The Ultimate San Angel Inn Review
Many restaurants at Walt Disney World have special backdrops and settings. You can eat inside a castle at Be Our Guest or Cinderella’s Royal Table; you can travel back in time at 50’s Prime Time Café or Sci-Fi Dine-In; and you can even visit a private adventurer’s club at Jungle Skipper Canteen. While all of these meticulously themed locations are breathtaking, one still lords above the rest. Here’s everything that you need to know about San Angel Inn.
Like so many of the tastiest eateries at Walt Disney World. San Angel Inn resides at Epcot. Specifically, it’s at the Mexico Pavilion of the World Showcase. Presuming that you enter the park through the front gate, you’ll walk straight down the path until you’re at the World Showcase. Then, you’ll turn left and head toward the giant pyramid. You really can’t miss it.
The jaw-dropping architecture achieves a key goal of Imagineering. It’s a wienie, something that you can see from far away that immediately attractions your attention. San Angel Inn is even more novel, though. Its interior mirrors the exterior.
You’ll enter the Mexico Pavilion and head toward the back. On one side, you’ll see Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros, one of the most underrated rides at Epcot. On the other side, you’ll see a homey restaurant. It’s on the right, and the check-in spot is kind of easy to miss due to the surroundings. Behind the dining room tables is a night-blue pyramid that stretches from the floor to the ceiling of the building. It provides a warming ambience that makes the meals here for more familial and genial.
The theme is clearly Mexican culture. The interior of the pavilion consists of several stores, some of which are walled off while others are counter kiosks. You can’t help but do some window shopping as you walk toward your restaurant.
Along the way, you’ll notice delightful water fountains that are fantastic photo ops. You’ll also see wall facing that mimics balconies of historic Mexican buildings. You’ll want to look around to appreciate the impressive details of structures that actually have no utility. They’re just there as accompanying visuals to enhance the illusion that you’ve taken a trip south of the border.
The restaurant is quaint, and that’s by design. It has a charming Mexican village vibe, offset by the looming presence of the pyramid towering above. While not everyone notices it, a wall-painted smoking volcano is also off to one side of the background. You’ll feel like you’re eating in the eye of the storm.
San Angel Inn also has an ace in the hole. The tables at the far end of the restaurant, the ones closest to the pyramid, overlook the water. That would be lovely enough on its own, but there’s an x-factor to boot. The boats from Gran Fiesta Tour float down the water right beside you. Depending on your seat, you could sit as close as 10 feet away from people on a water ride.
A hilarious byproduct of this proximity is the exchanged looks. The people in the boats stare at the diners at the adjoining restaurant. Meanwhile, the folks eating their meals gaze in wonder at the beauty of the boats in the water. Gran Fiesta Tour is basically It’s a Small World with a single country as its basis.
By default, San Angel Inn becomes the Epcot equivalent of Pinocchio Village Haus, which also provides a view of its nearby river ride. The difference is that It’s a Small World sits below Pinocchio Village Haus, offering kind of a side view. At San Angel Inn, you’ll get to see the boats from up close, and it definitely adds to the ambience of the meal experience. You’ll feel like you’re eating a lakefront dinner at night no matter what time of day you visit the eatery.
San Angel Inn is a Table Service restaurant that costs one entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan. The food here is on the pricey side for a single-credit establishment. Appetizers fall in the $12-$14 range, although some small bites and salads are available for less. Most of the entrees are $25 or more.
Don’t get me wrong. These prices aren’t terrible by Disney standards, but they’re on the high side for a standard Table Service restaurant. You are paying a bit of a markup fee for the ambience. The other factor to consider is that this restaurant is extremely popular. I highly recommend that you make an Advanced Dining Reservation if you plan to eat here.
The Mexican food at San Angel Inn is spicy and rich. Many of the dishes highlight chicken, pork, and various fish products in novel ways. The Carnitas de Puerco pork entrée is a delight, as the braising features a touch of pineapple to sweeten an otherwise savory bit. The Mole Poblano uses a mole sauce that will leave you licking your fingers contentedly long after the meal has ended. And the Camarones al Ajillo features a stout chorizo flavor that’s the star of the dish.
Personally, when I dine at San Angel Inn, I generally order the Carne Asada Tampiqueña. Yes, getting a steak at a Mexican restaurant is kind of a copout. To me, it’s the best of both worlds, though.
You see, complimentary chips and salsa are a part of the package here. In fact, you’ll receive them almost the instant that you sit down. The combination of what’s effectively a free appetizer plus a delicious steak is an offer I cannot refuse. And the Helado de Dulce de Leche is one of the tastiest desserts at Walt Disney World. For me, it’s kind of a perfect meal.
For Mexican food fanatics, San Angel Inn is kind of a mixed bag. Reviews at TripAdvisor are all over the place. Roughly 73 percent of guests describe their meal experiences as Very Good or Excellent. Believe it or not, that’s kind of a low score for Walt Disney World, especially a place at World Showcase. And 13 percent of guests describe their meals as somewhere between poor and terrible.
The restaurant’s overall score is ranks it 480th out of 2,990 restaurants in Orlando. This placement is among the lowest of any World Showcase Table Service restaurant. And that’s a source of confusion for me.
I adore San Angel Inn. It’s on the must-list for our family during every Walt Disney World trip. I wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone who asks. The location, the theming, the connection to Gran Fiesta Tour, the sublime Pyramid backdrop, and the nighttime lighting are all contributing factors to the greatness of a meal here.
I will note that TripAdvisor reviewers most frequently compliment the Carne Asada Tampiqueña, so maybe I’m just ordering the right thing each time. As I recommend San Angel Inn to you, however, I have to act in good faith, though.
I must point that Mexican food aficionados are divided on the subject of the food quality here. What I would suggest is that you should go for the ambience. Expect an average meal, though. That way, you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised rather than disappointed.
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