An exclusive interview with owner Emiliano Garcia Domene
1. Tell us about the history of Casa Montaña…
It would seem like nothing has changed since Casa Montaña was established in 1836. It continues to be a meeting point, a place that opens us to a universe of possibilities…
In chronological order, we can say that the first changes are made in 1861 when Casa Montaña is inherited by Ramona Montaña Romeu, the daughter of the original founders. In 1880, reforms of the barraca are made, with a modernist fachada that is still seen to this day.
Later, the married couple Omedes – Doménech buy Casa Montaña for 10.000 pesetas. In 1907 María Pérez, widow and descendant of the original founders, runs Casa Montaña until 1960. In this same year, Enrique Guerra takes over but is only charge for 2 years. The property of this historic bodega changes hands again in September of 1962, now being owned by the couple René Soriano March y Juana María Reus March.
In 1991, the professional painter Santiago Polo García takes over the business. Finally, in 1994, Casa Montaña is sold on again and falls into the hands of Emiliano García Domene. He is the actual owner of the property and driving motor of the viticultural and gastronomic traditions that distinguish the unique personality of this historic bodega in the city of Valencia.
In 2006, we see the incorporation at the bodega of Alejandro García Llinares, son of Emiliano and an engineer by profession. The generational change insures the necessary evolution of a project as unique as Casa Montaña, where modernity lives in perfect harmony with tradition.
2. What are your most emblematic dishes and tapas?
Two aspects define us regarding our gastronomy: our products are top quality and are all prepared in the moment. For that reason, we travel the entire Valencian region looking for the finest products, followed by a consistent & loving preparation in the kitchen for our unique tapas.
Casa Montaña has always been related to its environment and the seafaring district where it is based. For that reason, our kitchen has always been related to seafood. Mussels known as ‘Clòtxinas Valencianas’ , Grilled Sardines, fried boquerones and anchoas (anchovies) from Santoña have always formed part of our menu. There are a number of emblematic dishes, but none as typical as our Habas Estofadas (stewed beans) or Michirones, a stew whose original recipe dates back to from when Casa Montaña was founded. It is also worth mentioning other dishes like our Patatas Bravas de Secano, which we personally select from the source.
3. Tell us about your Wines and Cavas….
Casa Montaña has always been characterized for having an ample slection of wines and cavas, where Valencia wines especially have a special place. Our carta offers 500 wines, which includes the best Valencian wines and also some wonderful Australian wines, for example. You will find a wide range of prices, including our jewel-in-the-crown ‘Petrus’ from 1982. Nearly all our wines can be enjoyed by the glass.
4. Do you have any anecdotes of the clients who have visited Casa Montaña over the years?
The clientele of Casa Montaña is very eclectic and it is the stories of locals from the barrios that make up Los Poblados Marítimos that have most touched us. Some of these clients have been coming to Casa Montaña for over 60 years! Parallel to this, we have received clients like Steven Chu (U.S. Energy Secretary during Obama’s reign) and actors like Gwyneth Paltrow, who ate & filmed in Casa Montaña as part of the television programme ‘ Spain On the Road Again’.
I found quite a lot in common with the President of the Ford Motor company Alan Mulally, given that we both had fathers who were postmen, and I have good memories of his visit to the bodega.
We have had many visitors from the world of cinema, music and politics in the last few years. Personalities like Jose Luis Cuerda, Baltasar Garzón, Marisa Paredes and Carlos Vives have visited & enjoyed our bodega and we fondly remember their time with us.
5. How do you see the present and future of the port district of Valencia?
Los Poblados Marítimos of Valencia have always had a very distinctive personality with a hard-working and plucky spirit that has maintained the essence of this seafaring district. It is our responsibility to maintain and conserve this essential essence, permitting an evolution in a sustainable way and in harmony with its past.
Interview by Will McCarthy
C/ Jose Benlliure, 69
Open everyday from 13h -16h /20h -23.30h