9/14/15 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.
Unique Items: Most.
- 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.
- Menu has improved in recent memory with more authentic dishes that are executed with better consistency.
- The guacamole is very good.
- Relatively small portions on the Tacos and Empanadas.
- Limited menu.
- Outdoor seating area is usually packed and there isn’t much room to move around.
Value: Moderate. Menu improvements have gone a long way, replacing the stale, run-of-the-mill tortilla chips with more interesting ride and beans and adding items like the Pollo Cascabel. But you can still do a lot better elsewhere.
Reputation: Remains lousy for the most part, though you may want to give it a second chance if something sounds good. On the other hand, Mexican restaurants are extremely common and you can probably find better food for the same money at home.
Grilled Chicken, Mexican Rice, Corn, Cascabel Sauce and Pickled Onions – photographed here without a flash in the dark. The Cascabel is a step in the right direction for the establishment – a hearty bowl of chicken mixed together in a mildly spicy, peppery cascabel sauce. Served hot, it hit all the right notes and is a unique offering.
Tacos de Barbacoa
Seasoned Beef, Homemade Corn Tortillas, Mexican Rice, Refried Black Beans and fresh Salsa. This is a departure from the taco and empanada offerings of the past, which have historically been served alongside chips. Neither Lisa nor I particularly care for corn tortillas, and unlike just about any other Mexican food restaurant in the country, there is no option to substitute flour. The three tortillas are otherwise filled with shredded beef and topped with an unknown sauce and cilantro. The beef was already soggy, which wasn’t helped by the unusually watery tortillas and the sauce on top, which didn’t seem to contribute much flavor to each of the small tacos. There are also no other toppings to speak of here or at a toppings bar. While the website has been known to badmouth a toppings bar or two (because they’re gross because people are gross), adding lettuce, tomato, and cheese would go a long way. The Mexican rice is pretty bland on its own, but the black beans topped with cheese were flavorful.
Empanadas de Queso:
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 – three or four small bites each and it’s just cheese inside – no meat, sauce, or anything else.
With Tossed Romaine lettuce, Arugula, red and white cabbage, black beans, corn, olive oil, and lime juice comes pre-packaged in a carton with a lid and a side of salad dressing in a small cup. Virtually everything in the salad that isn’t lettuce is visible here.
Mixed up, it’s a lot of lettuce and not much else. The salad dressing tasted mostly of lime and cilantro and like most pre-packaged dressing cups, I didn’t think there was enough of it. There’s some potential here, but I think La Cantina has gone a little too cheap with its salad components. It could use a lot more beans and corn to liven it up, perhaps with the addition of a pico de gallo or something. You can add chicken or beef to add some protein and bring the cost up to about $13.
Tacos de Pescado
Seasoned fried fish, homemade corn tortillas, Mexican refried beans, slaw, and habanero aioli. The vibrant colors here are fantastic and make for a dish that I think most people would be proud to set down on the table. The fish had a nice bite to it that was complemented well by the crunch from the corn, tomatoes, beans, cabbage, and carrots, though the aioli was bland for something that’s advertised as habanero – some spicy salsa would probably go a long way to livening up the flavors even more. I’m still not personally a fan of the corn tortillas – I’m not sure if it’s the soft, spongy texture or the fact that they don’t do much to the flavor profile other than add a generic corn blandness.
The beans are the best part, flavorful and topped with a creamy cheese.
Guacamole con Totopos
A side of guacamole, which is probably a lot larger than it looks in the picture. Unfortunately, with the rice and beans replacing the side of chips on entrees, you’ll have to spring for the more expensive Guacamole with Totopos to enjoy it chips. But the guac is high quality and adds a lot to the flavor profile of the entrees as well.
The chips have improved over their stale, multi-colored counterparts.
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 about ten dollars. 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 Mango Margarita, also ten dollars, had a much creamier texture and tasted much less of tequila. gain, 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.
A “Lime Pomegranate Frozen Tequila Mojito” for $11.50. Referring to what is their regular Frozen Lime Margarita with a Pomegranate Liqueur Floater as a “Mojito” is probably a bit of a stretch. It’s possible that there is nothing mojito about it. Anyway, the smart money remains heading inside to La Cava. The frozen margaritas will suffice if you want to save about $5 and don’t want to wait in line inside. Outside, the Mango is smoother and creamier and the Lime has a more pronounced tequila flavor.
The Cranberry Patron Margarita for $14.50 debuted at La Cava for national margarita day and is made with Patron Silver, margarita mix, cranberry juice, and grenadine. It’s a strong, smooth, refreshing cocktail with a punch of tequila nicely tempered by the cranberry juice. It’s a nice substitute for a La Cava margarita when the line is long.
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.
The door to La Hacienda from the quick service seating section.
There are additional tables up the stairs and outside the pyramid.
You’ll find two varieties of salsas, one mild and one hot, along with the usual assortment of other stuff.