Having brunch at Palo, Disney’s adults-only Italian restaurant, was probably the thing I most wanted to do on my Caribbean cruise last month. While I had dined at Palo three times prior for dinner, brunch had always been out of my reach (I was not able to secure a reservation) so I made sure that was not the case with my first ever warm weather seven night cruise.
Brunch is only available on the days at sea so I made reservations for our first day at sea, which also happened to be our first full day aboard. (In hindsight I wish I had reserved for our second day at sea which was later in the week. Next time.)
We didn’t get a window seat view, a tad disappointing since when we dined at Remy later in the week we did, but it was completely dark by then to fully enjoy. However, I actually didn’t mind being in a booth. We were away from a lot of the “action” and talking and also right near some of the beautiful Italian themed artwork (Palo serves Northern Italian cuisine).
Our waiter was Ivica from Croatia and like all the dining staff aboard the Disney ships but especially in the premium restaurants (the adults only ones), he was a major reason why our brunch was so memorable- completely professional but also welcoming and even gregarious. He would chat too, beyond the usual “is everything okay with your meal.”
Brunch is a set price of $25 per person and includes a complimentary mimosa or a glass of Prosecco (an Italian sparkling wine). We both opted for the mimosa.
Part of Palo’s allure is that it includes both buffet selections and a la carte ordering for your entree. So in short, you’re going to be getting a lot of food and feeling ridiculously full by the end of the meal. Although you can return as many times as you’d like, Ivica first took us to the buffet and “handed us off” to another Palo team member who then walked us through each of the buffet stations. Ever professional, she then served us whatever items we wanted.
Buffet stations included cold seafood (I didn’t partake too much from this as I’m not the biggest fan of raw seafood but did enjoy the marinated scallops), a vast array of Italian cheeses, meats, and other antipasti selections, as well as breads and pastries. There was also a dessert station but I’ll discuss more on that below.
As for our main course selections, I knew immediately I wanted something Italian, not just “brunch” (aka eggs and bacon). Trying to be more vegetarian when I can, I selected the Rollatini Melanzane, which was lightly breaded baked eggplant filled with proscuitto (okay, so it wasn’t completely vegetarian), sweet ricotta and smoked mozzarella, served on Toscana sauce, and drizzled with aged balsamic Modena. This sounds like hyperbole but it was beyond amazing. One of the best things I’ve ever eaten. And the ironic thing is that when growing up, I hated the taste of eggplant.
While D felt a bit odd going with the Calzone in a place like Palo, he dubbed it the best calzone he’s ever eaten (i.e. nothing like what you would get at your neighborhood pizza shop with the dough akin to cardboard). This was filled with prosciutto, basil, bell peppers, and mozzarella.
Because on the Disney ships, the dining staff always encourages you to try as much as possible, Ivica also ordered us a small plate of the Lasagna Bolognese, as he declared it one of his personal favorites. Although I was somewhat scared over the addition of more food, I was also glad as I had considered ordering this myself.
And then there was still dessert to contend with. Although D thought we might be getting dessert menus, I was pretty confident that the dessert buffet station we had seen was it, which was certainly fine with me. I ended up getting as diverse a selection as possible but made sure to include a cannoli, one of my all time favorites. I also selected a palate cleanser that Ivica had talked about, one in which the fruit had been marinated in champagne.
Everyone we talked to who had done brunch here had always raved about it and I’m happy to say it did not disappoint in the least. Service was impeccable and the food truly superb. Being a first time experience, brunch at Palo was definitely one of the highlights of my Caribbean cruise. And I can’t wait until I can do it again.