Since our first time trying Jaleo back when it debuted at Walt Disney World in March 2019, we’ve sung its praises as the crown jewel of Disney Springs, if not one of the best restaurants on property. Not only that, Chef José Andres has been at the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic this past year helping communities throughout the nation, including the local Orlando area, obtain fresh, healthy food throughout the shutdown. With that, we were thrilled to come back and try out the restaurant’s new, limited-time Magical Dining menu, which also goes towards a good cause. Let’s head on in through the big, bold red archway and start digging in.
Jaleo reopened just a few weeks ago on August 20. It was one of the latest restaurants to open at Disney Springs, but it’s almost as if they saved the best for last.
The restaurant is currently open from Thursday through Sunday each week, from 4:00 PM to 10:00 PM, closing at 9:00 PM on Sundays. Reservations are available by phone at (321) 348-3211, or online via the Jaleo website or My Disney Experience.
Arrival / New Health & Safety Guidelines
Once inside, the entire restaurant has been slightly modified to accommodate new health and safety protocols, including hand sanitizer dispensers, physical distancing markers along the floor, and face masks for all employees. Face masks are required for guests as well, but they can remove them upon being seated (or once their food arrives, if you are so inclined.)
Throughout the bar and the dining areas, plexiglass dividers both semi-permanent and on wheels are stationed to help keep diners distanced.
Magical Dining Menu
Magical Dining is available at Jaleo now through October 31 for $35 per person, plus tax and gratuity. $1 from each meal served will benefit Feed the Need Florida, which works to help feed people who have struggled with getting access to healthy food during the COVID crisis. Here’s how Jaleo describes their limited-time menu:
Join Jaleo at Disney Springs as we celebrate Magical Dining with the ultimate tapas tasting menu experience. Take a tour of Spain through our prix-fixe menu, created in collaboration by Head Chef Rodolfo Guzman and Jaleo Culinary Director Ramon Martinez.
You can click here to view the menu, or browse it using the slideshow below:
Gazpacho estilo Algeciras
Classic chilled Spanish soup made with tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers
Gazpacho always strikes a “great divide” amongst those at the table, so this is really just a dish we’d recommend if you’re into cold, savory soups. The refreshing taste of tomato and cucumber is accented by a swirl of luscious olive oil for added body.
Aceitunas marinadas con queso Manchego
Marinated Spanish olives with Manchego cheese
This may not be the fanciest first course to opt for, but it’s very good! The olives were fresh and briny, in a pool of olive oil. The cheese added a nice addition of tang and creaminess. It was salty, but in a good way.
Traditional pan con tomate y queso manchego
Toasted slices of bread brushed with fresh tomato served with Manchego cheese
This was a little disappointing, there wasn’t much to it and it looked like something we could have easily made at home. It tasted as it looked, not much to it, bread with tomato and a thin slice of cheese. It was served cold.
Endibias con queso de cabra y naranjas
Endives with goat cheese, oranges and almonds
This was the clear winner of the night. The endive was fresh and crunchy, the goat cheese was creamy, and the segments of sweet orange melded well with the simple vinaigrette drizzled on top. We could have eaten five plates of these. It may be the last thing you think to order at this restaurant, but make sure you do.
Mixed greens with cherry tomatoes, onions and olives with a sherry dressing
This is clearly the option they have for people who aren’t the most adventurous eaters, and it’s the only thing we wouldn’t really recommend here. Still, if none of the other first course offerings appeal to you, this is a fresh salad with a bit of a twist as it includes Spanish olives.
Espinacas a la Catalana
Sautéed spinach, pine nuts, raisins and apples
This was okay, it was a pretty simple sauteed spinach dish. The apples and raisins added a slight sweetness to the dish. Nothing about it stood out, but it was still delicious.
