If you visit Madrid, make sure to visit Sobrino de Botín. According to the book World Guinness Records, Botín is the world’s oldest restaurant. It was founded in 1725, by a Frenchman called Jean Botin and his wife. The place was initially called Casa de Botín (Botin’s house). After Botin’s death, a nephew called Candido Remis changed the name to Sobrino de Botín (Botin’s nephew).
Today Sobrino de Botín is famous for its Spanish cuisine, including roast meats fired in an oven. Two of their most popular dish recommendations are cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) and cordero asado (roast lamb). Both the lambs and pigs are roasted in a wood-fired oven, which is nearly 300 years old and made of cast iron.
It is said that the restaurant has continuously kept the flame burning in the oven since the beginning, never to be extinguished.
Sobrino de Botín is popular among tourists and local habitants. Also, many famous people have dined at the place. Ernest Hemingway often visited the place. Two of his books mention the restaurant: The Sun Also Rises, and Death In The Afternoon.
“We lunched upstairs at Botín’s. It is one of the best restaurants in the world. We had roast young suckling pig and drank rioja alta.” -Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.
“…but, in the meantime, I would prefer to dine on suckling pig at Botín than sit and think about the accidents which my friends could suffer.” -Ernest Hemingway, Death in The Afternoon.
Another example is Francisco Goya, a Spanish painter. He worked as a waiter and kitchen helper while waiting to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.
Other “recent” famous people who have visited the place are Jacqueline Kennedy, Pedro Almodóvar (Spanish film director), and Michael Douglas. Two of Frederick Forsyth´s books also mention the place, The Icon and The Cobra.
But now you are surely asking “but what do you eat at the world’s oldest restaurant?”
Here are some examples:
- Cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig).
- Cordero asado (roast lamb).
- Sopa de ajo con huevo y jamón (garlic soup with egg and ham).
And as for dessert for restaurant:
- Flan de huevo (egg custard).
- Tarta de queso con chocolate blanco (cheesecake with white chocolate).
- Tarta botín (Botin‘s cake).
In conclusion: when you visit Madrid and you want to try some typical Spanish dishes, Sobrino de Botín is the perfect place to visit. You will not regret it!