REVIEW - Jaleo at Disney Springs

31 days ago in "Jaleo"

Jaleo restaurant tour and food

Jaleo at Disney Springs made its debut yesterday, billed as renowned Chef José Andrés’ largest restaurant to date, and the flagship Jaleo location.

The 22,000 square foot Jaleo on the West Side of Disney Springs is on two levels, featuring both indoor and outdoor dining spaces, a tapas bar, multiple bar areas, and two open kitchens.

Based on the colorful iconography of Spain, the architectural form of the building is inspired by an artichoke, a vegetable native to José’s homeland.

The interior features a double height central courtyard that provides views of the restaurant's two floors. Jaleo, the Spanish word for “revelry,” is well designed for family-style gatherings.  

There are large tables, booths, and more intimate areas set for couples.

You can even find foosball tables repurposed as dining tables.

The open kitchen provides some great views of the chefs preparing dishes and creating the signature paella dishes. 

Watching the chefs work for a few minutes gives you a feeling for how important the preparation and presentation of the food is at Jaleo.

Some items are even served table-side. This is the 48-month cured ham from the legendary free range, acorn-fed, black-footed ibérico pigs of Spain.

The dining areas are split into multiple smaller areas, but are not separated by physical walls. 

A Tapas Bar is also available where you can take a seat and watch the dishes being prepared right before you. The full menu is also available.

The Food

Jaleo is all about sharing plates, and there is a huge variety of options to choose from on the menu. Dishes range from around $10, up to $70.

Our server Freddy, was extremely knowledgable about the food on offer, and was able to guide us through the menu and make several recommendations. Unless you have knowledge of Spanish food, it is well worth taking the advice of your server. The restaurant certainly has some must-do dishes, and you don't want to miss them.

We started out with the Pan de Cristal con Tomate.

These are toasted slices of crispy and ethereal bread brushed with fresh tomato. It is a great way to get started, and you'll probably be fighting over the last slice. They are super light, and won't fill you up before the next courses.

Next is the Selección de Ibéricos, which is a selection of all cured ibérico meats. It serves two, and is priced at $45.

Now onto one of those must-try dishes. Whether you are an olive fan or not, you should definitely order the Aceitunas Classicas y Modernas. 

These are 'Ferran Adrià' liquid olives and gordal olives stuffed with piquillo pepper and anchovy. They are served on a spoon, and they just burst in your mouth on contact with your tongue - Molecular gastronomy at its finest. The flavor is really something else, and it might even convert anyone who wouldn't normally choose olive dishes.

Patatas bravas are a tapas staple, and the Jaleo version is particularly good. This is another dish that will popular on your table, so you may need multiple orders of these.

On the recommendation of our server, we tried the Ensalada de Remolacha con Cítricos.

This salad of red beets, citrus, Valdeón cheese and pistachios with sherry dressing is very unique, and wonderfully refreshing. The beets are on the sweet side and work very well with the cheese and dressing. It is $14 and will serve 2 or 3 people.

The Ensalada de Coles de Bruselas con Albaricoques, Manzanas y Jamón Serrano is a warm Brussels sprouts salad with apricots, apple and Serrano ham. Warm salads are not all that common, so this is something to try.

Every tapas meal should have a splurge dish, and this is one of them.

Secreto Ibérico Bellota con Pan con Tomate y Salsa Verde is priced at $69, and is described as "Skirt steak from the legendary black-footed ibérico pigs of Spain served with toasted tomato bread, mojo verde and alioli"

Great flavor on this dish, and served with two fantastic sauces. Not sure if its really worth the asking price, but as a dish and price aside, it comes highly recommended.

Jaleo features a whole section of the menu devoted to Frituras - or frying. And one of our favorites alongside the patatas bravas is the croquetas de pollo. Reminded us of a chicken pot pie inside a fried coating - so good!

Finally, you can't go to Jaleo and not have a paella. We went with the Paella Valenciana, which is a true classic of chicken, rabbit, and green beans. 

This paella takes rice to a whole new level, and we were told the chef working on this last night has even served the dish to the King of Spain. Priced at $28, this can serve 2 or 3 people and is one of the better value dishes on the menu.

The dessert line-up is very good at Jaleo, with several excellent options. 

Our favorites were the Flan al Estilo Tradicional de Mamá Marisa con Espuma de Crema Catalana - which is a classic Spanish custard with 'espuma' of Catalan cream and oranges. 

The Pan con Chocolate, which is a chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil and brioche ice cream.

And the Helado de Aceite de Oliva con Cítricos Texturados, an Olive oil ice cream with grapefruit.

All of the desserts are very light, but unlike anything you will find elsewhere. Be sure to save room for one, or a couple of these!

Jaleo carries an extensive wine list, and there is also a sommelier on site to help with any selections.

The cocktail line-up is particularly good. Two of our favorites were the Inside Out and the Token.

This one is Spanish sweet vermouth, Penedes brandy, bourbon and Angostura bitters.

The Token is Cachaca, Mexican Cocoa-Cola, lime, Angostura bitters and nutmeg.

The drinks at Jaleo are some of the best at Disney Springs. No weak mixes here. A couple of Jaleo cocktails and you could be very merry!

A quick word on kids eating at Jaleo. Unlike the city location in Washington D.C., there is a kids menu at the Disney Springs Jaleo. 

It offers smaller versions of the main items, and selections that may appeal more to the younger diners. With the style of small plates served at Jaleo, the kids menu may not really be necessary, but it is nice to have.

Overall

We had high expectations for Jaleo, and we are very glad to say that it really delivered. The food is right at the top of the list for Walt Disney World, and if you enjoy the concept of small plates and family sharing, this is a restaurant for you. If you are perhaps less adventurous and put-off by the Spanish sounding dishes, don't be. The server can guide you, and from our sampling you really can't go wrong.

We could only find two negatives of Jaleo - the price and the noise. This is not a quiet restaurant by any stretch. The ambiance is LOUD. The open concept looks great, but it is noisy. Holding a conversation with people across from you on your table may be challenging when the restaurant is full. The restaurant is very family friendly, and the higher than normal noise levels will certainly be appreciated by those with young children who may not do so well in very quiet restaurants. There is an upper level to the restaurant, which is not yet open, and that may offer a quieter experience. The outdoor seating on the water-side of the restaurant may also be an option for those looking for a more intimate evening.

The price of Jaleo is also something that can't be ignored. Our group of four came away with a bill upwards of $350 including tip and 5 alcoholic drinks. We felt our order was fairly representative of what a group may spend, so be prepared. If you are eating here on a budget, we would recommend sticking to the dishes priced around $14. You can still enjoy the wonderful food and drink without spending a month's car payment on dinner. Keep a running total of what you order, it can get out of hand very quickly.

Overall though, Jaleo jumps right to the top of the list of Disney Springs and Walt Disney World restaurants - certainly in the top 3. Disney Springs continues to raise the bar of dining in Central Florida, which just keeps getting better.

Jaleo is currently only serving dinner, but will soon offer lunch. Dinner is Sunday to Thursday 5pm to 11pm, and Friday and Saturday 5pm to midnight. The restaurant is located on the West Side next to Bongos and across from Splitsville. Various discounts are available (be sure to ask), and Jaleo is on the Disney Dining Plan.

As always, this WDWMAGIC review was not part of any promotional tasting, and was paid for by the reviewers.

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Article Posted: Mar 18, 2019 / 12:06pm ET