I have now eaten at Jaleo in Disney Springs twice, and it’s easily become one of my absolute favorite restaurants at Disney. Many people haven’t heard of it or are hesitant about the cuisine, but we’ve been blown away by basically everything we’ve had so I wanted to share a full review!
Where is Jaleo in Disney Springs?
Jaleo is located in Disney Springs, on the West Side. Once you hit the AMC theater it’s just a little further down. Past the empty building that we are told will one day be Beatrix, but before you reach House of Blues, you’ll find Jaleo. It replaced the previous restaurant in that location, Wolfgang Puck.
Jaleo has a very extensive wine list with most of the wines from Spain. You can get a number of them by the glass, but if you’re looking to share a bottle they have even more to choose from. In addition to wine you can also find several types of sangria, cocktails, and beer.
The first time we visited we split a half pitcher of their Sangria roja La Sueca (Fruity, spiced, macerated wine on tap):
This was very good and refreshing, though it didn’t particularly stand out as an amazing sangria. This one was pretty affordable, though I’ve heard really good things about their specialty red sangria which is a bit more expensive. That one only comes by the pitcher though and with two of us we weren’t sure if we could handle the whole pitcher. The nice thing about this red sangria was that we could order a half pitcher. So while it didn’t blow me away it was the perfect complement to the meal and a great amount for two people to share with a number of tapas.
My second time I began the meal with a glass of sparkling wine: the Brut Rosé Juvé y Camps, Pinot Noir:
I wanted to start with something sparkling so I went with this. Despite being a Pinot Noir it’s a white pinot, so that’s a bit different. It tasted like a fairly typical sparkling white wine but with a some extra flavor.
I later went with a glass of red wine, the Bardos Crianza, Tempranillo 2017:
I had this as my second drink and I thought it was quite good. It was a very nice red wine that went well with the meal. Jason kicked off the meal with a different glass of red, the José Selección Ontañon, Tempranillo, (Graciano, Garnacha) 2018. Jason really enjoyed this wine – it was listed as being sweet on the menu but it wasn’t particularly sweet. It was very smooth and an excellent red wine.
Being a fan of whiskey sours he decided to try a Spanish twist on the cocktail by ordering their Rum Sour (Barbancourt 8, lime, sugar, bitters):
Unfortunately this one didn’t seem to impress him. He said that it was not particularly memorable and he wouldn’t get it again. I’m not sure that the lime flavor was strong enough.
What type of food is Jaleo?
Jaleo is a restaurant by chef Jose Andres, and they do have locations in other parts of the country as well. It’s a Spanish tapas style menu, so you get a number of small plates to share. I love this style because then you get to try a number of different things at one meal. They also have a large selection of Spanish wines, cocktails, and sangria.
The Jaleo menu is pretty massive. They are still saying it’s a reduced menu due to COVID, but if this is their smaller menu I can’t imagine what the full menu might be like! There are a number of Spanish tapas dishes in different categories – while there are a few entree size meals, almost everything is tapas. Categories include:
- ¡BUEN PROVECHO! ‘Hey, you’re here! So start eating…’ (it’s odd to say there’s an appetizer to a tapas meal, but this is where you’ll find bread and that sort of thing)
- EMBUTIDOS (CURED MEATS)
- QUESOS (CHEESES)
- JOSÉ’S WAY (THE ONLY WAY!)
- SOPAS Y ENSALADAS (SOUP & SALADS)
- VERDURAS (VEGETABLES)
- FRITURAS (FRIED ITEMS)
- BOCATAS (SANDWICHES)
- PESCADOS Y MARISCOS (SEAFOOD)
- CARNES (MEATS)
- PAELLA Y ARROCES (PAELLA & RICE)
- POSTRES (DESSERTS)
If you really want to go big you can opt to do the Chef’s Tasting Menus, which is a large selection of tapas. The Jaleo Experience takes you through about a dozen of the traditional and popular tapas as well as a few Jaleo specialties. You can opt to pair it with the Spanish Sips tasting, where they will pair a wine with your tapas, or the Sherry Tasting.
The second time we ate there was in September 2021 and it was during Orlando Magical Dining, where they offer a special menu for $37 per person. We opted to do that and we each got to pick 5 small plates from a number of options. Most of the choices are on the regular menu as well so you can get them any time.
