Dining Review: La Hacienda de San Angel

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Before I even get started on this review, there is something you should know about me. I am having a not-so-secret love affair with Mexican food. I own up to it 100% and, no, I will not stop. I love Mexican food so much that someone can just say the word “salsa,” and I begin salivating. Luckily, my love of Disney and Mexican food and drink meet when I get to Epcot. Epcot is blessed with a pretty decent Mexican quick-service restaurant, two unique table-service restaurants, and an out of this world tequila bar. Most of us have at least one Mexican restaurant relatively close to our homes, and most of the time the menu is fairly Americanized. With Disney’s restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel, I believe they are trying to bring something different to the plate (hardy-har-har) than what most of us are used to.

I experienced La Hacienda back when it first opened in 2010. My experience the first time was a little bit rough. The food quality was not really the problem. I had issues with the amount of food we got for such a high dollar amount. On top of that, I also felt that the service was really poor. I figured that since it has been a few years since it opened, I would give it another shot. This time I took a different approach. My husband and I decided to only order off the vegetarian menu to keep the cost down. That way, if we were disappointed with the meal, we would not be out a lot of money.

After a very exhausting and stressful travel day (we had a McAllister moment running in the airport), my husband and I were sure glad to be in Disney World. Upon arriving to Epcot around 6:00 pm that evening, we high-tailed it to La Hacienda to see if we could get a walk-up reservation. Turns out, they were so slow that night that they told us to just come back whenever we want to eat, and they would get us right in. It totally worked, and this time I decided not to request a specific location of the restaurant because last time when I requested “by a window” they insisted that all of the tables were by a window, only to shove us in a corner with an 8×10 viewing portal that was a good eight feet away from our table.

I actually really liked where they sat us this time. It was at a table in the middle of a section that was surrounded by windows, giving us a perfect view of the World Showcase. La Hacienda is quite large and has different rooms of varying size. Booths and tables, large and small, are scattered throughout. To be honest, some seating locations have a better view of World Showcase and Illuminations than others, so be aware of that if you make a reservation during the nighttime fireworks show. The decor is very “modern Mexico” with colorful art and unique light fixtures standing out from the muted walls.

Our waiter was on the dry and boring side but, we cannot all be super cool and witty, huh? Since my stomach felt a little off from traveling, we decided to skip the adult beverages. However, the menu is impressive. Obviously the margaritas are the real highlight here, and the variety of flavors allows for everyone in your party to find something that they will like. La Hacienda also offers a small selection of respectable tequila, as well as wine and beer.

On our last visit, my husband and I shared the “Del Mar”, a seafood entree large enough for two people to share. While it was delicious, the price was steep at $49.95. Looking at the menu, I realized that La Hacienda uses a lot of things in their cooking not typically found in most Americanized Mexican restaurants… cactus leaves, roasted corn, and pine nuts. My local Mexican restaurant pretty much sticks to queso and red sauce for everything. This was a welcome change from the norm.

Before our entrees were brought out to us, Matt and I enjoyed the most amazing chips and salsa. While the tortilla chips were average, the two types of salsa were not. The green salsa was slightly sweet and pretty mild. On the other hand, the red salsa had a rich, smoky quality, allowing for the salsas to balance each other out really nicely. Sadly, we did not get to enjoy it long before our food came out.

My husband’s entree of choice was the Tacos de Vegetales. The three tacos were full and of a decent size. He was really pleased with the flavor that the tacos had. I tried a bite and totally fell in love. Before even trying mine I thought, “I wish I had ordered that.” The roasted corn was so delicious.

The first thing I noticed about my entree was the mound of cabbage on top. Not that I do not like cabbage, it was just a bit much for such a small dish. The enchiladas were really tasty once I got past the cabbage. While the enchiladas were on the small side, I also got rice and beans. The rice was a little dry and pretty plain, in my opinion. However, the beans were really flavorful and not too thin, my biggest pet peeve about beans in Mexican restaurants. My husband took a bite of my enchilada and absolutely loved it… even more than his taco entree. It took only a few more bites for each of us to decide that we were longing for what each other had. A little entree switch-a-roo took us from content to ecstatic with our meal.

