The Oldest Restaurant in the World, according to the Guinness Book of Records
When I heard about the oldest Restaurant in the world and that it is in Madrid I knew I had to go there the next time I would visit the capital of Spain. You now might think what does a post on a restaurant do on a health site, but as I have been writing quite a bit about food and the effects it has on our body, I had to investigate this.
It did not disappoint me as the food is good and made with honest ingredients, like in old times.
A must have guide
When going on a holiday, be it only for a few days, it is a good idea to read about the place you plan to visit. Especially in the case, like visiting the big city of Madrid. It has so much to offer, it would be a shame to miss out on the things you are interested in.
Lonely Planet Madrid gives you a view of what to see, what to skip, and the hidden discoveries you might make. This guide has colored maps and many images. It tells you how to get to places of interest. Where to sleep, eat, and shop, spending little or a lot.
Not to forget information on history, art, cinema, music, dance, cuisine, and more. Do not go to Madrid without this helpful guide.
The history of Restaurant Botin
Restaurante Botin was founded in 1725 and from that time onwards the fire in the oven which was used for roasting never went out. COVID-19 managed to change this record. The restaurant was closed for the first time in its history.
300 years ago it started off being a small inn where the muleteers and traders came to eat and rest. Its situation was close to the Plaza Mayor–Main Square, in which the surrounding streets had a multitude of handicraft workshops, and most of the other shops of old Madrid were assembled.
At the end of the 16th century, in the street called “Cuchilleros” meaning Cutler, it got its name from the many workshops being there, was a small one-floor house with a cellar. This house, at the back of it, overlooked the walls of Madrid. It did not take long for this small house to be displaced by a new building, the one which still exists today.
In 1590, against a payment of 150 Ducats, a license was obtained to have so-called living-in guests. This can be proven in the first one of a long list of title deed documents which show that from these historic times onwards it was being in function as a restaurant or inn.
It is assumed that the cellar which is now used as part of the restaurant may be the original one that was used as a foundation for the new building.
In 1725, the ground floor was restored, and the arches were closed. In the past the oven was the main part of a house, it was used for roasting meats. The wood of the evergreen oak being used for this process giving the meat a special taste.
Around 1860, the quest rooms converted into flats and the ground floor redecorated served as a confectioner’s shop. Still, the already famous roasted meat dishes continued being served.
Madrid, Capital of Spain
We arrived in Madrid during a heatwave. It was well over 40 C, at least 10 C warmer than on the Costa del Sol where I live. Quite sometime before our trip, we had made a reservation. Just as well as the restaurant was fully booked, but due to a cancellation we got squeezed in at 21.30.
The street is really unusual. It slopes down and is winding. When you look up at the tall buildings, they seem to undulate. It gave a strange impression, I must say. This photo was taken before our visit to the restaurant, so it was not the wine. We started making a photo of the facade and then were led in by doorkeepers.
Ham slicing is an Art
In the entrance got an accurate picture of an employee cutting thin slices of ham. In the background, you can see those beautiful old tiles. Ham slicing is taken very seriously in Spain. There are famous competitions on who makes the best and thinnest cuts. Winning such a competition means prestige for the person.
Our Dinner with a view on the Wine-cellar
The whole place was packed with people. It was quite lively and one could hear a lot of different languages. Many rooms and tight passages, I must say I admire the waiters who managed to bring the food without spilling.
We were seated in the cellar, the oldest part. High vaulted ceilings and walls, all made of small stones, with a perfect view of a narrow and steep staircase leading to the wine cellar.
We started with the famous cold summer soup Gazpacho, which was very good, the best thing to eat on a hot evening. In the summer, I make it often here at home. You can find a great gazpacho recipe here. A nice house wine together with a roasted lamb leg. The meat was very tasty and juicy, really nice. We did not have dessert as the meal was filling enough.
Indeed, a very nice experience because of the atmosphere of these 300-year-old walls who seemed to be telling some exciting stories from the past, but perhaps it was the heat and the wine, who knows.
Sitting in Restaurante Botin, we had a good time in this interesting place. It was already late when we left, but the city was far away from being asleep. Locals were mingling with foreign visitors and even if it was close to midnight, little children were still playing in the street.
Before you leave, you might care to visit my page Recommendations. It is a collection of things I hope you will find interesting.
Source: Restaurant Botin and My Life
Photo Source: Private Photos
Every year we hope to make a trip to the sweetest town in Spain. Estepa is dedicating quite a big part of the year to making elaborate Christmas sweets. Perhaps you like to read about this very sweet trip.