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Review: The Rainforest Café Downtown Disney

The Rainforest Café Review: Downtown Disney

Downtown Disney has so much to offer, it’s hard to pick what to do, let alone where to eat. Ranging from high quality seafood to the classic American fare of Planet Hollywood, there is no top spot as far as restaurants go. But one of this reviewer’s favorites and a classic among the many eateries of Downtown Disney is the Rainforest Café.

While T-Rex Café may be stealing some of its thunder, the Rainforest Café is still booming and serving up exotic fare that can’t be found in others along the strip.

The Rainforest Café is a themed restaurant that allows hungry patrons to explore the sights and sounds of the rainforest as they enjoy great food and better service. As we entered, the host greeted us with a friendly smile, shuffling us off toward two great glowing fish tanks and into the Gorilla line, indicating we would be dining with the primates.

As we sat at our table, a large animatronic gorilla cheerfully grunted and waved. The host warned that if we weren’t careful it would snatch our food when we weren’t looking. Then we met Megan, our server and former Disney employee, who was eager to suggest her favorite dishes and informed us of the thunderstorms that tend to occur every 30 minutes. It must have been about that time, because the moment she left us to our menus, the lights dimmed. Thunder boomed and the animals all chirped and sing as lightening flickered in the “sky.”

For starters, we decided to go with Megan’s suggestion of the Rainforest Pita Quesadillas. As opposed to the ever-popular sampler, these quesadillas were something we had neither seen nor tried. They came as individual pita sandwiches stuffed with roasted peppers, caramelized onions, melted cheese, and grilled chicken, with fresh pico de gallo and sour cream for garnishing. While Rainforest Café typical sticks with American fare, this starter immediately brought us into the flavors of Central America.

After we licked the sour cream off our fingers, we were ready to dine like beasts, so we ordered the Ribs, Steak, and Shrimp Trio. Frankly, it was the best of everything the rainforest had to offer. The ribs were slow-roasted, glazed in a tantalizing St. Louis style rub, and fell off the bone, the way it should. This reviewer has had ribs at the T-Rex Café, and the ribs at the Rainforest Café were simply cooked to perfection in comparison. The steak was soft, beautifully cooked to a medium rare, just as we asked, with butter flowing over each bite. And the shrimp? The Rainforest Café is known for its seafood, and the coconut shrimp paired with a fruity Caribbean dipping sauce gave reason to all the compliments it’s ever received.

We decided to take a few ribs and a shrimp skewer home with us, because there was no way we were leaving without a Sparkling Volcano, especially since David, the manager, insisted upon its incomparable superiority over other Downtown Disney desserts.

There is a moment during each visit to the Rainforest Café when you hear it and you know it is time. VOLCANO! Whether it was in praise or in warning, various servers erupted from the kitchen raising high a towering feast of brownie, fudge, caramel, and ice cream, shouting again the praise and warning. VOLCANO! Topped in home-made whipped cream and sparkling decoration, the Sparkling Volcano is the pinnacle of desserts and should not be passed up.

When the bill came, we were not overwhelmed. Entrees run between $20 and $30, while appetizers and small portions range from $8 to $15. It was a fantastic price for such quality and quantity, and we even made sure to stop in at the Rainforest Café shop after to find something to capture the memory. The Rainforest Café truly offers a highly satisfying, above and beyond experience.

On a final, coming-soon note, a new addition is coming to the Rainforest Café. The Lava Lounge will offer a brand new bar with an outdoor seating area, as well as a gigantic actively erupting volcano, a tribute to their to-die-for dessert. Be sure to stop by for some grub and a sneak peak of the exciting additions!

Food: Various samplers throughout the menu offer great classics, while new dishes and drinks offer exotic tastes veterans may not remember. And do not forget the VOLCANO! Neither T-Rex Café nor Planet Hollywood can boast such a decidedly delicious dessert. It is truly a forest of flavors.

Atmosphere: Lost in a living jungle, guided only by the aroma of fresh fare, there is no way to avoid getting wrapped up in the magic of the rainforest. While T-Rex Café’s croak dinosaurs are screaming at every meal that passes, in the rainforest, the animals accentuate the pleasantness of your meal rather than take away from it.

Service: Quick, professional, delightful. Everyone from our waitress, Megan, to the manager, David, as well as various bussers and food runners are happy to stop and talk, joking about the animals snatching up your food when you’re not looking. While they were happy to be social, they never ceased to do their jobs quickly and effectively.

Tips: Reservations are not necessary, but plan ahead. There are plenty of shops, galleries, and family activities on this side of Downtown Disney, so give the host your name and have some fun while you wait! Also, make sure to take a trip to the restroom where they have environmentally-friendly amenities, and take an opportunity to explore all the areas of the restaurant.

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About Ryan

Ryan Negrini has worked tirelessly to write stories worth sharing. Apart from his writing exploits, he is a creative writing consultant at Valencia College in Orlando, Fl. His inspiration often comes from the earth and its quirky nature, but sometimes shifts to current events.