Lost Restaurant which was Birmingham’s first taste of Spain with flamenco dancers


“As soon as you enter this charming restaurant, the sights, sounds and delicious atmosphere will transport you to Spain. A welcoming waiter will guide you to a table from which to enjoy the live music and the decorative pictures of senoritas and matadors. .. and, of course, the food.”

An ad ran in the Daily Post in 1978. This “charming restaurant” is the lost Los Canarios of Birmingham, and who knows? That ad could have sparked a long and delicious relationship with this beloved diner.

Los Canarios is considered Birmingham’s premier taste of authentic Spanish food. There have never been many Spaniards in Brum – but there was once enough to manage a ‘national’ football team in a local Sunday league.

SEE MORE:The Lost Birmingham Nightclub Shut Down by Police – featuring 24-hour fun but terrifying violence

Many worked in the hospitality industry, and Pancho Garcia was no exception. Pancho arrived in the UK in 1964 and married Wolverhampton native Lynn after they first met at a dance in the Black Country.

She would also be the owner of the restaurant and together they would see it through to the end in 2006. And it was going to be quite a journey as Los Canarios became a silent favorite of the stars.

Michael Elphick and Paula Wilcox are shooting Boon’s “Topspin” episode in Los Canarios.

Boon and Eastenders’ Michael Elphick was a big name, and an episode of Boon even featured the restaurant. Brian Clough and Trevor Francis were also spotted there enjoying the food and flamenco entertainment which could go on well into the early hours.

What about the rest of us? We’ve asked Brummies on our Facebook group and Birmingham Pub, Nightclub and Restaurant Memories what they think of this place.

Paula Tombs said: “My husband and I loved Los Canarios, we loved the sangria and the paella. The waiters are Spanish and have worked there for years, the owner and his wife were excellent hosts and the atmosphere was lovely. Very Spanish with candle wine bottles, really miss this authentic Spanish restaurant.”

Ann Bradley said, “I’ve been there a few times in the early ’70s. All I remember is the great atmosphere there. It has its fair share of celebrities, many from ATV.”

Carol Maye has a cheeky keepsake of her meal there. “Went there once on a date… the food was delicious… still have a small ceramic toothpick holder that the date stole as a memento…”

Nobody seemed to say a bad word about the place. It was deceptively plain from the outside and looked more like a cheap eatery than a “proper” restaurant, but that’s as bad as it gets.

The good times wouldn’t last forever, though. In 2006 the restaurant was part of the area that received a compulsory purchase order and was to move on after 4 decades in business to make way for the huge Eastside redevelopment project that is still ongoing today.

Finally, in 2010, the bright red and yellow of Los Canarios was demolished, and an era was over. Our first taste of Spain got its final taste of a Birmingham that can’t sit still.

What other lost restaurants in Birmingham hold a special place in your heart? Comment below and join our Facebook group to share stories and pictures.

See more history and nostalgia here!


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