Jaleo of Bethesda is perhaps the best Spanish Style restaurant in Metro DC, try out their tapas and other specialties and you will know why.Jaleo’s Bethesda location sits right in the heart of downtown, close to movies, shops, bars, live music and other restaurants. Its prime location, however, does not outdo the menu, and this Spanish style restaurant has over 70 menu items all of which have Spanish names and are quite tasty. Jaleo is a local favorite of many, and while the dining room is often near full, patrons usually can be seated at a table in minutes. Jaleo also serves brunch on the weekends until 3:00 p.m., while paella is served all day. Jaleo caters to those who like a good wine, the lengthy wine list includes domestics as well as plenty of Spanish wines. The restaurant also serves up specialty cocktails, if you visit and opt for a cocktail over wine, you may want to try Jaleo’s uniquely made Margaritas, which are topped with saltwater foam rather than rimmed with salt. The food, meanwhile, is presented on the menu based on preparation method and type, meat and seafood in separate categories and fried and charcuterie are also divided. Jaleo being a Spanish style restaurant has a staff most of which are Spanish speaking and very knowledgeable of the food dishes, ingredients and preparation methods. Of the 70 food items on the menu, choosing just one dish is quite the challenge, however picking something good is like shooting fish in a barrel. Of the appetizer selections both the Pan de cristal con tomate and Flauta de jamon iberico Fermin are solid choices and moderately priced. Personally, I am a meat lover and would opt for the Flauta de jamon first, while the toasted slices of bread brushed with fresh tomato of the Pan de cristal goes down quick too. If you are a little hungrier then you may want to try the Papas arrugas – baby potatoes served with two different sauces can help calm hunger pangs before the entrees come out. If you or someone in your party wants to order Tapas, I would suggest the Gambas al ajillo which is a tapa of shrimp sautéed with garlic and can only be described as succulent.
Meanwhile, the menu offers large tapas sampler dishes which can be shared by two to four people as a meal for each, and first time visitors really should consider Jaleo Classic, which is a tasting of the classic and traditional tapas on the menu. The Jaleo Experience – a mixture of traditional and modern Tapas of the Spanish Tradition – and Jose’s Way, which is a combo of top tapa selections and Spanish dishes, are both adventurous and unique. If you still have room left for dessert, Jaleo’s traditional flan is as good or better than any other local restaurant; the chocolate mousse is quite irresistible with its caramel drizzle and roasted peanuts. In addition to the Bethesda location, Jaleo has two metro DC locations as well as a Las Vegas location. If you plan to go for dinner, you may want and need to make a reservation. Jaleo isn’t exactly the cheapest place to eat, so expect to easily spend over $100 on a meal for two, including drinks and dessert. However, if you know Bethesda, very few places are much cheaper and what you get for what you spend is totally worth it. Have you been to Jaleo of Bethesda? What did you think? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!