Montia – a must in El Escorial

I had been hearing raving reviews from friends and press alike about Montia and it was the kind of place that was always on the back of our minds but we never managed to get out to El Escorial to try it. Until a couple of weeks ago and I have to say, now I am raving too. It is located in the town of San Lorenzo del Escorial, close to the famous monastery which dates back to the sixteenth century. If you are coming from out of town the monastery deserves a visit but enough about sightseeing and back to the eating. Montia is a small restaurant with a handful of tables, simply but tastefully decorated with a chimney which must be ever so cozy during the winter months.

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Montia is one of those signature cuisine restaurants where you feel Daniel Ochoa and Luis Morenos’s passion for cooking, their sense of sharing an art, of trying to do things right and of working with sustainable, km 0 products which is something that I appreciate more every day. Montia doesn’t have a set menu as you can imagine but three different set menus which change every week depending on the market. There is the short menu: 5 aperitifs, 4 main dishes, cheese plate and one dessert – 38 euros. The long menu: 7 aperitifs, 5 main dishes, cheese plates and two desserts – 52 euros. The XL menu: 7 aperitifs, 6 main dishes, cheese plate and 2 desserts – 56 euros. There is a very interesting wine pairing for each of the menus which includes many natural, biodynamic wines. These types of wines might not be what you are accustomed to but it is interesting to learn about them with Dani who is eager to let you taste new things. One of the ones we had was a dry unfiltered wine which came from Georgia called Pheasant’s Tears. I have to say that I found the wine pairing to be unique especially if you are into wine and enjoy discovering new things. The peculiar part is that the wine list is all about natural wines so don’t expect to get a bottle of champagne. This might be a bit odd but it is how they envision their wine cellar.

It is quite difficult to get a table because the restaurant is small so it is usually booked but they let us in on a little secret. Since tables are booked so far ahead, they tend to have last minute cancelations. We had been trying to go for months and couldn’t get a table when were available until one Sunday. We were having breakfast and my husband saw a twit that there had been a cancelation and three hours later we were there having lunch.

As for the food I loved every single dish that came our way. The dishes are very well presented and you wanted to dig in just by looking at them. On the week that we went, I found the hare croquette to be delicious.

The pickled tench, the dish is so beautifully prepared.

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The cheese with sardines and elder flower

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The grilled white asparagus from Tudela with nettles and sweetbreads

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River crabs with snails and a false risotto made from barley and mushrooms. A brava sauce made from the juices of the river crabs and fennel leaves

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Capon meatballs, comfort food at its best, with pepitoria sauce, almonds, saffron cream and crunchy bits with come from the skin of the capon. Loved loved loved it!

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The cheese plates is composed of six different cheeses (goat, cow and sheep) from near by producers.

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I don’t have much of a sweet tooth so I really appreciate cleansing desserts and this one is one of them. Made with a spiral of celery and raw peas, topped with lemon dill and mint ice-cream, an almond cream and elderflowers. Delicious.

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The price is fantastic and the food is even better. I am eager to go back.

Montia

4 Calvario Street – San Lorenzo del Escorial, 28200 Madrid

Telephone: 911 33 69 88

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