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Guest Review: Lunch at Epcot’s San Angel Inn

Welcome back guest author Catie Hiltz with a review of lunch at the San Angel Inn inside Epcot’s Mexico pavilion.

While in Disney World over Spring Break, my husband, parents and I dined at San Angel Inn, the restaurant inside the Mexico Pavilion pyramid at Epcot’s World Showcase.

I have always walked by the restaurant wistfully, thinking “I wish I could eat there;” and this time, I actually got the chance to do just that!

San Angel Inn is housed here, in Mexico!

Atmosphere

We arrived at 1:20 pm for our 1:30 pm Advance Dining Reservation. We weren’t seated until 1:40 pm, which gave us time to roam around the pavilion and take in our surroundings!

San Angel Inn Dining Room

And we had a chance to check out what delicious dishes we were in store for us, too! The menu didn’t have a large number of options, but the items on it sounded like they would be worth a try.

Lunch Menu -- click for larger image

One thing that was a *slight* negative was that the waiting area for the restaurant is TINY (basically non-existent), BUT the fact that there are plenty of Mexican-inspired souvenirs to peruse right outside the restaurant makes up for that!

Once we were seated, I could really start to get an idea of what the restaurant was all about. It was dark (I never really did adjust to the darkness!), crowded, loud, and packed with people. The tables were pretty close together, but since it was so loud it didn’t feel like we were having lunch with the people next to us, which was a good thing!

San Angel Dining Room

Table Spacing

(Editor’s Note: San Angel Inn recently switched to a more upscale feel, re-orienting tables, adding tablecloths, and upgrading the menu.)

Eats

We were greeted almost immediately by our waitress, who took our drink orders. My father and husband both chose a Dos Equis –- a beer that is usually served in bottles, but they had it on tap at San Angel Inn. They both really enjoyed this, saying it was better tasting than the bottled variety.

We all then took some time to review the menus.

Margarita and Tequila options - click image for larger version

While we were deciding, our waitress brought us some chips and salsa. The chips were not hot from the fryer, but were definitely fresh and crisp, with just the right amount of salt.

The salsa definitely had a kick. It was a medium spicy salsa that had more of a smooth, sauce-y texture (versus chunky salsas). It seemed like the spice came from roasted peppers, and we all enjoyed it (it disappeared quickly!).

Chips and Salsa were a delicious start to our meal!

Our meals were brought out about 15 minutes after ordering, which was good timing as we had just finished the chips! When it came to menu choices, my mom and I both had the “Enchiladas Verdes De Pollo” (Chicken Enchiladas).

The chicken itself was shredded chicken breast inside of fresh tortillas, and while the chicken was plain, it was moist and overall had a good taste and texture. The tortillas were topped with a green tomatillo sauce, which was very mild and had a strong cilantro taste (which I enjoyed). They also had a drizzle of sour cream and some chives (which were there more for decoration than taste).

The dish was served with a mildly spiced rice and black beans, which complemented it well. Overall, it was a delicious dish and we both enjoyed it thoroughly!

“Enchiladas Verdes De Pollo”, served with rice and beans

My husband had the “Lomo de Puerco en Pipian,” grilled pork tenderloin served with grilled vegetables –- onions, peppers, squash and zucchini — and topped with a spicy tomato/pepper sauce that had a hint of cinnamon. My husband said the pork was grilled perfectly and the sauce was almost like a gravy that went really well with the meat and vegetables.

He gave it an enthusiastic 2 thumbs up!

“Lomo de Puerco en Pipian”, Grilled to perfection

My father chose the “Pescada a la Veracruzana”, or “Catch Of The Day.” This was Mahi-Mahi served on a bed of poblano rice and topped with onions, peppers, green olives, tomatoes and scallions. He really enjoyed it, and while there was spice on the fish, he said it was mild and cooked just right.

“Pescada a la Veracruzana”, and yes, there actually IS fish under there!

But we didn’t stop there, because after any great meal comes dessert. So of course we had to sample some of the amazing-sounding dessert options.

Both of my parents ordered the “Helado De Dulce De Leche”, or Caramel Ice Cream, which was a fresh tasting vanilla bean ice cream with thick swirls of a caramel custard. You would think this might be overly sweet, but it wasn’t; it was refreshing and delicious.

