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Review: Epcot’s La Hacienda de San Angel

It’s been over a year since Epcot’s newest Mexican restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel, opened its doors to great fanfare.

Our first visit there (when it first opened) was good, but not entirely memorable; so we were eager to give this spot a second try. And this time we brought along AJ’s Mom and AJ’s Dad to get their feedback!

Atmosphere

La Hacienda is a beautiful restaurant. The contemporary decor, look, and feel of the place gives off a polished, sleek Mexico-inspired vibe without being kitschy and stereotypical. The high ceilings and simple furnishings give the space a fresh, light, airy feel; but the furniture is solid and steady — a fun contrast!

Carved Wood Tables

I think it’s got one of the most soothing vistas on Disney property — a long-windowed look out onto the World Showcase Lagoon and all of the countries bordering it.

One of the Main Dining Rooms

And since Mexico has a prime spot on the edge of the World Showcase, you really do get an interesting view of the architecture from so many different countries.

View from a Window Table

This was our table for the evening — a bit crowded for four people, but I liked that we all got to take advantage of that great view!

Booth and Artwork

Once seated, we got right down to business discussing the menu…

Eats

The menu at La Hacienda is relatively small. Here’s a primer: The first page? Alcohol. The second page? Meat.

OK, it’s not quite that straightforward — the second page also includes veggies, fish, and cheese. ;-) But, in all honesty, this is what I like about La Hacienda. The food is relatively simple and no frills. It’s fresh. It’s a contemporary take on Mexican cuisine, and just like the restaurant’s decor, the menu avoids the kitschy and stereotypical.

Menu - click image for larger version

Menu - click image for larger version

We started out our evening with a couple of drinks: Dos Equis for AJ’s Dad and an Avocado Margarita for me.

Dos Equis

I finally realized what the Avocado Margarita tastes like, thanks to some reader feedback — bananas! How does it taste like bananas??

Avocado Margarita

Our server brought over the complimentary chips and salsa, complete with both green and red salsas. Our salsa experts at the table were impressed.

Chips and Salsa

Being the cheese-worshiper that I am, and having heard rave reviews from readers, I ordered the queso fundido as an appetizer and Woah Nellie was this good! Poblano peppers were mixed into the melted cheese, and a pile of chorizo came on top of the dish.

While many folks dislike chorizo due to the copious amounts of grease that accompany it, I say the more the merrier. It gives great flavor!

Queso Fundido

The cheese was served with flour tortillas for dipping, but I preferred to use the corn chips (better scooping action for maximum cheese-to-scooping-vehicle ratio!!).

Flour Tortillas

Our next appetizer was the Taquiza dish, which came in a flashy chrome stand. Beef (with chipotle salsa), chicken (with salsa verde), and pork tacos were artfully arranged and got high marks from the table. Favorites were definitely the pork and beef tacos — both were very flavorful.

Taquiza -- Beef, Chicken and Pork Tacos

After these goodies, we moved on to the entrees. First up: the Puerco en Salsa de Mole Negro. This came with esquites (roasted yummy corn sauteed in butter and onions, then super-charged with a spicy mayo sauce), sweet potato mash, veggies, and beans. The pork was not overdone, and this got high marks from the table. It was one of our favorite dishes of the evening.

Puerco en Salsa de Mole Negro with Esquites - Sweet Potato Mash - Beans and Veggies

Next: the Pollo al Pastor, which is served with roasted veggies, beans, and pineapple relish. This is the dish I had on our last visit, and once again I felt that it was dry and somewhat lacking in flavor. However, this wasn’t MY entree, and the person who ordered it enjoyed it. :-)

Pollo al Pastor with Pineapple Relish

Now here’s the big kahuna of the bunch. Two of us split the La Hacienda Parrillada — a massive platter of meat (sirloin), meat (chicken), and more meat (chorizo), meant for two people!

This thing is ginormous, and, naturally, that uber-flavor-packed chorizo was my favorite part of the platter! While I enjoyed the sirloin, I wanted a bit more flavor in the marinade; and the chicken wasn’t really the best I’d had. So I made a meal out of those sausages and the accompanying esquites! ;-) YUM!

La Hacienda Parrillada - Sirloin, Chicken, Chorizo and Veggies

We had to make room for dessert, and since I was lucky enough to have four stomachs around the table, we ordered every dessert on the menu (all four of them). ;-)

Dessert Menu

The Crema de Chocolate Abuelita was essentially a chocolate pudding or mousse. Not anything to write home about, but a good chocolate flavor. Knowing the deliciousness of deep, dark Mexican chocolate, I would have expected something a bit less ho-hum, but the bunuelo strips and caramel syrup were a nice touch.

