Each of my family members had some kind of request of things to do or see during our trip to Spain. Visiting a flamenco tablao sounded like a great chance for us to accomplish two of those requests. We visited Villa Rosa, a historic and almost legendary flamenco tablao in Madrid that also offers traditional food. The passionate show and delicious traditional dishes we tried exceeded my expectations by far.
Each of my family members had something they wanted to do or see during out visit to Spain. My husband’s requests were to eat paella and to go climbing. My boys’ request was to visit the Real Madrid Bernabeu Stadium and mine was to see a live flamenco show.
This time it was my turn. I had the pleasure of taking them to the oldest Flamenco Tablao (venue) in Madrid. It is called Villa Rosa and it was so much more than we all could have imagined.
Flamenco Show Madrid and Dinner, too
At first I didn’t know where to go. I mean, how do you choose the best flamenco show in Madrid? There are tons of them. In the end Villa Rosa was the chosen one because of the fact that it is the oldest in the city and works with top performers. Some have toured all over the world.
It is no secret that I am a sucker for historical venues, so as soon as I learned that Villa Rosa is over 100 years old I knew I had to visit it.
The show I booked started at 7:30 p.m. I chose the earlier show because my boys go to bed early. Attending the 10pm show wasn’t the right option for us.
We got there a bit late and it had already started. Spain is so punctual. I love it.
Aside from the individual dishes on the menu, you can order platters. The platter we ordered includes the most popular options which is the typical Spanish food options:
Sangria – This is a drink I love. But having it in the mother country makes it that much more delicious for me. They know how to prepare it properly.
Jamones Surtidos – This is the most traditional Spanish entry. It is an assortment of local hams, commonly known as tapas.
Tapas taster – It includes croquettes (ham, spinach, etc…), Spanish omelet (known as tortilla patata) and pan tumaco (bread with garlic, olive oil and tomato). These three items come with your meal.
Paella – In all of the places we visited, paella was only served for a minimum of two people. Eating paella was a top thing for my husband to do in Spain so he was happy to have several experiences with it. I was also quite happy because it was delicious.
Entrecott – My husband had an entrecott cut of meat (a thick piece of beef or pork taken from the rib area) so we had to give it a taste. And it was worth it.
I was surprised at how good the food was. Normally, in venues where dinner and show are offered, the food isn’t always the best. But here they serve melt-in-your-mouth-give-me-more-and-more type of food.
Tablao Flamenco – The Show
One word sums up this performance – Passionate!
At first I thought it would be a touristy thing to do. Talking with friends, I kept hearing that I had to go the gritty, underground bars and clubs to see the ‘real’ flamenco. But doing that with kids is not an easy thing.
However, as we sat watching the performers come on stage, I realized that these were true artists, most likely the ones that once started in these so-called darkened clubs.
Even if I wasn’t with my family I would have probably ended up in this same restaurant. I am way past the period of my life where living on the edge sounded like a good idea. Catching a flamenco show in a dark alley just doesn’t sound catchy anymore.
After dinner 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, who played guitar. Guitarists 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. Each had their own style.
From what I was able to learn, flamenco is about the suffering that the gypsies have gone through. It is a passionately sad, at times happy, dance.
The show lasts for about one hour. But I swear I was so entertained that it felt like five minutes.
Recommendation – Don’t hesitate about coming here, it is not a touristy thing. You get the authentic experience.
Interesting Facts and History About Tablao Flamenco Villa Rosa
- Madrid is the world capital of flamenco. It was founded in the 20th century.
- Villa Rosa has been supporting flamenco since 1911.
- The restaurant was founded on an old chocolate mill.
- It was a bar with Andalusian food and a tapas until 1918 when a new owner turned it into proper restaurant.
- Next year two of the waiters bought it and completely remodeled it in an Arabic style.
It became a popular place.
- The facade that you see now is 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.
- In 1921 one of the owners decided to leave the restaurant.
- During this year Don Antonio Chacón, a popular traditional singer, made Villa Rosa his permanent stage.
- From this moment on Villa Rosa became a well-known place, always full of people.
- Since then lots of the best and most recognized singers, dancers and musicians within the flamenco world performed there.
- It is even said that King Alfonso XIII used to visit the place through a secret passage.
- Villa Rosa also admitted groups for private shows which 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.