Sobrino de Botín might sound familiar to those who are avid Hemingway fans. The author was a regular at Botín and even immortalized it in his novel The Sun Also Rises. But the restaurant’s main claim to fame is that it is regarded as the world’s oldest restaurant by the people over at Guinness World Record.
Sobrino de Botín – The World’s Oldest Restaurant
Sobrino de Botín is located in the historic neighborhood Calle Cuchilleros, Madrid. It first opened back in 1725 by a French cook named Jean Botín and his wife. Back then they called it Casa Botín.
The Weird World of BYOF (Bring Your Own Food)
When it first opened, there was a strange law in Spain that forbade inns from selling food. So, the customers had to bring their own food to cook at the inn. Thankfully this law was unpopular and hastily scrapped. Imagine the horror and confusion of having to bring your own raw vegetables and meat every time you go out.
Change of Hands
After the death of Botín and his wife, the restaurant passed on to their nephew, Candido Remis who aptly renamed it to Sobrino de Botín or ‘Nephew of Botín. By the time the 20th century came around, the González family took over the restaurant and expanded the business to the cultural and historical icon that it is today.
Secret 200-Year-Old Recipes
The restaurant serves authentic traditional Castilian dishes made from the freshest ingredients available. Some of the dishes are made from recipes that are older than the restaurant itself!
They are famous for their roasted meat, traditional entrandas, clams, gazpacho, and drinks served in hand painted jarras. They still use the original 300-year old oak-wood and cast-iron oven. According to local legend, the fire from the oven has never once stopped burning.
In The Company of Literary Royalty
It was during the 20th century that the restaurant managed to carve a place in literary history. It became a popular place for writers and artists to hang out. The likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Galdós, Frederick Forsyth, and Graham Greene all used Botín as a backdrop for their novels.
The most prominent of all writers to walk into Botín’s door was Nobel Prize winner Ernest Hemingway. There are also rumors swirling around that the famous Spanish Romantic painter, Francisco de Goya worked at Botín as a waiter for a short period of time.
Pop Around to Botín
You don’t have to be a literary master to dine here. Anytime you are in Madrid, stroll down the historic streets of Madrid and end your day with a lovely dinner at Botín. But make sure to reserve a table beforehand as the place can get pretty crowded. After all who would ever pass up an opportunity to dine at the world’s oldest restaurant.
Other Famous Restaurants in Madrid
When you’ve finally acquired the bragging rights of having eaten at Botín, the world’s oldest restaurant, you can visit a few other iconic restaurants during your stay in Madrid
- Casa Alberto
- Casa Labra
- Café Gijon
- Taberna La Bola
- Café Comercial
Landing in Spain is sure to take your breath away. Make the most of your travels by making sure you follow this Spain Travel guide.