room for dessert but we just kept eating! As our daughter says after she tells us she is full, “My dessert side always has room”.
We decided to share a Chocolate Souffle. You cannot go wrong with this selection. Hot gooey soufflé broken open by your server with chocolate and vanilla bean sauce poured in. It is a very rich dessert and we are very glad we decided to share. It’s the most popular dessert they offer and you will need to request it as you order dinner as it is made to order and takes 40 minutes. As dinner is ending Jenny brought out one last surprise, a small shot glass of a digestif comprised of frozen Lemoncello and Apple Ice Wine.
While dinner is only $30.00 be prepared to pay extra if you make a wine and/or water selection. Also remember to tip your server and the sommelier if your request their assistance. All in all, for $30.00 per person this is an exquisite experience from the moment you step into the restaurant that you should not pass up. You will feel you have stepped into another world and will not want to come back to reality.