We are trying to decide between these two restaurants for our trip during Christmas week. I can get ADR’s around 8:30 at either location and Illuminations is scheduled at 10:30 during our visit. I’m leaning toward La Hacienda because I love Mexican food and am hopeful that we can get a window seat and eat a slow, leisurely meal (with Margarita’s of course!) until show time. My family is thinking Teppan Edo because they prefer the food there and think it is unlikely that we can secure a window seat at La Hacienda. They think we should just fight the crowd after dinner to find a spot for Illuminations. Which should I choose?
The La Hacienda window seat is a serious gamble; I never try to time dinner for IllumiNations. The food is a toss-up. If you live in San Diego, the food at LH is average. If you live in Pensacola, it’s awesome (I’ve lived both places). TE is no better or worse than I can get in any number of teppanyaki restaurants (for markedly less money), so between the two, LH gets my vote every time. FWIW, I think the food in LH is much better tahn in SAI.
Being from San Francisco, we’re pretty spoiled when it comes to good food, and having gone to college in San Diego (and visiting there often), I have also grown accustomed to amazing Mexican food. I guess at this point, my decision is less about food quality and more about the quality of the experience.
SAI = San Angel Inn.
In terms of quality of experience, I would go for LaH. You have chance at getting a window seat for Illuminations, and there are good views from other seats there as well. TE is simply a teppan-style restaurant that you can go to almost anywhere now, and there is nothing notable or better about it.
To have the best chance of getting a table with a good view of Illuminations, the Unofficial Guide recommends booking 1 hour and 15 minutes before showtime, and getting there a few minutes early to make the request, lettting them know that you are willing to wait. Also, when you are being seated, if you see a better table that is ready (or about to be ready), ask the CM if you can be seated there instead. CMs are usually try their best to accommodate polite requests.
My vote is for La Hacienda. We have been each December since 2010 and La Hacienda is a must-do every year. We did watch Illuminations from our table in 2010 (it was very cold and windy), but prefer watching outdoors.