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Raintree Cafe

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February 11, 2013

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Raintree Cafe

Raintree CafeIt’s all an illusion,” she said aloud.
 ”What’s that?” said the waiter.
 Ann shook her head. “Oh nothing.”
 ”Here’s your coffee.”
 ”Thanks, I need it.” Ann looked down at the menu and read, The Raintree Café.

That concludes 10 chapters of The Raintree Tale, a short mystical story about Princess SillyAnn and the Raintree. Raintree Cafe is one of my favourite casual restaurants in Waterloo. Although nestled in a plaza by the hectic King/University intersection, it seems to be frequently overlooked by those looking for a good dining spot in this region.

First Impression: Wow. This is usually people’s first reaction on their initial visit. The ambiance of Raintree seems to mimic the quaint and quirky tale. Probably the only restaurant in Waterloo with two floors. I usually request to be seated on the second level as the lower floor gets a little chilly during the winter months. Reservations recommended. Although there is limited room, Raintree makes an effort to allow for comfortable spacing between tables. Dining on the upper floor also allows for constant glances at the tempting dessert display.

Since Raintree started off as a bakery, I’d assume that all desserts are made in-house.

On the Table for Maple: 

  1. Venus Dip ($6.95)
  2. Thai Ginger Shrimp Satay ($11.95)
  3. Special Entree – Steak ($22+)
  4. Special Entree – Cheese-stuffed ravioli (~$20)
  5. Pumpkin Cheesecake

 

 

 

 

Y & I have been to Raintree Cafe numerous times and tried almost every item on the menu. Since then, we have concluded on these two appetizers – Venus dip & Thai shrimp satay – as the must-order on every visit.

Garlic, artichoke heart & asiago cheese dip, served with choice of pita, fresh bread or grilled focaccia.

We have always chosen the focaccia over the other options. It’s light texture and fluffiness is a lovely compliment to the rich, flavour-packed Venus dip. Portion is great for two to share, might be too heavy for one to finish.

If you fancy a salad to start the meal, I  suggest skipping their salad section on the menu and ordering the Thai Ginger Shrimp Satay instead.

Spicy-sweet Thai ginger marinated grilled tiger shrimp served with fresh green and sprouts with Thai peanut dipping sauce.

The shrimps are always succulent and the sauce is extremely addictive! The sweet and spicy combination is simply irresistible.

Although daily specials do tend to be pricier than regular items at most restaurants, I find Raintree’s slightly too pricey. Why then, you might ask, do I keep ordering them!? I have no clue and wonder why too.

This is my official warning – your server will be extremely charming.

He/she will politely greet you with drinks, then recite the perfectly memorized daily-specials menu. The delicious-sounding features will be enticing, which you will – like I always do – fall for the trap of ordering them.

You will enjoy them thoroughly, as each mouthful will be cooked perfectly and bursting with flavour. Then, you will probably – like I always do – mourn for the pricey dish after receiving the bill.

Next, you may – like I always do – issue a note-to-self to never order specials again at Raintree and stick to their perfectly honed regular menu.

The next time you return for a meal, you probably will, once again – like I always do – give in to your irrational desire of ordering specials again. And the vicious cycle repeats.

I blame this self-torturing painful act on the charming servers and their amazing persuasive skills.

The cheesy ravioli blew me away. It was just pure comfort food. Again, sharing is recommended as it might be too rich to finish on your own.

Y & I usually order numerous dishes to share and typically will just ask for an extra empty plate to split it ourselves. Without any prompting whatsoever, our server very generously split this dish onto two huge dishes, with extra slices of bread! It was a very lovely gesture and I really appreciated it.

Other recommendations: Mermaid Wrap, Chickpea & Vegetable Roti, Reuban-our-way sandwich (all $8.95)

Raintree also offers a wide variety of treats, which include dark chocolate biscotti, squirrel pie, chocolate truffle cake, apple toffee cheesecake, and brandy spiced cheesecake. The only dessert which I have tried to date is the seasonal pumpkin cheesecake.

Verdict:

1) $$ – most entrees are <$20, but specials are usually >$20
2) Atmosphere reflects the mystical Raintree Tale
3) Charming servers, they have amazing memories
4) Salads did not impress, but appetizers and sandwiches are lovely

Where: 220 King Street North

Today’s post is brought to you by Maple. Read more at Tableformaple, please

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kdmarshall

Keith helps home buyers understand homes, schools and neighbourhoods in Kitchener Waterloo. He is an author, an award-winning realtor and an agent of change. On Twitter @kdmarshall. Online at keithmarshall.ca.

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