We caught up with Richard Debler, the president of San Angel Inn LLC, and Executive Chef Ernesto Zendejas, in charge of the big changes at the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. The all-new La Hacienda de San Angel and La Cantina de San Angel are on schedule for a mid-September opening, taking reservations for Oct. 15 and thereafter. (The first few weeks are a “soft opening” with no reservations.)
What’s going to wow guests about the new look?
The architecture resembles an old hacienda, and you’ll see the distinctive blue dome from a distance. It’s right on the water, and very eye catching. And the view – the whole building is geared to World Showcase Lagoon and the fireworks…during the day it’s great for enjoying the waterfront.
Tell us about the “flex space” idea.
We need quick-service capacity, but at the same time we want to increase table service. This space allows us during the lunch period to use a section of the dining room for quick-service guests – an air-conditioned space that will complement the terrace outside seating. So we will have 250 to 300 seats during the day; later in the afternoon La Hacienda switches to table service with 250 seats. We have a total of 400 seats.
What’s special about La Hacienda cuisine?
We’re bringing two taco specialists from one of the best taquerias in Mexico to work with us. Corn tortillas are a major component of a great Mexican meal, and all of ours will be made fresh right there every day, also for La Cantina. Salsas will be made fresh – and not just tomato salsa. We have salsas made with chipotle and Serrano peppers, tomatillos, mangos. There are unique flavors from different regions of Mexico. Cilanto, habanero, spicy flavors from Southern Mexico . . . this will be a little different than our past menus.
Any favorite menu items?
We have three or four spectacular appetizer items at La Hacienda. The trend in Mexican food is appetizers, such as mini tacos. [One that sounds especially delicious is chiles toreados y chorizitos, roasted sweet peppers with lime and sea salt and mini chorizos (pork sausage).] And I really like the skillet entrées – skillets with cuts of meat, veggies, seafood, to make your own taco. I’m still tweaking the menu!
How does La Cantina menu change?
The Cantina menu will focus on tacos with meat or chicken, properly grilled, and garnished with fresh pico de gallo. We want to create an authentic Mexican taco, something that locals would buy at the market. Less Tex-Mex, more regional authentic Mexico.
We have to talk margaritas!
La Hacienda will have a tequila ambassador on staff every day. We will feature tequila flights there like we do in La Cava [inside the Mexico pavilion]. We’ve developed a whole new line of margaritas with a mixologist from New York City.
The coffee margarita is one of my favorites. We wanted to incorporate a little mescal, which has more of a smoky flavor than regular tequila. The Mescal gives it a cacao flavor, almost like a cappuccino. The top sellers right now are passion fruit and lime-raspberry, but we’re going to serve a mango-blueberry-basil margarita with fresh blueberries, mango puree and mashed basil. And an orange mango fire margarita with a dash of Tabasco and chile powder and ginger liquer.
Frozen or on the rocks?
All frozen margaritas at La Cantina, on the rocks at La Hacienda.
[Chef Ernesto chimes in.] At La Cantina, paletas, or popsicles, with fresh fruit, such as mango with peppers. At La Hacienda, the sorbets are outstanding, like tamarind, watermelon – very tropical fruit flavors. And a sweet tamal del dulce filled with guava paste. That’s a good one for sharing!
Are La Cantina and La Hacienda on the Disney Dining Plan?
Yes, for 1 point, except for the larger entrées that are for 2 guests, they are 2 points.
Thanks for the update Pam. So, walk-ins (soft opening) sometime mid September but what date will reservations be able to be made for Oct 15th and after. La Hacienda is not on the on-line reservation system yet. TIA!
You had me at tortilla… 🙂
Excited for what’s to come, and looking forward to the introduction of more authentic, traditional Mexican flavors.
See you in September!
if you sit out on the terrace is there a view of illuminations? that would be awesome eating dinner during illuminations.
I love regional, authentic Mexican food!
I can’t wait! This is our first trip down for Food and Wine. We are so excited and we get to try two new restaurants at Epcot. How cool is that?!
Looking forward to trying better Mexican food at the pavilion. Will be sure to stop there in October during our trip for the Food & Wine Festival.
So cool!!! We’ll be there for F&W in 2011, this will be one of our ADR’s for sure! Can’t wait! Hope we can see Illuminations from there, sounds like it can!
I’m a little confused about one thing – will there be quick-service even for dinner? Because my entire family would be very sad to see the disappearance of a Mexican quick-service option for dinner on the nights when we don’t opt for table service.
