I ate at the exclusive adults-only restaurant that's on every Disney cruise, and it was worth the extra $45

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Carly Caramanna smiling with wine glass on disney wish
When I was on the Disney Wish, I ate at Palo Steakhouse.Carly Caramanna
  • I dined at Palo Steakhouse, an exclusive adults-only restaurant on all Disney Cruise Line ships.

  • I tried the $45 prix-fixe menu and was impressed by the food, service, and portion sizes.

  • I think the romantic "Beauty and the Beast"-inspired restaurant was worth the additional cost.

I recently sailed on the Disney Wish, the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet.

Carly Caramanna disney wish princess sculpture by staircase
The Wish joined the fleet in 2022.Carly Caramanna

The Disney Wish is the latest addition to the Disney Cruise Line fleet, which includes the Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder, the Disney Dream, and the Disney Fantasy.

The Wish takes an upscale approach to the cruise experience, and the ship's overall feel is unlike that of any other cruise I've boarded.

As a freelance theme-park journalist, I was invited to ride the ship early for free, but I paid for extra experiences and specialty dining, like this, out of my own pocket.

The Wish has the most standout dining options out of all the Disney cruises I've boarded.

the marvel restaurant on disney wish
The Worlds of Marvel is a restaurant on the Disney Wish.Carly Caramanna

The Wish offers the cruise line's most ambitious and standout dining options to date, including several themed restaurants with globally inspired menus and immersive theater performances.

The ship's three main dining spots — 1923, Worlds of Marvel, and Arendelle: A Frozen Dining Adventure  — are all included in the price of the voyage.

I splurged on a meal at Palo Steakhouse, a restaurant that isn't included in the cruise price.

entrance of palo steakhouse on disney wish
The entrance to Palo Steakhouse boasted gorgeous views of the water.Carly Caramanna

The ship has several adults-only spaces, including Palo Steakhouse and Enchanté by Chef Arnaud Lallement. Both require a reservation and an additional fee.

The latter, inspired by Walt Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" (1991) and helmed by the Michelin-starred chef, is a new addition to the Disney Cruise Line.

Disney cruisers may recognize Palo from other vessels.

Carly Caramanna disney wish sign to the rose, palo, enchante
Guests walk through The Rose to get to Palo and Enchanté.Carly Caramanna

With a name inspired by the colorful poles gondoliers use in Venice, Palo is a Disney Cruise Line staple that was first introduced on the Disney Magic and is now on all of the ships.

Palo's menu on the Wish slightly varies from the original, as it leans more heavily into steakhouse offerings. It also still offers its signature Northern Italian specialties.

I passed through a cocktail bar called The Rose on my way to the restaurant.

the rose cocktail bar on disney wish
The Rose is a cocktail bar on the Wish.Carly Caramanna

Palo and Enchanté are connected to The Rose, an elegant "Beauty and the Beast"-themed cocktail bar that serves as the entryway to both restaurants. Guests have to be at least 18 to enter all three.

I loved the entrance of The Rose. It displays the animated film's iconic wilting rose within the glass. The bar also has dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows that look out to some of the best views on the ship.

Palo is inspired by Cogsworth, the clock character in "Beauty and the Beast."

Carly Caramanna disney wish decor painting in pola, clock themed from beauty and the beast
Palo is filled with Cogsworth-themed decor.Carly Caramanna

Palo's decor all ties back to Cogsworth, the beloved majordomo-turned-enchanted clock in the animated film.

Embracing the theme, the inside of the restaurant features shiny metallic materials and gorgeous woods. Clock gears and pendulums are also included in the details as nods to the character.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in was the raw slabs of meat on display.

meat display at palo on disney wish cruise
Palo had a meat display near the entrance.Carly Caramanna

When I walked into Palo, the first thing I spotted was the stunning display of wine bottles and a large glass case that featured different cuts of raw meat.

The restaurant's atmosphere was filled with romance.

Carly Caramanna disney wish decor in palo steakhouse, lamp on table and circles on wall
The inside of Palo felt very upscale.Carly Caramanna

Palo exudes intimacy, making it the perfect location for a quiet dinner or a date night.

Because the restaurant is located towards the back of the ship, the cozy seating looks out to wonderful views.

Palo offers both a set menu and an option to order à la carte.

Carly Caramanna disney wish holding palo steakhouse menu
Palo Steakhouse's menu is slightly different on the Wish.Carly Caramanna

On the Wish, Palo offers both a multi-course set menu, priced at $45 per person, along with à la carte options.

The menu has something for everyone. There are classic Italian dishes, like pappardelle with grilled lobster and a sage-brown butter agnolotti topped with crumbled amaretti.

This new Palo also has modern steakhouse favorites, including prime cuts of meat like Australian wagyu and Japanese Kobe.

Other meat options include a parmesan-crusted rack of Niman Ranch lamb and dry-aged prime Angus porterhouse steak.