My husband and I walked out of the restaurant totally stuffed and satisfied in almost every way. That was a pretty big step up from our first trip a few years ago. Unfortunately, I hear this restaurant is pretty hit and miss with the Disney community. I am curious to see what our blog readers have to say about it.

Have you been to La Hacienda recently and had a wonderful experience like me? Are you thinking of visiting sometime soon? Drop us a line in the comment section!

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Posted on February 26, 2013

14 Responses to “Dining Review: La Hacienda de San Angel”

  • This restaurant was by far our best meal when we went to Disney back in October. But…..I would say hit and miss is pretty common with a lot of Disney restaurants.

  • We ate at LaH last December, and it was one of the better Dining experiences we have had at WDW. Highly recommend the Taquiza (Taco Trio)and Crema de Elote (Corn Cream Soup) appetizers, and the Costillas en Salsa de Chile (Braised Short Ribs)and Tacos de Camarones (Fried Shrimp Tortillas)entrees

  • I enjoyed the food at La Hacienda just fine, but I found the service to be extremely rushed and disinterested. I wasn’t even asked if I wanted dessert, and finding someone to refill a drink was like a waiter scavenger hunt.

    Like you, my food came out very quickly after ordering, which is nice in some ways, but it also made me wonder how much care was put into the order preparation. And I would have liked to have more time with my chips and salsa, too!

    I wonder how much experiences (with food, service, and everything else) are affected by the crowd level at the restaurant? When I was there for an early dinner a couple of years ago, no walk-ups were being seated.

  • by Stephanie Warner on February 26, 2013, at 2:50 pm EDT

    We just ate there in January (we also had the braised short ribs and tacos de camarones). We were rather disappointed. We are Mexican food lovers and felt these were just a bit lackluster. They weren’t bad but they weren’t worth the money. The rice on the side was pretty terrible (I make a way better spanish rice – it’s not difficult). That being said the salsa weren’t that remarkable considering we just ate there a month ago and I completely forgot we even had them. The staff was rather dull. Although the corn ice cream was delicious. It’s not bad but I think that there are better choices in Epcot.

  • Maybe I’m the exception, but in my four meals here (including one the third day the place was open), I could not have been more pleased with my service. Esmeralda has been my server more than once, and she’s always friendly and welcoming even when I’m not at her table.

    One thing about the food here is that it is representative of southern Mexico, while its cousin across the esplanade represent more the cuisine of northern Mexico. (Admittedly, that doesn’t help if the food turns out to be just plain bad, but that’s never happened to me. It does, though, perhaps explain in part why some dishes may differ from our expectations.)

    My only disappointment with La Hacienda is that the menu is relatively short. One characteristic of Mexican restaurants is often a BIG menu, while the main menu her offers only a few entree choices. (By contrast, Latin Quarter at City Walk, while representing more than just Mexican food, has an enormous menu.)

    Overall, I think La Hacienda is probably my #3 favorite restaurant in WDW. While it’s pricey, I just figure that’s part of eating in a WDW park.

  • I agree that the most disappointing thing is the limited menu. I ate there once. Food was decent, but not exceptional. Slightly overpriced for the quality (beyond this is Disney-overpriced). Had a decent meal but there is nothing else on the menu where I think “I have to come back and try this!”. I’d much prefer Morrocco.

  • by Cindy Salopek on February 26, 2013, at 9:41 pm EDT

    We ate at La Hacienda on Sunday of President’s Day weekend (2/17), when it was very busy. We had a reservation and checked in early (about 15 mins) and were seated about the time of our reservation. My husband and I enjoyed our margaritas and shared the “La Hacienda” (mixed grill w/ beans and rice) and our daughter had tacos from the kids’ menu. We all enjoyed our meals. Our waiter was very friendly and attentive and even suggested a dessert that is not shown on the menu…churros and ice cream (yummy). Illuminations was just starting as we finished paying and our waiter told us we could stay at our table to watch (it was very cold that night!). The view was obstructed a little by the windows but it was nice to be able to watch from inside on such a cold evening. We were pleased with our experience there on a very busy night.

