I’ve enjoyed visiting Rainforest Cafe at Downtown Disney for many years since it opened, but I had never visited the one at Animal Kingdom. My latest trip to the park left me a bit disappointed in the quick service menus, and I was ready to try something at least partially new instead of ordering something I’ve had recently. While there is an entrance to the restaurant without having to go through the turnstyles, I entered from the park side.
Walking up to the Animal Kindom-side entrance to the restaurant, there are giant mushrooms with benches in case you find yourself with a wait for a table.
Tropical landscaping is dotted with a couple bright animal sculptures.
From this entrance, you are immediately entered into the gift shop. The check-in stand is further into the store to the left of the dining room.
The decor is standard to other Rainforest Cafes.
I had to grab the Parrot barstool, of course! Now maybe it’s because this Rainforest is at a theme park, but I noticed a LOT of parents allowing their kids to use these barstools as a jungle gym while they were sitting at tables around the bar. I don’t recall this being an issue at Downtown Disney, perhaps because there are more adults occupying the stools on the times that I’ve visited. This day was particularly empty, both at the park and in the bar area.
Since I wasn’t sure how their burgers were, I wanted to try something a bit different. I decided I was going to take a vegetarian route for my meal. I contemplated between two items: the Rainforest Natural Burger ($12.99) and the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich ($13.99). The latter won.
The Portobello Mushroom Sandwich is described as a grilled Portobello mushroom topped with roasted red peppers, Monterrey Jack cheese, and their zesty Safari Sauce. It’s served on a toasted bun with lettuce, tomato and onions. You have the option of upgrading to Safari fries from chips for an additional $1.99, but I decided to stick with the chips.
The bun was nicely toasted, and there wasn’t too much Safari Sauce on the sandwich, which was a sweet and spicy kind of sauce. The sandwich was a bit messy to eat thanks to all the moisture from the vegetables.
The Portobello had a slightly smoky flavor and hearty bite to it, and tasted great with the melted cheese. The onions weren’t overbearing and provided a nice crunch. The lettuce was bland and tomatoes were barely noticeable. It also seemed that the roasted red peppers only made it on one half of the sandwich, and were slightly bitter.
At first glance, the chips looked like plain Lay’s, but they were a crunchy kettle cooked version. However, they weren’t like some of the thicker ones you might find in the stores. When I ordered the sandwich, my bartender asked if I liked Balsamic vinegar. When I said yes, she said I had to try their Balsamic Dressing. She said it went really well with the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich, and that she even enjoys dipping French fries in it. The dressing was quite good, but the strong flavor became a bit much when dipping the sandwich into it for me.
She also asked if I was vegetarian. I told her that I wasn’t, but sometimes order vegetarian meals. She recommended the Rainforest Natural Burger, which I was also considering. The said the “burger” patty they make is more like falafel. She mentioned if she wants something filling, she orders it, but when she’s looking for something lighter, she gets the Portobello Mushroom Sandwich. Now I’m interested in going back to try their Natural Burger!
Here are their lunch and dinner menus, as well as beverages.
I know that many people have strong opinions about Rainforest Cafe. Love it or hate it, what do you like to order? Do you wait for a table, or prefer to sit at the bar?