Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park holds a lot of hidden treasures within, especially in their delicacies from different countries around the world. A particularly special restaurant at the park is the San Angel Inn Restaurante located in the heart of the Mexico Pavilion. The experience alone is arguably worth the visit by many fans, but this review can help you decide if San Angel Inn is the hacienda to dine in during your trip.
So stay tuned to our San Angel Inn Epcot review to find out everything we liked and disliked about this restaurant!
Centered inside a man-made Mayan temple, the San Angel Inn is a romantic restaurant that takes you straight into a starry night in Mexico. It is a literal hole-in-the-wall restaurant, as you have to go into the temple to even get to it. With it’s low-lighted ambiance and twinkling ceilings, it’s as if you’ve walked into an evening fiesta of food — and I am here for it!
Surrounding the restaurant are small vendors selling unique Mexican toys, sombreros and hand-painted sugar skulls. And even though you’re eating under the air conditioner, the atmosphere makes you feel like you’re really in an outdoor setting. Lively Mexican music plays throughout the temple as an added effect. You will truly feel as if you’re visiting the country of Mexico when dining at the San Angel Inn Restaurante inside the temple.
As if being inside a legit temple isn’t enough, there are so many intricate details within the Mexico pavilion that highlight the Spanish culture, making San Angel Inn such a unique place to eat at Walt Disney World.
The stucco walls are made to look like authentic Mexican buildings — complete with faux pergolas and balconies. The tables are aligned under dimly lit lanterns that are strung across the ceiling. With its Spanish laid tiles, the San Angel Inn Restaurante really looks like you’re stepping out onto a backyard terrace.
A major downside to the low lighting is the fact that you can’t really see much when you’re trying to read the menu or look at what you’re eating. I’m not kidding when I say it’s dark in there — it’s basically nighttime. But the overall essence and decor is better to see, I guess!
The tables are lined up and covered with white table cloths, set with beautiful blue dinnerware. In the past, the tables and chairs used to have different colorful Mexican paintings on them. I feel like this design was way more authentic, but it did look busy and may have taken away from the other things to look at in the pavilion.
This new look is much simpler and a little more classy, however, the tables are very close to one another, so you will be able to see everything that your neighbors order — and vice versa.
While Epcot does have a few, this particular restaurant doesn’t offer any character dining, something that a lot of guests look forward to during their visit. If you’re a first-timer and are looking for things to do in Disney with toddlers, this can be a deal breaker.
There is a really cool feature about the San Angel when it comes to entertainment, though. It’s not something you see in most of the restaurants in Disney World, so it makes it especially unique.
The Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros is a slow, dark boat ride that takes you on a tour down the Rio Grande. Very much like the It’s A Small World ride in Magic Kingdom, the Gran Fiesta Tour indulges you in the sights and sounds of Mexico on a search for the missing Donald Duck.
Inspired by the film, The Three Caballeros (1944), the ride is full of fun animatronic characters and musical scores from the movie itself. The Gran First Tour is very kid-friendly, so whether or not you decide to eat at San Angel, this little gem inside the temple is a must-see!
At the far end of the restaurant, you can actually watch the passengers on the Gran Fiesta Tour float by! Beyond that you can gaze at the near life-size ancient Mayan ruin — I mean, how cool is that? It’s lit up in neon colors and next to it is a virtual volcano that even erupts every few minutes. If you can get a seat closest to this, do it. The view is really great and it definitely allows you to get the full San Angel experience.
How Busy It It?
The restaurant is planted dead center of the pyramid, which gives you a view of all of the scenery the place has to offer. Even though it’s a remarkable setting, it does, however make it really difficult to get to the restaurant when everything else is surrounding it. There are gift shops, aisles of small vendors and the line for The Gran Fiesta Tour boat ride all circled around San Angel Inn.
So, not everyone inside is there to eat; they may be shopping, taking pictures, or getting in line to see The Three Caballeros on the boat ride. This does make it a tad loud in there too, but if you’re there to eat, you won’t be needing to hear much anyway!
For families bringing strollers, the hustle and bustle may serve as a problem to some. Maneuvering between tables, vendors and some stairs can be a hassle and it might deter you from deciding to eat here. As a mom, this wouldn’t be my first choice on where to eat if I were bringing my children along.
I won’t lie, I do go inside the temple to walk around regardless of whether I’m eating there or not and it is always busy. This restaurant doesn’t require a reservation in advance, but during Disney’s heavier crowded months, it is recommended.
The best times to go are probably between lunch and dinner, since they don’t open until 11:30 am every day. Skip the lunch crowds and enjoy your meal without having to wait too long. If you do have to wait a bit, though, there is plenty to see in there, so you can enjoy a stroll throughout the pavilion and immerse yourself in all of Mexico’s wonders!
