La Hacienda de San Angel is special to both my husband and I for sentimental reasons, because this was one of the first restaurants we dined in for our honeymoon. While I wasn’t too impressed with this restaurant during that reservation, I was willing to give it another shot.
The views out of the windows are breathtaking, and if nothing else, I could get a great margarita.
La Hacienda is located directly across from the temple pyramid that is the focal point of the Mexican pavilion. The entryway can be somewhat hard to miss, especially if you are in the throngs of a major crowd with strollers!
Just look for the sign in the picture below. There is a hostess stand underneath the sign where check-in is required to gain access to the restaurant.
We arrived at the restaurant over 30 minutes before our reservation time just to check in, and to our wonderful surprise they seated us early! We were directed to the foyer/lobby area that contains beautiful blue lanterns. Another hostess in the foyer directed us to our seats.
The restaurant atmosphere is relaxed with an afternoon siesta feeling and is elegant without being stuffy. The decorations are subtle – at least much less subtle than stereotypical Mexican restaurants – with patterned ceilings, clean walls, star lanterns dangling from the ceiling, and wrought-iron accents.
While it’s not as scenic as a volcano or Mayan river with a Mariachi band playing in the background (San Angel Inn) – it did set a pleasant atmosphere for a meal.
The wall of windows overlooks the lagoon and the rest of World Showcase. If you’re able to get a window seat during IllumiNations, it is a great place to watch the show!
When we arrived at 5:30 PM, there were hardly any other diners there; but by 6:00 PM the restaurant was packed. After our meal, my husband said “They don’t need a volcano here! The food is the main attraction!” Needless to say, our meal this time around was OUTSTANDING!
I’m not a margarita person (tequila – bad experiences – won’t go there), but I made a promise to myself to be adventurous on this trip, so I went with a crazy sounding margarita: Mango Blueberry Basil.
Let me tell you what, this was one of the most delicious drinks I have ever had! It was full of unique flavors; the sweetness of the mango and blueberries was accented nicely by the fresh basil, but the chili salt rim really packed a punch of flavor that created a myriad of flavor combinations all in one sip. This is the kind of margarita that you sip and savor; not slurp down like a slushie machine margarita lunch special!
I’ll admit, the margarita’s rim burned my tongue but fired me on to consume an unforgivable amount of the tasty complimentary chip service. Additionally, the sweetness of the margarita paired perfectly with our entire meal! I know a lot of people would baulk at the price of this margarita (~$13), but the cost is more than appropriate for the amount of labor and fresh ingredients that went into it.
Speaking of complimentary chip service… the chips were lukewarm, which was somewhat disappointing; but they were salted perfectly to make up for it. Two accompanying salsas were included; red and green. The red salsa was very hot and had a robust, smoky, chipotle flavor. The green salsa was milder and (to me) had a vinegary/citrusy taste. I thought it was delicious! Nothing Chi-Chi’s or Pace Picante about these!
For our main course, we wanted to try another 2-person platter like we did on our honeymoon; however, on this adventure we are trying to eat healthier so we opted for the seafood “Del Mar” platter instead of the chicken, steak, and chorizo loaded option.
I wasn’t sure what we were going to get – to be honest, I wasn’t expecting great things since the meat platter on the prior visit was somewhat dry and tough to eat. We were both shocked when this beauty came out!
A huge, sizzling skillet full of sautéed veggies, sweet corn, shrimp, and fish topped with fresh salsa, and scallops with accompanying bowls of rice and beans dominated the footprint of our entire 4-5 person table. And this was all just for the two of us!
You can literally see the freshness in the picture below! Look at that steam! Definitely poppin’ fresh.
The zucchini, pepper, and veggie blend was buttery and (frankly) average. There was nothing spectacular about these vegetables other than they provided some fiber and color to the meal.
The corn was a completely different story. Ordinarily, I don’t eat corn, but this looked so tempting with the cheese and chili topping. The corn itself was incredibly sweet and – channeling Goldie Hawn a la Overboard “burst in your mouth at exactly the right time” – was in what tasted like a lime and garlic sauce. It was non-vegetable-acting-like-a-vegetable perfection!
The scallops were cooked perfectly, and while they didn’t have very much seasoning on them their texture made up for lack of flavor. The fish was a tender white fish (type unknown) and was topped with a very fresh salsa that was spicy, flaky, and not salty. My husband absolutely loved the fish! Which was why I maybe got ..hmm… 1/5 of it? You snooze you lose, I guess.
The shrimp were very tender and in a colorful, savory sauce. These “tropical grubworms” sure did taste good! They were not at all rubbery or “off” tasting as most mass-produced shrimp entrees in chain/dive restaurants are.
The rice was tender and flavorful. I’m still not sure as to the purpose of the peas other than looks… but the rice tasted wonderful! It was not dry at all; definitely an adequate sidekick to the meal.
Oh boy, do I love me some beans! These particular beans were not too chunky and were packed full of flavor! They were wonderful! How wonderful you ask? Well, so wonderful that my husband used them as a topping for EVERYTHING!
Ah – the crème de la crème — I discovered that ‘heaven in my mouth’ was a mixture of the corn, rice, and beans. It was amazing! I love seafood, but to be honest, I ditched everything on the platter and kept eating this.
Yes, I paid that much for rice and beans.
After we wolfed down the entire platter and had to unbutton the top button on our pants (or in my case, loosen the elastic ties on our running shorts), it was time to order dessert!
We chose to sample the Empanda de Manzana (caramel apple empanada with dulce de leche ice cream, caramel sauce, and fresh berries) and the Helado de Maiz (corn ice cream with candied popcorn and more of that chili pepper salt).
Okay – truth time – I thought the corn ice cream was weird; I felt like I was eating frozen creamed corn. There were chunky pieces of frozen corn in the ice cream. The ice cream itself wasn’t overly sweet, but was complemented well by the odd pairing of the chili salt that was sprinkled on top. I saw no point in having the popcorn on it. The textures didn’t mesh well with the chunky ice cream. My husband said it tasted like an upscale version of french fries dipped in a Frosty.
The experience with the empanada was polar opposite of that of the corn ice cream. It was absolutely in-cred-ible!!! The ice cream was very rich and was ribboned with thick caramel.
The empanada had a tender, flaky, buttery pastry crust that was stuffed with fresh, sweet, caramel apple filling and then ribboned with more of that delectable caramel sauce on top. If I’m going to be honest, the caramel sauce tasted better than Werther’s!
The fresh berries added just the right tartness to each bite. Everything was right about this dessert.
If I haven’t painted a clear enough picture of how amazing this was, let me try again: Remember that scene from Jurassic Park where they lowered the animal down to the velociraptors and how the harness looked when they pulled it back up? That’s pretty much what it looked like when we were eating this. (Editor’s Note: Love the voracious picture that’s now in my head!)
Overall, we were more than impressed with La Hacienda this go-around. It was definitely better than our prior visit, which could be due to the fact that it was not busy (hence no rushed chefs). The restaurant was still pretty new when we went the first time, so perhaps the chefs are in their rhythms now.
No matter, this meal was outstanding and we consider it one of the best of our trip. We can’t wait to come back! My only piece of advice is to be adventurous and explore all of the different flavors here!
Katie works full-time as an engineer in Ohio and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in mechanical engineering through Purdue University. Katie and her husband absolutely love everything Disney and try to work that special brand of magic into every aspect of their life including visiting Walt Disney World multiple times per year.
What are your favorite dishes at La Hacienda de San Angel? Chime in with your comments below!