Living Vegan In Charlotte, NC – Easy Vegan Recipes – Vegan Restaurant, Product, and Cookbook Reviews

Restaurant Review – Treetops Cafe at Doubletree Hotel by Hilton – Charlotte Airport

Treetops Cafe Mixed Berry and Nut Salad copySometimes, somewhere, some place when I least expect it … I have an unexpectedly wonderful vegan dining experience!

Most recently that happened at the Treetops Cafe at the Doubletree Hotel by Hilton – Charlotte Airport.

I was taking a two-day financial seminar at the hotel.  The first day of the seminar was gray, cold, and rainy.  We’ve been having a quite a lovely winter in Charlotte this spring!  When lunchtime came, I didn’t really feel like walking in the damp to the nearby Salsarita’s.  Nor could I really justify hopping in my car and burning gas to drive a single block.

So I decided to give the hotel restaurant a try.

I know what hotel restaurants are typically like, and I was fully expecting to have to do the old vegan mix-n-match – maybe a side salad, fruit cup, and an order of steamed vegetables sans butter.

However, I was pleasantly surprised.  There were a number of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu – including Chips with Salsa and Guacamole ($8), Black Bean Quesadillas with Salsa and Guacamole ($10), a Greek Salad and Mixed Berry & Nut Salad (both $10), several varieties of vegan salad dressing including Raspberry Vinaigrette and Balsamic Vinaigrette, and a Vegetarian Pasta entree on the dinner menu ($18).  There were also a fair number of side items, most vegetarian and a few likely vegan.

Since it was a chilly day, I decided to order the Black Bean Quesadillas without cheese.  A generous portion of beans and a truly excellent house-made salsa (with a touch of something citrusy?) were layered inside the tortillas.  The quesadillas came with an equally generous side of guacamole.  I peeled apart my tortillas and smeared a thick layer of the guacamole on top of the beans and salsa.  I had to eat them with a fork, but who cares?  My modified quesadillas were warm, hearty, creamy, comforting – a perfect meal for a dark, chill day.  I left confident that I’d had a vastly more satisfying meal than I would have at Salsarita’s.

Day Two of the seminar:  Sunnier, but I’d had such a positive experience at Treetops I went back to try it again.  I am not usually a big fan of “salad” when I eat out.  However, one of my fellow seminar participants had ordered an unusually delicious looking fruit cup as her side item, so I was curious about the Mixed Berry and Nut Salad.


Treetops Cafe seriously needs to teach some other restaurants in Charlotte, NC how to make a salad.

sucky salad

This is what Hickory Tavern tries to pass off as a $10 meal salad with avocado slices, black beans, corn, cucumbers, jalapenos, kalamata onions, mandarin oranges, tomatoes, and red onions? If you look closely, you can see 5 of the 22 black beans in the salad. (Yes, I counted.) You can also see all 2 of the canned mandarin orange chunks.

And HERE is what $10 will buy you at Treetops – a huge salad with not just spinach but baby spinach; at least a cup and a half of fruit – strawberries, raspberries, and my favorite BLACKBERRIES; a generous sprinkling of slivered almonds; and the most delicious raspberry vinaigrette made from fresh pureed raspberries.

Treetops Cafe Mixed Berry and Nut Salad copy

Now THIS is a salad!  Just for fun, shall we count the blackberries? I can spot 17 in this photo, and that doesn’t include the ones hiding under the leaves in the top left-hand corner!

And if that wasn’t enough, all the fruit was GOOD fruit – clean, unblemished, ripe, sweet not sour.  Spinach was likewise fresh, not wilted, and free of brown spots.

Let’s take another look, closer up, shall we?

Treetops Cafe Salad Close Up

I also have to give props to Treetops Cafe for the wonderful service.  I had the same waitress both days.  She appeared to be perhaps Hispanic but spoke English very well.  She had a warm smile and overall pleasant attitude, striking that perfect balance between friendly and professional.  She apparently kept her eye on the customers because she took my order as soon as I put my menu down, kept my water glass filled, and only brought my bill once I had finished eating – yet I never felt she was “lurking.”

The ambience was pretty much that of your typical hotel restaurant.  Quiet, calm, mostly neutral colors.  A small bar area.  Floor to ceiling windows with drapes that were always perfectly adjusted – more open on the rainy day, strategically closed in certain windows on the sunny day so sunlight didn’t glare into customer’s faces as they ate.

I can’t vouch for the rooms, as I didn’t stay there overnight, but I will definitely eat at Treetops Cafe again if I have another seminar or business meeting at the hotel.  One of the most unexpectedly pleasant vegan dining experiences I’ve had in a long time.


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Categorised in: American, Restaurant Reviews

6 Responses »

  1. U make beautiful pictures of food. What do u take them with?

  2. that salad looks divine. Its amazing how the places you least expect surprise you with amazing food.

  3. I am so glad to hear you enjoyed your meal in our cafe. Having been a vegan for many years myself I know how hard it us to find good vegan food away from home. I am truly humbled by your glowing review and appreciate it so much. Next time your in please feel free to allow us to better it by creating a fresh vegan special for you. My chefs and I are always happy to accomidate…Cheers, Chef Michael

    and I are creative and enthusiastic about special dietary needs.

  4. that salad looks awesome. Its amazing how the places you least expect surprise you with amazing food.

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