I Dined at The Oldest Restaurant in the World For Lunch

I  never even would have given a thought as to what is the oldest restaurant in the world — but when I found out that I was in the same city as this restaurant, I just had to eat in it.

Restaurante Sobrino de Botin — or Restaurante Botin for short — has been in business since 1725 and is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world. It has been featured in literature – such as in the book The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, who dined on suckling pig in the restaurant.

My place setting with the langostinos al ajillo — or prawns with garlic — and a bottle of cold water. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

My place setting with the langostinos al ajillo — or prawns with garlic — and a bottle of cold water. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

As I am not fond of eating most kinds of pork — and because I did not want to pay 44,45 Euro for the privilege even though the price included Andalusian gazpacho, ice cream, bread, and a choice of beverage — I did not opt for the suckling pig. Instead, I decided on garlic prawns.

To get to my seat in one of the dining rooms, the maître d directed me through part of the kitchen. That was a first for me.

My prawns with garlic came out so hot that it was sizzling — and it steamed the lens of my camera. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

My prawns with garlic came out so hot that it was sizzling — and it steamed the lens of my camera. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Detail of the dishes. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Detail of the dishes. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The plate finally cooled down to the point where my camera lens did not steam any more — but do not be fooled, as the dish was still piping hot. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The plate finally cooled down to the point where my camera lens did not steam any more — but do not be fooled, as the dish was still piping hot. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The garlic prawns — six of them for 21,70 Euros; or approximately $4.54 per prawn without including the gratuity — came to my table literally sizzling hot where the liquid in the dish was bubbling furiously for several minutes. They were delicious. I especially liked the crunchy pieces of garlic with the prawns. I just wished that there were more of them on which to dine.

Restaurante Botin — which has several dining areas on three floors — is located on Calle de los Cuchilleros 17, Madrid, 28005 in Spain, which is just south of Plaza Mayor. Reservations are not necessary — at least for lunch — but they are recommended.

This is the view of the dining room in which I was seated — as viewed from my seat. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

This is the view of the dining room in which I was seated — as viewed from my seat. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

This is the wall on the left side of the table where I was seated. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

This is the wall on the left side of the table where I was seated. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

My seat is the one with the place setting in front of it — by the wall, second from the right. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

My seat is the one with the place setting in front of it — by the wall, second from the right. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Detail of the ceiling. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Detail of the ceiling. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Detail of the wall to the left of my table. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Detail of the wall to the left of my table. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another dining room in the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another dining room in the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another area of the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another area of the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another area of the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another area of the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another area of the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another area of the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another area of the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Another area of the restaurant. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The menu in the window — with prices. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

The menu in the window — with prices. Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

11 thoughts on “I Dined at The Oldest Restaurant in the World For Lunch”

  1. Marc says:

    Dude, you really have to do something about your blog picture. It’s kinda creepy. Every time you post your big head shows up like BAM. Can’t miss it and makes me not want to click on it.

  2. scot says:

    Sorry,
    That doesn’t even come close to the Skiftskeller in Salzburg
    Established in 803. Dined there right after breaking arm in Salzburg.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      I have never been to Salzburg, scot — but I will keep that establishment in mind when I do…

      …and I hope your arm has fully healed.

  3. Enjoy Fine Food says:

    I assume you walked on up the hill to the Mercado de San Miguel for an after-prawn snack — or dessert. That’s a great street and wonderful example of how walkable Madrid has become in the last few years. One of my favorite cities. I can’t wait to go back.

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Of course I did!

      There are other options there as well as dessert when wanting a quick bite.

  4. Joseph May says:

    Some years ago I ate at Café Procope in Paris http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caf%C3%A9_Procope
    It claims to have opened in 1686. I like you dined there for the novelty. As I recall, after my meal I thought the restaurant should have been named Propoop. Oh well.

    There is also some debate as to the oldest restaurants in the world:
    http://internationalliving.com/2011/09/the-10-oldest-restaurants-in-the-world/

    Bon Apetite!

    1. Brian Cohen says:

      Merçi beaucoup, Joseph May!

      For me, travel is all about learning and experiencing what the world has to offer. This is simply a part of that…

  5. Minos says:

    Your catchy title is misleading. Your assumptions are wrong.
    There are many older restaurants. 18th century is like yesterday.
    Including this one:
    http://www.fodors.com/world/europe/france/normandy/review-47210.html

    1. Minos says:

      Plus an assertion is like that is nonsense. Guiness or not. Have anyone ever tried every restaurant on Earth to ensure one is indeed the oldest?
      What about restaurant XYZ in Myanmar or Bhutan that no-one has ever heard about?

      1. Brian Cohen says:

        After recently visiting a site dating back greater than 5,000 years ago, I said to a colleague “how do we know that any ordinary rock we find is not older than what we just visited?”

        In that context, we may never truly know where the oldest restaurant in the world which is currently operating is located…

    2. Brian Cohen says:

      That review claims to be the “oldest inn in France.”

      If an inn is the same as a restaurant, then I agree with you, Minos. Thank you.

      By the way, I do not mean to be misleading in any way…

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