"It was the twenty-third year, a group of countrymen founded the Montañés Center, which we inherited," says the poem by Manuel Conde on the page of the Center of Cantabria. A club founded by that community of northern Spain, which this June celebrates 100 years. And like any club, apart from providing various activities has a buffet that over time became a successful restaurant.
Behind the historic stone façade and the wooden gate of the building at 2800 Newbery Street in the Colegiales neighborhood, hides a Spanish still life, Montañeses restaurant, which during the day coexists with the routine of the members (from adults playing paddle ball to children in skate classes) and at night it is so crowded that it requires prior reservation.
Part of its magic lies in its traditional setting: because although throughout its century of history this room for 110 covered was changing concessions, the Montañeses restaurant always maintained its spirit.
How is the restaurant Montañeses
The central hall of Montañeses Restaurant. Photo: Martín Bonetto
High ceilings, the boiserie and wooden tables, classic lighting fixtures, a bow window walled to the walls since 1923, paintings that refer to Iberian culture and even a bull's head... Montañeses is "a restaurant like the ones before".
Perhaps that is why it was chosen as the setting for numerous audiovisual productions. The most remembered: "El hijo de la novia", the film starring Ricardo Darín, Norma Aleandro and Héctor Alterio in which the protagonist had the mission of bringing the family restaurant afloat.
In real life and for 35 years this business is carried out by the Calandra family. Currently the brothers Guido and Stephan are the ones who manage the place where typical Spanish food is served with some culinary licenses. A restaurant visited by all types of public, from families to groups of friends whose ages can range from 30 years to 8 decades.
What to eat in restaurant Montañeses
Spanish omelette, the most requested. Photo: Martín Bonetto
"The beginning arose with the spirit of immigrants, trying to replicate the cuisine there. So we took it and reversed some of the dishes. It would be classic Spanish style from the beginning of the last century with something contemporary, basically to be able to reach all kinds of audiences," explains Guido.
The menu is not extensive but has the dishes that yes or yes should be in a restaurant that represents the Spanish culture. Fans of the tortilla will be able to delight with 10 varieties among which stand out the potato with grilled octopus tentacle on top ($ 5,700), the Montañés that carries mozzarella and raw ham above ($ 5,700) and "the Spanish" with red chorizo (large $ 3,500 / girl $ 2,800).
In Spain, the birthplace of potato tortillas, the real tortilla does not have red chorizo, "but we could not not offer it this way because that is what the local palate wants even if it does not sympathize with some Spaniards since it does not reflect their cuisine," says Guido.
Seafood paella, for three people. Photo: Martín Bonetto
To start there is a variety of tapas ($ 4,900), anchovies with Sardinian ($ 3,500), garlic prawns ($ 4,300), croquettes (from $ 3,300), rabas ($ 3,800) and more.
Fish and seafood are an important part of the Mediterranean diet, so they are not missing from the menu. They offer salmon, pollock and hake and, of course, a hearty seafood paella that is for three people carries prawns, scallops, mussels, squid and shrimp ($8,900).
Escaping a little from the typical dishes appear the local options where the tortilla stuffed with milanesa de peceto ($ 5,200) surprises and there is no lack of milanesa with egg noodles, grated cheese and cream cheese ($ 3,600) and simple and stuffed pastas (from $ 1,600). The wine list features about a hundred price tags for all budgets.
Rabas, the hot entrance most requested by the diners of Montañeses Restaurant. Photos: Martín Bonetto.
The Calandra family suggests going in tables of four diners in order to try more than one dish since they are abundant. For a typical family they recommend ordering a portion of rabas, an omelette and a paella and thus be able to taste part of the gastronomic experience. And if the temptation could more and the order was excessive all the leftovers are wrapped and can be taken home.
The star dessert is Spanish custard. They serve it with a different touch than the traditional one since instead of burning sugar as in the Catalan cream, it comes with an almond powder with caramel sprinkled on top ($ 1,000). Another classic is rice pudding ($800).
Custard, a soft vanilla cream with crunchy almonds. Photo: Martín Bonetto
The flan ($ 900) comes out a lot and a dessert that has nothing to do with European roots but that shares the podium of the most requested is the brownie filled with nutella with ice cream and chocolate ganache ($ 3,000).
For the afternoon, there are cakes of the day ($1,400) and huge portions with ice cream to share between three, such as apple crumble and berries (from $2,700).
It opens from Tuesday to Sunday from 12 to 15 and 20 to 23.30 for dishes, but from 11 and while it is open they offer cafeteria service and sandwiches or cakes. Jorge Newbery 2818, CABA. Reservations: https://montaneses.meitre.com/