Yes, quick service also open for dinner!
Like Lisa, I’m a little confused but in the opposite direction. Will we be able to get table-service during the lunch period? Or is it just that part of the table-service dining area is open for quick-service guests during lunch?
No table service for lunch, only dinner.
Does this mean I won’t be able to get a churro here anymore???
Churros stay on the menu at La Cantina.
I too would like to have the whole quick-service thing cleared up and also, will there still be churros available as a snack/dessert option? I love the churros and hope that they stay!!
So, how many restaurants total are there at Mexico now? The one inside the pyramid (San Angel, right?) and 2 outside???
Yes, San Angel Inn inside, 2 new ones outside!
How exactly will the “soft opening” work with regard to dinner service. We will be there 10/1-8/10 and wanted to switch our dinner ADR from San Angel to La Hacienda.
Would we be able to accomplish this if we arrived at La Hacienda at opening time on the day of our ADR and requested a seating time that evening? Alternatively, is it merely luck of the draw, i.e., show up in the evening and hope for a seat?
It sure seems as if La Hacienda was constructed to attract the Illuminations crowd and increase the revenues. In the past, so many folks grabbed those Cantina seats at 6:00 p.m. and there was no place for actual diners to sit. Then again, most of the diners were dining at Cantina for seating to view Illuminations.
I’m expecting another Rose & Crown type situation–too many people desire Illuminations viewing and will go early and “hold” their seat until it is finished.
During soft opening, there are no reservations, walk-ups only.
I just tried making a reservation online and La Hacienda isn’t available as an option. When will it be added?
I’m confused too. Is La Hacienda de San Angel a new restaurant or are they just remodeling the San Angel Inn? I’d sure like some clarification because I have an advance reservation for 9/29 at San Angel.
@Delores…La Hacienda is the remodeled Cantina. San Angel Inn remains the same. Disney’s adding table service & seating at the Cantina, which used to be quick service only. You should be fine with your San Angel ADR.
Anyone know if the soft opening will be before our September 12-17tth trip?? I sure hope so!!
This blog is confusing because you cannot make reservations yet- I checked on line and I called Disney Dining!!!!
Checking now on when you can call for reservations, stay tuned!
Yes, when can we make reservations? Our trip is in Nov, and I have an ADR for San Angel, but might like to switch it to La Hacienda.
You can make reservations now at 407-WDW-DINE–but for dinner at La Hacienda AFTER Spet. 10. Soft opening until then, walk-ups only.
Thanks for sharing the updates!
I just called wdw-dine and they said they have no information on an opening date yet and they cannot make any ADRs at all as of today. I was hoping we could get an ADR for Sept 15th-17th…Oh well..It sounds very yummy!!
So has anyone managed to get reservations by telephone?
Big apologies, I was misinformed about reservations — you can start making reservations Sept. 16 for Oct. 15 and thereafter… up until Oct., 15, it is a soft opening with no reservations.
Pam – Do you know when they will start the soft openings? I hope it’s open when we are there in three weeks. We would love to try it for lunch.
Sept. 15 is planned date to soft open.
Thank you so much Pam. That is our first day at Epcot. I hope that stays the opening date!
I’m not sure I understand – what do they mean on the DDP about 1 point or 2 points? I am at Disney at least twice a year. It’s either table service or counter service. Or 2 table service for signatures. I don’t understand what “points” he’s talking about.
Please tell me the quick service will still have the awesome nachos with the black beans…we had then on out anniversary and a trip just wouldn’t be the same with out them. We already lost Scotch Eggs at Rose and Crown please don’t tell me my favorite nachos are gone too…
Will they have vegetarian entree selections? I’m really hoping for more and better than San Angel offers…. 🙂
La Hacienda is now open for reservations on the Dining page, but is showing not on the Dining Plan. Given the answer above I assume that’s an error?
I just noticed that reservations can now be made online. However, it says that the DDP is NOT accepted, although this article indicated that it would. Is it just not accepted now, during the soft opening, and will it be accepted once reservation times start?
We are going to EPCOT for Food and Wine. What is the best time for a reservation that would allow us to view Illuminations? Is 8:00 too early?
I am so excited about a new Mexican Food restaurant…Just made reservations for Dec.5 at 7:45pm at La Hacienda online
We’ll be there next week and were wondering if there is any update about the Cantina quick service.