For those whose eyes are bigger than their stomachs, it's worth noting that Palo doesn't allow guests to take leftovers.

 

I opted for the $45 four-course menu.

the menu at palo steakhouse on disney wish
There were plenty of options at Palo. Luckily, our server helped us through each course.Carly Caramanna

I decided to try the four-course, $45 prix-fixe menu. There was also an option to add a wine pairing for an additional $70 per person.

I was able to choose between various offerings for each course of my meal. I found the price to be more than fair for the high-quality dining experience I had at Palo.

 

I began my meal with a glass of Chianti, which a sommelier poured for me.

a sommelier holding bottle of wine at palo steakhouse on disney wish
A sommelier brought my wine to the table.Carly Caramanna

The drink menu has cocktails, beers, and an extensive Italian wine list.

After ordering a glass of Chianti à la carte for $9.75, I was surprised when a sommelier appeared at my table to present it to me.

A small amuse-bouche, or complimentary appetizer, kicked off the meal.

Carly Caramanna disney wish small appetizer, orange in the middle of a white dish
The complimentary fritter was a delicious start to the meal.Carly Caramanna

Before the first course, the server brought me an amuse-bouche, which is a single bite that's offered as a complimentary starter.

The small fritter was accompanied by a delicious mushroom purée.

The complimentary bread was also delicious.

Carly Caramanna disney wish palo bread basket
The bread basket arrived with a variety of options.Carly Caramanna

The bread basket was absolutely incredible and had a variety of different options.

It was hard to resist filling up on the focaccia-style herb bread, which was my favorite, but I knew I had a long meal ahead of me.

For my antipasti course, I went with caprese.

Carly Caramanna disney wish caprese salad at Palo
The caprese salad was one of the highlights of my meal at Palo.Carly Caramanna

For my antipasto, I chose the heirloom tomato and Buffalo mozzarella caprese with basil pesto and balsamic vinegar.

It was absolutely delicious. The pesto's herb-packed punch worked in tandem with the creamy and savory cheese.

I'm a big caprese fan, this was one of the best versions of the decadent dish that I've ever had.

 

The romaine hearts-based salad was also a standout.

the caesar salad at palo steakhouse
The ingredients used in the Caesar salad all tasted so fresh.Carly Caramanna

I ordered the crisp romaine hearts with Caesar dressing, toasted ciabatta croutons, gorgonzola, and quail eggs for my second course.

The ingredients were simple but tasted incredibly fresh. The quail eggs and tangy Caesar dressing were my favorites.

I stuck with simple penne pasta for the next course.

past at palo steakhouse
The pasta dish was simple yet delicious.Carly Caramanna

For the il secondo course, I decided on penne pasta with San Marzano tomato basil sauce, chiles, and Parmigiano-Reggiano.

I loved the use of smaller pasta in place of the traditional penne, and the San Marzano sauce was a perfect coat over the al dente pasta. Plus, the chiles added a nice kick.

We also ordered a wagyu steak for the table.

Carly Caramanna disney wish wagyu beef
Our table shared a 6-ounce cut of wagyu.Carly Caramanna

I couldn't resist ordering the 6-ounce Japanese A5 wagyu strip loin, priced at $45.

It was an absolute steal considering wagyu, one of the most expensive meats in the world, is typically sold for upward of $30 per ounce.

The meat was so tender that it felt like it melted in my mouth.

Palo offered a selection of sauces, like a delicious pink peppercorn, to go with the meat, but I didn't need to use any. The wagyu was excellent on its own.

The dessert was light — making it the perfect ending to the meal.

Carly Caramanna disney wish dessert tiramisu on plate
My table ordered a couple of desserts at the end of our meal.Carly Caramanna

Although I was full by this point of the meal, I still had dessert left. So, I ordered Palo's tiramisu for my final course.

The restaurant's interpretation of this famous Italian dessert used coffee-infused ladyfingers, layers of mascarpone cheese, and raspberry.

The tiramisu was delicious and unexpectedly light. Since it wasn't too heavy or rich, I found it to be the perfect finale for my multi-course meal.

Palo is absolutely worth the $45 upcharge.

Carly Caramanna disney wish sitting at table at Palo with views of ocean
Palo is located at the back of the ship, so my table had stunning ocean views.Carly Caramanna

The service, food, and atmosphere at Palo were all exceptional.

Our server was incredibly knowledgeable and guided us throughout each course, answering all of our questions about the menu items.

They also gave us new utensils between courses, which I thought was a nice touch and fitting for an upscale restaurant.

One of the elements that surprised me the most was the generous portion sizes. There was so much food.

After finishing my meal, I knew that Palo was absolutely worth the upcharge to visit. Between the steady pace that the courses arrived and the restaurant's refined space, Palo is perfect for a romantic and relaxed night out onboard a Disney cruise.

Read the original article on Insider