El Tablau De Carmen, Barcelona
Although we know that flamenco is not specific for Catalunya, we assumed “the risk” and went to “Tablao De Carmen”. And we spent a beautiful evening! Nice place in Poble Español, a great quality show with live music, singing and dancing and very good dinner. Tapas menu – 45 Eur, child menu – 35 Eur, dessert, coffee, sangria or wine included. The Tablao ticket includes free entrance ticket to the Pueblo Español.
We really liked the show full of passion and also enjoyed the dinner!
We did have to direct (giggling - make that walk) a couple of sweet old American ladies to the door after they asked for directions, but we don't fault anyone for being confused when trying to find that little off-corner alley of Poble Espanyol where El Tablao de Carmen is located. In fact, we arrived a couple of hours before our reservation, mostly to locate the spot, but also to explore Poble Espanyol, which is a cute, quaint touristy spot whose admission is included when you pre-reserve a table at El Tablao de Carmen.
Unlike other VT tipsters, we decided on the full meal deal when we reserved. The tables near the stage are packed together so close that you can't help but meet the couples on either side of you. Personal space may be important when dining in North America, but you kind of have to throw it out the window in Europe and especially at this venue. Still, we very much enjoyed our stage-side seats and were excited to get the night rolling.
Our package was a set price menu with a few appetizer, main course and dessert options. A bottle of white or red house wine is included, as is water, and the service is unobtrusive and swift. In a place like this, it has to be. I had an enjoyable gazpacho and my husband a cream of vegetable soup with croûtons. We followed this by a second course of Andalusian salad and lentil stew and were able to get in a bit of conversation and wine before indulging on a main course of forgettable meatballs. Dessert, Catalan Creme Bruleé, equalled the enjoyment of the first two courses and then the show began.
Neither of us had ever seen live Flamenco before. When we first began looking for a flamenco venue, we'd come across many people complaining about the inexperience of the dancers at Tablao de Carmen, but frankly, the musicians were wonderful and performers danced the flamenco better than we ever could and they were as passionate and fierce as any dancers could be. It was a fabulous performance and a fantastic night all around. We met a few people and had SO MUCH fun and isn't that what holidays are supposed to be all about?
Total price for fixed menu for two, plus the Flamenco show and admission into Poble Espanyol: €90,00 (2009)
Dress Code: Fairly casual place. Shirt and shoes required. ;)