Thursday, June 16, 2011

Dining Spotlight: San Angel Inn (EP)

As I write these dining reviews, I often feel like I don't have quite the breadth of knowledge of the restaurants as I would like. We've limited ourselves to only review those restaurants where we've dined, but we tend to keep it pretty simple when we dine (that is, we only order what we'd normally order at a restaurant and don't order extra dishes, etc. - we'll leave that to the experts at the Disney Food Blog!). However, I feel pretty comfortable about writing this review: San Angel Inn, located inside EPCOT's Mexico pavilion, is one of our family's favorite table service restaurants.  In fact, we've dined there three times in the past year (yes, that means we ate there twice on our last visit...). For us, it's just one of those places you keep in the rotation because you know you love it. Not to mention, San Angel Inn is located in what is to me one of the coolest spots in all of Walt Disney World. I absolutely love the Mexico Pavilion and the Gran Fiesta Tour. The effect of being outside at night under the stars, strolling through a Mexican marketplace is just so relaxing, especially on a hot day.
We've found the food here to be quite delicious, and while we are no experts on Mexican cuisine, this tastes pretty authentic to us (or at least its not your average strip shopping center Mexican restaurant). The items we have tried have been fresh and flavorful. For starters, you get a basket of tortilla chips and salsa. And yes, they are complimentary (I can't stand when Mexican restaurants charge for chips and salsa!). The salsa is spicy and earthy with kind of a smoky chipotle taste. As for beverages, I enjoy washing my food down with any of the Mexican beers offered. However, they serve up a variety of margaritas as well which many people seem to enjoy. In terms of entrees, I've had the enchilades verdes con pollo twice and loved it both times - very delicious and filling with rice and beans.  I've also had the tacos de filete/ribeye, which was also tasty, but smaller in portion size and served a la carte. My wife has twice had the tostada de tingas off of the appetizer menu for her entree. It was plated differently each time, but delicious all the same!  Really, we don't think you can go wrong here! Even the kids menu has some good, authentic options. Our son had the chicken tacos that came with a fruit cup, and churros for dessert, which we all shared.
The only disappointment we've had with the San Angel Inn, was the lack of extra festivities here (or in the Mexico Pavilion) on Cinco de Mayo. Maybe we were just there too early in the day, and things got going at night...
A couple of final tips -if you make an early enough reservation, or even walk-up without a reservation right when the restaurant opens, ask for a table by the water. We asked and received one on both of our recent dines. Best seats in the house and provides extra entertainment for kids to be close to the volcano and watch the Gran Fiesta Tour boats float by. Speaking of the volcano, did you know that the lava is activated by kids participating in the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure scavenger hunt? We didn't, until our server, Eric, told us. Eric also gave us the history of the real Mayan pyramid on which the Mexico Pavilion is based. We highly recommend you ask for Eric on your next visit - excellent server and is great with kids - he listened to our son talk non-stop about the volcano!

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