If you want to head to Spain but have no money for plane fare, hit up La Sala Rosa Restaurant on a Thursday evening. Every week they put on a flamenco show to complement their delicious Spanish food and drinks, and it’s an atmosphere that you can’t find anywhere else in Montreal.
To make sure you get a table or a seat at the bar, arrive around 8:15pm. The drinks are very well-priced: mixed drinks go for $3.50 and more elaborate cocktails, like a delicious caipirinha, go for $7. We ordered a few glasses of calimotxo for $3 each, a basque drink comprised of red wine and coca-cola (don’t knock it til you try it- it’s refreshing and packs a punch).
The food was also delicious, if on the slightly-pricier side. If you’re on a budget, your best bet is to do as we did and eat a light dinner before coming and then ordering a couple of tapas to share, complimenting the drinks and music. Between six of us, we shared an order of patatas bravas, which are absolutely wonderful roasted potatoes coated in a vinegary, spicy smoked paprika sauce. We also ordered spinach-potato-cheese croquetas with a crispy exterior and soft filling that came with a tiny salad with a cumin dressing.
The show started at 9pm. It’s a classic flamenco trio: a guitarist, providing el toque, a singer, doing el canto, and a dancer, doing el baile. Flamenco is a Spanish style of music and dance that comes from Andalucia; It’s powerful, packed with emotion, and its energy fluctuates throughout the show.
The dancing involves twirls and many spirited stomps, making speedy rhythms and noises that seem impossible with just two feet and some high-heel shoes. The singing is charged with the distinctive sound of the cante jondo, deeply soulful and emotional. The guitar sound is classically spanish, bright-sounding, varying in speeds, with periods of intricate finger-picking broken up with strummed chords and long-building crescendoes. It’s all tied together with rhythmic clapping, often to match the dancer’s footwork.
All in all, a Thursday evening at La Sala Rosa Restaurant is the perfect way to escape the mid-winter blues and pretend that you’re in Spain.
For more information on La Sala Rosa, visit their website.