Took a quick trip to Mexico and the newest quickservice restaurant at the park, La Cantina de San Angel. For the better part of the past year, Disney has been refurbishing the old restaurant to accommodate more guests, as well as expand the dining opportunities. The result are two restaurants in the footprint of the old Cantina de San Angel: La Cantina de San Angel and La Hacienda de San Angel.
We ate at La Cantina de San Angel. The menu for quickservice is naturally limited in scope but serves up a small sampling of traditional dishes.
Tacos de Carne: grilled beef tacos served on fresh handmade corn tortillas with Pico de Gallo, lime and corn tortilla chips. $11.95
Empanadas de Queso: fried corn masa (dough) filled with Chihuahua cheese topped with green sauce, served with corn tortilla chips. $10.50
Tacos de Pollo: grilled chicken served on fresh handmade corn tritillas with Pico de Gallo, lime and corn tortilla chips. $10.95
Nachos: corn tortilla chips topped with ground beef, nacho cheese, tomatoes, jalapeño, black beans and sour cream. $9.95
Guacamole con Totopos: corn tortilla chips accompanied by our handmade guacamole. $7.25
Kids’ Picks $6.99
Cheese Empanada: served with tortilla chips and fruit.
Chicken Tenders: served with tortilla chips and fruit.
Churros con Cajeta: churros with milk caramel: $3.95
Paletas (traditional fruit popsicle): canaloupe, mango with chili, lemon or coconut. $3.95
Dasani Bottled Water: $2.50
Agua Fresca (season fresh fruit water): $3.99
Jarritos (traditional Mexican soda): pineapple, mango or fruit punch. $3.50
Sidral (Mexican apple soda): $3.50
Coca Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite, Coke Zero, Gold Peak Tea, Hi-C $2/50
Nestle Hot Cocoa $2.50
Dos Equis Lager $7.50
Margaritas: lime raspberry, passion fruit or coffee. $8.99
We visited the restaurant the weekend it opened. Although this was an updated version of an older establishment I was very surprised by the wait for our food to be delivered. It took just under 10 minutes for our food to come out and when it was delivered to us, it was incorrect necessitating another delay of about 5 more minutes to get our Kids’ Picks meal. By this time, the other food had cooled considerably, but I was not going to wait any longer for what was planned to be a simple lunch.
Overall, the presentation of the dishes is simple; which is to be expected in a quickservice restaurant in the park. The quality of the food however, does not match up to the enhanced decor and presentation of this wonderful new addition to the Mexico Pavilion.
Aside from the troubles with the kitchen, which I am willing to overlook as it can be deemed a new restaurant, the food itself was fairly bland in its taste. The best item we had were the empanadas. They were flavorful and light with a great taste that really satisfied.
The tacos were very bland, even after adding the provided sauces, with very little identity to the dish. This dish could have easily have been served at the Morocco Pavilion since there was very little taste identity from Mexico. Needless to say I was disappointed with my choice.
The nachos were subpar as well; placing more ground beef and cheese sauce over simple chips does not make a better dish if the ground beef is nothing more than hamburger. Another victim of generic presentation of a dish that could be a great treat for guests to the pavilion.
There is some seating outside on the newly expanded deck area but the real surprise is the abundance of seating indoors with air conditioning and expansive views of the World Showcase Lagoon. The decor is rustic and comfortable with lots of nice touches to reflect the cultural heritage of Mexico. I especially liked the multi-colored lights hanging from the beautifully painted ceiling.
The indoor seating shares the space with the newly opened La Hacienda de San Angel as well. This restaurant opens at 4:00 pm and judging by its prices it is on par with the San Angel Inn, inside the pyramid. Charging what they plan for their menu, I am not so sure it is justified with this shared plan of the hacienda and cantina.
I do not know what Disney is thinking with offering restaurants with similar price points in the same pavilion. This is the second location in the park where two similar restaurants are competing for guests but charging high prices. I would think a tiered structure would make better sense for those visiting the parks.
For example, La Cantina would be the quickservice choice (which it is), with La Hacienda being moderately priced and reserving the San Angel Inn as the premier dining location in the pavilion. As it sits now, Mexico has 4 dining options and all of them are moderate to expensive. I am not sure how this will play out for the pavilion, but I am not confident it will be successful for them due to weighting the pricing structure so high for the guests.
All in all, I will skip La Cantina in the future. There are finer places to eat in the park for the same price. I can, however, see how it will crowd up later in the day to watch the fireworks over the World Showcase Lagoon. It does offer some of the best seating around the lagoon now with the newly appointed seating.