Adult-Exclusive Dining: Palo
We then headed up to Deck 10, Aft, for our reservation at Palo for brunch.
Palo is an adult-exclusive restaurant on every ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet. It is open for brunch and dinner, at an extra charge, not included with your cruise fare.
The food is described as Northern Italian cuisine with a modern twist.
The restaurant is named after the signature long poles used by gondoliers in Venice. The decor is elegant, with deep reds and golds. There are Venetian masks and glass to look at, and the open kitchen allows you to see your food being prepared.
The windows are floor to ceiling providing almost every table a view of the ocean. The windows are slightly mirrored so people cannot peer in as they walk past!
We had a table right next to a window, and with the sunny day outside, it was just perfect!
Steve and I love brunch, and having brunch at Palo was on our to-do list for our first Disney cruise. We had heard lots of good things about it, and even though it is an extra charge, it was so worth it!
We booked before getting on the ship via the Navigator App, 60 days before sailing. But you can ask when on board the ship if any tables are available.
Palo is very popular for both brunch and dinner, so I suggest getting them booked in as soon as you can. We did book for dinner too but decided to cancel (more on that in a few days).
I should also mention that there is a dress code at Palo which is to dress smart-casual – jeans are fine if in good condition. Men should wear collared shirts (a Polo shirt is fine).
From the Disney Cruise Line website: Guests, please be advised that tank tops, swimsuits, swimsuit cover-ups, shorts, hats, cut-offs, torn clothing, t-shirts with offensive language and/or graphics, flip-flops or tennis shoes are not permitted at Palo
Dinner and Brunch
Men: dress pants or slacks and collared shirt; jacket is optional
Women: dress, skirt or pants with a blouse
Jeans may be worn if in good condition (no holes)
Pre-Covid days, brunch consisted of a buffet table in addition to choices from the menu.
However, for now, the buffet has gone, and you can pick all you care to enjoy from the menu which includes antipasti, soup, waffles, and pancakes, eggs, flatbreads, entrées, and desserts.
The cost is $45 per person and includes a complimentary glass of Mimosa or Prosecco. Gratuities are included in the price, but you may tip extra if you so wish.
Palo Brunch »
Upon entering the restaurant we were shown to our table (as mentioned, we were sat next to a window), and waited for our server, who came over and introduced herself moments later. She was from England, and I just cannot remember her name sadly.
She was very friendly and presented us with our complimentary drinks – I chose a classic brunch favorite – Mimosa, while Steve had a glass of Prosecco. She then went through the whole menu with us and explained that we could choose anything and everything!
Fountain drinks, tea, and coffee are included in the price of brunch, but we stuck with water and our aforementioned complimentary drinks.
We started with a lovely bread basket which we nibbled on while choosing what to order, and I will go through everything below.
Advance notice – we ate A LOT!
- Sesame Seed Lavosh
- Black Olive, Sun Dried Tomato, and Feta Rolls
- Foaccacia with Caramelised Onion and Blue Cheese
- Parmesan Grossini Sticks
- Balsamic Olive Oil
Who can say no to a bread basket? Compared with the bread we had in the main dining rooms this was lovely and fresh! It was filled with a variety of different breads and crispbreads, and the balsamic olive oil was perfect for dipping.
Me: Antipasti Selection (Seafood) – Alaskan King Crab Legs, Jonah Crab Claws, Lemon Marinated Shrimp, Marinated Green Lip Mussels, Spiced Ahi Tuna served with Meyer Lemon, Saffron Aioli and Cocktail Sauce
Steve: Antipasti Selection (Meat & Cheese) – Sliced Prosciutto, Sliced Coppa, Sliced Bresaola, Salame Gentile, Marinated Cerignola Olives, Roasted Garlic, Caciotta al Tartufo, Parmesan Reggiano and Sweet Pepperdew
The plan was to share the antipasti, but the reality was we didn’t! Well, we had a tiny bit from each other’s plates, but that was it!
In hindsight, Steve said he wished he had got the seafood one too, as it felt more special than the meats and cheeses which seemed a bit basic. He especially loved the tuna from the seafood plate, as did I.
I preferred the Alaskan king crab legs over the Jonah crab claws, and the mussel was meaty and delicious. I do love seafood though, and would have happily eaten this twice!
The food was presented well, and looked lovely on the plates.
Waffles and Pancakes…
Both of Us: Apple Cinnamon Waffles – served with Whipped Cream and Mixed Berries
We’re on a Disney ship, so the waffles are Mickey Mouse-shaped! And quite frankly, it’s the only way to eat waffles on a Disney holiday! At Palo, they are the giant-sized waffles that can’t be found anywhere else on the ship (the regular-sized ones can be found at Cabanas and in the main dining rooms for breakfast).
