Many of the dishes we enjoy today are the result of age-old recipes being passed down from generation to generation. But there’s one place in Spain where you can sit and enjoy traditional plates in the same locale that has been serving patrons for nearly 300 years. Sobrino de Botín, in Madrid, is considered the oldest restaurant in the world by the Guinness World Records.
Not only has it been continually in service since the 18th century, but its oven has been kept hot even during the Spanish Civil War and the COVID-19 pandemic. Plus, the building that houses Sobrino de Botín is even older—dating back to 1590. Today, the restaurant occupies four stories and can only be accessed through one wooden door. It employs 70 people and can seat up to 200 patrons.
This famed inn was founded by a French chef named Jean Botin in 1725 under the name Casa Botín. Since he and his wife didn't have children, the restaurant was inherited by one of his nephews in 1753. That was when it was renamed to Sobrino de Botín, referencing the new management—and has kept that name ever since. The restaurant changed owners once again in the 20th century when it was purchased by the González family, who continue to operate it to this day.
On top of its long history, Sobrino de Botín is also known for serving delicious Castilian cuisine, especially its world-famous roast suckling pigs with potatoes and Spanish ham on the side.
With so many years in the business, it has borne witness to many historical events and many figures have walked through its doors. For example, Francisco de Goya worked in its kitchen before becoming a painter. During the 20th century, Ernest Hemingway visited the restaurant frequently, and even mentioned it in his book The Sun Also Rises (1926). Of course, its delicacies continue to conquer modern palates—making Botín, as it is known by the locals, a Madrid staple.
If you find yourself in the Spanish capital, you can reserve a table here. To learn more about their menu and history, visit their website.