La Cantina de San Angel

by josh on December 1, 2012

11/15/13 Update: Menu updated and items added.

Location: La Cantina de San Angel is located across from the pyramid in the Mexico Pavilion.

Food Type: Mexican.

Dining Plan: One quick service and some items count as snacks.

Menu:

Unique Items: Most.

Advantages:

  • Scenic outdoor seating if you can find a table.  During lunch hours, you can sit inside the air-conditioned La Hacienda de San Angel restaurant because it only serves dinner.
  • The guacamole is very good.

Disadvantages:

  • Small portions.
  • Poor food preparation and seasoning.
  • Limited menu.
  • Outdoor seating area is usually packed and there isn’t much room to move around.

Value: Low.  You’re paying a lot of money for not a lot of food.

Reputation: Low.  I don’t think a lot of people are excited to return.

Food Choices:

Tacos de Carne:

Unfortunately, this is the first meal in a while that I’ve been completely dissatisfied with.  We all know about the “Disney upcharge” and how we can expect to pay a little extra, just because we’re at Disney World.  However, you’re looking at a $12 Tacos De Carne entree.  While it looks pretty, note the lime wedge sitting in front of the three tacos.  That isn’t Godzilla’s lime (thanks to Dr. Brian Noble for the phrase).  We’re talking three tacos that barely span the length of a small lime wedge.  To add insult to injury, the beef was dry and flavorless.  While the tacos did have a nice flavor with the addition of the pico de gallo and salsa, it doesn’t make up for the small portion size and lack of quality in what should be the most important part of the dish.  Each mini-taco was basically two to three bites.   Are there a lot of chips?  Sure, you would probably be plenty full if you ate all of the chips.  I’ve had a few less than stellar meals at La Cantina recently and it’s dropped near the bottom of my quick service list, at Epcot and in Disney World overall.   I just can’t recommend it.

Empanadas de Queso:

This was a better meal than the Tacos de Carne I had last time as seen above.

The Empanadas were better with a crispy crust and satisfying, hot melted cheese interior.  The green sauce added moisture, but not a lot of flavor.  It wasn’t at all spicy.  The Empanada portion of the meal is still small.  The Empanadas are maybe three or four small bites each and it’s just cheese inside – no meat, sauce, or anything else.  A combination of the cheese in the Empanadas and the smoked beef brisket in the tacos would be pretty amazing, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Torta de Barbacoa:

Traditional Mexican Sandwich with beef barbacoa, black beans, and sour cream.

That’s a $3.50 side of guacamole. I’m not sure if the immense size is obvious from the pictures, but this is easily enough guacamole for three entrees worth of chips. And potentially four or more if you go a little easier on it. I had plenty left over.

As described, the sandwich consisted of slow-cooked beef, sour cream, black beans, and guacamole.

http://www.easywdw.com/reports10/aftermath.jpg

Only click this link if you want to see the aftermath.

The beef was tender, but it really didn’t work on the thick ciabatta. You really need a serious load of toppings to compete with thick bread and that isn’t what’s served here. The inside has a decent layer of beef, but it’s mostly guacamole and beans, resulting in a sloppy experience that tastes mostly of bread that has become soggy from the sauces and guac. This would have made for a much better burrito, perhaps with the addition of cheese and a sauce on top. Looking up the Torta on Wikipedia, it appears that the sandwich is more legit than I thought when it arrived. With so many other options, this would not be one of my top choices, particularly at the above-average price point.

On the plus side, entrees are served with chips similar to what’s served inside La Hacienda and San Angel. They are not as crispy or salty as I remember the ones served in the restaurant, but they’re a lot better than the stale-seeming multicolored chips they served for years for whatever reason.

Margaritas:

The margaritas here and at the outdoor margarita bar are, for the most part, hit or miss.  This Frozen Lime Margarita will set you back $9.50.  It had a strong tequila taste that wasn’t at all unpleasant, tempered a bit by sugar and lime juice.  Cold and refreshing, it’ll last a while whether you’re enjoying it with your food or on your way to Norway.

The Frozen Passion Fruit Margarita, also $9.50, had a much creamier texture and tasted much less of tequila.  Again, your mileage may vary with these as they’re extremely inconsistent.  If I didn’t know better, I’d tell you this was non-alcoholic.

Seating

La Cantina has a decent number of covered, outdoor tables.  Unfortunately, this is one of the most popular World Showcase quick services because it’s so obvious, most people can relate to Mexican food, and it’s near the front of the World Showcase.  Luckily, if you dine before about 3:30pm you can take your food into the air-conditioned La Hacienda de San Angel and eat.  The seating section for La Cantina is also extremely popular from 7pm – 9pm because it overlooks the Lagoon for IllumiNations.  Don’t bet on getting a table after 7pm because people waiting for the show will be squatting.

There are additional tables up the stairs and outside the pyramid.

Condiments

You’ll find two varieties of salsas, one mild and one hot, along with the usual assortment of other stuff.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous December 1, 2012 at 8:11 pm

It always looks so crowded never had the desire to even look at the menu.

Reply

Churro December 2, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Where can you find a churro in Epcot?

Reply

Jeff Nadelman December 3, 2012 at 5:35 am

To each their own. With children that are picky eaters, this is pretty much the only counter service country they will eat in. Plus, we are early lunch eaters and usually hit this right around 11ish as we walk into FW. We like it and it is a nice switch from all of the burgers and fries etc.

Reply

charlotte January 15, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Hi! I love your site. Would you think it would be a good idea to go to La Cantina and stay seated there for Illuminations? What time would you need to go? Is it hard to get in at without reservations? I see your review on the food so I would just be going for hassle free views for the show.Is that a good idea? Thanks!

Reply

charlotte January 15, 2014 at 9:26 pm

one more question! we are going to at disney the week of Feb.24th. On the 24th I have reservations st Mama Melrose with Fantasic! I did this before I saw your site so it is not a park you suggest for that day. But we have fastpass for Toy story at 9:30. My son really wants to do Star Tours. If we get there at open should we head for Star Tours 1st or get on back to meet the characters near Toy Story Mania?

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Alex March 5, 2014 at 8:05 pm

They have churros at Pepper Market in Coronado Springs Resort

Reply

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