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Guest Reviews: La Cantina de San Angel

My friend and yours, Ms. Sarah Holodick, headed over to La Cantina de San Angel this weekend to investigate the newest (refurbished) quick-service spot in the World. Touring Plans blogger and “man’s man, ladies’ man, man about town” Todd Perlmutter sent over some pics from his meal there as well. Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

Sarah Holodick’s Review

Atmosphere and Eats
It’s finally starting to cool off in Florida, so walking around the parks was very pleasant. It was also very quiet, so I was able to walk on almost every ride. Gotta love college football season in Florida! I headed over to Epcot to try out the newly opened quick service restaurant at the Mexico Pavilion — La Cantina de San Angel.

AJ’s been keeping all of you well informed on the happenings surrounding the restaurant, so I thought I would take to the field and try it out myself! The entree menu is simple but I think most people could find something to enjoy. It’s a good introduction into Mexican cuisine for those who may be hesitant to stray from burgers and fries, and it’s a step up from your typical Mexican drive-thru — including in price.

Entree Menu

Kids Menu & Dessert and Beverage Menu

I was looking forward to trying out the freshly made corn tortillas, so I knew I was going to have to order tacos. I decided to go with the Tacos de Carne, which came with 2 lime wedges, Pico de Gallo, and tortilla chips. I also ordered Churros con Cajeta for dessert and a Sidral apple soda to wash it all down.

As for the tacos, I didn’t know what to expect, and I was impressed by the portion size. I didn’t expect the beef to be shredded and instead expected it to be more like steak strips, but no problem. Check them out!

Tacos de Carne

Now before I go any further, let me say that I LOVE salt. Not as much as my mom, who salts her salt, but I digress. I took my first bite, and I immediately noticed the soft chew the tortillas had. Delicious. As I chewed, I started to taste the beefy goodness. Then, I hit a wall. A wall made of salt.

Okay, so maybe a little melodrama is kicking in, but someone had a heavy hand in seasoning the beef. Now, I don’t want to say I would never order this again, because I honestly think a mistake was made somewhere along the line. If and when I try them again, whether I order them or have to perform a quality control check on a friend’s, it may be different. Also, I consider the fact that since the restaurant is new, there will be a margin of error as everything is ironed out. The saltiness didn’t stop the flavor, which was good, but it was enough of a distraction to hinder what I believe the tacos could have been. I tried one with lime squeezed over it, and it wasn’t an improvement; and the Pico de Gallo was standard. The tortilla chips were warm and crispy, but if they are made fresh (which I don’t know if they are), I think they would be better served by a sprinkle of sea salt as opposed to what appeared to be standard iodized.

On to the Churros! I’ll admit that I don’t think I’ve ever had a churro before. I knew what they were, and the closest I’ve ever had were those Cinnamon Twists from Taco Bell (those awful things that replaced the Cinnamon Crisps). But, for you faithful readers, I was going to place aside my aversion to sweets and give them a try. Let’s just say, I’m glad I did!

Churros con Cajeta

Now I don’t know what to expect from a churro, but these were crispy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside. Shall I presume that is how they should be? I tried the churro and the caramel both separately from each other as well as together, and it all was fantastic. I did think that when I dipped the churro into the caramel, the cinnamon flavor overcame the delicate caramel, though I could still taste the caramel. Regardless, it was a win in my book!

Churro Going for a Dip

Now my beverage choice: I’m a fan of “weird” beverages. Club Cool is a great cool down spot, and I always seem to have Japan’s Ramune soda on hand in a variety of flavors. When I saw the Sidral apple soda, I had to try it, despite the fact that it just may not go well with the eats. Surprisingly, it did for me. It was like a slightly sparkling apple juice. I see myself heading over to La Cantina just for a bottle of this stuff.

Sidral Apple Soda

Hecho in Mexico

And, for my REAL dessert, I had to stop by the margarita stand for a strawberry margarita!

Strawberry Margarita from Margarita Stand

Overall
I’m looking forward to experiencing La Cantina again, as I really want to try the Empanadas de Queso, as well as the Nachos (do I foresee a Nacho throwdown?). Because it is new, there may be a few glitches to work through, so I will consider the salty tacos a fluke for now. I know I’ll stop by again soon, as well as experience table service at La Hacienda. If any of you have tried La Cantina, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Todd Perlmutter’s Review

OK, I’m pretty sure Todd didn’t intend for me to publish these descriptions, but I think they’re great and really helpful — especially the one about tears of joy — so I’m publishing them. :-)

Here are some pics of my lunch from the Cantina — the cheese empanada. It tasted to me like a plain Jack inside and a fontina sprinkled on the outside. I didn’t verify specifically and am going by my palette.

