Grand Opening of Jaleo by José Andrés at Disney Springs

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The highly anticipated new table service restaurant, Jaleo by José Andrés, is now open in Disney Springs. We attended the grand opening party last night and were treated to an evening of upscale ambiance, delicious tastes of Spanish cuisine, and even an appearance by Chef José himself!

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The fifth – and largest, to date – Jaleo location spared no expense on design. A vibrant color palette sets a festive mood, with a two story wall mural of a matador accenting the main bar.

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The upstairs level, which can be accessed via the grand staircase or an elevator, features another bar, but also several smaller private rooms for larger parties. Outdoor seating is available on both levels.

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The Grand Opening party was a reflection of the superb hospitality one can expect from Jaleo, with staff waiting to greet guests at the door with trays of Sangria, Spanish wines, and other featured cocktails.

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Once inside the main area, we were transported to a different part of Spain with every bite being served, from endives with oranges and goat cheese, to, my personal favorite, chicken croquetas, served on a tray resembling a tasseled cushion.

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The headliner at Jaleo’s, however, is the Paella. Three different varieties are made daily, and will rotate in selection. A cowbell alerts patrons each time a new batch is finished, followed by the staff shouting “Paella!” adding to the fun and upbeat vibe.

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Seafood is a Spanish staple, and in abundance. An oyster bar, as well as sea urchin topped flat breads were some fan favorites of the night.

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The party really got going when the man of the evening, celebrity Chef José Andrés (who coins himself not a cook, but rather a storyteller) was welcomed, and he gave an emotional speech. Most noteworthy was the story he told about how he had  visited Disney World as a young boy and wondered why there were no restaurants offering Spanish fare and said he put it on his wall to bring Spanish food to Disney.  “Thank you for helping my little dream of bringing a piece of Spain, that always belonged, to Florida,” José went on to say.

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Dessert soon followed as Chef José mingled with guests. Flan with a citrus twist was the hot item, creamy and tangy, it did not disappoint.

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Jaleo is open for dinner from 5 pm to 11 pm (midnight Fridays and Saturdays), you will want to add Jaleo’s to your must-visit list, as it lives up to the hype.

 

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Nicole Heltsley