Our look around the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot continues with an emphasis on food and beverage. So far we’ve:
- Taken a look at the Coco-inspired exhibit inside the pyramid
- Reviewed virtually every item at Choza de Margarita, the Pavilion’s new-ish takeaway bar
- Inspected hundreds of pieces of merchandise available
This time, we’ll focus on La Cantina de San Angel, which is Mexico’s main quick service arm. We’ll also stop by La Cava for a Negroni and get an update on what’s on the menu at the two table service restaurants.
La Cantina’s menu has seen a number of changes over the years. Above is current.
The Tortas, available for a short time back in 2013, were some of the more interesting items offered over the last few years. I thought the bread was far too thick to really work and they must have proven unpopular as they were quickly switched out.
Above is the menu from seven years ago for some reference.
The chips that used to accompany the various tacos are long gone. Most people described them as “stale” even if that was intended.
Interestingly, the beef tacos are up “just” $1.30 over the years while a lime margarita now costs an extra $4.37. No wonder I’m broke.
Tacos are served in one of four different configurations. This is the $12.50 “Tacos de Pollo – Seasoned Chicken, Homemade Corn Tortillas, Mexican Rice, Refried Black Beans and Red Salsa.”
They’re on the smaller side and while the chicken is nicely seasoned, there’s nothing else inside of the tortilla other than the mildly spicy, thin salsa and a light sprinkle of herbs.
But after swearing off La Cantina for years, I was impressed by the quality and tenderness of the meat, even if the flavor was a little one-note. The rice and beans were on the forgettable side of things, but the cojita cheese adds a salty component to the beans and the rice adds a little heft.
The $13.25 “Taco Trio – Seasoned Beef, Chicken and Fish, Homemade Corn Tortillas, Mexican Rice, Black Beans, Red Salsa, Habanero aïoli and slaw.” The menu could probably use a comma in between “chicken” and “fish.”
This offers more of a variety of flavors and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the fish tacos, which arrive with a flavorful, creamy, spicy sauce and a nice amount of crunch from the slaw, in addition to the crispy fish itself.
The stringy beef tastes mostly like the sauce that also tops the chicken tacos – one was enough.
Unless you’re really adverse to chicken, beef, or fish, then I’d spring for the Taco Trio.
One key tip: La Hacienda de San Angel, one of the Pavilion’s table service restaurants, only serves dinner. Most days, the seating inside the restaurant will be open until around 3:30pm for La Cantina diners.
With so little air-conditioned seating available for those grabbing quick service, this is a welcome respite and makes eating lunch at La Cantina one of the more pleasant fast food experiences at Epcot.
La Cantina does a good job of policing the seating section, but you’ll typically find it full after 7pm as people stop for dinner and then stay for IllumiNations. Seeing people sitting on the ground eating their tacos all around the Pavilion isn’t an uncommon sight. I’d recommend lunch.
The $11.50 “Nachos – Tortilla Chips topped with Ground Beef, Nacho Cheese, Tomatoes, Jalapeños, Beans and Sour Cream” is my favorite item on the menu. Immensely shareable and served in a large portion, three or four people can easily make a really big, tasty snack out of this. It’s also a sizable meal for two.
I like the $13 “Pollo Cascabel – Grilled Chicken, Mexican Rice, Corn, Cascabel Sauce and Pickled Onions” a lot too. There’s a nice variety of flavors and textures.
The $9 “Ensalada Mexicana – Tossed Romaine Lettuce, Arugula, Red and White Cabbage, Black Beans, Corn, Olive Oil and Lime Juice” is also available with Chicken or Barbacoa Beef for a few dollars more. Just about everything that isn’t lettuce is visible in the picture, making this particularly lettuce-heavy. I’d also like to see more of the salad dressing. But it’s a good light option.
This time around, I tried the $11.25 “Tequila Mexican Sangria,” which tasted like somebody had poured an ounce of tequila into a tall cup of Beso del Sol Sangria. But it was cold and refreshing and the tequila raises the alcohol by volume, making it worth a sip.
La Cava had been advertising a Negroni for a few months.
And I had the opportunity to try one a couple of weeks ago after sending my fearless girlfriend, Erin, in to order them. It’s quite the cocktail – you have your choice between a pepper or a strawberry inside of your ice cube, which is a fun touch.
The drink is incredibly smooth and surprisingly refreshing considering it’s virtually all alcohol. It’s definitely worth a couple dollars more than the margaritas.
I was thoroughly impressed.
San Angel Inn is the restaurant inside the pyramid, now serving this menu all-day.
You might ask about ordering the Negroni there as well.
Here’s what’s on the menu at La Hacienda:
It’s been a while since I’ve dined here – they don’t take the Tables in Wonderland discount.
But the menu sounds quite good and I enjoyed the “La Hacienda” Platter on my last visit. I’ll see about giving it another try.
Overall, this was a good trip to Mexico. La Cava’s specialty drinks are worth seeking out and the execution at La Cantina was better than I remember. There’s still more interesting options, but there are few better choices than grabbing some Nachos and enjoying the air-conditioning inside La Hacienda on a hot summer afternoon.
We’ll head up to Norway.