Some of those attending Luxury Real Estate’s 7th Annual International Symposium at the end of January were still a little groggy from cross-continental flights when they arrived on the Monday evening, but minor cases of jet lag were soon cured when local agents Inmobiliaria Rimontgó, who hosted the Valencia conference with LRE, introduced the international gathering of delegates to one of Valencia’s worst kept secrets: Casa Montaña

Set in the colourful former fisherman’s quarter of El Cabanyal, a short distance from Valencia’s sunny beaches, Casa Montaña is a wonderfully ambient turn-of-the-century tavern – and by turn of the century we mean late 19th century! Rich in atmosphere and classic charm, the so-called ‘front room’ is home to one of the most authentic bars and tapas eateries in the city, yet step under the bar and you enter an intimate, rustic world of dining rooms dedicated to fine cuisine.

Here, amid the barrels and tools once used on this spot to age and sell wine, Spain’s tapas tradition has been elevated to an art form. And being where it is, Casa Montaña excels at fish and seafood dishes, though the meat and vegetarian delicacies on offer have won fame too. In fact, people come from across the city and indeed the country to sample the fine food and singular atmosphere of this authentic family-run restaurant.

Free of modernist pretentions, it is all about good food – and good wine, for this establishment does its heritage proud by “promoting and extending the culture of wine”, as they put it themselves. For the LRE delegates who had just arrived, many of them visiting Valencia for the first time, Casa Montaña was a wonderfully enjoyable way to gain a first impression of Spain – and interact with their international colleagues in a relaxing and convivial setting.