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Guardado's vs. Jaleo, Bethesda

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If you have a choice of Guardado's versus Jaleo, both in downtown Bethesda (North Bethesda vs. South Bethesda), which do you pick? If you are going for quality and consistency of the food, I vote for Guardado's. If you want the party atmosphere, Jaleo. Chowhounders must ultimately, IMHO, go for the food quality.

Both are even on bread (Guardado's, a little less pocketed with air holes, might actually be the better sopper of oil). Guardado' s also ranks high on sangria, though the half-pitcher isn't a pitcher but one of those pedestrian wine vases-- again, lack of party atmosphere. The gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic oil) are more tender at Guardado's, the ceviche is fresh and plentiful, and the espinaca con naranjas (spinch with shallots, oranges, etc.) is an excellent marriage of slightly wilted spinach with touches of crunch and sweetness.

Indeed, unlike Jaleo, where we've been disappointed by many an individual dish, that's never happened at Guardado's.

I do give, however, Jaleo points for their emphermeal orange flan.

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