“Helado De Dulce De Leche”

I opted for the “Natilla De Cajeta,” which was caramelized custard topped with berries. It was the same custard that was swirled into the caramel ice cream, and it had a perfect texture — nice and smooth — and tasted almost like dulce de leche. I scraped the bowl clean (that’s how good it was!).

“Natilla De Cajeta”

My husband definitely won the award for the oddest looking dessert –- the “Isla Flotante” — which was key lime meringue with berries and vanilla sauce. It was spongy and lime-y, and had an odd texture; but the taste was light and refreshing.

The vanilla sauce was not too thick and went well with the lime and berries.

“Isla Flotante”

We really liked the desserts, can you tell?

The costs of the entrees ranged from $17-$24 each, while the desserts were around $7 each. Since we were on the Disney Dining Plan, we each received a non alcoholic drink, an entrée, and a dessert and only paid out of pocket for the beers and tip.

Overall

We really enjoyed our experience at the San Angel Inn, the food was delicious, the service was great, and the only complaint I really have is the fact that it was dark and kind of loud (which is probably to be expected, considering there are also shops and a ride in the same area as the restaurant!).

That being said, I would definitely go here again, maybe for dinner and some margaritas! If you like authentic Mexican food, you’ll definitely want to make plans to dine at San Angel Inn on your next Walt Disney World Trip!

Have you dined at San Angel Inn lately? Let us know your favorite dish!

Catie has been a Disney fanatic ever since her first ride on Space Mountain at age 4. She is the author of Living in a Grown Up World, and she is a huge fan of food, Minnie Mouse, and all things Disney!

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17 Comments

  1. Heather says:

    I’m glad you had a good meal, as my last was certainly a disappointment. Everything I ordered appeared at my table 30 seconds after I ordered it–which means that everything is in steam trays in the back–that’s fine for beans, rice, even some veggies, but not for a steak!

  2. Marcellina says:

    I”m also glad to hear a positive review. I have eaten here twice but it’s been so long ago because both times I didn’t enjoy my food. Maybe I need to give this restaurant a third shot… I defintely love the atmosphere and ambiance of the place! To me, I like that it’s loud because it makes it feel like you are eating in a bustling Mexican square! I do wish they had more room to spread out the tables a bit though, in case you wanted a more romantic type dinner. Great review! Thanks! The desserts look great!

  3. Niki M says:

    I’ve never been overly impressed with the quality of the food here but the atmosphere usually makes up for it so we book it almost every trip. Our last meal there was shortly after they converted the restaurant to a more upscale look. The tables seem even closer together now than before. We were seated by the entrance and felt jostled by all the people passing by and that darn tequila cart that barely fits through the aisles.

  4. Amy says:

    This review brought back so many memories. I don’t think I’ve ever been to Disney World without eating at San Angel Inn–as a kid, I loved seeing the boats float past (back when the ride was still called El Rio del Tiempo) and the glow of the “volcano” in the background. As an adult, I can see that it IS crowded and loud, and the food isn’t necessarily the best I’ve ever eaten in WDW. But the last time we were there (3 years ago), we had all just been drenched in a sudden storm and were shivering in the air conditioning, which made that Sopa Azteca seemed like the best thing I’d ever tasted. And they serve Negra Modelo, which is not always easy to find where I live, so that was a nice surprise. We just made the difficult decision to cut it from our upcoming itinerary (to make room for Le Cellier!), and I can’t promise I won’t feel a little pang as we walk past.

  5. Adam says:

    I really love the ambiance at San Angel. The food was only OK when we ate there last, but it has become something of a tradition to have a dinner there the first night of a vacation.

    I can’t wait to give the new menu a try, I am hoping that it really is is more authentic than it has been in the past! In my opinion, a few of the World Showcase restaurants could use more in the authenticity department.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    WE LOVE this place. I would like for you to post the updated dinner menu as well or give a link. We eat here every single visit to WDW sometimes more than once!, (usually every 2 years.. if we are lucky).

  7. this review is so well-written! i always wanted to eat here and you gave everything such a good review i just might soon. i hope you had a good time!

  8. Steph says:

    We just ate there in April while on Spring Break. We loved it! The food was great! We did lunch too and with the kids it worked well! The churro dessert was amazing! It’s been on my husband’s top places to try with the ambiance so we finally did it! I can’t remember what we ordered, the menu you posted looks a little slimmer than what we saw but it may not be. Whatever we had it was delicious and the staff was great too!

