Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Rainforest Cafe

A couple of my friends with kids have asked me for suggestions on good places to go that children will not only enjoy, but will have their very own adventure in. While there are many kid-friendly restaurants out there with plenty of items on their menus for the little foodies, there is one place that not only the mini mes flip over for, but makes the adults give off lots of "ooohs" and "aaahs" as well. This chain restaurant has locations in many parts of the United States, and we are lucky to have one nearby. Fun and wild all at the same time, this place is the Rainforest Cafe, located in the Sawgrass Mills Mall in Sunrise, 12801 West Sunrise Blvd.


The decor at the Rainforest Cafe is absolutely awesome! Imagine having a meal in the middle of a recreated tropical rain forest, complete with lush vegetation, waterfalls, exotic fish tanks, and animatronics. Elephants, gorillas, tigers, parrots and other indigenous wildlife take turns roaring and coming to life as you enjoy a nice tasting dish. Every few minutes, lightning flashes in the rainforest, and you can hear the signature thunder blasting around you. Pretty cool! Off to the side, you'll find a large mushroom housing a bar, with rain drizzling down all around it. The tables are playful, depicting colorful rainforest scenes and there is also a store to buy merchandise to remember your visit by. Right outside the restaurant, there is a play area for the smallest of foodies called Cha Chas Adventure Area. It houses a playground the little ones can have fun in while you wait for a table. There really isn't anything the designers of this place didn't think of in its creation.




Awesome Appetizer Adventure
Dining Room
Now, when a restaurant is this spectacular in its decor, it sometimes lacks a bit of quality in its food. That wasn't our experience. I was just as excited about the cuisine as I was with the visuals. Since we were hungry (are we ever not?) we started off with the Awesome Appetizer Adventure. Not only did everything in this dish sound mouth watering, but it was part of my namesake, so how could we go wrong? It consisted of: Chimi-Cha-Chas: light, crispy, wontons wrapped around roasted and deliciously seasoned chicken breast, sweet corn, onions, black beans, roasted red peppers and Mozarella cheese. Insanely delicious! Spinach and Artichoke Dip with tri-colored tortilla chips: Creamy spinach dip with tender tasty artichokes, smothered with parmesan and cream cheese, topped with pico de gallo, and served warm. Stop the world I want to get more! It was that good. Cheesesticks: breaded mozzarella sticks, fried golden and served with marinara sauce. While these were just regular mozzarella sticks, the cheese was perfectly melted and the marinara sauce was tasty. Chicken Tenders: Pretty straightforward again but crispy and flavorful. The honey mustard dipping sauce added a nice touch. The dish also came served with guacamole over a bed of shredded lettuce. A big hit with us!


Macadamia Crusted Tilapia
Fish Tacos
Off to the first entree! I had the Macadamia Crusted Tilapia and Coconut Shrimp. The dish consisted of a baked Tilapia filet prepared in the most delicious way. It was brushed with cream of coconut and then topped with a macamia nut crust that gave it a crunchy finish that was to die for. As if that wasn't enough, it was served with a sweet mango puree that added an extra flavor to the fish and a tangy teriyaki sauce. Awesome! The dish also came with skewered coconut shrimp; very fresh and grilled to perfection and your choice of side. I ordered the french fries which I gotta say were rather good. Next up, between roaring tigers and gigantic elephants, we ordered the Fish Tacos. These were made with white fish, cooked your choice of either blackened or tempura fried, and wrapped in corn tortillas with pico de gallo, fresh cilantro, red cabbage and their homemade avocado cream sauce. It was also served with Caribbean rice and black beans on the side. The fish tacos were fresh but the fish was not very seasoned. While they were o.k, they lacked flavor.  The same went for the Caribbean rice and black beans. A bit on the bland side, it was not a dish I would repeat.

Rainforest Burger

The third entree we tried was the Rainforest Burger. It was awesome! The burger was HUGE and juicy, topped with a fried onion ring, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and cheddar cheese, and served on a toasted bun! Mmmmm! It was difficult to get my mouth around it at how big it was, but I managed.

Finally, came time for dessert. I know, I know, how could she even think of dessert after all that food? Well, I usually ask myself that same question after I'm done eating and have a hard time  breathing, but once I'm on that foodie adrenaline rush, it's no holds barred. Are you ready? We ordered the Volcano! Yes folks, the name appropriately fits the dessert. It was three giant chocolate brownies arranged in the shape of a volcano, filled with a mound of creamy vanilla ice-cream inside, and quite literally erupting with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and caramel. A serious sugar rush that made me want to jump in with the gorillas and pound my chest!  The fun part about it is that it comes with a lit sprinkler and they yell "Volcano!" as they bring it to your table; letting everyone around you know that you are indeed a glutton! Fabulous ending to a fabulous meal!


Volcano

We truly enjoyed our adventure in the spectacular setting of the Rainforest Cafe. It is a must visit for the entire family and you will not only enjoy the surroundings but the food as well. For more information, you can call them at 954-851-1015 or visit them online at www.rainforestcafe.com.


Rainforest Cafe on Urbanspoon

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