Spanish in Penn Quarter
- Perfect for
- Celebrity Sightings
- Classic Establishment
- Date Night
- Dinner with the Parents
- Eating At The Bar
- Impressing Out of Towners
- Keeping It Kind Of Healthy
- Private Dining
- See And Be Seen
- Small Plates
- Special Occasions
Written byZach Nerenberg
If there were founding fathers of DC dining, Jose Andres is our George Washington. The man set the bar for what a great spot in this town should be, and he's still doing it at the original location 20+ years later.
In a city that get’s a bad wrap for being an overly-pretentious and political place, chef numero uno on our proverbial Mount Rushmore has done more to combat that notion than anyone else. Jaleo redefined what DC dining could and should be. It doesn’t have to be a place that requires a suit and tie to get a decent (or in this case, f*cking great) meal. It should be a place where everyone can come together and grab a good bite. Not to get all sappy and patriotic on you, but all that good “USA mixing bowl” stuff. You should see someone in a jacket sitting next to someone wearing a hoodie and have it not matter. That’s what he’s done, completely removing the stuffiness from his restaurants, and there’s no better example of this than his flagship. It’s something we’ve dubbed as the Jose Andres’ Anti-Stuffiness Check MarkTM (Jose, let’s talk figures for this trademark).
All of that atmosphere and vibe stuff is great to have, but even if it didn’t we’d love this place; the food is flat-out phenomenal. These are true tapas style portions, so come here with a few people ready to sample and share a lot. The proteins really shine here, but feel free to round out your meal with some of the lighter options as well. The service is top-notch: don’t be afraid to put yourself in their hands in terms of ordering. Explain what you like and are looking for, and they’ll be an excellent guide.
So pop in after work in your suit, or before a Caps game in your Ovechkin jersey, or on the weekend for brunch in those trendy sweats you just bought. It won’t matter, and you’re guaranteed to get some of the city's best food.
Huevo frito con caviar
Decadent, over-the-top, and completely worth it.
If you’re coming here, you’ll need to get some cured ham on your table. We recommend going all out on the 48 month aged version.
Espinacas a la catalana
You’ll want to have some lighter options so you don’t have to be wheeled out after you’re done, and this sauteed spinach salad is a great choice. Health.
Tortilla de patatas al momento
A traditional Spanish tapas dish, done exceedingly well. Shocker.
Chistorra envuelta en patata frita
If pigs in a blanket are the elementary school version, this is the “went to Harvard Law and finished first in its class” version. Chorizo, wrapped in a potato chip, deep fried, and served with aioli. Your honor, I rest my case.
Vieiras con calabaza y naranjas
Our favorite seafood option. Very simply seared scallops with a butternut squash puree that compliments it very well.
Solomillo de ibérico de bellota con manzanas
We prefer the more flavorful, fattier cuts of meat, but if you like Pork Tenderloin, go for it, you’ll like it. Our opinion is that there’s better value on the menu elsewhere.
Lomo de buey con Valdeón
This is the better value we are talking about. For the price of one of the tenderloins, you can get three servings of the hanger steak. And it’s so good, you’ll be tempted to order three.
Conejo en salmorejo con puré de albaricoques
Have you ever had rabbit? Turns out those cute, easter egg-delivering critters taste really good.
Everyone knows what flan is, and chances are you had a bad version long ago and swore off the stuff. This is not that, this is incredible. This is how you should end your meal.