And now on to the (many) tapas we tried…
Review of Jaleo tapas at Disney Springs
Pan con tomate con queso manchego – Toasted slices of crispy bread brushed with fresh tomato served with Manchego cheese:
This sounds and looks fairly basic, but it was so good. I was impressed at how delicious the tomato was. It was obviously made from high quality, fresh tomatoes, was a bit sweet. A great way to start off the meal.
QUESOS (CHEESES) Selection of three:
We went with:
- Valdeón (D.O. Leon) An intensely flavored blue cheese of pasteurized cow and goat milk, paired with raisins and Pedro Ximénez compressed pears
- Rey Silo Rojo (D.O. Asturias) A bold and spicy unpasteurized cow’s milk cheese with pimentón, with almonds and bitter orange jam
- Idiázabal (D.O. Idiazábal, Basque country and Navarra) a smoked, nutty-flavored sheep’s milk cheese paired with house-made quince paste
They have a number of Spanish cheeses on the menu, and you can get a selection of 3 or 5. We went with 3 cheese and they were all delicious. I think the blue cheese was my favorite, as it had a ton of flavor. Overall though the cheese doesn’t stick out as anything particularly memorable, so I’d probably pass on it in favor of something else in the future.
Espinacas a la catalana Sautéed spinach with pine nuts, raisins and apples:
The first time we visited we didn’t really know what this would be – just spinach, like a salad? – but we wanted a vegetable option to go with everything else we ordered so we selected this. It was incredible! They use some sort of sauce on the spinach and toss it with the nuts, raisins, and apples. It felt crazy to say that spinach was one of my favorite things here but it was true. This is one of the things we got again on our second visit.
Pinchitos de sandia con tomate y reducción de PX Skewer of watermelon and cherry tomatoes with reduction of PX:
These are small little bites, but I was surprised at how well watermelon and tomato actually went togther because I would not have thought of that pairing myself. They were served with mint leaves and a Spanish balsamic, which really tied it all together into a unique bite.
Croquetas de pollo Traditional chicken fritters:
The presentation of these is fun, as they come served on a “pillow”. They are worth the prestige though because this was another amazing dish. They’re perfectly fried on the outside and the chicken was melt in your mouth good on the inside.
Patatas bravas* A Jaleo favorite: fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and aioli
There’s a reason why this is a Jaleo favorite – it’s hard to go wrong with fried tomatoes and delicious sauce! It’s a pretty generous portion and comes with a delicious tomato sauce that is even better when you mix in the aioli. While it does have a bit of a kick to it, it’s not overly spicy, which is perfect for me.
Gambas al ajillo The very, very famous tapa of shrimp sautéed with garlic
Another winner. The shrimp were cooked perfectly but it’s that garlic sauce that is really fantastic. They bring you some bread with it which is good because I needed to bread to soak up as much of the sauce as possible. If I didn’t have bread I might have been licking the plate once the shrimp were gone.
Butifarra casera con mongetes* Josper-grilled pork sausage served with sauteéd white beans
While this was also delicious, it would probably rank towards the bottom of everything we tried. Which would still rank higher than most food in general, but if you don’t have an endless stomach and have to make decisions this one just wasn’t quite as spectacular as some of the others. The sausage was very good and this is a filling dish with all the white beans.
Carne asada* Grilled flat iron steak with confit piquillo peppers
While the steak was good, would you believe me if I said the peppers might have actually been the highlight here? Everything on that plate was amazing, but the peppers were incredible. Our server told us they marinate them for 3 hours so they are just absolutely melt in your mouth and so flavorful. The steak was cooked perfectly and delicious, but I would totally take a plate just of these peppers.
Setas al ajillo Sauteed mushroom in a garlic and white wine sauce
I am not a mushroom person so I passed on these, so you’ll have to take Jason’s word for it that they were good. It was a pretty large bowl of just mushrooms with a lot of garlic flavor, so you’ll have to really like mushrooms to go for this. He said he enjoyed it but would not get it again… my guess is that is because he is not huge on tons of garlic.
