This Italian restaurant serves up several courses of amazing traditional dishes.
This 18+, adult exclusive restaurant, located on deck 12 aft, serves amazing Northern Italian cuisine with a modern twist. The venue is named after a venetian gondolier’s pole, a palo. The surroundings are intimate, with great views of the ocean. In a semi-circular layout, tables are arranged along floor-to-ceiling windows. A backlit bar in the center of the restaurant stands next to occasional pianists, serenading guests from the baby grand residing there. If you ask nicely, you can dine al fresco on Palo’s outdoor teak deck. The Maitre d’ is authentically Italian, a great guy who told us a story about the name carpaccio.
Palo is an extra fee restaurant ($20) that is outside of the rotating dining schedule. Reservations are mandatory and there is a dress code: Dress pants and shirts with a jacket for men, dress or pantsuit for women, no jeans, shorts, capris, flip-flops, or tennis shoes.
The food is well worth the extra fee. All entrees can be served as appetizers as well, and antipasti dishes are prepared on a tableside trolley in front of you. Primi: Mozarella and plum tomato with balsamic dressing, grilled portobello mushroom and polenta, frito di calamari with deep fried cherry peppers, arugula salad, tuscan white bean sauce with prosciutto and parmesan, cioppino an Italian tomato and fish stew; Segundi: Pizzas: Margerita, quatro formaggi, al prosciutto, fughi, antipasti; Entrees: wild mushroom risotto, lobster ravioli, gnocchi, rosemary parpadelle, penne arrabiata, sea scallops, pan seared turbot, sea bass, grilled tuna with truffle infused potato risotto, bake filled chicken breast, osso bucco, oregano and parmesan crusted rack of lamb, and the Palo signature beef tenderloin with red wine or gorgonzola sauce.
At our table were grissini sticks, olive ciabatta rolls, and foccacia with tarragon butter, which was ambrosial. We were able to choose what we liked from the antipasti rolling cart thus making a personalized antipasti plate, selecting from olives, bresaola, prosciutto, artichokes, bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes, parmesan, and an array of olive oils and aged balsamic vinegar. Everything in this course was exceptionally tasy. We began our feast with the tuna carpaccio, which was good, but not great. The tuna was a little watery on top of the red radiccio, which was not our favorite, but the lemon oil dressing was genius.
We followed this with the Palo signature appetizer, Sicilian pesto marinated grilled shrimp with crab and cherry tomato ragu, which was one of the best dishes we had during our stay on the Dream. The ragu was perfect with the pesto, and the shrimps were cooked perfectly. There is a little tinge to the dish making it more interesting than expected.
Rather than finish with the acclaimed beef tenderloin, we went a little unconventional and ordered the pan seared calves liver on polenta cake, with caramelized apples and onions, garnished with prosciutto, a decision we did not regret. The liver didn’t have any of the bitter, gamey liver taste that can ruin such a dish, and it was cooked perfectly. This is a traditional recipe with a well-paired twist of apples and onions. The polenta cake, rather than a typical serving of mashed potatoes, was just what we needed.
Desserts are typically Italian: Tiramisu, panna cotta with strawberry basil sorbet, a chocolate souflé with vanilla and chocolate sauce, orange soda float with vanilla gelato, pistachio cake with amaretto cream and hazelnut meringue, and a zabaione with sangiovese-infused berries. Of course you can also order an after dinner espresso, capuccino and a few coffees spiked with liquors.
The tiramisu was good, the souflé better, but the zabaione was awesome. It may have been a bit too boozy, but it was refreshing and light.
Unfortunately, the wine list is no different at Palo than any of the other restaurants. The good news is that the wine list has champagne and wines from around the globe selected by a panel of certified sommeliers. All dishes have an accompanying wine suggestion on the menu.
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