2250 Crystal Dr # A, Arlington, VA | Directions 2220238.853570 -77.049594
every dish was better than the last - SO GOOD! – the potato salad with tuna - amazing, the beets wonderful, anchovies [not the way you are used to] to die for - at the corner of 23rd St S and crystal drive - the one in dc must be good too - i'd go there a LOT if i can afford it - great service from sweet people too - great drink - superb!
Thoroughly enjoyed by all – I am a tapas lover and naturally was excited when I heard that there was a tapas lounge in Crystal City (my friends were staying at a hotel there). The location was decent it was a short walk to parking as well as the hotel. It was five of us total and we were quickly seated at an appropriate sized table and served drinks. This was their first time visiting a tapas restaurant and the manager was eager to give them a quick overview of how to best enjoy the "tapas experience." My waiter was amazing and made great reccommendations based on our tastes. For the amount of food we had the price was definitely reasonable for a tapas lounge. This was their first time and they loved it! I will definitely be dining here again!
Not recommended for groups! – Ugh, my experience here reminded me again why I think tapas and tapas restaurants are best left for bar hopping on trips to Spain. First, the restaurant is in Crystal City / Arlington, and sits at the end of a food-court inspired strip-mall of chain restaurants with pointless outdoor seating and faux urban clustering. The area feels more like an industrial park than a neighborhood and the streets were eerie and vacant.
Our group of seven was seated immediately at a large and comfortable table, near other large tables in the HUGE dining room. This, I assumed, was a good indication that Jaleo was prepared to work with largish parties. I was wrong. The food itself was fine, not memorable in any way, just fine. What really made the whole experience a bust was the service. If we had been okay with simply ordering dozens (and dozens) of $8 - $15 “small plates” and pitcher after pitcher of sangria, we would have been golden. However, not everyone at the table was interested in nibbling – nor were they all familiar or comfortable with ordering this type of food – and the wait staff provided zero guidance. Would a shared paella and a tapas be enough food for each person, we asked… They weren’t sure. How many people could sample an individual tapas? Tough question apparently. Can we get water? Hello? Anyone? Several in the group left hungry and very disappointed.
If you find yourself wandering the empty streets of Crystal City and desperately in need of an itsy bitsy, microscopic plate of food, then I’d recommend Jaleo without reservation. If, however, you need a place for a mixed group to visit with food and service handled in a way that ads to the experience, rather than being the primary focus and distraction, then this is NOT the place.
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