One of the restaurants I get asked the most about is Palette. Located at the Wyndham Garden hotel in Warsaw, Palette occupies the former space of Bella Vitale and before that Bennigan’s. On its website, it bills itself as “your go-to spot for delicious and heartwarming comfort foods that perfectly capture the nostalgia of family meals gathered around the kitchen table.” Nod to nostalgia aside, Palette did provide us with a nice family meal, one that would certainly satisfy any of your family members or friends. Even Cousin Eddie.
If the last time you were in this space was when the neon green lights of Bennigan’s called out to you like a bug zapper to a mosquito, then yeah, it’s changed a lot. If you dines at Bella Vitale, the scenery is the same. If it has changed, I didn’t notice it. It still resembles an Italian courtyard with painted on skies decorating the ceiling.
The space always seemed a little stale to me and could probably use some updating but it’s certainly not distracting. I spotted what appeared to be an outdoor seating area. I’m not sure if that’s available to restaurant goers in the warmer months but if it’s not, that would be a shame.
I never did catch the name of the male human who waited on us but he was good. When I say “good,” I mean he was on top of everything. That’s not an easy task with a party of eight but he was nice and outgoing (even though he had to work Christmas Eve), took our orders without any errors and provided a level of service that should be a measuring stick for good wait staff. If I opened a restaurant, I’d want him working for me.
It took way too long for our dishes to be served, something I’ll chalk up to the fact that we were there the night before the best holiday of the year. Still, crowds and larger parties should have been anticipated seeing as how there were limited options that night.
At first glance, the menu seems overpriced. It’s not. The servings were well above average or whatever size I envisioned they would be in my head. My parental’s sandwich was as big as her left thigh – thankfully, she only ate half of it. I ordered the Monte Cristo, a nod to the aforementioned nostalgia thing. I used to order it every time we went to Bennigan’s so when Palette announced that they were bringing it back, I was stoked.
It was exactly as I recalled … and I swear a tad bigger. If you like Monte Cristos, you’ll like this one. Everyone else was happy with their dishes with no complaints.
I didn’t find out my mom was paying until the end of dinner so I didn’t get to enjoy any cocktails (“Mom’s paying? I’ll take one of everything.”) I know their cocktails come from the Recovery Lounge so if you’ve been there, you know what to expect.
You aren’t going to find cutting edge dishes at Palette. What you will find, however, is comfort food and a huge helping of it. If Palette’s aim was to hearken back to the days of huge Sunday dinners, well then, mission accomplished.
Outside of the time it took for our food to be served, I didn’t have any complaints about our experience at Palette. I would certainly recommend it to anyone with the disclaimer that they shouldn’t expect anything fancy or cutting edge. That’s not what Palette is about, though. They specialize in comfort food meant to fill up the bellies of the hotel’s patrons and locals looking for a taste of nostalgia. At the end of the day, I hope you give it a try. If you know what to expect going in, you’ll come out pleasantly surprised … and a whole lot full.