Croquetas de pollo
Traditional chicken fritters
Traditional chicken fritters. These creamy, delicious little morsels were served on this bizarre little fake pillow, but that didn’t stop them from being a favorite of the table. This is one of Jaleo’s signature items, with a fascinating backstory:
At other Jaleo locations, Jose Andres serves these croquetas in a shoe. Why? When he was a child, he put his shoes on the table once and his grandmother yelled at him for it, so he thought it would be fun to break the rules by offering a creative serving vessel for these classic snacks. Disney wanted to give it its own creative spin, so they figured they’d place these on Cinderella’s glass slipper pillow!
A Jaleo favorite: fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and aioli
As always, this is an amazing dish. The potatoes were fried perfectly, crispy outside and soft inside. The spicy tomato sauce was very flavorful and had a nice kick of paprika, and the cool and creamy aioli was a perfect balance to the spicy acidic sauce and the crispy potatoes.
Roasted sweet onions, pine nuts, and Valdeón blue cheese
This was honestly a strange dish and we couldn’t really find anything we liked about it, despite the delicious-sounding ingredient list.
It was a very soft, mushy caramelized onion slice with a very strong blue cheese and pine nuts on top. All the ingredients were tasty, but put together, it was kind of confusing and off-putting.
Pollo a la brasa
Grilled marinated chicken served with mashed potatoes and piquillos
This is your standard chicken option for the fourth and main course, and it features very nicely charred pieces of chicken. They’re well prepared, but not one of Jaleo’s most memorable dishes.
Pimientos del piquillo rellenos de queso de cabra
Seared piquillo peppers filled with goat cheese
These were delicious! The sweet and slightly spicy pepper was stuffed with a delicious goat cheese, lightly flavored with shallots and thyme. They were served piping hot. The only thing we were disappointed in was the serving size here, as a main course.
Gambas al ajillo
The very, very famous tapa of shrimp sautéed with garlic
If you’re in the mood for shrimp, you can’t go wrong with this. The shrimp is well-sauteed, not to mention very buttery and garlicky. While it’s nothing outwardly special or unique, it’s still delicious.
Butifarra casera con mongetes
Grilled pork sausage with sautéed white beans and alioli
For lack of a better description, these tasted like really high-quality breakfast sausages, but the beans were the best part of the dish.
Arroz de pollo y setas
A traditional paella of chicken and chef-selected mushrooms
The menu does list a chicken paella, but it really depends on what night you go—it’s whatever the “paella of the day” is. (They’ll tell you which one it is.) The first time we went to Jaleo for Magical Dining, we got a seafood paella.
One of their signature dishes, paella is the one thing we actually recommend not to get here, as depending on which style you get, it can be super bland. While the flavors are there, these always seem to taste undersalted.
We happened to come back for more Jaleo and were offered the chicken and mushroom paella that’s actually listed on the Magical Dining menu. This one was definitely better, but as we already mentioned, despite being their signature thing, paella is one of the more forgettable items here. In fact, out of the entire Magical Dining menu, this fourth course is likely the weakest. The options aren’t bad, and by the time you’ve reached the fourth course, you’ve already gotten a great value for what you paid for—plus you get to follow it up with flan.
Flan al estilo tradicional de mamá Marisa con espuma de crema catalana
A classic Spanish custard with ‘espuma’ of Catalan cream and oranges
A classic flan with a nice eggy caramel flavor and a springy, wobbly texture. It was sitting in a delicious caramel sauce and was a great ending to a delicious meal. We’re still sad their cheesecake isn’t back on the menu, though.
If you don’t want the flan—which is a mistake, by the way—you can get a refreshing, house-made sorbet. It’s incredibly fresh and silky, without any artificial flavors. This was a sandia, or watermelon sorbet, but the flavors change nightly.
Despite our lack of enthusiasm for the paella, trust us, we’d recommend Jaleo for anyone looking for the ultimate in dining at Disney Springs. When we have friends in town, this is where we take them—from those looking for comfort food to those looking for gourmet food—because this is the best of both worlds. Magical Dining is only available through October 31, so if you’ve never tried Jaleo, this is a great way to try an array of their best dishes at an affordable price, and if you’re a Jaleo regular, you can’t get a better deal than this. Head on over to Jaleo for some amazing, truly magical dining.