Authentic Spanish Cuisine And Flamenco At Tablao Flamenco Garlochi
A Restaurant To Have A Real Ole! Experience
This restaurant takes you on a journey of passionate Flamenco and authentic Spanish food right in the heart of Tokyo.
According to the Japan Association of Flamenco, there are about 50,000 flamenco fans in Japan, and 56 tablao, or flamenco venues in Tokyo where you can enjoy live flamenco along with your dinner. Amid restaurants that offer flamenco shows performed by Spanish artists, Tablao Flamenco Garlochi, located only a 3-min walk from Shinjuku 3-chome station, is a delicious Spanish restaurant that sets itself apart by inviting legendary flamenco artists from the front lines of Andalusia, the origin of the seductive dance. The Savvy Tokyo team stopped by on a recent visit to learn why it’s so popular and what it takes to have a full night of “Ole!”
Tablao Flamenco Garlochi: Imaginary travel to Andalusia
The atmosphere and interior decor of Garlochi perfects the styles of tablao in Andalusia, southern Spain, and with the scent of paella cooking in the kitchen, you can easily feel like you are in the country of passion. Garlochi was passed the baton by the legendary “El Flamenco,” which used to be the ultimate tablao in Tokyo. It closed in 2016 after entertaining customers for 50 years and is now reborn with a new owner, chef, and staff, but the architecture and style are preserved.
The restaurant seats 120 and fits 200 for standing events. It’s very spacious, occupying a whole sixth floor of the Shinjuku Isetan Kaikan building. There are different style seatings including several box seats, all of which have bright red tablecloths that remind you of Spanish bullfighting. The large bullhead wall mount completes the Spanish setting and prepares you for the exciting experience the restaurant offers.
Passionate Flamenco Shows
Upon our recent visit, we had the chance to attend the lunchtime “Familia de Garlochi,” one of the restaurant’s special programs held irregularly. This event is targeted at families, especially with small children, who are fans of flamenco but feel hesitant to sit around for a dinner show. It also aims for flamenco first-timers because the charge — which includes a lunch plate and a drink — is less than that of dinnertime. The lunch plate was filled with small portions of authentic seafood paella, beef cutlet with tomato sauce, Spanish omelet, and smoked salmon salad. It was all the best samples of Spanish gastronomy served at once. It’s a great deal for a full hour show, delicious Spanish food and a photo session to add to the bonus.
The show featured the Maria Moreno group from Cadiz, on the south-western tip of Andalusia. The main dancer, Maria Moreno, won the First National Award of Dance for Alegrías which is one of the most prestigious awards in the world of Spanish music. She is famous for her techniques with bata de cola (flamenco skirt with a long train) and was accompanied onstage by dancers, Saray Garcia and Juan Amaya “El Pelon,” singers Samara Montañez and Jesus Flores, as well as guitarist Jose Luis Medina.
The show was phenomenal! Personally, I have taken flamenco lessons and have seen a few flamenco shows, but this show, in particular, was overflowing with emotions, not just passion like most others, but of rage, bitterness, and even sorrow. I could feel the inner anguish of the dancers and the energy was so strong that the audience could not help but applaud and shout, “Ole!” The Maria Moreno group will perform at Garlochi until the 10th of November.
The dinner flamenco shows are equally exciting. Unlike jazz clubs for example, where you’re dismissed after one show, Garlochi lets you sit through part 1 and part 2 for the initial charge. The first dinner show starts at 7:30 p.m. so you can get seated as the restaurant opens at 6 p.m. and enjoy dinner, and if you wish, you can stay for the second show starting at 9 p.m. The first show is an hour-long and the second lasts for 40 minutes, with each having a different composition, so you won’t be watching the same set. The show charge is ¥3,800 per person and an additional ¥800 for special seats in the front row section. You are asked to order a minimum of one drink and one food from their reasonable menu. The a la carte menu is of Spanish basics such as mushroom ajillo (¥1,100) or sopa de ajo (¥800) or original seasonal paella (¥1,980 for two). There’s also a course menu which includes the show charge and tax, starting at ¥7,000, which is recommended.
Authentic Delicacy España
The food at Garlochi is as authentic as its flamenco shows — it’s a place where you can enjoy authentic Spanish dishes cooked with fresh ingredients from Japan. Specialities for the autumn menu include homemade smoked salmon marinated with a hint of dill and yogurt foam on the side (¥950), and fried eggplants and king trumpet mushroom served with sherry vinegar and honey sauce (¥750). The course menus (which change seasonally) start at ¥3,200, and the restaurant recommends “Lope de Vega” (¥5,800) which is a full course of Andalusia’s specialities, Salmorejo (puree consisting of tomato and bread) for amuse, marinated sardines and tuna frites for appetizer, roasted Iberico pork and seafood and chicken paella as the main dish, and a chocolate cake for dessert. Each dish perfectly matches with the diner’s extensive list of Spanish wines from medium body Valencia to full body Rioja.
Garlochi also rents out the whole venue for parties. Be it a bonenkai (end of year parties) or a more casual celebration with friends, the venue has a plan to meet everyone’s needs. Party plans for groups of six on start at only ¥2,000 for two hours of all you can drink from a list of selected beverages including wine, or ¥3,000 for an upgrade, including beer and cava (Spanish sparkling wine) and other drinks from the all-you-can-drink menu.
Starting November 15, Garlochi will present Pastora and Jose Galvan, an amazing father-daughter duo, while between December 2-19, legendary dancers Adela Campallo and El Choro will grace the stage. Course menus for both stages start at ¥10,000, including show, food and one drink charge.
“Familia de Garlochi” (lunchtime flamenco show) will be held again presenting Adela Campallo and El Choro on December 16. The price is ¥6,000 for an adult and ¥2,500 for children which comes with a lunch plate, a drink and of course the show.
Address: Isetan Kaikan 6F, 3-15-17 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo
Hours: 11 a.m.-3 p.m. (Lunch), 6 p.m.-10:30 p.m. (Dinner), Showtime: Mon-Sat, 7:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. and 9 p.m.-9:40 p.m. (There are no shows on Sundays, unless Monday is a national holiday. In this case, shows will be held on Sunday and there will be no shows on the next Mondays