Lo de Los Montoya in San Telmo – Dine, Dance, and Experience Pure Flamenco

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lo de los montoya san telmo argentinaAlthough Gypsy traditions are commonly seen as reserved and mysterious, Lo de los Montoya, a Flamenco bar in San Telmo, is a welcoming peek at the musical side of gypsy culture. The Flamenco scene in Buenos Aires is packed with notable establishments, but Lo de los Montoya is proudly the only gypsy-owned bar in the city, and everything- from the food to the décor to the musicians themselves- exudes this gypsy heritage. The bar hosts live music and dancers nearly every night and serves up food (ranging from imported Spanish ham to a stew prepared by the owners’ aunt) to accompany the show. I was able to sit down with Alessio Aguirre, one of four proprietors of the restaurant, to discuss the bar, the future, and of course, the flamenco.

Alessio describes the venue as “pure flamenco,” and Lo de los Montoya was buzzing on the music scene before it even opened. The Montoyas, a gypsy family in Argentina, are famous in the flamenco community for their mastery and skill of the music and dance, and any establishment associated with their name provides an unofficial stamp of approval. Since its inception, Lo de los Montoya has enjoyed a steady stream of famous and extremely talented flamenco dancers and musicians. Alessio, who personally selects the dancers and musicians for the evening, but does not publicize the individual names (the bar is about the music, not the individual), believes that this bar will be a regular stop on any flamenco star’s route through Buenos Aires.

lo de los montoya san telmo argentinaWhile the proprietors have no intention of turning the establishment into a culinary Mecca, the imported cheese, traditional tapas, and gypsy stew- served at the caprice of the owners and as part of a pre-set dinner menu- are simple but fulfilling. The white wine sangria (also called Clericó) is also a must-order. This unpretentious attitude toward the dinner menu goes hand-in-hand with Alessio’s hospitable attitude; he has been known to purchase and store wines for customers who voice a preference for certain brands or grape varieties. This attitude is also reflected in the beautiful and slightly mysterious waitresses- aspiring Flamenco dancers themselves- who are attentive and amiable.

Alessio believes that Lo de los Montoya is the first step in a three-stage process to enrich the flamenco community in Argentina. He has plans to open a flamenco academy that will rotate professors and teach beginning, intermediate, and advanced dance classes. He also hopes to eventually sell imported guitars, fans, and other flamenco gear produced by the best Spanish brands. This all stays in line with his desire to build a business based on pure flamenco.

While Argentines wait to hear more from Alessio and the Montoyas, Lo de los Montoya continues to promise an intimate and homey atmosphere, excellent Spanish tapas and home-cooked food, and a flamenco experience like no other in Buenos Aires.

Lo de los Montoya
Bolívar 911, San Telmo
4361-4568
Open every day until late
Shows on Wednesdays through Sundays, starting around 22.30
For reservations: Reservas@LosMontoya.com

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