From eats to atmosphere, world-renowned chef José Andrés’ debut Chicago restaurant Jaleo brings authentic Spanish flavor to River North.
Nosh on various small plates at the boldly decorated tapas bar.
Making its mark in River North, the fifth iteration of chef and humanitarian José Andrés’ famed restaurant concept Jaleo is the neighborhood’s latest must-try. The 240-seat space boasts eye-catching tile work; sleek, brightly colored furniture; and dining experiences exclusive to the new Windy City location, including a full tapas bar and engaging tableside paella presentations. Helmed by head chef Justin DePhillips, the menu features authentic Spanish fare simply prepared with local ingredients, like head-on shrimp with garlic and olive oil; paella with Meloso-style rice; and braised oxtail, all best washed down with one of the four variations of gin and tonic, the resto’s signature cocktail. Prefer to dine alfresco? The recent closure of Clark Street allows for an expanded outdoor patio and “streetery,” evoking the lively pedestrian-only streets found in Barcelona—a nod to Andrés’ childhood.
Chef José Andrés
The famed chef first dreamed of operating in Chicago after meeting legendary Chicago restaurant figures Richard Melman and Gabino Sotelino at just 23 years old. “I love being able to share the flavors and spirit of Spain by bringing this special place to new destinations,” Andrés explains. “My friend Rick Bayless let me know about the amazing storefront just across the way from his restaurant in River North. I cannot think of a better neighborhood to be opening in Chicago.” Be sure to keep an eye out for Pigtail, a much-anticipated speakeasy concept in Jaleo’s basement set to open this fall. 500 N. Clark St., jaleo.com
The Ultimate Gin and Tonic
Try the tableside paella with cuttlefish sofrito and head-on shrimp.