Spanish Tapas

  • 84
  • 2015 Best Spanish
  • 2016 Best Spanish

Credited with birthing the small plates movement in DC, this Penn Quarter mainstay from celebrity chef José Andrés has been serving up Spanish tapas, paelleas and inventive cocktails for over 20 years. Jaleo’s setting blends the festive spirit described by its name (meaning revelry, fun, bustle) with the unique personality of chef José Andrés. Bold colors and whimsy dominate the space, designed by Spanish designer Juli Capella, lined with artwork from Spain.

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What the Food Critics are Saying

“One of the early reasons people went to graze in Penn Quarter, even before it was called Penn Quarter, was Jaleo. And this tapas party by José Andrés never lets you forget that its Spanish name translates as “fun.” […] A spicy bite of chorizo wrapped in fried potato improves on the usual pig-in-a-blanket; green beans taste regal when they’re dappled with Spanish goat cheese and heaped on romesco; and see-through circles of silken raw salmon, paved with pine nuts and capers, glisten beneath a drizzle of anchovy-lemon oil. For the ham-obsessed, Jaleo shaves the fabled meat from acorn-fed, black-hooved Iberico pigs. Meanwhile, the richest tuna salad in the city is one of multiple options on the three-course, pre-theater menu — a show of its own. Sangria or albariño might be the obvious quaffs, but the bar does neat riffs on gin and tonics, one version of which is jazzy with ginger and allspice.” – Washington Post

“In a sense, no restaurant in Washington has been more influential than this hopping tapas spot, which birthed the small-plates movement and turned fine dining into a more freewheeling affair. Well into its second decade, it remains a remarkably vibrant operation, still capable of astonishing diners with its broad palette of flavors—now bold and bright, now lusty and rich, now delicate and subtle.” – Washingtonian


  • Michelin Bib Gourmand 2016
  • Number 26: 100 Very Best Restaurants 2016 - Washingtonian
  • Semi-Finalist, James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant, 2015
  • 100 Very Best Restaurants in Washington DC, 2015 - Washintonian
  • Wine Spectator's Award of Excellence, 2015
  • Washington Post Top Restaurants, 2014
  • 38 Essential Washington Restaurants, 2015 - Eater DC
  • Three stars from the Washington Post, 2014
  • Five stars from Time Out, 2014
  • Zagat rating of 24 out of 30

480 7th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20004

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  • Price Range: $$$
    Atmosphere: Eclectic, Lively, Modern, Trendy/Scene
  • Dress Code: Casual
    Good For: Groups, Hot Spot, Outdoor Dining
  • Noise Level: Average
  • Wine Spirits: Full Bar
    Phone: (202) 628-7949
  • Private Dining Room: Yes