Pan con chocolate Chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil and brioche ice cream
This was an incredible dessert if you’re a chocolate lover. The chocolate custard was extremely rich, but it was the accompaniments that were really delicious and unique. The caramelized bread added a nice crunch, but the olive oil and brioche ice cream was amazing. We asked about it and they said they literally make it out of brioche bread. Whatever they did, it was so good and something a bit different. One of my favorite desserts I’ve tried in all of Disney.
Flan al estilo tradicional de mamá Marisa con espuma de crema catalana A classic Spanish custard with ‘espuma’ of Catalan cream and oranges
This is a very good flan, though the orange flavor wasn’t particularly pronounced. It seemed more like a traditonal flan but a nice, light way to end the meal especially if you don’t want something rich and heavy.
We’ve had nothing but great service at Jaleo Disney Springs. They are extremely attentive there in everything we do. The first time we visited our service was fantastic. He gave us lots of information about the food we were eating and how it’s made, was there whenever we needed anything, and had good recommendations. The second time we visited our server was also very on top of things and very knowledgeable – I will say he was perhaps a little more pushy than I prefer, in the sense that he kept making recommendations for more expensive things like the full “Experience Menu” or ordering a bottle of wine instead of a glass. It wasn’t overly pushy because he would mention each thing once (not trying to sell the same thing on us multiple times) but it definitely felt like a bit of an upsell.
All the other service we encountered was fantastic. I wanted to give a tip directly to the bus boy because he went above and beyond (sadly he may have changed shifts while we were there because I couldn’t find him at the end of the meal). But our water glasses were constantly refilled and he was on top of everything. He was also working the whole patio on an August day when it was about 90 degrees and I could tell he was just sweating. But still doing such a great job. And both times we ate there the manager or whoever was in charge that night stopped by (at least once) to check in on us.
Does Jaleo Disney Springs have outdoor seating?
Yes, both times we were able to sit outside on the patio, which gives you an amazing view of Disney Springs and Saratoga Springs resort right on the water. The patio is a smaller area but we haven’t had any problems being seated there. In fact, the second time we visited in August they seemed relieved we didn’t want to be inside – while it was hot, the area is shaded and is very pleasant. There is a lot of seating inside, as well as a second floor.
What should I order at Jaleo?
Everything? Haha, if only! I would suggest that this is a good time to be a little more adventurous, since you are getting a small amount. So if you know you’ll like the fried potatoes, perhaps also try something more outside the box like the seared piquillo peppers filled with goat cheese, or even something with chorizo if you’ve never tried that before.
How many dishes should we get?
This depends on a lot of things – how hungry you are, which dishes you choose, and how many people you have. However, if you are looking at the typical tapas menu you can probably plan to do 2-3 tapas dishes per person. The great thing about tapas is that the food just continues to come out as it’s ready. So I’d start conservatively and then you can always keep adding more tapas as you go!
Will the food at Jaleo be too adventurous for me?
Jaleo is nice because they have a good variety of more unique foods as well as things that feel somewhat familiar but with a Spanish twist. You can always ask your server for recommendations based on your preferences as well. But in general I would say that if you typically eat more American style foods or are somewhat of a picky eater, safer tapas would include the patatas bravas, chicken fritters, a cheese plate, any of the salads, and the carne asada.
Does Jaleo have a Happy Hour?
Yes, they do! Jaleo hosts a “Sangria Hour” every day from 4-6pm. These include discounts on glasses of sangria and select wines, as well as lower prices on a few of their most popular tapas dishes.
Is it worth visiting Jaleo for dinner?
For me, the answer is a resounding yes. Unless you’re an extremely picky eater (totally fine, lots of options at Disney!) I think it’s worth trying. It’s a good chance to try things you may not have had before, and if you do like to eat adventurously you had a lot of fun choices here. Plus, pretty much every single dish we’ve had was delicious. With all the tapas we’ve tried so far we’ve never had anything bad – there are just things that are “good but not great.”
I also love the tapas style and the ability to try a number of things at once. I’d much rather do that than have one big entree. It’s not difficult to get a reservation (in addition to being on the Disney website they are also on OpenTable) and the outdoor seating is so nice. I’ve been here twice in the past year now and I know I will be back not too long from now. For me it feels like one of the “hidden gems” of Disney World.
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Have you been to Jaleo? Do you agree with my Jaleo Disney Springs dining review?