Small plates: you either love them or you hate them, but there’s no denying where the craze originated as far as DC goes. When Jaleo opened its doors to serve tapas in 1993, a new way to dine in DC was born. Some dishes from the original menu are still available today, like the gambas al ajillo and tortilla Española. In the years that followed Jaleo’s debut, DC saw small plates at Mexican, Mediterranean, Asian restaurants and beyond take hold.
José Andrés, the lauded chef, restaurateur, and humanitarian, has become a DC celebrity in his own right. But before he had several restaurants in the area and even more outposts across the country, he had Jaleo. The Penn Quarter restaurant has been a staple since 1993 and features a slate of Spanish tapas like pan con tomate, patatas bravas, and flamenquines, plus flowing sangria, perfect for sharing after a long day of exploring The District. If you’re in town looking for a taste of the chef’s empire, go to the restaurant that started it all in DC.