The apple cinnamon topping came on the side, as did a little pot of whipped cream topped with half a strawberry and a blueberry.
It’s been 2 and a half years since our last Mickey waffle and these tasted GOOD! The apple topping was yummy, but I needed a tad more cream than was offered (because I’m a cream fiend!).
Me: Eggs on Toasted Muffin – with Smoked Salmon and Hollandaise
Steve: Eggs Florentine – Poached Eggs on Toasted Muffin with Spinach and Mornay Sauce
For this course we both went for poached eggs on a toasted muffin, however, I had mine with smoked salmon, and Steve’s was with spinach and a creamy cheese sauce.
Both we delicious and the poached eggs were cooked perfectly – just check out that runny yolk!
From The Pizza Stone Oven…
To Share: Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato Flatbread
There was a choice of three different types of flatbread (posh pizza!) and a calzone. We decided to share the goat cheese one, which I really enjoyed, but Steve not so much. It had a crispy thin base and it was deliciously cheesy.
Me: Rollatini Melanzane – Lightly Breaded Baked Eggplant filled with Prosciutto, sweet Ricotta and Smoked Mozzarella, served on Toscana Sauce and drizzled with Aged Balsamic Modena
Me: Artichoke Ravioli – with Morel Mushrooms, Meyer Lemon, shaved Pecorino Romano and Broccolini Pesto
Steve: Roasted Red Snapper Filet – with Rosemary Roasted Fennel, Cerignola Olives, Sun-dried Tomatoes and a Saffron Potato
On paper, the first choice I made – Rollatini Malanzane – sounded amazing and full of ingredients I enjoy eating. I was wrong. It wasn’t very flavorful and just didn’t taste “right” to me. I don’t think there was anything wrong with it, it just didn’t suit my palate.
Fortunately, I had also ordered the Artichoke Ravioli as I couldn’t choose between the two and the latter dish was excellent. Some of the best pasta I have ever had! I would highly recommend this ravioli dish.
Steve really enjoyed his red snapper and fennel, however, the potato was over salted to the point where it could not be eaten. It was as if someone continued to mindlessly pour salt on it.
We mentioned it to our server who was horrified. She asked Steve if he would prefer something else, or to replace it, but he was enjoying the rest of the dish and said it was fine.
Eventually, the Head Chef along with who I can only assume was the restaurant Manager, came along to apologise. Once again asking if he’d like a replacement, which Steve again declined.
We were presented with some complimentary Mimosas by way of apology.
Me: 5 Layered Pistachio Cake – layers of Pistachio Chiffon and Dark Chocolate Truffle, brushed with Raspberry Paste
Steve: Traditional Tiramisu with Coffee
To Share: Vanilla Berry Panna Cotta – served with Strawberry Basil Sorbet.
We were certainly at our limit by now but just managed to squeeze in a dessert (or two!).
Having watched a few vlogs about Palo Brunch, we knew some items to try and some to avoid. However, food is subjective and I like to give something the benefit of the doubt.
One of those was the pistachio cake which I had picked for dessert. It had been mentioned that it was very dry, but it sounded so good and looked so pretty I couldn’t quite believe that. However, those reviews were accurate, the cake was pretty dry, and I think needed some cream or ice cream with it.
So it was the second choice dessert to the rescue with the panna cotta which was deliciously creamy. BUT, the strawberry basil sorbet… my taste buds were singing! That was the best strawberry sorbet I have ever had. I would eat a bowl just of that for dessert!
Steve decided on the traditional tiramisu, which looked far from traditional! It was presented in a chocolate shell, dusted with cocoa powder, and topped with a raspberry and chocolate embellishments.
As we chatted to our server during brunch, she had asked what made us decide on a Disney UK Staycation, and we told her why including it being a birthday celebration for me. Very sweet of her to then bring me out this plate (above) with ‘Happy Birthday Michelle’ piped on it in chocolate and swirls of fruit coulis around it.
I wasn’t sure whether to lick it clean or just take a photo – I did the latter!
We thoroughly enjoyed brunch at Palo, the food (other than the salty potato and personal tastes) was excellent, as was the service. The restaurant itself was gorgeous, and you can’t beat the views of the sea!
The value for money is outstanding – $45 per person may sound like a lot, but look at all the courses we were able to have! If you compare that to California Grill at Walt Disney’s Contemporary which is around the $75 mark, you’ll know why I say that it is good value for the money.
It was on par with Cali Grill too (where we have enjoyed brunch several times) and had the buffet also been available as usual, it may even be better.
If you are on a Disney cruise and wondering whether to have brunch at Palo or not, I highly recommend you do – especially if you love going for brunch!