Saturday, October 31, 2015

La Hacienda de San Angel Dinner Review

One of my favorite things to do in Walt Disney World is to eat, especially around the World Showcase. Sure, a lot of the food is a slightly watered down version of what you might get if you actually traveled to those countries, but it would much harder to eat lunch in Japan and dinner in France. My parents were never big on Mexican food, but my in-laws (who we took this trip with) eat it quite often so I knew this was a safe bet. 

Making Reservations
We booked the Dining Plan, and that allowed us one table service meal each day. I'll get more into the details of that in another post, don't worry! As with all of our other table service meals, we booked our reservations through the Walt Disney World website. This is quite simple and easy to navigate. You go to the restaurant's page, type in how many people are in your party and which day and meal you're looking for, and they give you the available times. I highly, highly recommend you make dining reservations for any of your table service meal. Some restaurants fully book up well in advance!

Checking In
We made the mistake of booking our last FastPass+ reservation a little too close to our dinner reservation (give yourself plenty of time!) so we had to book it through the crowds already gathering for the Illuminations fireworks show. My MIL and I power walked all the way there from Mission Space. This might seem silly, but honest to goodness this was the first time in a year I'd walked fast. It felt SO good!

The check-in process itself was relatively simple, except that we managed to lose the boys. Inside of the Mexico pavilion is the restaurant La Catina de San Angel. Word to the wise, if you're not 100% positive your party is directly behind you, make sure they know which restaurant they're going to as the names are quite similar. Luckily they wandered out and the hostesses showed us to our table. otherwise, check-in was quite easy, and we were quickly shown to our table.


The interior of the restaurant is quite nice. I especially loved the lanterns, although sadly my phone died so I didn't get many photos. We were seated fairly close to the hostess stand so I didn't get much chance to peak around, but with the massive windows I can imagine the daytime views would be awesome. Our nighttime view was pretty spectacular as well.

I intentionally booked our reservation at 8:00. Still recovering from my surgery and not really sure what the crowd levels would be, I wanted to make sure we could sit and watch the fireworks rather than trying to push through the crowds. I'm so glad we did, as the view was really spectacular.

Here's what we ordered:
Appetizers - Gorditas (corn cakes, stuffed with chorizo, potatoes and arugula, topped with Chipotle sauce and sour cream) and Guacamole (mango pico de gallo, Pomegranate and cheese, or corn and Poblano peppers with pumpkin seeds)
My Dinner - Seared Snapper (snapper served atop Tequila-butter Cascabel pepper reduction.  Accompanied with roasted tomatillos, onions, chiles toreados and queso fresco, and corn Esquites)
My Drink - Mango Blueberry Basil Margarita (Exótíco 100% agave premium silver tequila, orange liqueur, and lime mix, served on the rocks with salt on the rim)
Hubby's Dinner - Taquiza (taco sampler featuring grilled chicken with green tomatillo sauce, grilled steak with roasted Chipotle sauce and rajas poblanos, pork Chilorio served with queso fresco, and battered fish served with a Mayo-Chipotle sauce topped with cabbage)
Hubby's Drink - Classic Margarita (Exótíco 100% agave premium silver Tequila, orange liqueur, lime mix, served on the rocks with salt on the rim)
MIL's Dinner - Taquiza
MIL's Drink - Horchata Margarita* (Exótíco 100% agave premium silver Tequila, horchata liqueur, agave nectar, agua de horchata, and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey served with cinnamon sugar rim)
FIL's Dinner - Taquiza
FIL's Drink - Dos Equis

Once you sit down, they bring you chips and salsa. We had been sprinting around the park all day, so I kept them pretty busy also bringing me glasses of water. We joke in our house that my taste buds reflect my Swedish and Irish heritage so the red salsa was a little spicy for me, but the verde was delicious and I think I definitely ate more than my fair share.

One of the things we were most excited about were the margaritas. My husband is a big fan (one of our favorite restaurants at home is known for them) so I was very interested to try them out. I'd read a good review of the Mango Blueberry Basil margarita and boy, did it live up to the hype. This is honestly one of the most complex drinks I've ever had. There were so many layers in the drink, all topped off with the spicy chili salt on the rim. (I couldn't find an exact match, but if you want to try to recreate, here's a chili-lime salt I think would get close!). My MIL and husband both also enjoyed their margaritas. My FIL is not a big margarita fan, and seemed to enjoy his beer well enough. 

Somehow in discussing what appetizers we wanted in the presence of our waitress we ended up with the gorditas (which we wanted) and for some reason the guacamole (which we didn't). It showed up plain without any of the advertised toppings. Being us, we ate it, but it was very blah. Hopefully with the toppings it would be better. The gorditas, however, were delicious. The only problem was they were gone very quickly!

My husband and both in-laws ordered the taco sampler, aka Taquiza. My MIL asked to sub the pork out for more chicken and after two tries they brought her out the correct dish. All three agreed that the tacos were okay, but nothing special. even when compared with the Mexican restaurant we usually go to together. My snapper was actually very nice, a lot of flavor and the texture of the fish was excellent. One of everyone's favorite things was actually the bowl of black beans that accompanied all of our meals. There was rice as well, but the beans were by far the favorite. I don't know what was in those, but I could have eaten the whole thing just myself.

TLDR Breakdown
Food Rating: B+
Atmosphere Rating: A
Service Rating: B-
Overall Rating: B+
Bottom Line: The view was incredible, as were the drinks, but the food and service weren't quite what we expected. I'd give it another try, but we're not booking it again for our upcoming trip.

Want to see some of my other dining reviews? You can check them out here!

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