After finishing a day of the conference (the reason I’m here in Disney World is for a food blogger conference), I knew I needed a quick bite!
We’d been at seminars in the Odyssey Center all day long, and it was so nice to get out into the Epcot sunshine that I decided to STAY outside and headed right over to La Cantina de San Angel to have a snack by the World Showcase Lagoon!
, Mexico’s counter-service restaurant in Epcot’s World Showcase, offers a refuge by the water with ample amounts of shaded seating. If you enjoy Mexican eats, need a quick bite, and fancy a margarita with your meal, La Cantina makes a great stop in your world travels.
This location opens at 11 a.m. (along with the rest of World Showcase) and lines quickly form since Mexico is often everyone’s first stop as they begin their tour around the World!
Once you grab your food, there are several options for seating. A large, circular shaded area offers great views of the Lagoon, and possibly some nice breezes off of the water if you’re lucky!
There is also seating right next to the queue area — this is great for a quick bite and a similarly quick getaway!
If you can stand the sunshine streaming in, these seats right next to the water are prime picks!
No matter what, La Cantina is usually busy and bustling, so things here will be slightly loud and somewhat crowded. There’s not a lot of seating compared to other counter-service restaurants!
It’s a great place to relax during not-so-popular dining hours, however, as it has the best view of any counter-service location in the showcase!
On this visit I was eager to sample one of the restaurant’s frozen margaritas to see if it was as good as what you can get in the other half of the building — La Hacienda de San Angel table-service restaurant!
I was also in the mood to try out the nachos in the hopes that they used the same white queso you can get for the chips and queso at La Cava del Tequila (love those things!)!
I quickly ordered some nachos and a Passion Fruit margarita (at the passionate — pun intended — recommendation of the cast member taking my order…he kindly told me that if I didn’t like it, I could just give it to him ;-D). Like at most counter-service restaurants, I took my receipt up to the window and quickly received my food.
From there it was on to the condiments table where you can pick up utensils, salsas, napkins, straws, and the like.
The restaurant has two all-you-care-to-enjoy salsa options: salsa verde (green chili salsa) that’s mild, and salsa chipotle (chipotle chili salsa) that’s hot.
I chose both! 😉 As I now live in Texas, I feel that salsa really is a matter of personal taste. I’d have to get my husband to try them to give you a true review. He’s much more a salsa fan than I am… . I can give you a play-by-play of any queso on the menu, but salsa? Not as much. In this case, while I enjoyed the green chili salsa, the hot version was more to my liking!
On the nachos, I got ground beef, cheese, and jalapenos. You can also get sour cream, tomatoes, and black beans on yours!
The chips here are the same chips they serve at La Hacienda next door (the table-service restaurant), but the queso is most decidedly NOT what they serve at La Cava del Tequila inside the Mexico pavilion pyramid (see my Cava queso review here). This seems/tastes more like a processed nacho cheese out of a can, which I have no problem with, but it’s not quite the “experience” of La Cava’s queso blanco.
Alas, I’m easy to please when it comes to plastic cheese, so I was happy with this version. The ground beef on top gets high marks from me as well. I hate dry, tasteless ground beef, and this was pleasantly smooshy and salty. Those jalepenos gave the expected kick and also served to mesh the flavors together into a savory package. Well done, La Cantina.
This is a good, filling snack to share with friends; or a solid meal if you’d rather nosh solo. In fact, I can picture bringing a bunch of friends here, grabbing a few margaritas and these nachos, and having a great afternoon talking and laughing by the water! Sounds fantastic, eh?
On to the margarita! Again, this is not what they serve in La Cava del Tequila or in La Hacienda de San Angel. These are closer to the frozen margarita stand margaritas. That means they’re 1) Strong, and 2) Not really all that great. BUT, there is room to believe that “a strong margarita is a good margarita,” so if that’s your camp, jump on board! 😉
The flavor itself wasn’t too bad, but I’ve been spoiled by those excellent frozen and on-the-rocks margaritas in the other locations in Mexico. I was a bit disappointed in this one.
On a previous visit, I’d ordered paletas — Mexican popsicles — but since I haven’t yet written up the review for the blog, I think it makes sense to add it on to this one, don’t you? 😉
Paletas come in four flavors: lemon/lime, mango with chili, cantaloupe, and coconut. On that visit, I ordered the lemon/lime and the mango with chili, and a fellow diner ordered the coconut.
The lemon/lime was perfect. A huge pop of sweet/sour flavor that never weakened! I loved it (of course, I do love lemon/lime anything, pretty much), and I can highly recommend this as a dessert at your La Cantina visit!
The mango with chili, however, was much too strong for me. The super-salty chili flavor was overpowering the sweet mango, and the two flavors just weren’t complementary at all.
If you read the ingredients list on the package, you’ll see that the paleta includes hot sauce and Chamoy, which is a sauce made from pickled fruit. That sour/savory/vinegary taste does come through in this, and perhaps that — combined with the salty power of the hot sauce — was what I reacted to so strongly.
My taste buds were very angry with me for that one. I didn’t take more than a bite. Would LOVE to hear from some of you who like that flavor — let me know what I’m missing about this one, please. 🙂
While I didn’t try the coconut paleta, it was reviewed as being sweet and delicious. A pina colada on a stick, maybe?
La Cantina de San Angel is a fun new addition to the World Showcase Mexico pavilion. Its accessibility and great views make it a prime target for everyone and anyone visiting Epcot, so try to avoid main mealtimes if you’d like to have a relaxing visit.
The food is fun and out of the ordinary for a theme park, so I think you’ll be pleased if you’re looking for more than your standard burger and fries!
What are your favorite eats at La Cantina or in the Mexico Pavilion?