Bucket List · Food & Drink · Travel

Visiting London’s Rainforest Café: Is It Worth It?

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?

toad and toadstool mushroom decor at the bar of the rainforest cafe, london

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 – but there is one in Disney Village in Paris. 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?

outside of the rainforest cafe, london

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 bill goes over a certain price but for the most part, it’s there regardless of how many people eat and what you ordered.

Tipping

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 other countries, like 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. While I was telling my friend the price, the waitress corrected me and pointed to larger sum. Although it says it’s optional in most places – it feels like it’s not.

We lost some money while travelling, hence our low budget. It was a bit upsetting for things to cost more than we were lead to believe. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have been as bothered.

wishing pond and crocodile in the gift shop in the rainforest cafe, london

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 so I was surprised. Whenever there is a service charge, typically because a big group is dining, it’s pointed out before you order, too. I guess it’s just one of the ways London differs to here.

I always look into things before traveling, and I never saw another blog mention this. No one who has been to London warned me either. 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.

parrot and tropical plants in dining room of the rainforest cafe, london

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!

I would love to go back and have a proper meal when I have more time and money! You might also like these pop culture spots and tropical London locations.

26 thoughts on “Visiting London’s Rainforest Café: Is It Worth It?

  1. I’ve only visited the once but I had such a good time! I went with my grandparents for drinks and we loved it so I really enjoyed reading this post! X

  2. I have been to the one in Disneyland Paris recently and it’s always been a favourite of mine but not been to the one in London in a long time! Maybe it’s time for a trip back haha x

  3. This looks so cool! I haven’t seen anything like it before, what a great idea for a cafe. When I come to London I’ll visit it for sure, thank you for sharing this amazing place! And I agree with you, I always leave a tip, but I hate when people act like it’s mandatory.

  4. This sounds like such a cool concept, I love Disney as well so I’d be loving the tunes playing! The decor inside looks amazing, my little brothers would definitely love it there. I’d love to try their food just to determine whether it’s a gimmick or a genuinely nice place to eat food-wise. The pricing doesn’t sound overly bad for three courses 🙂

    Alice xx

  5. I’ve visited this place a few times, but never to the actual restaurant! It always looks and sounds amazing for my inner child! When it comes to tipping, it can get completely nuts here in London. Something to consider for next time, always feel free to ask for the service charge to be removed if you don’t see it fit or if the service was not that good. It can be a bit awkward the first time in asking, but now I often ask for it to be removed, especially if something was not worthy of a tip. They should also never be able to ask you ‘Why?’ when you request this. An easier way to do it is to just pay the amount minus the service charge and leave! ♥

    1. I didn’t know you could ask for it to be removed. We were both strapped for cash because my friend lost all her money in the airport so I had to lend her £200 to last 5 days. The staff were really nice but the waitress pointing out the service charge price when I told my friend the total cost of what we ate felt like we had to pay it

      1. Oh no! I’m sorry you experienced this situation! That was bad of the waitress to say it in such a way – even unintentionally 🙁 At least it’s something you’re aware if for next time! If something is cold, someone is rude, something is missing or anything – it’s okay for it to be taken off 🙂

  6. This looks so cool! London has so many amazing venues, but I love the theme with this one. Also a good point about the tipping thing – I always tip, but it does feel a bit off when it’s automatically added on whether the service was good or not!

  7. This place sound awesome
    I was planning on visiting London soon. I am a kid at heart so this place will be on my itinerary. Thanks for sharing your experience.I agree on the tip issue, I am not use to the service charge being mandatory.

  8. I have been to the Rainforest Cafe in Niagara Falls. I love the whole idea behind it. How the animals move and all the effects. And I agree, if you are with kids they will loveee it!!

  9. I’ve seen a few of these in the US, didn’t realise there was one so close to home though. I’ll have to pay a visit next time I’m in London

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