Olé! Flamenco in the Gables

A Slice of Authentic Spanish Dancing

The history of flamenco is a long and complicated one, with much of it lost to the ages. Born of the ostracized Romani people in the south of Spain, the art form was long denigrated by the Spanish elite, who viewed the dancing, singing, and music-making as unduly vulgar. Today, flamenco has been recognized by UNESCO as part of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity and is performed worldwide. The fluctuating fortunes of the art are now seen as symbolic of Spain’s historically complicated national identity.

Olé! Flamenco in the Gables
At La Taberna, enjoy viewing the spins and stamps of la bailarina de flamenco, accompanied by the music of a background guitarist and drummer.

In Coral Gables, however, flamenco is much simpler: it’s an entertaining way to enjoy a night out over a glass of wine and a good meal. At La Taberna Giralda, the performances are intimate, held inside on a small stage, with audiences encouraged to participate. At Bellmont Spanish Restaurant on Miracle Mile, performances are held outside, drawing a large crowd. Each comes with its own unique atmosphere, but both are wonderfully entertaining, offering up a masterclass in a relatively rare art form.

La Taberna’s flamenco night is weekly, held on Saturdays at 8:30 pm. Crammed onto a small wooden stage at the back of the restaurant, a singing guitarist and drummer complement the dancing of a bailarina de flamenco as she spins and stamps under the dark red lights. The deep-throated, rich voice of the male guitarist, combined with the occasionally sultry dancing, gives the performance a slightly intoxicating air — an exclusive experience for only the 20 or so people in the room.

The atmosphere is lively, with couples often standing up to dance themselves, emboldened by the dry red wines so common in Spain and by the bailarina, who whirls around the room, clapping her castanets and encouraging the crowd to sing and dance along. To get a good view, call ahead and request a table near the stage.

At Bellmont, the “Pasion Flamenca Under the Stars” dinner show is held bi-weekly on Saturdays at 8:30 pm outside the restaurant. The stage is slightly bigger to accommodate two dancers who perform together and individually throughout the night. Slightly less interactive but more nuanced, it provides the opportunity to see how two flamenco dancers can collaborate.

Olé! Flamenco in the Gables
The “Pasion Flamenca Under the Stars” dinner show at Bellmont.

This show is also more of a shared experience, as passersby on Miracle Mile stop and stare, entranced by the rapid-fire drumming of the dancers’ heels and the lilting voice of the female singer. Almost all of the outdoor tables afford a good view here, and dancing is always encouraged.

Of the two shows, we couldn’t pick a favorite, so you’ll just have to decide for yourself. Bellmont’s show is more refined and formal, with a larger stage and the dramatic (even sexy) interaction between the male and female dancers. La Taberna’s feels more like a family outing. At both, however, you’ll have to be prepared to “Olé!” all night — and if you’re coming in a large group, it’s worth looking into both restaurants’ whole roasted pig, ordered hours in advance and able to feed a whole family.

Bellmont Spanish Restaurant

339 Miracle Mile
Performances every other Saturday, call prior to confirm

La Taberna Giralda

254 Giralda Ave.
Performances every Saturday