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Rafael de la Fuente’s Guide to Madrid

The Venezuelan star plays the bad-boy in the reboot of this classic 80s soap Dynasty

In the moneyed fictional world of the 80s soap Dynasty, which defined cheek-slapping entertainment for most of the decade, anything could happen: alien abductions, desks with tusks for legs, sexual orientation switches following head injuries… You name it! The latter plotline refers to the arc of Steven Carrington, who, while originally credited as the first openly gay character on primetime, married Heather Locklear’s Sammy Jo following a near death experience in season two.

Naturally, for the 2017 Dynasty reboot, premiering tonight on the CW, the sexual amnesia storyline is one that the show-runners revised for a modern audience (and just in time for #NationalComingOutDay). This time, Steven, an out gay man, falls for Sam Flores (née “Sammy Jo”), played by Empire’s Rafael de la Fuente. “[The producers] decided that Steven being ‘cured’ and marrying [a woman] no longer made sense and was actually homophobic, so they decided to change that and made him openly gay,” says de la Fuente. But, he adds, the drama will be just as potent as the first time around: “Sam’s a bad boy and a schemer. He uses people to get what he wants.”

Those not caught up on Dynasty’s complex family tree will be forgiven; de la Fuente himself, and much of the new cast (which includes unReal’s Nathalie Kelley and Victorious’s Elizabeth Gillies), wasn’t yet born when the show was at its peak popularity. But even growing up in Venezuela, says de la Fuente, the show was a cultural phenomenon. “It was huge in Latin America. My mom was a huge fan,” says the actor, who moved to the United States 11 years ago.

As a bilingual heartthrob, de la Fuente exemplifies the multicultural cachet of the new Dynasty, which takes place in Atlanta rather than the original Denver. After moving to the United States, de la Fuente traveled the globe – tracing his roots through Spain, where part of his family is from. Here, de la Fuente’s guide to his favorite Spanish city: Madrid.

Cup of Joe: I don’t remember a specific spot where I’ve grabbed coffee, but I do have an area where I love to sit and get my caffeine fix at one of the many business that are there, and that is Plaza Mayor. One of my favorite things to do in Madrid is to people-watch, and this is one of the best spots to do that. You see lots of tourists but also locals blending in this really eclectic mix that is sure to keep you entertained.

Power Lunch: My favorite spot to have lunch is a little Italian restaurant called Limone in El Barrio de Salamanca, Zona de Castellana. They have a delicious menu that consists of focaccia paninis and pasta dishes and they have the best meats and cheeses and the freshest burrata, also they have weekly chef’s suggestions. Great selection of Italian wines and beers as well as a full bar. And the staff is super friendly.

Cocktail Hour: I probably have to go with Mercado de San Anton in Chueca or Mercado de San Miguel near Plaza Mayor. I love these two spots. Both are farmer’s markets with a bunch of different little kiosks with all kinds of local foods and drinks. It’s a great place to go for tapas and have a couple glasses of wine and/or gin and tonic. There’s a big gin and tonic craze in Spain at the moment and they’ve come up with so many different flavors, so I’d probably have some of those as well as some tapas, like ham croquettes and squid ink paella. I really like hanging at the rooftop of Mercado de San Anton for happy hour… There’s quite a vibe up there.

Retail Therapy: I’m not a big shopper. Usually when I go to Madrid, I spend all my time eating and drinking. But if one day I feel like treating myself in a different way, I’d probably start by walking up and down Gran Vía and seeing if something catches my eye. Also, just because it is a one-stop-shop, I would go to El Corte Inglés which is a massive department store that has everything from furniture to food to designer clothes to jewelry.

Field Trip: I love to go to Parque el Retiro for a stroll and to the Royal Palace, I do it every time I go. Since I grew up in Venezuela and the U.S., monarchy has always been so interesting to me. I do like to check out what’s playing at El Teatro Real or Teatro Calderon. I’ve been once to Museo del Prado and it is amazing.

Date Night: I love going to La Latina for dinner. I think that it is such a hip area to go to on a date. Restaurants there are delicious and it also has a cool young vibe. I think my favorite restaurant there is Huevos de Lucio. I love everything there, especially the octopus appetizer and their patatas estrelladas.

Don’t Miss: I really wouldn’t miss any of the spots that I’m telling you about. I will emphasize going to the markets San Miguel and San Anton, checking out the Royal Palace, and taking the subway everywhere.

Hidden Gem: I love this bar/club in Chueca called Why Not? It’s not touristy at all, and only locals know about it, but it’s really great. It’s kind of underground and they have a great DJ and a nice mixed group of people. Drinks are A+.

Main image: Photo by Valheria Rocha