San Angel Inn is one of those restaurants where the MAIN draw is the atmosphere. It’s all about location, baby, and this restaurant is INSIDE the big pyramid in EPCOT’s Mexico Pavilion where it feels like you’re actually dining alongside a lazy river on the bank of a river with a volcano in the distance!
This isn’t your typical tex-mex chain style food. It’s going for a more authentic take on Mexican cuisine and the result can be….hit or miss. Some things are REALLY good, while others haven’t wowed us. The inconsistency of the food has turned us off from this spot for a while, but the lure of a Disney water scented restaurant (if you know, you KNOW) called us back. How does the food compare now to the last time we were here? We decided to revisit San Angel Inn and see what’s up.
San Angel Inn has atmosphere IN DROVES. When you step inside, you are immediately transported to a cool night in a Mexican village with a bustling marketplace. The village sits on a riverbank, where boats filled with guests riding the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros attraction happily drift by.
A pyramid rises above the water and as you approach the restaurant itself, which sits on the riverside, you see tables decked out with softly-lit table lamps. We seriously can’t emphasize enough — this restaurant is great to eat at if you love a Disney water ride floating by during your meal and that classic Disney theming.
A word of warning though — not all tables are created equal here. Most tables are situated in the main restaurant area overlooking the water (If you like, request a waterfront table when checking in!) but there are a few tables situated near the check-in area. Away from the water. Next to the bathrooms. So unless your ideal view is that of a solid stream of guests stumbling in the very dark restaurant to find the potties, maybe request to NOT be seated here!
One issue we’ve had in this location in the past was how tightly tables were crammed in the space. You would get VERY comfy with your neighbors since they were close enough to practically take food off your plate! Thanks to social distancing efforts, this has been largely remedied for the time being, but depending on what conditions are like when you visit, you could be bumping elbows with other patrons! This was easily one of our biggest takeaways from our experience here — those tables were WAY too close for comfort previously!
But what about the food? In the past, it hasn’t always impressed us, but it’s been a hot minute since we were here last, so we decided to try it out again. We entered the restaurant and sat down to peruse the menu. A QR code was on the table, as we’ve seen at most other locations, that pulled up the menus via their website. We checked out the drinks and appetizers first and saw several signature drinks, along with a “Welcome Back” drink and Neil Patrick Harris’ Black Magic Margarita.
There are also several handcrafted margaritas to choose from, along with tequila, beer, wine, sangria, and Mezcal. San Angel Inn also offers flights of tequila and Mezcal. If you’re a fan of the neighboring La Cava del Tequila, you’ll likely recognize much of the marg menu as drinks straight from their menu. This is a great way to try a few margs without heading into La Cava.
We started with drinks because we’re never ones to turn down a new margarita! We decided to go for the “Welcome Back Drink,” which was the Pink Popcorn Margarita!
This $17 drink seemed pretty unique. It’s Nixta elote liqueur, Ojo de Tigre mezcal, pomegranate-rose cordial, and fresh lemon juice with a rose petal popcorn salt rim. Don’t worry, you won’t find popcorn floating in this drink, despite the name! We typically love the flavor of Mezcal (Tequila’s smokey cousin!) and it was very pretty to look at, but we found it a little bitter for our liking. It was still good, though, so maybe it would please those who prefer more bitter drinks. That said, we’d recommend you also know and enjoy the flavor of Mezcal before committing to a drink focused on it. In our experience, it’s an acquired taste!
No trip to a Mexican joint would be complete without chips and salsa. Pre-closure, San Angel served up chips with a mild green tangy salsa and a very rich chipotle based salsa. On this visit, we notice we were given a cup of what appeared to be a more fresh, traditional salsa. This was very welcome change!
Obviously, it was time for food! Since cheese is basically our love language here at DFB, we went for the Queso Fundido for $14. This wonderfully cheesy concoction is melted Monterey Jack Cheese topped with chorizo, poblano peppers and onions served with flour tortillas. Note that this is actually the same Queso Fundido you can get across the way at La Hacienda de San Angel, Mexico’s other Table Service restaurant!
Don’t expect your standard melty cup of queso here though. Fundido is not really so much a dip as it is a scorching hot skillet of melted cheese you have to scrape onto those wonderfully fresh tortillas. But it was DELISH! We got a little heat from the peppers and sausage, but it wasn’t overwhelming. And yeah, it was CHEESY! ALL THE CHEESE! We basically made little cheese fajitas with it:
You gotta act fast though! That cheese basically sets up into delicious concrete minutes after it’s placed on your table, so scoop and chow FAST.
We asked our server to recommend something for our entree, and he sold us on the Pollo a Las Rajas for $28. This is grilled chicken breast over a bed of roasted garlic potatoes with onions, red peppers, corn, and a poblano pepper cream sauce topped with queso fresco (more cheese!).
It looks so pretty on the plate! And the cream sauce and flavors from the peppers were MMMMMMM GOOD! We totally dipped our extra tortillas in the sauce, too (no shame in our game). This might not be something we think of as food we’d find at our corner neighborhood Mexican joint or a Taco Bell, but it was still pretty darn great. (You can even make it home!)
Those roasted potatoes you see hiding under the chicken? You’re gonna wish you had a whole plate of just those to scoop up that sauce. Just sayin’.
You can’t end a meal without dessert, right? We don’t make the rules; we just follow them. Dessert at this spot is usually pretty limited and, in the past, has honestly not been worth the calories. We chose oh-so-unique Brownie de Chocolate for $9. 😉 This is a warm fudge brownie served with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream and drizzled with caramel.
You really can’t go wrong with a brownie topped with ice cream, can you? Although there was absolutely nothing that screamed Mexico about this brownie (save for the dulce de leche ice cream), it was super fudgy and rich. It was fine. Is it the best thing you’ll eat in Disney World? Nah. But if you’re itching for something sweet after your meal, it’ll suffice.
Maybe keep in mind that the Germany Pavilion is a short walk away and you can score some CHOICE caramel goodies not-too-far at Karamell-Küche. That’s where we’re grabbing OUR dessert next time!
Nosh or Not
Grab a table at San Angel Inn if…
- You want a great atmosphere that makes you feel like you’ve stepped into another country.
- You want a mid-priced meal at World Showcase. The portion sizes are good, and you can probably even share some plates.
- You like the idea of more traditional Mexican fare.
Dine elsewhere if…
- You want more familiar foods for your meal. World Showcase has plenty of options with something sure to fit your tastes.
- You want to dine somewhere with a little more light so you can see who you’re dining with (seriously, it is VERY DARK in this restaurant)!
- You want to eat somewhere that isn’t noisy (the marketplace is always busy with people).
In all of our years dining at San Angel Inn one thing has remained consistent: the atmosphere is the BOMB. It’s romantic, dark, and striking. If you’re on the fence about dining here, the theming is a pretty solid reason to give it a shot. The restaurant is notably more enjoyable since reopening due to the tables being spaced out. They were uncomfortably tight before! The food is unique, so we highly recommend scoping out the menu before you book that dining reservation to ensure you find something you’ll enjoy. We enjoyed our meal — we’re rarely ones to say no to melty cheese in Disney World and our chicken was tasty, particularly the sauce! Are these foods worth rushing back to San Agnel Inn to have again? Not really, but we still left satisfied! And you know we hopped on Gran Fiesta Tour as soon as we left. It’s basically mandatory if you eat here! 🙂
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Have you been to San Angel Inn recently? Let us know in the comments!