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Sometimes when I travel, I find there's a fine line between an inspired cultural performance and tourist kitsch. This was my concern when I made a reservation for a flamenco show at Corral de la Moreria restaurant in Madrid. I was just hoping that it wasn't some tourist trap with terrible food and a hokey, amateurish production.
I'm happy to report that my concerns were unwarranted. While the restaurant is definitely popular with tourists, both the dinner and the show were highlights of my visit to the city, and I could see why locals had recommended it so strongly to me (and why it's a selection in the book "1,000 Places to See Before You Die").
Corral de la Moreria feels a bit like a dark, neighborhood dive. It has a good number of tightly packed tables and a stage in one corner of the room __ to call it "intimate" is an understatement. Musicians, singers and dancers feel like they are right next to you, which adds to the intensity of the performance.
The menu features typical Spanish dishes, along with some surprises, and a good wine list. I chose the four-course prix fixe meal, which included scallop carpaccio, wild sea bass, rack of lamb and dessert. The food was great, and the service was excellent.
But the show was a revelation: Two female dancers and one man performed together as well as separately, seemingly trying to top each other's best moves. The crowd couldn't help but hoot and holler along with the powerful stomping of the beat.
The first dinner seating begins at 6:30 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. There's a second seating at 9:30 p.m. for a late show that begins around 10 p.m. Just the show runs about $50; the four-course meal and the show costs about $120.
If you have clients visiting Madrid, I highly recommend an evening at Corral de la Moreria. Seeing skilled flamenco dancers in an authentic, world-famous venue is a memory they will cherish forever.