Cheese Empanada

I asked to see the ingredient book, but they don’t have one yet like other counter service restaurants tend to. So we had a big conversation with the manager about allergies — specifically dairy — for a friend I was meeting at the restaurant. Anything can have the cheese removed except for the cheese empanada. We also got a “The Churro? You can’t go anywhere near the Churro.” response from the manager.

Sitting on the deck at the Cantina is gorgeous to the point of tears of joy, by the way — you’ll love it.

Cantina de San Angel outdoor seating

The ceiling shot is the roof of the Cantina deck and the Jewish stars are on a door at the Cantina.

Cantina de San Angel Ceiling

Cantina de San Angel Door Decor

A Nacho Throwdown sounds just about right, Sarah; and the outdoor seating photos make me long for a day in Florida, Todd. Thank you both so much for these great reviews! Agreed that I’d love to hear thoughts from anyone else out there who’s made it over to the Cantina — or from folks who are planning to go! Give us your comments in the comments section below!

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10 Comments

  1. Neil says:

    $3.50 for what looks like an 89c bottle of soda from the local megamart? I know there’s park inflation, but it makes inkjet cartridges not seem so bad.

  2. Jason says:

    Hmmmm, well i’d like to say “it’s early….there’s a margin for error” but at the end of the day, a restaurant service over-salting seems like a big no-no. I mean it’s Tacos. And it’s salt. That’s a pretty simple equation. That said, as much as I’ve been critical about the prices at Hacienda and the menu diversity there, I imagine we won’t know the long-term appeal and quality of Hacienda (and Cantina) for a few months.

    This will be fun though…like Via Napoli, this is the first time I’ve been networked with Foodies at the opening of a major Disney restaurant.

  3. Sarah says:

    Neil – I agree about the price of the soda. I think the prices for quick-serve here are high in general. But when a fountain or bottle of Coke is $2.50, I’ll spend the extra dollar to try something new. I’ll have to check the Publix Sabor near my house to see if they carry the soda there at a more reasonable price.

  4. Looking at this, I’m thinking I will try the counter service option instead of the table service. That makes my job easier, because I can go to Via Napoli for pizza and get counter service here – thereby trying both new restaurants!

    Thanks for the updates, AJ, and looking forward to your personal review of both options at Hacienda/Cantina San Angel.

  5. tperlmutter says:

    The Paleta (ice pop) is also $3.50, but I was in a savory mood which is why I went with the emapanda. BTW you get three empanada’s with the order ($10.50 btw – which is also why I’m pretty sure that was Fontina sprinkled on the outside). Jackie, the person with the dairy allergy, had had the Paleta before we met up and she loved it. Also the chips are baked not fried, in case you were interested.

    And AJ, no problem, nothing like taking a wordy, brain dump of an email and turning it into a far more interesting blog post.

  6. Galloping Gourmand says:

    Oversalting is one of the deadly sins of cooking. Unless a series of people made a sequence of major error it should never have gone out. That’s the kind of review that makes me worried about a restaurant.

    I know I’ve been skeptical of this place since I heard about it. From the high even for Disney prices ($12 for 3 tacos?) to what I consider a less than stellar building when you take the whole pavilion into account. I think at this point instead of being a Grumpy Gus I’m going to bow out of commenting on here before I experience it myself. It’s easy to throw rocks at a place you haven’t tried, and it’s resoundingly unfair.

  7. Unfortunately, none of this menu or photos for that matter are yelling “Dig in” to me. I may be biased but I’ll take Via Napoli any day over what I am seeing here. That place was simply delicious and you could taste the difference in the ingredients.

  8. Marianela says:

    Hi!!
    A question for Sarah…the Pico de Gallo included in the Taco con Carne is a type of Chili? Is the red thing (as tomatoes) on the side??

    After the description of the Churro I’ll eat them in my next visit. I live in Chile (South America) and we have Churros without cinnamon and the Cajeta is called “Manjar” and the manjar (more thick than cream) is inside the churro. YUM!!!

  9. Josh says:

    The Caramel for the Churro looks sort of like Queso to me. It may just be the angle though. It’s interesting that the Caramel is classified as “Milk Caramel” on the menu though.

    Also Todd, thanks for the forewarning on the Churro. I’m more or less Lactose Intolerant so it’s a good fact to know.

    I’m betting though that the Kid’s Menu isn’t going to go over very well very long due to both options being deep fried in one way or another. They really should try a grilled quesadilla or something of the sorts. Even a hard taco would go over pretty well with little kids I would think.

  10. kathie mullins says:

    I have to say my husband and I ate here this past Monday night! There wasn’t much to eat and the food was poor. I can make much better nachos at home. What’s with the horrible canned cheese?

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