Walt Disney World gets a touch of Spanish flair with José Andrés’ Jaleo restaurant


José Andrés recently opened Jaleo at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs, serving authentic Spanish dishes like tapas and paella with a modern twist.

Guests who dine at José Andrés’ Jaleo, located at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs shopping and dining area, will be transported to Spain through the vibrant decor and the traditional Spanish cuisine. Jaleo serves up tapas, paella and other authentic Spanish dishes, with some unique twists along the way.

On a recent visit to the newest Jaleo location – the fifth in the U.S. – we were intrigued by the unique cocktails menu. I chose the Salt Air Margarita – a concoction topped with salty foam in lieu of a traditional salt rim. But the margarita isn’t the only menu item that’s received a modern update from Chef Andrés.

Jaleo at Disney Springs. Photo Credit: Terri Peters

There were oysters infused with gin and tonic, “liquid olives,” head-on shrimp and a caviar taco. Adventurous eaters can order a tasting menu of these interesting items: José’s Way is a selection of Andrés’ favorite and most unique tapas, priced at $110 per person.

My husband and I love a good tasting menu, but erred on the side of caution with a more traditional offering: the Jaleo Experience, a selection of traditional and modern tapas priced at $70 per person.

We were not disappointed.

It took nearly two hours to move through the menu selections. Varying servers approached our table throughout the night to bestow delicious tapas dishes upon us, from Queso Manchego — a raw sheep’s milk cheese topped with the most delicious olive oil I’d ever tasted — to Cebolla Asada, a plate of roasted onions, blue cheese and pine nuts that was a favorite at our table.

Jaleo at Disney Springs. Photo Credit: Terri Peters

One of the stand-out items in our tasting menu were the Croquetas de Pollo: the most delicious chicken croquettes I’ve ever tasted. A Disney bonus? They’re served on a plate that looks like the pillow Prince Charming’s men used to transport Cinderella’s glass slipper door-to-door.

Jaleo’s Patatas Bravas were another hit: the fried potatoes were served with a spicy tomato sauce and an aioli that made me nearly slap my husband’s hand when he went to pass the plate to our server. There were still some left!

There were bowls of delicious gazpacho, an apple, fennel and Manchego salad that we couldn’t get enough of, and my personal favorite: Endives stuffed with oranges, goat cheese and almonds.

Jaleo at Disney Springs. Photo Credit: Terri Peters

Jaleo wowed us with desserts like flan with cream and oranges and Pan Con Chocolate: a chocolate custard with caramelized bread, olive oil and brioche ice cream.

The servers were quick to add some Spanish flair to their presentation. During the desert course, one drizzled our Pan Con Chocolate with olive oil and cracked the caramelized bread with a spoon proclaiming, “The true Spanish way!”

Jaleo at Disney Springs. Photo Credit: Rey Lopez/Jaleo

In addition to an extensive cocktail list – served from one of the most beautiful bars I’ve ever seen, lush with fresh herbs in vases and adorned with colorful fruits – Jaleo boasts an impressive wine and beer list, with a few Spanish wines on tap as well. There was delicious Sangria and an impressive sherry and dessert wine list, which we enjoyed with our final course.

Jaleo at Disney Springs. Photo Credit: Terri Peters

We chose the patio, but when we visit again, we may head indoors to get a different breathtaking view. We also may skip the tasting menu – although delicious – and try other Jaleo dishes like their paellas, steaks and seafood.

A conundrum when dining at Jaleo is whether to sit in the stunning two-story dining room or to dine on the patio, where there are beautiful views of Disney Springs and the boats on Lake Buena Vista, transporting guests back to their resorts.

Jaleo at Disney Springs. Photo Credit: Terri Peters

Jaleo, which previously existed only in the Washington, D.C. area and in Las Vegas, is a festive, vibrant addition to Disney Springs. While Epcot’s World Showcase may not transport Walt Disney World visitors to Spain, José Andrés and his team have visitors covered through this unique dining experience.

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Jaleo is open now at Disney Springs. For reservations, visit Jaleo.com or Disney Springs’ dining website.