Not Impressed by Palo

squirk

Saw what you did and knows who you are.
Joined
Apr 9, 2011
DH and I went to Palo for the first time on the Dream this week. We were really looking forward to the exclusive dining experience. We read so many wonderful things about the atmosphere, the food, and the service. We were greatly disappointed. The atmosphere was nice. Our dining time was at 8:00pm, so it was dark outside and made a nice dimly-lit ambiance. However, the food and service were lacking. Our server was not very attentive, and I spent most of my meal without a drink. He always seemed rushed and we didn't see him very much. We only saw him at one other table, so I don't think he was overbooked. The food, we found, was equal to the food we had in the MDR. We each ordered the beef tenderloin. It was good, but again, we didn't find it any more tasty or tender than the beef we had in the MDR. It was nice to go there once, but we will never do it again. Has anyone else had this same experience, or feel that Palo is overrated? I'm just curious if anyone else feels the same.
I’ve only done Palo brunch once, but I had the exact opposite experience. I really liked the food, but the wait staff was overly attentive to the point of being disruptive.

They kept trying to insist that they serve me the food in the buffet, rather than let me serve myself. Not, like, asking, “Sir, may I serve you some shrimp?”, but almost racing me to the tongs to grab them before I could.

Some folks here have suggested that may have been due to a noro outbreak on the ship that DCL was trying to contain by limiting how many guests handled shared utensils and other serving ware.

That may have been the case, though I don’t remember any such efforts in Cabanas that same day. Nonetheless, no one in Palo ever mentioned anything to explain why the staff was so up in our business. It was just super-annoying.
 
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SamFaniam

I Love Rabbit!
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
DH and I went to Palo for the first time on the Dream this week. We were really looking forward to the exclusive dining experience. We read so many wonderful things about the atmosphere, the food, and the service. We were greatly disappointed. The atmosphere was nice. Our dining time was at 8:00pm, so it was dark outside and made a nice dimly-lit ambiance. However, the food and service were lacking. Our server was not very attentive, and I spent most of my meal without a drink. He always seemed rushed and we didn't see him very much. We only saw him at one other table, so I don't think he was overbooked. The food, we found, was equal to the food we had in the MDR. We each ordered the beef tenderloin. It was good, but again, we didn't find it any more tasty or tender than the beef we had in the MDR. It was nice to go there once, but we will never do it again. Has anyone else had this same experience, or feel that Palo is overrated? I'm just curious if anyone else feels the same.

I’ve always found that the food at Palo is excellent, and so have not had your experience with the quality of the food. However, we did have a poor experience one time on the Dream with our server. Although, this was mostly not his fault. There is one table where people can sit outside, And our server was also responsible for that table. However, our table was relatively close to the room where they set up the brunch buffet. So our server actually had to go back-and-forth throughout the whole restaurant quite a bit. Due to this, we found the service to be lacking. We did mention it to the maître d’. He apologized and explained that the people sitting at the outside table had particularly requested our server. Well, that’s fine, but perhaps in that case you have the server taken care of the outside table working with inside tables that are close to that area. So, I wonder if part of your experience was a situation like that.
 

pixiedustedme

Planning is half the fun
Joined
Mar 4, 2019
DH and I went to Palo for the first time on the Dream this week. We were really looking forward to the exclusive dining experience. We read so many wonderful things about the atmosphere, the food, and the service. We were greatly disappointed. The atmosphere was nice. Our dining time was at 8:00pm, so it was dark outside and made a nice dimly-lit ambiance. However, the food and service were lacking. Our server was not very attentive, and I spent most of my meal without a drink. He always seemed rushed and we didn't see him very much. We only saw him at one other table, so I don't think he was overbooked. The food, we found, was equal to the food we had in the MDR. We each ordered the beef tenderloin. It was good, but again, we didn't find it any more tasty or tender than the beef we had in the MDR. It was nice to go there once, but we will never do it again. Has anyone else had this same experience, or feel that Palo is overrated? I'm just curious if anyone else feels the same.
What a shame. You had bad luck. We've had very nice experiences there.
 
  • Aew876

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Jun 21, 2019
    DH and I went to Palo for the first time on the Dream this week. We were really looking forward to the exclusive dining experience. We read so many wonderful things about the atmosphere, the food, and the service. We were greatly disappointed. The atmosphere was nice. Our dining time was at 8:00pm, so it was dark outside and made a nice dimly-lit ambiance. However, the food and service were lacking. Our server was not very attentive, and I spent most of my meal without a drink. He always seemed rushed and we didn't see him very much. We only saw him at one other table, so I don't think he was overbooked. The food, we found, was equal to the food we had in the MDR. We each ordered the beef tenderloin. It was good, but again, we didn't find it any more tasty or tender than the beef we had in the MDR. It was nice to go there once, but we will never do it again. Has anyone else had this same experience, or feel that Palo is overrated? I'm just curious if anyone else feels the same.
    I’m sorry your experience wasn’t very good. My husband and I dined this week in Palo on the Dream and had an amazing dining experience. Our server was outstanding and truly professional. He was always ready to get us whatever we wanted. We ordered the Beef Tenderloin and the Osso Buco and it was amazing! We had a great bottle of wine and he even acknowledged our wedding anniversary which was the reason for our going to Palo for dinner while on the cruise. I would definitely dine there again!
     