Walt Disney World hires its employees from all over the world and at the San Angel Inn Restaurant, this is distinctly true. Their servers are usually of Mexican decent which really allows their heritage to shine through! You’ll be welcomed with an “Hola!” and treated with a smile during your dining experience.
If they are really busy, it can make everything seem a little frantic, but I haven’t ever had a really bad time there as far as service goes. The servers wear basic restaurant attire: white button down shirts and black pants. It isn’t anything special and I kind of wish they’d up their game on that a little bit.
When dealing with food concerns, the chefs are often more than willing to make requested substitutions. They are also very considerate to allergens, especially dairy, and can probably make your food without specific ingredients if needed. I’m not really a picky eater, so I’ve never had to endure asking for changes, but Disney World is known for putting their guests first and would at least be willing to try.
The prices at San Angel are fairly typical for a sit-down restaurant at Disney World. Epcot has quite a few fine dining restaurants and I’d say this is the less expensive of those. In comparison to the other restaurant located in the Mexico area, La Hacienda San Angel, it’s more or less the same as far as pricing, so you could eat at either one and still end up paying about the same. Menu item prices range anywhere from $13.00 to around $34.00. This is always subject to change, but you can expect to spend around $50 for two people to eat here.
The San Angel Inn Restaurant does accept most Dining Plans, which is a great way to save money during your vacation in Disney. Currently it accepts the 2019 Disney Dining Plan and the 2019 Disney Deluxe Dining Plan for both lunch and dinner.
Annual pass holders can also receive a 10% discount here, so that’s something I would definitely take advantage of!
Epcot hosts a few yearly events in which some restaurants participate in a dining package. San Angel currently offers dining packages for the Candlelight Processional as well as the Eat to the Beat – International Food and Wine Festival. You can learn more about these if you decide to attend any one of these events when you make your reservation.
If you plan to eat in the center of the Mexico Pavilion, it’s easy enough to assume that they will be serving Mexican food here. I could live on chips and salsa alone, but the entrees at San Angel are also pretty tasty. The menu offers a mix of dishes — from chicken to beef to fresh fish. There is a lot to choose from and something on the menu for everyone.
Some of the entrees at San Angel Inn include:
- Tacos de Carne – beef tacos served with guacamole, rice and beans
- Pollo a la Rajas – grilled chicken breast on top of garlic potatoes with vegetables and topped with a poblano pepper cream sauce
- Pescado A la Talla – the catch of the day served with potatoes, plantains and topped with a variety of cheesy sauces
- Carne Asada – New York Strip steak served with grilled poblanos, onions and guacamole
- Catch of the Day A la Veracruzana – served fresh with roasted potatoes mixed in a flavorful cilantro-lime vinaigrette sauce
- Combination Mexicana – a huge sampler including braised beef, enchiladas and stuffed Chile poblano
I personally love all of the variety of cheese and pepper sauces that the chefs use in their dishes. Each plate has a different taste and I really like that you can order something new every time we visit and it not be the same thing we’ve had before. Some of their dishes do include tree-nuts, so be sure to read over all of the ingredients before ordering in case this is relevant.
San Angel also has some authentic Mexican desserts to splurge on like flan, Dulce de Leche flavored ice cream and cheesecake with a caramel Spanish syrup — yum!
The kids’ menu is styled for children to create their own meal — which really helps when it comes to those picky eaters. Kids ages 9 and under have the choice of
- Grilled Chicken Breast
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Chicken Tenders
Their meals come with two sides. I personally think the kids’ meals are way overpriced, though, and I would probably eat elsewhere unless I was using a Disney Dining Plan. Their meals don’t include a dessert either, so that’s also a bummer to me.
There have been some negative comments about San Angel’s “traditional” Mexican dishes in the past. They’ve recently updated their menu, making their dishes a little more tasteful in their use of spices and vegetable choice. I really like that they have sides other than just beans and rice. It’s no longer like going to your run of the mill Mexican restaurant, making it worth trying out.
When comparing experience to taste, there’s really no contest. San Angel Inn Restaurant highlights Mexican culture in many ways other than food, but you can still have a decent meal if you do decide to eat there.
The San Angel Inn Restaurant is one of the best represented in the Epcot World Showcase and out of the 11 countries, Mexico’s dining experience has a lot to offer. If you’re looking for a convenient and moderately priced place to eat, the San Angel Inn could be a good choice. You will have the opportunity to not only dine there but ride, shop and explore as well. Make San Angel your next reservation of choice and enjoy international tastes and an experience that will be one to remember!
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