Jaleo by José Andrés is officially open at Disney Springs and today we're here to give it a try! Jaleo is a tapas-style restaurant which means that mostly everything on the menu is small plates of food that you're meant to share. Joe, Lex, and I tried to order as much of a variety as we could (a lot gluten free options too!), so let talk a look at everything we got!
Jamón ibérico de bellota cortado a mano
What it is: 36 to 48-month cured ham from the legendary free range, acorn-fed, black-footed ibérico pigs of Spain
Our thoughts: We started off our meal with a really unique food experience. When you order the Jamón ibérico, a specially trained carver comes to your table with a full shank of the pork and carves off perfectly sliced pieces of ham for the table to share. You can really tell that the quality of the ham is amazing!
Pan de cristal con tomate
What it is: Toasted slices of uniquely crispy and ethereal bread brushed with fresh tomato
Our thoughts: To be honest this was the one thing that both Lex and I truly did not enjoy. It's the same bread that is used for our favorite sandwich over at Jaleo's quick service called Pepe, but the tomatos that are on top are literally just mashed fresh tomatoes, not an actual tomato sauce. Neither of us are big fans of fresh tomato so we were just not too in love with the whole thing.
What it is: Ibérico de bellota and Supreme caviar
Our thoughts: This was one of the most unique items on Jaleo's menu. They call it a "taco" but really it's just the ham that was carved earlier with caviar on top. If you don't like fishy foods, then this one is definitely not for you, but Joe and I both gave it a try and didn't necessarily love it nor hate it. It's very salty from both the ham & the caviar and the combination of the meatiness of the ham and the fishy taste of the caviar actually kind of balanced each other out. José André apparently came up with this dish simply by wanting to combine two of his favorite foods which I honestly respect!
Selection of Five Quesos
What it is: (front to back)
- Caña de cabra | a soft, semi-sweet goat's milk cheese paired with a rosemary cracker and fig jam
- Idiázabal | a smoked, nutty-flavored sheep's milk cheese paired with quince paste
- Rey Silo Blanco | an intensely-flavored cow's milk cheese paired with honey, rosemary, and almond shortbread and PX reduction
- Queso Manchego | a traditional raw Manchego cheese paired with moscatel compressed apples
- Rey Silo Rojo | a bold and spicy raw cow's milk cheese with pimentón, paired with almonds and bitter orange jam
Our thoughts: Next up, queso! We decided to go with the selection of five cheeses, but you can also go with a selection of three cheese if you don't want all five! Joe, Lex, and I all had different favorites (Lex really loved the goat cheese and both Joe & I enjoyed the Manchego), but there's a ton of cheese options to choose from on the menu that you really can't go wrong.
Dátiles con tocino 'como hace todo el mundo'
What it is: fried bacon-wrapped dates served with an apple-mustard sauce
Our thoughts: Hands down the single greatest menu item at Jaleo right here! The fried bacon-wrapped dates were so sweet and almost dessert-like and were complimented perfectly by the apple-mustard sauce. If you come to Jaleo, this is the one thing that you definitely CANNOT skip out on ordering!
Chistorra envuelta en patata frita
What it is: slightly spicy chorizo wrapped in crispy potato served with membrillo alioli
Our thoughts: The chorizo at Jaleo is really something special. It's a little bit spicy, but packed with an incredible amount of flavor. These potato wrapped chorizo bites were like a fun take on pigs in a blanket and I loved them so much!
Croquetas de pollo
What it is: traditional chicken fritters
Our thoughts: A close contender for the best menu item, the chicken fritters were outstanding! The chicken in marinated in a béchamel sauce for about 2 days which gets every ounce of flavor packed into the meat and tenderizes it to perfection. They're incredibly creamy and definitely another must order item when you come here.
What it is: a true classic of chicken, rabbit, lima beans, green beans, and saffron
Our thoughts: Getting into the big dish options at Jaleo, we decided to order a paella. We went with one of their classic options which also happens to be gluten free and I couldn't believe how amazing it was. I was the only one to have any of the meats because Lex wanted to save room for our next course and Joe couldn't tell the chicken apart from the rabbit and was too scared of accidentally eating rabbit! Nonetheless, this was another star of the show at Jaleo and there's more than enough for a few people to share.
Secreto ibérico bellota con pan con tomate y salsa verde
What it is: skirt steak from the legendary black-footed ibérico pigs of Spain served with toasted tomato bread, mojo verde, and alioli
Our thoughts: Finally, the secreto ibérico! This was one of the main dishes that we were all most excited to try. It's a secret cut of skirt steak that's sliced thin to perfection and chock full of flavor. Even though I thought the whole thing was very tender, both Lex and Joe found it to be a little bit tougher than they would've liked, but still enjoyed the flavors and sauces.
Cítricos con helado de acite de oliva
What it is: olive oil ice cream with grapefruit
Our thoughts: This was the only gluten free dessert option on the menu, so it was all Joe's. He normally doesn't like grapefruit, but the sweet ice cream paired with the tart grapefruit was a match made in heaven.
Flan al estilo tradicional de mamá Marisa con espuma de crema catalana
What it is: a classic Spanish custard with 'espuma' of Catalan cream and oranges
Our thoughts: I'll keep this one very simple for you, Lex and I both LOVED this flan and she even said that (next to here Nana's flan) this is the best one she's ever had!
Pan con chocolate
What it is: chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil, and brioche ice cream
Our thoughts: I never would've thought that I'd try or even enjoy a piece of caramelized bread with chocolate custard and ice cream, but I can definitely say that I do!
Overall, Jaleo was as true of an experience with food as you'll ever get on Disney property. The quality of the food, the service, and the attention to detail on the menu is truly remarkable and we will definitely be back in the future! There's so many option to choose from and share, even for people with food allergies. If you end up giving Jaleo a try, please let us know what you think and if you end up trying something that we didn't, let us know about that too!