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Food Meets History: The Oldest Restaurant in the World is in Madrid

December 29, 2016

Restaurante Botin is one Madrid restaurant you must visit if you’re ever in Madrid! Have you ever visited a museum and felt so restricted that you wished you could have a more interactive experience? Well, wish no more! At Restaurante Botin you are bound to have a memorable dining experience coupled with an interaction with history in a building that has been standing long before you were born. As an increasingly seasoned resident of this city who visits Madrid restaurants regularly, I’ve begun to develop an extensive pallet for Spanish cuisine. I’ll definitely put Restaurante Botin on the top five list of Madrid restaurants to visit. This is primarily for the delicious food offerings but also, for its sheer Spanish authenticity that has been maintained for over three centuries.

Restaurante Botin also known as Sobrino de Botin is, according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest restaurant in the world.  The 300-year-old restaurant was founded in 1725 by chef Jean Botin and his wife. Their nephew took over the restaurant (then also an inn) after they died and changed the name to Sobrino de Botin. (Sobrino means Nephew in Spanish). It is currently owned by the Gonzalez family.

oldest madrid restaurant el botin
Basement floor, complete with wine cellar!

Standing four stories tall in the heart of Madrid, each floor (including a basement level), treats guests to a unique dining experience garnished with a distinct feeling of being a part of its rich history. Eating here feels like eating in a museum. A labyrinthine stairwell leaning against well-preserved stone walls takes you to your dining floor. Each floor of the restaurant presents its unique character and authenticity. The walls are lined with beautiful art and tasteful looking lamps. Hanging from the ceilings are chandelier lighting for the perfect mood setting. The vibe is a perfect combination of fine dining, culture, art and history. In this humble Madrid restaurant, the famous Spanish artist Francisco Goya once worked as a waiter and Ernest Hemingway mentioned the restaurant in his novel, The Sun Also Rises.

old madrid restaurant el sobrino de botin
Restaurant specialty – Roasted Lamb

Waiters, dressed smartly in their white vests and black bow ties, walk briskly back and forth bringing guests exquisite dishes and placing them effortlessly on the beautiful table settings. These seasoned waiters armed with the warmest Spanish hospitality have no hesitation in giving guests a brief history of the restaurant (when asked) along with a review of the menu and the restaurant’s special dishes, all the while pouring you a glass of Sangria from an intricately hand painted Spanish Clay Jar. The Menu, which comes in both Spanish and English is also available for guest to take home for free (Yes you get a souvenir, and rightfully so). The menu also includes a brief summary of the restaurant’s history and a picture of Madrid in 1561.

oldest madrid restaurant botin
Seasoned chef roasting the “Cochinillo” [via www.botin.es]
The most popular specialty dishes from this Madrid restaurant are the Avila Roast Suckling Pig also known as Cochinillo Asado and the Roast Aranda lamb joint. Both dishes come garnished with roasted potatoes. I ordered the Roast Lamb and the ½ Roast Chicken and savored every bite. If you are unapologetically carnivorous like I am, I highly recommend you try any of their specialties. The Avila Roast Suckling Pig is currently being offered in the winter menu with an appetizer, dessert and half bottle of wine.

Whether you are a local or tourist or foodie, visiting Restaurant Botin is a must. After your visit, we’d love to see your thoughts on this most charming Madrid restaurant. Click the link to share them…

Restaurant Information

Address: Calle De Cuchilleros, 17 – Madrid

Tel: +34 91 366 84 94

Cover Image, Source: Travel Out There

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More about Jiji Majiri Ugboma

I love writing about food almost as much as I love eating. IG: @jiji129

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