The Mexico Pavilion in Epcot World Showcase offers four diverse culinary options: La Cava del Tequila, with over 130 varieties of tequila and small bites on the menu; La Hacienda de San Angel, with the spicy flavors of Southern Mexico’s street foods; La Cantina de San Angel for quick service and now a spruced-up San Angel Inn.
White tablecloths add a new casual elegance to the classic restaurant – the round tables are gone, replaced with long tables. New chairs, new flatware and pretty china all are inspired by the original San Angel Inn in Mexico City, according to Richard Debler, president of San Angel Inn, LLC.
We recently joined Richard and Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann for lunch in the spruced up space – a beautiful setting overlooking the water and passing boats in the pavilion’s ride-through attraction.
“It’s still a work in progress,” Richard said. They plan to add vintage photos that showcase the history of the San Angel Inn in Mexico City, which was owned for decades by his family and is still a busy restaurant. (The original dates back to 1692 and has hosted legions of famous diners.)
“Romantic, relaxing, sophisticated but not stuffy,” said Chef Jens. “The cuisine is more traditional and celebrates the original San Angel Inn.”
Sip a flight of tequilas or a signature margarita (blood orange or wild passion fruit are delicious) as you peruse the new menu – gueridon tequila service is new, too, with a fancy wheeled trolley that brings the tequila tableside. New appetizers include tlacoyos de chilorio, savory corn cakes topped with refried beans, pork, queso fresco, sour cream and green tomatillo sauce; and tacos de filete, grilled tenderloin on a soft flour tortilla with chipotle pepper sauce, scallions and avocados. Among new entrées are classic ensalada César (did you know the Caesar salad originated in Mexico?); pan-seared tilapia with huitlacoche (sometimes called the “Mexican corn truffle”); carne asada a la Tampiqueña, grilled tenderloin with cheese enchilada, black refried beans, red bell pepper, onion, Mexican rice and guacamole; and mahi mahi a la veracruzana, grilled fillet of mahi mahi with capers, olives, bell peppers, Spanish onions and tomatoes over poblano rice.
“Our guests are looking for authentic tastes,“ says Jens. “We haven’t toned down the true Mexican flavors.”
If you usually sacrifice desserts in a Mexican restaurant – don’t skip here. The elegant sweets are all new, and the one you don’t want to miss is crepas de cajeta, warm crepes with caramel sauce and topped with toasted almonds.
“We’ve created a restaurant that’s a little quieter, relaxing…a place to chill out from the heat and decompress,” says Richard.
San Angel Inn is open daily for lunch and dinner, for reservations call 407-939-3463