Although it’s been many years since I sailed on the Disney Magic I remember the food only too well. To put it bluntly it was pretty dreadful to the palate of this self-professed foodie, but anyone under 12 seemed to enjoy the offerings such as Mac ‘n Cheese and the like. I was on a press trip and most of my fellow cruise writers felt the same way until they treated us to dinner a Palo. We were in foodie heaven in this pretty, adults only room dining in style with wine and grown-up chatter. Now granted the cuisine could have improved over the years on the rest of the ship, but if you are going on a Disney cruise with the young ones I highly recommend at least popping for a meal at Palo (it costs extra and if it’s as good as it was back then, it’s worth it).
The cruise line sent out a press release today espousing the joys of dining at the signature restaurant and a new menu that they say “revisits its Italian roots with the addition of regional recipes, authentic ingredients and time-honored techniques. All served in a romantic room with sweeping ocean views plus and extensive wine list not available in the other venues.
In fact there is a New Wine Pairing Menu featuring Esperienza del Vino wines served with each of the six courses starting with savory coppa (thinly sliced cured pork neck) on dressed fava beans, garnished with sharp pecorino cheese and micro celery. A refreshing Venetian Bellini made with sparkling Prosecco, ripe white peaches and a hint of raspberry goes well with the appetizers. Four courses follow: gnocchi with nutty cep mushroom sauce; poached white asparagus with smoked anchovies, quail egg and truffle oil; sea bass with spinach and buckwheat. The finale is beef striploin—aged for 25 days, seared and roasted with rosemary—thinly sliced and served with dressed arugula. Tastes from Italy’s renowned vineyards include Bellavista Franciacorta Cuvee Brut, a rich blend of 30 distinctive wines; dry, flowery Elena Walch Gewurztraminer from the northern province of South Tyrol; La Scolca Gavi dei Gavi Black Label, crisp and acidic with undertones of almond and lime; and full-bodied Antinori Tignanello Marchesi, a potent Tuscan red with notes of spice, fruit, oak, licorice and rosemary.
Next you are served a decadent denouement in the form of creamy mascarpone mousse, enclosed in a delicate white chocolate dome and served atop fluffy rhubarb and grappa sponge cake in a bed of sweet consommé jelly. This one is paired with a floral and fruity Alexander Platinum Grappa.
Dinner selections added to the menu include a whole roasted chicken, marinated for 24 hours in lemon, sea salt and rosemary, presented in a copper dish with roasted baby vegetables, asparagus and potatoes, and topped with a Barolo wine reduction typical to the mountainous region of Piedmont in the northwest. Fresh from the seafood selection comes a piquant Dover sole that is fileted tableside and served with regional staples like capers, anchovies, sundried tomatoes and thyme potatoes. Every good meal requires a sweet ending and the new menu includes choices such as light, creamy tiramisu—a coffee-infused classic—and a limoncello tart for a refreshing pop of citrus. One thing that hasn’t changed is the signature Palo chocolate soufflé, prepared fresh to-order and served piping hot with luscious vanilla bean and chocolate sauces, plus a scoop of ice cream for good measure.
Reservations are required for all Palo dining experiences and can be booked online or onboard. There is a $30 per person charge for dinner, plus the cost of alcoholic beverages, and the Esperienza del Vino wine pairing experience is an additional $59 per person. Cruiseable has more information about Disney on the site.