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