This picture is not my own. It is from Jaleo's website and owned by © 2013 Proximo Restaurants. Visit Jaleo's website here www.jaleo.com/
Jaleo's atmosphere is fun, eccentric, loud, and kooky (in the best of ways). Their tapas selection is very extensive, ranging from croquetas de pollo, chicken and cheese fritters, served in a plastic serving dish shaped like a sneaker, to the classic Spanish gambas al ajillo, a famous dish of shrimp sauteed in garlic. The menu is almost a too overwhelming for someone who doesn't understand Spanish cuisine and tapas dining protocol, but the waitstaff there are more than willing to help guide you.
I've been to Jaleo several times, but the best thing I've ever had there was the datiles con tocino como hace todo el mundo, which is a really long winded way of saying dates wrapped in bacon and then fried. The dates even come with a delicious apple-mustard sauce, which really helps to cut the fattiness of the bacon and the grease from the fryer. If you're a chorizo lover, you have to try the homemade chorizo with cider sauce. The chorizo has the perfect fat to spice ratio, and is absolutely incredible.
As tempting as it is to fill up on tapas, please do yourself a favor and save some room for dessert. The dark chocolate mousse with cocoa sponge cake and hazelnut ice cream is the perfect end to a meal of tapas. Just the right amount of sugary sweetness at the end of a spicy and robust meal.
Overall, my experiences at Jaleo have been good, with the exception of the long wait and the insane crowds that never seem to go away (at the 7th St location). Save yourself the agony and make a reservation a week or two in advance, or just make the trip to the Bethesda/Arlington locations (although you will sacrifice slightly in the quality of the food).
Visit Jaleo at 480 7th St NW
Washington, District of Columbia 20004
2250 A Crystal Drive
Arlington, VA 22202
7271 Woodmont Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814
Whenever you're next in Vegas
The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109