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 by 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 on this. I was not disappointed as the food is good and made with honest ingredients, like in old times.
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. 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 until 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 early times onwards it was being in function as restaurant or inn.
It is assumed that the cellar which is now used as part of the restaurant may be the original one which 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 a reservation had been made. 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. We started making a photo of the facade and then were led in by doorkeepers.
Ham slicing is an Art
In the entrance got a nice picture of an employee cutting thin slices of ham, in the background you can see those beautiful old tiles.
Our Dinner with view on the Wine-cellar
The whole place was packed with people, it was quite lively and one could hear many different languages. Many different 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. 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.
Source: Restaurant Botin and My Life
Photo Source: Private Photos