    Cruise Diva

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Sep 19, 2018
    We have completed 14 cruises and PALO is our favorite place to eat! The servers are great, the food is delicious, and the experience is wonderful! We usually do two brunches, as brunch is our favorite meal in PALO; and one dinner. I highly recommend the Dover Sole or the Rack of Lamb for dinner. You never feel rushed thru your meal at PALO. There is no better way to enjoy a relaxing day at sea!
     

    ladyofthetramp

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 3, 2014
    We have completed 14 cruises and PALO is our favorite place to eat! The servers are great, the food is delicious, and the experience is wonderful! We usually do two brunches, as brunch is our favorite meal in PALO; and one dinner. I highly recommend the Dover Sole or the Rack of Lamb for dinner. You never feel rushed thru your meal at PALO. There is no better way to enjoy a relaxing day at sea!
    Couldn't agree more-and the rack of lamb is one of the best prepared I have had!
     

    cruisehopeful

    Wishing I was taking a nap on a ship.
    Joined
    Oct 25, 2015
    However, I can see that it doesn't exactly live up to the hype as well. And in reading your post, OP, I too would not have complained. What would you say? "The server hasn't been great, he's not very attentive". "The food isn't as good as we expected". Those are difficult to complain about in the restaurant. The restaurant fell below your expectations - fair enough.
    I can see where it wouldn't make much sense to mention it at the meal, if it was lacking enough for me that I'd want to post about it on a DCL forum, I would have at least put all of that on the survey at the end of the cruise. I also would have left a tip, but not a generous tip. I think the message left by the diner was that everything was great and therefore, there's no reason to improve anything.
     
  • Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    I can see where it wouldn't make much sense to mention it at the meal, if it was lacking enough for me that I'd want to post about it on a DCL forum, I would have at least put all of that on the survey at the end of the cruise. I also would have left a tip, but not a generous tip. I think the message left by the diner was that everything was great and therefore, there's no reason to improve anything.
    I could maybe see mentioning the food if it was truly not good - but if it was just not what you thought it should, perhaps not.

    But yes. Mentioning to the maitre’d that the service is not up to par should certainly be done at the time to give them a chance to improve.
     

    xiphoid76

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Jul 6, 2011
    I think it really depends on how often you eat out and where you live, and what your expectations are. We live in a big foodie city, and pre-kids ate out a lot (and even with kids, we make it work more often than many) so both Palo and Remy seem way overhyped. The food is fine, the service was pretty good (in one case excellent), but it wasn't fine dining by any stretch, at least not compared to what is available to us at home. I am not trying to be a snob here, most places in the world don't have a ton of fine dining. and while $40/person wouldn't go super far in my home city, it's not really an apples-to-apples price tag - it's $40/person on top of the opportunity cost of not eating in the MDR and the overall cruise fare. I'm not on a Disney Cruise for the food. While it's more edible than other cruiselines we've been on, it's still mass produced food served on a boat -- well executed given the constraints, but unfair to compare to real fine dining.

    That said, we may still do it once on our next cruise to force us to have an adults-only dinner.
    I think you hit the nail on the head. We live in downtown Minneapolis - in a very foodie-like area of the city. I just don't understand the hype over the food in Palo - it is ok, but nothing to rave about. Definitely not worth the 40 dollars for brunch. We enjoy it for free as platinum, but would not go otherwise. Maybe if great food didn't surround us we would like Palo more. I do love the iced tea - I would pay 5 bucks for that :)
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    I think you hit the nail on the head. We live in downtown Minneapolis - in a very foodie-like area of the city. I just don't understand the hype over the food in Palo - it is ok, but nothing to rave about. Definitely not worth the 40 dollars for brunch. We enjoy it for free as platinum, but would not go otherwise. Maybe if great food didn't surround us we would like Palo more. I do love the iced tea - I would pay 5 bucks for that :)
    I love the Palo iced tea. The frozen tea ice cubes are just great
    410940
     

    ember1205

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2019
    That's one reason we didn't feel the need to complain. Our server may have just been having an "off" night, which let's be honest, we all have those days. Again, he was very nice. He just wasn't very attentive. Complaining wouldn't have made a difference. So between that and the food being meh, we were unimpressed with our experience at Palo.
    While I can completely appreciate your way of looking at this (maybe the server had "an off night"), I would still have figured out a way to politely pass that information along either during or immediately following my meal. If the server were unable to perform at the standards that restaurant makes one expect, they should have not worked their shift that night. Under the weather, something happening in their personal life, etc. - all legitimate reasons to not be at your peak. But, serving in that restaurant almost demands that the servers are at their peak at all times.