  • My daughter (15) and I ate here last July and had a wonderful meal. It was my birthday and I LOVE Mexican food – so it was a no brainer. I chose this restaurant over the San Angel Inn because LaH has a more extensive vegetarian menu. I made ADR’s and requested a window seat and was delighted when we were seated right next to a window with a superb view of illuminations that night. Can’t remember what we ordered now, but we both ordered off the veggie menu and the food was some of the best I have ever tasted! The staff were attentive and nothing was too much trouble. After our mains, all the staff congregated around our table and sang a ‘Happy Birthday’ song to me in Spanish and I was presented with a complimentary desert with lighted candle – then it was time for Illuminations! I have to say it was a wonderful evening, and I would highly recomend this restaurant, in fact can’t wait to go back again.

  • About the nicest thing I can say about this restaurant is that it is better than the San Angel Inn. My husband and I joke that the Mexican food in Disney is made for Europeans. If you have ever been to a “Mexican” restaurant over there, you know what I mean. Bland, bland, bland.

  • We went in early October 2012. We were celebrating my daughter’s birthday and it was actually on my birthday. My wife used that to get us a table near the windows. We definitely didn’t feel rushed and we did drag things out a bit so that we could catch Illuminations. My wife and I had the Orange Mango Fire Margarita. We liked it enough to make them once we got back home.

    When Illuminations starts, they turn down the background music and pump in the audio feed from Illuminations. We caught everything due to the high windows and it’s hard to imagine a better place to see Illuminations (while you’re eating your dessert!).

  • We ate here several times and I always got the Tacos de Vegetales, which as a vegetarian I liked very much. Unfortunately, since August/September last year this restaurant no longer participates in Tables in Wonderland, so we don’t go here anymore. I asked a CM about it and he said that the restaurant is not owned by Disney and the owner no longer ‘saw the benefit’ in being part of TiW. I don’t understand this at all. They’re inside Epcot! What’s the ‘benefit’ of participating in the Disney Dining Plan or still give people DVC discount? Well, we are not going here anymore until they accept TiW again.

  • We ate there our first night in the parks last week and I was not happy with the food or the service. I also love Mexican food. I could eat it every day for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snack, well you get it. My husband and I ordered the La Hacienda and for the price, you get a decent amount of meat, but the flavors were underwhelming, the corn tortillas were cold and the sides were not exciting. Some other members of our party ordered appetizers to share, but the orders were so tiny, we practically had to have another dinner an hour later. For the price you pay, the portions should be better, the menu should be bigger and the chips & salsa shouldn’t be so pathetic. And the service needs improvement – it took so long to get my margarita, I was practically having it for dessert – and our server was not particularly friendly.

    We had several excellent meals last week – Ohana’s, Artist Point, Raglan Road – but this location will not be on my repeat list.

  • We ate there the on our previous trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. Unlike those who were rushed, our service was possibly a little on the slow side from the kitchen but our server was prompt with the drinks and kept us well supplied with chips and salsa and this suited us very well that night because we had just arrived and met up with friends for dinner so it allowed us to take our time and relax. The food was wonderful. My daughter was still 9 then and ate from the kids menu and said her meal was lovely too. We had not requested a window seat accepting that it is never guaranteed; and with our reservation time we would still be able to get outside in time to find a spot to watch the fireworks. Had we needed to, due to the more relaxed pace that evening, we probably would have struggled but we were seated at the windows shown in the picture on this post so it worked out perfectly. I would eat there again quite happily.

  • I have 7:30 pm ADR for an early October trip. Illuminations is scheduled for 9pm. So, I should be good to go for seeing the show right from the restaurant.

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