With records that go back nearly three centuries, Botín holds the title of the world’s oldest restaurant, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. If you’re planning a trip to Madrid or are simply curious about the restaurant, here are five facts you should know.
1. Botin is Founded in 1725 and Open Since
Restaurante Botín has its origins in 1725, though the building it occupies dates even further back to 1590. Madrid and Casa Botín have evolved side-by-side; the latter has weathered the political upheavals and societal changes that have marked Spain’s history.
The restaurant has never closed its doors, not even during turbulent times like the Spanish Civil War. Even when occupied by French troops, Botin remained operational. The Gonzalez family, the third generation to own Botin, currently manages the restaurant, ensuring that each piece of its long history remains intact.
2. It’s Famous For Suckling Pig and Lamb
Botin’s reputation isn’t just based on its age; the restaurant is also renowned for its culinary offerings. Suckling pig and lamb are two of the most prized dishes on the menu, roasted in traditional Castilian style.
The meats arrive at the restaurant three to four times per week from Segovia, specifically the region referred to as the magical triangle for this meat: Sepúlveda-Aranda-Riaza. Forbes magazine has even ranked the establishment third on its list of the world’s top 10 classic restaurants, specifically noting these two specialties.
3. Many Literary Figures Dined There
Over the years, the restaurant’s four dining rooms have welcomed renowned writers who have incorporated it into their narratives. Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, Benito Pérez Galdós, and María Dueñas are just a few names in a long list of authors who have dined there. Moreover, Hemingway immortalized Botin’s food and wine in his novel ‘The Sun Also Rises.’
4. Their Recipes Pass Down Through Generations
Botin has preserved not only its physical space but also its culinary traditions. The recipes in use today trace their roots back to the restaurant’s founding years. Each new generation of chefs learns these recipes from their predecessors.
5. Botin’s Oven Has Been Burning For 300 Years
Botin’s oven has been in continuous use for nearly 300 years. This cast-iron, wood-burning stove is the same one used when the restaurant first opened its doors in 1725. Luis Javier Sanchez, Botín’s deputy manager who has worked at the restaurant for more than 45 years, has referred to it as their ‘crown jewel,‘ claiming it provides a special aroma.