Table for one at one of the oldest restaurants in the world.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Botin in Madrid is the oldest restaurant in the world. What’s funny is that I thought that I ate at the oldest restaurant in the world back in 2015; Historische Wurstkuchl in Regensburg, Germany (photos below). The old sausage house was founded in 1146, while Sobrino de Botín was established in 1725. That is a pretty wide gap!
Then I found out that there is an even older restaurant, St. Peter Stiftskulinarium in Salzburg, Austria. St. Peter’s was founded in 803 CE (Common Era), which makes it both Europe’s and the world’s oldest restaurant. With that said, I need to go to St. Peter’s. Either way, I can proudly say that I have been to two of the oldest restaurants in the world!
Despite the debate on which restaurant is the oldest, Sobrino de Botín can boast several remarkable facts. For one, Botin’s oven fire has been continuously burning for over 240 years. That means their oven fire never went out during wars, changes of power and political restructure. Now that is remarkable! Also one of my favorite artists, Francisco de Goya, worked in Café Botin as a server prior to his acceptance into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
If you follow my blog or know me personally, you know that one of my interests is dining in historic establishments. For obvious reasons, Sobrino de Botín was on my places to eat while in Madrid. In fact, as soon as I checked into my hotel after my flight from London, I walked to Botin! It was a very warm day and I was exhausted but I was given a table to dine solo in one of the world’s oldest restaurant.
I needed wine. Period. I do not need to go into my day prior to Botin but it was a traveling day. We all know how tiresome those can be. So, I decided on the Rosado from the Navarra region. Yes, that is my name sake region and this was the moment that I became obsessed with trying different foods from the region Navarre/ Navarra! My little bottle of Rosado was light but quite fruity. It was a lovely way to wine-down from the day and start off my first meal in Madrid!
Sobrino de Botín’s specialty is their suckling pig but I did not try that. I was dining solo and thought that little piglet might have been too much food for me. Plus I do not eat anything baby or cute, is that weird? I do not eat lamb, veal, rabbit, alpaca but I will eat the heck out of chicken or a cow! What I did decide on was a couple of smaller dishes that ended up being a lot of food.
I ordered the Jamon with Melon which was excellent, especially on such a warm summer Madrid day. I was served a plateful of freshly carved salty jamon and a cuts of of sweet fresh melon. This dish was a divine elevated version from the prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe that we are typically served.
I also decided on the garlic prawns which were delectable and came out sizzling. They were very nice but thought it was a bit pricey at 22 Euro but then again, I did not know the market price.
Like most restaurants in Europe, servers will put down bread and if you look around the restaurant, you will notice that most people are not eating it. Unlike restaurants in the States, they will charge you for the bread. I learned this fact while in other countries in Europe several years back. I did skip on the bread but I was still billed for it when I looked at the check. It was an easy fix as I told the server “No Pan”. He quickly took it off the check, so no problem. Just make sure to look at your check if you did not eat bread. 🥖
It was quite a day and quite the meal! The best way to finish off a good meal is with a shot of espresso. It is one of my favorite ways to wake up my system before it falls into a food coma. Plus, I had to burn a little room because I was heading to another Café that I wanted to try!
Dining at Botin was one for the books while traveling solo and a check off my bucket list. As you know, I do frequent the oldest or historical places to eat. I am not new to the idea of the “oldest”. Whether or not Botin officially holds the title for the oldest restaurant in the world, it is a special place. I would not mind coming back and trying one of their main courses made in that always burning oven, just not the baby piggy!
For restaurant information and reservations – Sobrino de Botin
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property- Trixie Navarre