I recently found myself backpacking in Spain and headed to the capital city Madrid. Madrid is famous for a lot of different things down the years such as Real Madrid, the gay scene, Franco’s parades but did you know that Madrid has the world’s oldest restaurant?
Neither did I until I turned up here, neither did some of the locals and backpackers I met. But yes, here in the heart of the Spanish capital, sat nonchalantly on a pedestrian street in the downtown area is the world’s oldest restaurant.
Well it has been awarded this accolade by the Guinness World Records so we have to believe it right? Perhaps with 1.3 billion people, the Chinese didn’t beat the Spanish to the world’s oldest restaurant.
In terms of getting to Restaurante Botin, it was easy for me. I was staying in the famous Cat’s Hostel nearby, less than a 10 minute walk from Calle de Cuchilleros (near Plaza Mayor). I met a fellow backpacker called Andy from England and we decided to go together to enjoy some food and sangria here in this foodery with history.
Booking in advance is recommended. We booked a table the night before for lunch at 1pm on a Saturday and in we went.
As it’s the oldest restaurant in the world, obviously this is a place that will break the cheapskate backpacking budget for a day, but you guessed that. Don’t Stop Living has always been about living for the moment and enjoying life, so the budget just had to be broken on this ocassion. The restaurant shows no sign of age though – it’s well decorated but none too fancy and yet it dates way back to 1725. The restaurant also appeared in Hemingway’s book The Sun Also Rises.
When Andy and I looked at the menu we both decided that drinks wise, a small jug of Sangria would suffice. It’s served in an old porcelain pot. €7.60 for a jug (so €3.80 each).
I wasn’t going to choose a three course meal though – that would have cost too much, but I did want a decent lunch so I settled for the veal cutlets, breaded with potatoes. The price was €18.80, but remember where you are. The food was great.
We stayed for an hour or so, polishing off our food, enjoying the experience of where we were and sipping the Sangria slowly, aware that we had an afternoon of backpacking through the sunshiney streets of Madrid. This place is definitely worth a visit and you can tell your mates you’ve eaten in the oldest restaurant in the world, decidedly cooler than buying a Big Mac meal on your way home from work.
Restaurante Sobrino de Botin,
Calle de Cuchilleros 17
Here is a video from my lunch at the oldest restaurant in the world: