Off the side of Leicester square, the Rainforest Café is a hidden gem on the city of London.
I wish I’d gone to this place as a kid because I would have been obsessed! In fact, the reason we went was because the friend I was travelling with had been there as a kid and wanted to go back. That’s how I felt about wanting to revisit the Pirates themed hotel in Disneyland.
So, is the Rainforest Café worth it?
The Rainforest Café Experience
With rainforest décor of tropical plants and animals, and brought to life by the sounds of the rainforest, it’s like it came right out of Disneyland! In fact, this place actually put the restaurants in Disneyland to shame. Not only did they play almost exclusively Disney songs, but the food and décor was infinitely better than what I saw in Paris.
They even simulated a short monsoon with the sounds of rain and thunder, and flashing lightning!
We went in for lunch and ordered sides that turned out to have very generous portion sizes. They had a lot of vegetarian options, but only one vegan which was a veggie burger.
The staff were really nice about the fact that we didn’t order any mains. Most places get annoyed, but we only wanted something light. I just ordered chips and corn on the cob – which was better than similar things I had in the Disney restaurants.
Is The Rainforest Café Expensive?
So, is the Rainforest Café expensive? It was quite expensive.
On top of that, pretty much everywhere in London adds on a service charge. This means your meal always costs more than what the menu says. Some places only do it for tables with a certain number of people or if the goes over a certain price but for the most part, it’s there regardless of how many people eat and what you ordered.
The service charge is pretty much a tip split between the staff. I’m all for tipping people, but I’m just not a fan of it being calculated into the price and pretty much being a requirement. Even if you technically can say no, it feels like you can’t.
Tipping in Ireland is not the way it is in America, where it’s an expectation and should be a certain percent of the bill. People working here don’t solely get paid in tips or have to rely on tips more than their actual pay check. Here, we tip if the service was really good.
I had looked at the bill and told my friend what it came to – having not seen the price calculated underneath which had the service charge added on and told my friend what it was, only for the waitress to correct me and point to larger sum. Although it says it’s optional in most places – it’s really not.
We lost some money which is always scary while travelling, so it was a bit upsetting for things to cost more than we were lead to believe. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been as bothered.
Again, I’m all for tipping people and very often, if not nearly always, tip in restaurants and taxis, but where I’m from it’s not treated like it’s mandatory. When eating out at home, there’s almost never a service charge (unless it’s a huge group) so I was surprised. I guess it’s just one of the ways London differs to here.
I never saw another blog mention this, and no one who has been to London warned me. So, this is just a heads up, that you will likely go over your food budget if you’ve never been to London before. We had the same experience in the Hard Rock. Just make sure you have extra money to pay for dinner with.
Is The Rainforest Café Worth It?
So, is the Rainforest Café worth it? I’m still glad I went! The experience was fantastic, and the food wasn’t bad. If I was a kid, I would have been obsessed.
If you have kids, they’ll love it, and if like me you’re just a child at heart, you’ll love it too. Their kids menu actually seemed reasonably priced as it was around £16 for what I recall was about three courses. I don’t know if adults can order a kids meal.
Café actually isn’t an accurate word to have in the title. It really is more of a place for an evening meal. I guess the Rainforest Restaurant didn’t have the same ring to it, despite the alliteration!
The dim lighting meant that the pictures I took weren’t great, plus I took them on my phone because I was afraid of travelling with my camera, so bear in mind that these pictures do not do this place justice!