Crema de Chocolate Abuelita

I was very excited to try the Tamal de Dulce, as it had come so highly recommended by friends. This was a guava-filled tamal topped with strawberry coulis.

Honestly, this one didn’t strike my fancy. I enjoyed the strawberry coulis, but the tamal was a bit grainy for me.

Tamal de Dulce

Tamal de Dulce -- Guava Tamal with Strawberry Coulis

The Mexican ice creams came next, and I loved these. The strawberry and mango flavors offered a great ending to the meal, and I actually found this to be a decent portion size! Perfect for sharing.

Helado

Finally, the empanada de manzana with dulce de leche ice cream and cajeta (caramel sauce) was very good. I would have ordered an extra side of cajeta, though, since I’m always running out of dessert sauces before I’m ready! :-)

Empanada de Manzana with Dulce de Leche Ice Cream and Cajeta

Overall

This visit to La Hacienda was a bit better than our first. Now that I have a strong understanding of the restaurant’s goal and focus, I can better appreciate the dishes. And, once again, I’m a huge fan of the appetizers and drinks at this place! In fact, I may just order a couple of apps as my meal on my next visit! (And maybe a side of esquites… .)

Also, don’t forget that this is an incredible spot to watch Epcot’s fireworks show every evening, so if you can snag one of those window tables around 9pm, be sure to do so!

Have you been to Hacienda recently? What are your recommendations? Let us know in the comments section below!

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19 Comments

  1. Michael McKelvin says:

    So happy to see this review. My wife and I are debating eating here or San Angel Inn on our next trip! This review will totally fit into our thought process. Thanks as always for the wonderful reviews!

  2. yensidfan says:

    avacados and bananas are quite often paired together because of thier similar flavors. the drink sounds yummy:)

  3. marcellina says:

    what a perfectly timed review… we are going to eat here (my first time) in February… I will definitely be getting the lime raspberry margarita and I agree with you, chorizo makes everything better! Did they use regular masa like in normal tamales to make the outside of the tamal (es – haha)? The outside looks really shiny and that’s why I question it.. maybe that shine is the strawberry coulis though?

  4. Jonathan says:

    I am a non foodie but still generally temper my review of WDW restaurants….however La Hacienda would definitely be a favorite if it was in my neighborhood here at home. I consider that high praise.

  5. Laura says:

    We ate there early December for the first time and loved it. My husband and I went with another couple. We were craving guacamole and our server went down to the counter service restaurant and got it for us! The Orange Mango Fire Margarita is awesome. I’m a vegetarian and their veggie tacos were great. This will most likely become our place we always go to in Epcot.

  6. Becca says:

    Ooh, this is really interesting to see. I like just about every kind of Mexican food, from plasticky, cheesy chain restaurants to the real deal.

    Very cool that Disney have chosen such a small menu! One of the hardest things with Disney dining is that if you like certain dishes, you can wind up eating the same thing at every single restaurant. Especially me – the American Way of serving up giant steaks for half the price we have to pay in the UK means that I spend half my trip filled with the best that Clarabelle’s buddies have to offer!

    I’d like to see more of this. I think it would be an excellent cost-saving for Disney, without it harming guests. Gordon Ramsay is always saying about how it’s better for the quality of the restaurant to offer fewer items. Each Disney restaurant does not need to be all things to all people.

  7. I have to visit this place again. We went during IllumiNations and I was so enamored with the show, I don’t even remember the food!

  8. Love2Travel says:

    Great review. Since the San Angel Inn has slipped severely (you can turn down the lights all you want, but I can still taste the food even if I can’t see it…) this place is a very welcome option. We’ve eaten there three times so far and have to say that we agree with your assessment on the Pollo al Pastor. Tried it twice – dry and unimpressive both times- but the other dishes have been very good and if you like margaritas, they’re awesome here. Need to try the avocado though… thanks for the heads up on that one!

  9. Shayne says:

    Those tacos looked yummy! We also ordered the parillada on our visit there last year and I agree the mini-chorizos were the star of that dish.

    Question for you on the queso fundido — how liquid-y was the cheese? I ask only because when we ordered it, I expected it to be creamy enough to dip the tortillas or chips into. But it was more solidified than I expected, which made it fine for scooping up and plunking into the middle of tortilla, but just not what I expected. I wondered if ours was left sitting out (and cooling off) for a bit too long?

  10. Well, thank to you I know which drink I’ll get next time I visit: Avocado Margarita.
    The dishes are nicely displayed, for example the Taquiza tray is original.

