Everyone in my family had something they needed to see or do while we were in Spain. My husband had two requests – Paella and climbing. My oldest boy to visit Real Madrid Bernabeu tour and climbing, my youngest same as my oldest (he does everything he does still) and me – Flamenco.
Tonight was my turn. I had the pleasure of taking my family to the oldest Flamenco Tablao (venue) place in Madrid – Villa Rosa. And it was so much more than we all could have imagined.
Flamenco Show Madrid and Dinner, too
How does one choose the best Flamenco show to visit in Madrid. There are literally over a dozen to choose from. What turned me on to Villa Rosa is that it is one of the oldest in the city and works with top performers that tour all over the world.
And since I’m a bit of a sucker for historical venues, this was my number one choice.
Dinner is Served
Our show started at 7:30 pm. We did the earlier show because of the kids. Even though we arrived a bit later, they started serving dinner exactly at 7:30 pm.
Spain is so punctual. I love it.
You can order different platters off the menu. However, I would recommend to start with the most popular options which is the typical Spanish food options:
Sangria – Wherever there is Sangria, I’m all over it. I love this drink and having it in the mother country makes it that much more delicious for me.
Jamones Surtidos – this is the most traditional dish in Spain to start off with.
Also known as tapas. You are served jamon iberica, which is hand carved for you right there. You can see the quality of meat you are getting. With other delicious meats.
Tapas taster – the most popular finger foods in Spain, so far that I’ve noticed, are croquettes (ham, spinach, etc…), spanish omelet (known as tortilla patata) and pan tumaco (bread with garlic, olive oil and tomato). This is what comes with your meal.
What truly surprised me, or maybe I have had bad experiences with dinner and show types of venues, the food her was spectacular. I mean melt-in-your-mouth-give-me-more-and-more type of food. It was an amazing surprise.
Paella – the main dish. I am seeing a trend with Paella, since this was a top thing for my husband to do in Spain and we’ve now had several experiences with it. It is necessary to have a minimum of two people eating it. Which worked great for me, because like their other dishes, this was delicious.
Entrecott – my husband’s eyes were bigger than his belly. Or maybe we are still not used to how filling Spanish food is. But he never had an entrecott cut of meat so we had to give it a taste. And it was worth it.
NOTE: you can come for just the show and buy some drinks. But honestly, I would recommend to come for the full experience. The food is truly first class and the service as well.
Tablao Flamenco – The Show
One word sums up this performance – Passionate!
When we arrived, we mainly thought this would be a touristy thing to do. Whenever I told people I wanted to go and see Flamenco everyone told me I have to go the gritty, underground bars and clubs to see the ‘real’ flamenco. Mainly they are found in Granada, the birthplace of Flamenco. With kids this is a bit difficult due to many reasons, mainly these shows started super late at night and are in the seediest parts of Granada. Not really into it.
As we sat watching the performers come on stage, I realized that most likely these same dancers, singers and guitar players once started in these so-called darkened clubs.
Even if I wasn’t traveling with my kids, I am way past the period of my life where living on the edge, especially catching a Flamenco show in a dark alley just doesn’t sound catchy anymore. This environment, on the other hand, is exactly what I love. And I would most likely end up at this same restaurant/club ambience, but now I have the added bonus of sharing it with my children in a truly safe and truly professional show.
After dinner was done, and just drinks were being poured five performers came on stage.
1. The Singer – Jesule de Utrera, who is essential to the tone of the performance
2. The musician – Jesús Núñez, interesting about the guitarist, they don’t set the pace, but watch the singer and the dancers to dictate the beat.
3. The Dancers – Olga Llorente, Ángela Españadero y José Jurado – our show had two females (with extremely different styles) and a male dancer. They never danced as couples.
Flamenco, from what I see (not only from reading) is about the suffering that the gypsies have gone through. It is a passionately sad, at times happy, dance. But the power of it comes out from the dancers that you are experiencing this with them.
The show lasts for about one hour long, but it feels like five minutes.
If you have any doubts about coming to see a Flamenco show because you feel it is too touristy, come. The best part is that the kids really get into it, learn about it and see something that is only genuinely practiced here.
Interesting Facts and History About Tablao Flamenco Villa Rosa
- Madrid is the world capital of Flamenco since the 20th century
- Villa rosa has been supporting Flamenco since 1911
- It was founded on an old chocolate mill
- This was a place where you could get Andalusian food and a tapas bar until 1918 when a new owner turned it into a restaurant
- Next year two of the waiters bought it and completely remodeled it in an Arabic style. It included gorgeous paintings and ceramic mosaics.
- The decoration and good food made it a popular place.
- The facade that you see now are from 1927 by a famous artist from Sevilla called Alfonso Romero Mesa. The scenes are from Colón, La Plaza de España, La Alambra, Córdoba, La Cibeles, El Retiro, los Jardines de Murillo and Málaga.
- En 1921 one of the owners decided to leave the restaurant. During this time Don Antonio Chacón, a major traditional singer, came to Villa Rosa and made it his permanent stage.
- From this moment on Villa Rosa became a well known place, always full of people waiting for the show.
- Since then a large amount of the best and most recognized singers, dancers and musicians within the flamenco world stood on its stage.
- It is even said that king Alfonso XIII used to visit the place through a secret passage from Palacio Real to Villa Rosa.
- Villa Rosa also admitted smaller groups and would put up private shows which with time made it the place for legends involving the underworld.
- The place closed in 1963 and reopened the next year but not with its former splendor until the late 70’s.
- In the 80’s it reopened as a party place and was even the site for a movie by a famous moviemaker in spain, Pedro Almodovar “Tacones Lejanos”.
- In 2002 flamenco is brought back to Villa Rosa, but it is still a party place. For the next seven years the same team offered shows three times per week. But it was too expensive to put up the shows so by 2009 it stopped.
- It’s time as a party place also ended in 2011 because in March of that year when an important restaurant and taberna owner bought the place with the idea of preserving it as a Flamenco Sanctuary.
- It now offers traditional food and high quality shows every day with a team of 40 artists.