• Casa Montaña

    Photo Gallery

  • Jamon Station

    Iberico being sliced

  • Artichokes

    Charred with olive oil and sea salt

  • Onion Soup

    An unusual, but welcome addition to a tapas bar

  • Tuna Marinating in 7 Spices

    We've tried to guess them all...be kind to your waiter, and they may give you the secret!

  • Brandade

    Salted Cod, Heavy Cream, Potatoes

  • Conservas

    Artisan canned seafood is a Spanish delicacy.

  • Dessert Plate

    Chocolate Truffles, Russian Cake and Tocinitos

Casa Montaña

When it comes to international attention, Casa Montaña could possibly be Valencia’s most written about establishment- and for good reason.  It’s not everyday you stumble upon a business, much less a restaurant, that has been in existence longer than some countries.  Open since 1836, it began as a simple grocery store that soon became famous as a hotspot for local artists and politicians.  Over the years, it has changed hands several times, evolving with each of its stewards, from the infamous Frenchman, “Mr. Rene”, who first began its tradition of serving canned seafood, to its current owners, father and son, Emiliano and Alejandro Garcia, who have transformed it into the world renowned wine bar that it is today. Now, with a wine list that tops out at currently 800 bottles, and includes Vega Sicilia Unico by the glass, a 1982 Chateau Petrus, and rare offerings from Japan and China, it is a mecca for wine lovers, and a must visit for tourists and locals alike.

wines

Casa Montana’s wines by the glass, including Vega Sicilia Unico, rotate regularly

Still in its original location on a tiny street in the old fishing village of Cabanyal, Casa Montaña is a bit of a diamond in the rough. Once inside however, the welcoming interior touts its rich history.  Its marble bar, spanish tile and dark wood barrels of vermouth help create the same atmosphere you can imagine it had a century ago when Valencia’s bohemian types congregated there for their lively debates.  Today, Casa Montaña is frequented by the well-heeled and occasional celebrities including Mario Batali, Gwyneth Paltrow, the Prince of Monaco, and god himself, Ferran Adrià.  Despite its accolades, star power and epic wine list, it is still very much accessible to mere mortals, and thankfully, not impossible to get a table.

The most difficult aspect of the Casa Montana experience is figuring out what to order.  Just reading through the wine list takes some dedication.  When it comes to the food however, thanks to extremely reasonable prices, it is possible to try a little bit of just about everything.   Tapas of vegetables, fresh fish and mussels, Iberian ham and of course, artisan canned seafood from northwestern Rias Gallegas are all of top-notch quality and presentation.  In fact, if you know nothing about Spanish cuisine, it’s the perfect spot to get acquainted.  Staples like the earthy stewed broad beans’ with their lingering  finish of hierbabuena (spearmint) and grilled artichokes, charred on the plancha and seasoned with just olive oil and sea salt, shine in their simplicity. The elegant Tuna Marinated in Seven Spices, is a must, especially for white wine drinkers.  Its heady and slightly peppery flavors are balanced by fruity olive oil providing a perfect backdrop to the main component, uber-fresh, sushi grade ahi.  On the more indulgent side, hearty dishes like Stuffed Piquillo Peppers, filled with tuna and creamy béchamel, and garlicky Brandade de Bacalao, the classic puree of salted cod, heavy cream and potatoes, will lovingly fill every last open artery with goodness.  Meat and potatoes types will love the Sirloin from reared Cattle, served with oniony green garlic shoots, and the Bravas, specially selected potatoes from the highlands of the Montes Universales, fried golden brown and served with the classic fiery sauce and house-made aioli.

sirloin

Sirloin Steak with Green Garlic Shoots

Tempting options continue into the final course, but again, the Spanish ‘tapas’ mentality plays to the benefit of those who don’t like decisions.  The house-made deserts are small enough to create your own sampler and try them all.  Sweet wines are, of course, abundant, and include local Moscatels, Fondillon, Sherries from Jerez, Madeiras, Ports, Sauternes and even a 1999 Tokaji Essencia. Can’t decide between dessert or a digestif? Not to worry, it’s possible to eat your cake and have your booze too.  The house-aged Vermouth and Brandy are available ‘to go’, just as they have been, for as long as the locals can remember.