Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Palo Brunch & Dinner - Disney Magic

We recently returned home from a 12 night British Isles cruise on the Disney Magic.  This was our eighth cruise with Disney Cruise Line and our second on the Disney Magic.  I always have my travel agent note my gluten "allergy" on our reservation so that our serving team is alerted ahead of time.  You can find all my previous Disney Cruise Line reviews on the Disney page of my blog here.

When our booking window opened, I made reservations for brunch and dinner at Palo, an adults-only restaurant serving northern Italian-inspired cuisine.  The charge for both brunch and dinner is $30 per person, but it is well worth it.  Brunch at Palo is only offered on sea days, so be sure to make a reservation as soon as your booking window opens, but we had no problem getting reservations for dinner, and could have dined at Palo multiple nights, but our daughters were not happy about us having dinner without them more than once.

I was sad to see that some of my favorite dishes at Palo are no longer available for brunch, like the chilled strawberry soup, and pasta with pesto.  The Parmesan-crusted chicken breast can be made gluten free with advance notice, or a version without breading is available without notice.

Our brunch started with a complimentary cocktail.  We could choose champagne, a Mimosa, or a Kir Royale.  I gave mine to my husband, because I forgot to bring an allergy pill with me.  About a year ago, I started getting itchy from head to toe when I consume alcohol, but it does not happen if I take an Allegra or Zyrtec.

You can order off the menu at Palo and visit their buffet, but because of my concerns about cross contamination, any dishes I was interested in from the buffet were brought from the kitchen.  I loved the big chunks of Parmesan drizzled with honey or topped with fig jam.  I also enjoyed my Caprese salad, roasted peppers, seafood salad, and prosciutto.

The chef I spoke to made me a custom pizza with olive oil and garlic, herbs, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheese.  On the cruises we have taken out of Port Canaveral, Palo has always used Udi's pizza crust, but I am pretty sure I was given Schar, which was quite good.

On the first day of our cruise, I met with the manager of Palo in Lumiere's to pre-order a chocolate souffle for dinner, and a Mickey waffle for brunch.  He told me that it is no longer necessary to pre-order the souffle, but I can't remember what he said about the waffle, which was one of the best Mickey waffles I have ever eaten.  I have never found a restaurant that makes gluten free large Mickey waffles at Disney World, but I had one over Christmas Break at Steakhouse 55 in Disneyland.

My waffle was cooked perfectly, and had a nice texture and taste, and it was delicious topped with the strawberry and apple cinnamon toppings our server Alvin brought us.  I did order the grilled cut sirloin steak off the menu, but cancelled it, because I decided that I had eaten enough food, and wanted to save some room for dessert.

The gluten free dessert options were the same as the desserts I was given the last time we cruised on the Disney Magic 2 1/2 years ago.  I always ask for a plate from the kitchen with one of each dessert.  I was given chocolate covered strawberries, mixed berries with champagne jelly, coffee panna cotta, raspberry panna cotta, and baked yogurt with mango.  I wasn't wowed by any of the desserts, but I enjoyed them all except the coffee panna cotta, which I have not liked on previous cruises.

The night before my birthday, my husband and I had dinner at Palo as we sailed out of Liverpool, so we were able to enjoy the beautiful views from our table at the window.  Because I remembered to bring an allergy pill on this visit to Palo, I decided to have a glass of Asti Spumante.

For bread, I was given slices of pizza crust cooked with olive oil and fresh herbs.  I am pretty sure I ate the whole basket, because I enjoyed the flavor and texture of the pizza crust.

My husband and I always love the plate of Italian meats, cheeses, roasted vegetables, and olives from the antipasti cart.  We had ours drizzled with rosemary olive oil and aged balsamic.

For a starter, I ordered the Tuscan white bean soup, which is described as cannellini beans with pancetta and kale simmered in chicken stock.  The soup was good, but I mentioned to our server Alvin that I prefer the old version of Palo's white bean soup.

About five minutes later, Alvin showed up at our table with the previous version of Palo's white bean soup, which is available if you ask.  You should ask, because it is delicious.

A couple of nights before we visited Palo, Chef Silvio, the executive chef on the Disney Magic, made me calamari, which is an appetizer on Palo's dinner menu.  I was told that this dish needs to be pre-ordered if you are interested in having it breaded and fried, but if you do not pre-order, the calamari will be grilled.  It was amazing, and I wish I had known it was from Palo ahead of time, because I would have pre-ordered it for our dinner there.

Before our entrees were served, we were given lemon sorbet as a palate cleanser.

For an entree, I ordered the grilled prime beef tenderloin with pancetta potato, sauteed spinach, and Barolo Chinato wine sauce.  I added grilled lobster, because I was in the mood for surf and turf.  This entree never disappoints, but I regretted not ordered a side of the wild mushroom risotto like I usually do, because the two dishes go together so well.

For dessert, my husband and I both ordered chocolate souffle with vanilla bean gelato, and vanilla and chocolate sauce.  This dessert is so incredible, I considered going back to Palo and paying $30 just to get chocolate souffle.  I never use the chocolate sauce, because I feel that is just chocolate overkill, but I love to eat every bite of souffle with vanilla sauce and vanilla gelato.  The portion of gelato is small, so we asked for an extra scoop when we ran out.  The chocolate souffle at Palo is one of the best desserts I have had since my celiac diagnosis 9 years ago.

Our meal ended with a complimentary after dinner drink made with lemon sorbet, prosecco, and apple brandy, which is always delightful.

My husband and I never miss a chance to dine at Palo for brunch and dinner when we sail on the Disney Cruise Line, because we love Italian cuisine, and we enjoy the relaxed atmosphere.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Palo?


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