  9. CraigInPA says:

    My wife and I have eaten there half a dozen times.

    The high points of the meal almost entirely revolve around the dessert for us. The best dessert I’ve ever had in Epcot was one which was on the San Angel menu in February 2011 and apparently isn’t a permanent choice (because it wasn’t on the menu in December when I went back), a light vanilla mousse served in a flute with fresh berries. My wife chose that over our normal choice, capriotata (bread pudding with milk caramel), itself a fabulous dessert.

    The low point of the meal is usually service. It’s easy for you to get overlooked in the very crowded and loud room. Before you take a big helping of the tortilla chips and salsa, make sure you’ve got enough of your beverage to quench your thirst, because you will NOT be able to locate your server and request a refill quickly.

  10. Shannon says:

    Glad to hear a positive review… seems like this is one place that is either hit-or-miss. We’ve never dined here, but my oldest daughter really wants to try San Angel on our next trip.

  11. Catie says:

    Heather – I am sad to hear that you were disappointed, and that stinks about the steam trays! Maybe it was just a busy time hence their use? At the very least, your food appeared quickly ha!

    Marcellina – I think you should give it a third try! And I agree about the tables being kind of close together, but the atmosphere is still pretty neat!

    Niki M – I was glad to not be seated near the entrance, as that sounds like it was not a pleasant experience! And the crowded feeling does take a little away from the ambiance, for sure

    Amy – How awesome that you have such great memories of San Angel Inn! I don’t blame you in trading it for Le Cellier, and hopefully you’ll be able to make it back on your next trip!

    Adam – I personally felt that the food tasted pretty authentic, but I am nowhere near any kind of Mexican descent, so you will have to be the real judge of it’s authenticity on your next trip 

    Elizabeth – I love having restaurants I visit on every trip – for me it’s Chef Mickey’s and Boma (both of which I could eat every meal at without getting tired of it ha!)

    Vittoria – Thank you, and I hope you enjoy eating here as much as we did!

    Steph – I agree, the staff was great – specifically our waitress, she was very helpful and attentive and even tried to help us correctly pronounce the menu items (to no avail as our Spanish is horrible ha!)

    Craig – Sorry to hear you haven’t had much luck with the service, I can see how that might be an issue when it gets really busy (which it always seems to be ha!), and I agree with you on the desserts – they were great (dessert is always my favorite part and these didn’t disappoint!)

  12. Catie says:

    Shannon – I definitely recommend dining here, and hope you have a positive experience if you decide to go!

  13. Galloping Gourmand says:

    I consider my love of San Angel Inn my deep dark Disney dining secret. It is by no means a good place, rather content to boarder on adequate. There is absolutely nothing wrong with perfectly adequate food. Everything is cooked well and tastes generally like it should (if i a little toned down for my taste).

    My love instead stems from what I believe to be the perfect World Showcase atmosphere. In the World Showcase Disney tries to present an idealized, romantic version of destinations around the world. A little flavor crammed into a few acres in a way that feels both authentic but also like a fairy tale. Mexico, with San Angel at it’s heart, is the distillation of the World Showacse ideal. It’s an idealized plaza that can exist nowhere else in the world. A constant cool twilight in a plaza. An erupting volcano by Myan ruins. A mariachi band plays sometimes. Boats passing by a river. If you get just the right seat – ideally in the rear corner of the main dining area – everything just washes over you and it feels like your own little postcard version of Disney faux-Mex. It’s everything you hope Mexico is and what it should be. I could sit at the San Angel Inn and drink it all in for hours. (Then have a tequila.)

  14. Jeff says:

    I can’t put it any better than “Galloping Gourmand” above.
    It truly is the perfect World Showcase Atmosphere.
    And therefore, despite being very average food at expensive prices, it remains one of my favorite restaurants anywhere inside WDW’s gates.

  15. Essie says:

    Very nice report. The food is very inviting…to me. Unfortunately my travel friends don’t like Mexican food. :( I do go on solo trips occasionally and then I hit the Mexican QS spot and really enjoy it. Maybe someday I’ll get to eat inside or in the TS outside.

  16. Catie says:

    Very well put by Jeff and Galloping Gourmand!! San Angel Inns atmosphere really adds to the experience!!

    And Essie I hope you get to experience San Angel Inn someday soon!!

  17. This is one of my favorite restaurants! You can’t beat the food and atmosphere!

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