    I’ve only done Palo brunch once, but I had the exact opposite experience. I really liked the food, but the wait staff was overly attentive to the point of being disruptive.

    They kept trying to insist that they serve me the food in the buffet, rather than let me serve myself. Not, like, asking, “Sir, may I serve you some shrimp?”, but almost racing me to the tongs to grab them before I could.

    Some folks here have suggested that may have been due to a noro outbreak on the ship that DCL was trying to contain by limiting how many guests handled shared utensils and other serving ware.

    That may have been the case, though I don’t remember any such efforts in Cabanas that same day. Nonetheless, no one in Palo ever mentioned anything to explain why the staff was so up in our business. It was just super-annoying.
    I have seen the pool deck drink stations and the soft serve ice cream machines being operated by staff and not directly open to the public. On the same cruise, the drink stations on Cabanas were directly open to the guests for their use.

    You may be right that they were trying to keep an outbreak down, or still dealing with leftover issues from a previous cruise. I was happy to have them help me out wherever it might happen to be. Service on the ships has generally always been great.
     
  • Kanga&TwoRoos

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Oct 4, 2015
    So as far as they are concerned, things were great. The only way they are going to be able to fix a problem is if they are told about it. Not if people say nothing and still leave generous tips.
    No one is required to complain to management. It’s not the job of the diners to improve the experience for people in the future. They aren’t planning to go back and if making a big deal about it would have been uncomfortable for them why should they?
     

    ember1205

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Apr 15, 2019
    No one is required to complain to management. It’s not the job of the diners to improve the experience for people in the future. They aren’t planning to go back and if making a big deal about it would have been uncomfortable for them why should they?
    You're right - it isn't the job of the diners to improve the experience.

    However... When the service or product does not meet your expectations, leaving a generous tip tells them "good job" which is NOT how you truly feel. It is DCL's "job" to fix sub-par food or service, but they can't take any action on this situation if they are unaware.

    When there is an issue between a customer and a vendor, the customer needs to tell the VENDOR that something went wrong. And, the sooner the better. Otherwise, it can never be addressed. So, while it might not be the "job" of the diners that are there before me to take corrective action for a problem, by their not telling DCL, they are putting my experience at risk of being worse than it otherwise might be.

    The servers in Palo get there by being excellent in the MDR. The best of the best. DCL wants them BECAUSE they are excellent at their role. If they aren't performing at that top-tier level, DCL deserves to know so it can be addressed.
     

    KashasMom

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Apr 28, 2012
    No one is required to complain to management. It’s not the job of the diners to improve the experience for people in the future. They aren’t planning to go back and if making a big deal about it would have been uncomfortable for them why should they?
    I agree. Some people just don't like confrontation. It wasn't going to change the situation for them.
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    No one is required to complain to management. It’s not the job of the diners to improve the experience for people in the future. They aren’t planning to go back and if making a big deal about it would have been uncomfortable for them why should they?
    If they did not want to complain, while I do not agree with it, that is up to them. But leaving a generous tip tells the server that their service was exceptional. Ergo nothing will change for anyone else.
     

    KMack

    Earning My Ears
    Joined
    Mar 10, 2012
    Of course, food is always subjective but to be honest, Palo is fine. It is good. It is not great. The menu s pretty basic and doesn’t change much.

    It is not haute cuisine and I wouldn’t complain given that it is only $40 per person but if a person is accustomed to fine dining, they would be disappointed with Palo if their expectations were based on reviews from fellow cruisers. I am not sure why people rave about it.

    That said, I have always enjoyed the brunch. It is lovely and well-executed... and I am not a brunch person!!!
     

    Dug720

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Feb 16, 2012
    Leaving a standard tip or a below average tip isn’t going to change anything either.
    Agreed to a degree. But a generous one most definitely says “Things were great!”

    Truly the only way to make a change is to open your mouth - or your email after if you insist on waiting - and letting the manager know what is happening.

    Even if I never plan to return to something, I give feedback for the good of other people. I get that we do not live in a vacuum.
     

    PrincessShmoo

    DIS veteran
    Joined
    Feb 12, 2009
    The menu s pretty basic and doesn’t change much.
    Well, the dinner menu did have a complete make over about 2-3 years ago. I really didn't care for the menu before that time, but, at least, on this one, I can find something I'm interested in.
     

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