UPDATE – September 23: Last week, we shared a first look at the beautiful new La Hacienda restaurant at the Mexico Pavilion. Now we have a unique video peek inside. Take a look:
We got a tasty preview and a look at the beautiful new La Hacienda restaurant at the Mexico Pavilion soft opening on Thursday. (Reservations can be made for Oct. 15 and thereafter.) The striking exterior blends beautifully with the pavilion, designed to look like a warm, inviting home. Step inside, and the attention to detail continues with original artwork and lighting fixtures created by Ernesto Cruz, a noted Mexican artist known for his blown glass. Look up – the cool fixtures in the lobby are made of brilliant blue vinyl stretched around the light. Chairs and tables also were crafted in Mexico for a casual-but sophisticated, south-of-the-border ambience.
Of course, most diners’ eyes go straight for the fabulous view of World Showcase Lagoon – where the curved glass windows offer a coveted front-row seat for “IllumiNations: Reflection of Earth” fireworks spectacular. The new dining room will be a hot ticket for the nightly show, with music piped into the dining room. Or, if you’re looking for a quieter spot for dinner, we like the tables in the cozy room just off the lobby.
We dined early and focused on the food, a wonderful rendition of Mexican favorites. We started with the warm chips and two salsas (one a mild tomatillo, the other a hotter smoked pepper version). Next, Botana (the Mexican word for “appetizer”), bite-size tastes of chicken tostada, marinated pork and a cheese empanada. If you’re hungry (or want to share), order Arrachera, for an entrée, 8 ounces of flank steak with veggies and house-made corn tortillas for wrapping it all up. My favorite was the Tacos de Camarones, flour tortilla filled with crispy fried shrimp, chipotle-lime aioli, cabbage and fresh lime to squeeze on top. Pork, chicken and grilled tilapia round out entrées.
Dessert often is an afterthought in Mexican eateries, but we didn’t leave a bite of the Tamal de Dulce, a wonderfully sweet guava tamal with a drizzle of strawberry coulis. Churros come with Mexican hot chocolate and caramel sauce.
Sip a margarita (six flavors) or throw caution to the wind with a shot or a flight of tequila (the young tequila ambassador can help you choose from the 17 choices on the menu). On a hot afternoon, the sweet, refreshing Agua Fresca made with hibiscus flowers was a delight. Mexican beers and wines from Spain, Argentina, Chile and Mexico (by the bottle or glass) round out the drink menu.
We took a peek at La Cantina, the all-new quick-service space, we’ll be back with a look at that menu soon. La Hacienda shares air-conditioned space with La Cantina up until about 2:30 in the afternoon, when they stop indoor seating to get ready for dinner guests.