There is a gravity to good Mexican food – an inescapable pull not unlike a Black Hole captures light – that once it locks in won’t let go until your appetite for classic Mexican has been sated.
My wife and I visited Paris when we were young. We wanted to dine in Parisian restaurants with classics like steak au poivre, escargot and soups and stews and various Frenchie things.
Until she’d spotted a Mexican restaurant a couple of blocks over and had Mexican on her mind.
It’s the same with the Mexican options at EPCOT. Certainly, we come to the World Showcase to try something we can’t get back home.
When we walk through the Mexico Pavilion and see the drinks at Choza de Margarita or smell the barbacoa at the La Cantina de San Angel, I’m caught.
The wonders of Bavaria and the tastes of Paris seem impossibly far away when you can have margaritas and guacamole and tacos.
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What are the Mexican restaurants in EPCOT?
The Mexican Pavilion is home to five restaurants and drink stops:
5. La Cava del Tequila
This isn’t a restaurant per se but more of a drink stop that also serves chips and dip.
But La Cava Del Tequila offers over 200 tequilas, top-shelf cocktails, Mexican beer and wine. The Piña Loca has ginger pineapple juice, mezcal, Ancho Reyes chile liquor and a black ant salt rim. It is one of the best.
4. Choza de Margarita
This drink stand mainly focuses on margaritas and Mexican beers, but the menu also offers “snacks” like tacos, empanadas with guacamole and tortilla chips. I suppose one man’s snack is another man’s entree.
I enjoy the Blood Orange Margarita on the rocks, which is made with Libelula Joven tequila, gin, LeJay black currant liqueur, Contraluz Reposado Cristalino mezcal, Hellfire bitters, Tajín chile and a lime powder rim.
For a snack, try the Tacos de Cochinita with tender citrus marinated pulled pork served on corn tortillas with pickled red onions and a mango habanero relish with a side of corn esquites.
The Empanada de Barbacoa is also good. It is filled with Barbacoa beef, topped with chipotle sauce, crema Mexicana and queso fresco and served with a side of corn esquites.
3. La Cantina de San Angel
At this quick-service restaurant, guests can choose from Mexican favorites including tacos de barbacoa, empanadas con queso with guacamole and also treats like churros and traditional fruit popsicles. Draft beers, margaritas and Mexican sodas are also available.
If you want to play it safe, try the Nachos, which are tortilla chips topped with white nacho cheese, ground beef and beans, tomatoes, jalapeños and Mexican sour cream.
The Tacos de Barbacoa have shredded beef on homemade corn tortillas topped with red salsa and cilantro, served with rice and black beans with queso fresco.
The Arroz con Pollo Bowl is also good. It’s a rice bowl topped with marinated grilled chicken, corn, spicy tomato sauce, pickled onions, queso fresco and cilantro.
For dessert, get the Churro Sundae, which is basically churros and ice cream. But it’s delicious.
2. La Hacienda de San Angel
This eatery has authentic Mexican cuisine and premium margaritas served with Old World hospitality at a waterfront retreat. It’s a delicious place for staples like shrimp tacos but also has some unique items as well.
The Parrillada del Mar serves two people and has grilled shrimp, fish and scallops served with vegetables, esquites and corn tortillas.
The Alambre de Res is also good with seared tenderloin, bacon, poblano and bell peppers, onions, Monterey Jack cheese and salsa verde with rice and flour tortillas.
The Osso Buco Con Mole Negro has slow braised pork shank over rice with mole negro, served with plantains topped with crema Mexicana and cotija cheese. Wash it down with a Dos Equis lager.
Finally, despite the assumptions made in the intro, eating Mexican doesn’t mean you can’t expand your palette. The Tacos de Carnitas de Pato are braised duck tacos with salsa verde, shredded cabbage, pickled red onion and mango in flour tortillas with rice that can change your thinking about what Mexican food can be.
For a drink get the La Cava Avocado with Tromba Blanco tequila, melon liqueur, fresh avocado and lime juice served frozen with a hibiscus salt rim.
1. San Angel Inn Restaurante
This is the main Mexican restaurant in EPCOT. Inside the Mayan Pyramid, guests dine in perpetual twilight at this table-service Mexican restaurant. It’s modeled after a 17th-century hacienda at the base of Mayan ruins.
The Pollo a Las Rajas features grilled chicken breast over a bed of roasted garlic potatoes with onions, poblano peppers, corn and poblano pepper cream sauce topped with queso fresco.
I also like to order the Queso Fundido, which has melted Monterey Jack cheese topped with chorizo, poblano peppers and onions served with flour tortillas.
Their classic Margarita has Casa Dragones Blanco tequila, Torres orange liqueur, agave nectar, fresh lime juice and a black ant salt rim.
Alternatively, Black Magic was created by Neil Patrick Harris. It has Ojo de Tigre mexcal, blackberry purée, black currant liqueur, lime and mint. It is served frozen and also Doogie Houser approved, apparently.
For a main dish, the Carne Asada has New York Strip topped with chipotle butter served with grilled queso fresco, nopales relish, grilled spring onion and plantains topped with queso cotija and crema Mexicana.
The Enchiladas de Pollo has corn tortillas filled with chipotle chicken covered with salsa verde, crema Mexicana, Cotija cheese and crispy onion straws atop refried beans, served with plantains.
For dessert, try the Tres Leche de Horchata, which features rice milk-soaked sponge cake topped with sweet corn ice cream and toasted almonds.
What is the difference between San Angel Inn and La Hacienda de San Angel?
Basically, the Inn features more cuisine from Southern Mexico and Central America while La Hacienda has more of what I would consider traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex options.
I would also say the perpetual twilight vibe inside the Inn makes for a more romantic, date-night-type setting though the Hacienda has a nice vibe by the lagoon as well.
Is there a kids’ menu?
Sure. For little ones, they have a kids’ menu that features items like quesadillas, tacos, chicken tenders and mac and cheese.
Is the Mexican Pavilion the best for foodies?
For foodies? Maybe not. I feel like the foodies will want the more exotic options, but it’s close to the top in general dining options.
I think France ranks first – but that may be my personal bias.
Italy, Japan, China and Germany are all excellent as is Mexico. I feel like I could pick a different top five. Morocco remains criminally underrated, however.
Where is the Mexico Pavilion located around the World Showcase Lagoon?
Depending on if you target the World Showcase loop in a clockwise or counterclockwise fashion, it’s either the first or the last pavilion in the showcase.
If you’re approaching from Spaceship Earth – AKA the giant golf ball – go to your left to go counterclockwise around the loop and the Mexico Pavilion is first.
Honestly, I think it’s an awful placement on the part of Walt Disney World. The wonder of Mexico should be somewhere near the middle of the loop. There’s too much good food and good drink for the Mexican pyramid to be your first or last stop.
For example, if it’s your first stop, you are in danger of the itis – the sleepiness that sets in post-heavy meals. Once this hits, you’re not gonna make it all the way around the loop.
Maybe get your eat and drink on, then ride the Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Caballeros for a quick cat nap before embarking on the rest of your journey.
If it’s the last stop, it’s a world too far. You’re supposed to walk around the world, sampling food and drink and then land in Mexico for tacos and tequila? It’s too much. The EPCOT Imagineers failed us when they placed the Mexico Pavilion.
What is your favorite Mexican meal at EPCOT? Let us know in the comments.