La Cantina de San Angel
For a look at all of Epcot’s quick service reviews, see this post.
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.
La Cantina de San Angel Menu:
Pull up the full menu on DisneyWorld.com here.
Unique Items: Most.
- Scenic outdoor seating if you can find a table. During lunch hours, you can usually 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 and nachos are very good.
- Relatively small portions on the Tacos and Empanadas.
- Outdoor seating area is usually packed in the evening and there isn’t much room to move around.
- Margaritas are pre-made and overpriced.
Value: Moderate. Menu improvements have gone a long way, replacing the stale, run-of-the-mill tortilla chips with more interesting rice 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. You could say the same thing about most restaurants at Epcot, though.
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, flavorful offering.
Tacos de Pollo
With 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.
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. I personally don’t care much 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.
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.
You can also mix and match, here with all three flavors represented.
This is my favorite dish on the menu, and one that’s fun to share in the afternoon, particularly when you can head into La Hacienda for some air-conditioning. Everything is fresh and the portion is considerable for the money.
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 $15.
Guacamole con Totopos
Here’s 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 with 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 twelve 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 about twelve 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.
La Cantina mixes up the flavors of its drinks often.
The Patron Strawberry Margarita for $16.50 debuted at La Cava for national margarita day. 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.
If none of the flavors jump out, look across the way at Choza de Margarita. There, you’ll find a half dozen more options.
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 the nighttime spectacular. Don’t bet on getting a table after 7pm because people waiting for the show will be lingering.
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.