  11. chantel says:

    Love that this popped up just as I’m looking for reviews! Hubs & I will be having dinner here alone Feb 23 while our teen girls hit up Garden Grille. I’ve been wondering about it, and knew where to come for the lo-down!

  12. M.G. says:

    Thanks for your review and pictures. We visited La Hacienda last August, and loved it. We actually ate there twice. The food was terrific, but I have been obsessing about the Orange Mango Fire Margarita every since. I’m lucky enough to be heading back to Orlando this July and have already made my reservation. Something I didn’t see mentioned was the terrific view of Epcot’s fireworks, visible right from your seat(if you request along the window). Our late reservation will have us enjoying dessert and fireworks. Can’t wait!!

  13. Ashley says:

    A quick note on the queso fundido… I was always told to roll it up in the tortilla to eat it.
    The first time I had it was at San Angel Inn years ago, before they removed it from the menu. I was thrilled to see it brought back when La Hacienda opened, and have had it three times in the past year. Two out of the three, it was great, but this last time it was too firm. We politely sent it back, but the next batch was still not as ‘gooey’ as it had been in the past. I’ll get it again, however, and roll a spoonful up inside a warm tortilla, add a squeeze of lime, and wash it down with a potent margarita. Cheers!

  14. Christie says:

    I’m sitting at the restaurant in my booth now as I type. Wonderful restaurant. Beautiful view (eating at 6:00pm) and a gorgeous view of the lake. Got the Queso Fundido- not impressed that it was hard when we received it; when asked, we were told it was not supposed to be soft like a dip, but hard. We would have preferred it softer and melted. Still spicy and delicious in the tortillas. The Tacos de Camarones (fried shrimp tacos with chipotle lime salsa) was great. Only 3 little shrimp per tortilla, but filling nonethess. The Orange Mango Fire Margarita was delightful; the perfect amount of spicy and sweet. No room for dessert. All around wonderful meal. Thanks for recommending. Off to finish my margarita now :)

  15. AJ says:

    Christie — What a fun in-the-moment review!! Thanks for thinking of us!

  16. Courtney says:

    Just ate here last week on our trip. It was our second time here in about a year, and I am pleased to say the food is still as good as ever! We had a big party (11 people) for a 7:15 reservation. We ended up getting sat about 45 minutes after our reservation time, because a table of two -that we needed for our big table- were enjoying their wine ’til fireworks (jerks). To make up for that the staff brought our table out 9 full sized appetizers! I was super impressed. The food was absolutely delicious AND we got a table by the window to enjoy Illuminations, even though that wasn’t the original plan.

  17. Walter says:

    We just got back from dinner at La Hacienda tonight and it was quite disappointing, especially after reading the review here.

    First off, my wife made reservations a few months ago and they sat us in a table that was literally in the hallway area outside the restrooms. Not even a place really to put a table so we were in a very high traffic area in a table that was, for whatever reason, squeezed in between four vary large tables. That started it off badly, I even mentioned it to our waitress that the table placement was a very odd and poor decision for a couple to actually attempt to enjoy dinner.

    The Queso Fundido was good and they put the chorizo on the side as my wife is a vegetarian.

    Based on the recommendation in this review, I ordered the Puerco en Salsa de Mole Negro and have to say it was the driest piece of meat I have had delivered in I don’t know how long. One bite and I stopped, told the waitress to take it away and didn’t bother ordering anything else. I ate one of my wife’s vegetarian epenadas which was sufficient.

    They did remove my meal from the ticket, but all in all a VERY disappointing experience at this restaurant. Will not return, will not recommend it to anyone. Way too many other good places to eat in Disney World to waste my money again here.

  18. Hyrum says:

    Fellow foodie looking forward to my Epcot visit in May. Of course I’m scoping out the best places to eat and found your blog. Love the reviews, and pictures. Thanks for everything. Apart from obviously eating the at the boulangerie in France, I’m looking for some other “must visit” places.

  19. Melissa says:

    We just returned from our visit on 9/13/13. Our FAVORITE meal of the trip was when my husband and I had a night to ourselves at La Hacienda. We made a late reservation and saw “most” of the fireworks from our booth. The food was SPECTACULAR, the service was great, and the atmosphere was very nice. We ordered the Tequiza appetizer, had the Parrillada Platter and was able to customize it to include – Sirloin, Shrimp, Scallops and Veggies. We didn’t even bother with the tortillas. For dessert I had the Mousse (just ok) and my husband had the sorbet (very good). We actually considered cancelling a reservation we had later in the week so we could go back (but decided against it). On our next trip, this will be the VERY FIRST dining reservation we make!!

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