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World's oldest restaurant has been keeping its oven running for over 300 years of history

This iconic establishment, founded in 1725 by the French chef Jean Botín, is known for its traditional Spanish delicacies.

World's oldest restaurant has been keeping its oven running for over 300 years of history
Cover Image Source: Sobrino de Botin

In the age of cloud kitchens, takeout, fast food and a new restaurant to try every weekend, there still exists an old-school charm that has survived for 3 centuries and will transport you back in time. If one were to stand outside Sobrino de Botín, one would feel the three centuries of its age in the appetizing aroma of Spain's traditional specialties. Founded in 1725 by French chef Jean Botín as Casa Botín, the famous restaurant has stood the test of time since the 18th century. In 1753, the restaurant was passed on to the founding couple’s nephew due to them having no children of their own. It was then renamed to its current name Sobrino de Botín, according to their website. The restaurant has been deemed as the oldest in the world by the Guinness World Records.

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The current owners are the Gonzalez family who bought it in the 20th century and continue to serve the 200 diners that the inn can accommodate at a time. The restaurant is known for its finest Segovia suckling pigs and lambs sourced from the magical triangle of meats, Sepúlveda-Aranda-Riaza. Their famous oven continued to remain hot during historic challenges like the Spanish Civil War and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Sobrino de Botín is one of Madrid’s most sought-after attractions, located in a building from 1590. It goes up to four floors with a single wooden door for access which further adds to Botín’s Spanish charm.

Image Source: Sobrino de Botin
Image Source: Sobrino de Botin

Serving traditional delicacies like roasted suckling pigs, potatoes and Spanish ham, Sobrino de Botín’s floors have been walked on by big literary names like Ernest Hemingway. The restaurant prides itself on being named in his 1926 book “The Sun Also Rises” where he wrote “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.” Graham Greene, Maria Duenas and many more writers went on to mention Casa Botín in their literary works. Interestingly, famous Spanish Romantic artist Francisco de Goya was a kitchen worker at Botín before he pursued his true calling for painting.

Image Source: Sobrino de Botín
Image Source: Sobrino de Botín

According to their website, the restaurant slowly cooks its well-known suckling pigs and other meats in its historical Holm oak wood oven that has been breathing fire since Casa Botín’s founding. The positioning of the firewood is carefully chosen for the left side of the stove to ensure an even distribution of the ingredients on the entire meat so that diners can get a wholesome taste of flavors like salt, pepper, water, lard, white wine, bay leaf, onion and garlic.

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The restaurant opens up for lunch from 1 pm to 4 pm, followed by a break before reopening for dinner at 8 pm till 11:30 pm. Apart from its suckling pig and lamb specialty, it also offers a great range of line-caught hake, sole, Botín-style clams, Castilian soup, gazpacho, and more to be enjoyed with some of the finest wines. Sobrino de Botín has received great accolades and finds itself as a bucket list favorite for travelers making a trip around Spain. It was voted Trip Advisor’s Travelers Choice 2020, received La Guia Michelin 2013 and also won the Placa al Merito Turístico tourism merit award.

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