Picture of the winding staircase that takes you down to the wine cellar at Sobrino de Botin in Madrid Spain. The oldest restaurant in the world.

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Dining at the Oldest Restaurant in the World – Madrid

I don’t think I know of a single self-declared foodie whom wouldn’t be intrigued to dine at the oldest restaurant in the world, located in Madrid. Most foodies will plan their entire visit to Madrid around this… then happily proceed to eat their weight in Gazpacho and Sangria. However, I can neither confirm, nor deny, whether or not we actually did the latter.

What I do know, is upon arrival in Madrid, Spain, we had to dine at the world’s oldest restaurant. Restaurante Sobrino de Botín was founded in – wait for it – 1725 and holds the Guinness World Record for the longest running restaurant in continuous operation.

As we strolled down the quaint street where Botín has been located for almost three centuries; we arrive to a charming restaurant front, in all its old world mystique.

Restaurante Sobrino de Botín is located near Plaza Mayor (a major public space and attraction in the heart of Madrid). Botín is four stories, comprised of tile clad floors and wood beamed ceilings. Often lauded as a “museum restaurant,” Botín is certainly an experience, as much as it is a haven to enjoy delicious Spanish food.

Picture of the exterior of Restaurante Sobrino de Botin. You can see the dark brown wooded doors and facade, the upper portion of the building is made of brick with bright lights portruding.
The exterior of Restaurante Sobrino de Botín in Madrid, Spain. We dined here on a weeknight and the restaurant was packed!

Call and Make a Reservation

Prior to arrival, we made sure to make reservations in advance. If you take your food adventure bucket list seriously, I recommend doing the same. At the time of visiting, reservations by phone were the only way to secure a table. It appears since then, online reservations have become available… hooray! Some claim to have had success walking in, but I recommend securing a reservation.

Upon recommendation, I requested to dine in the wine cellar when I made my reservation. I have to say, this was a great decision. It makes the experience even more unique!

Picture of the tiny room adjacent to the main wine cellar room where we dined at Restaurante Sobrino de Botin , the oldest Restaurant in the world - Madrid.
Through the alcove is the tiny little enclave connected to the main wine cellar room where we dined. This picture was taken at the end of the night, after all the Guests had gone home. We were one of the last patrons to leave the restaurant.

Arriving at Botín, it’s packed and quite bustling. We enter the restaurant and are warmly greeted. Upon checking in for our reservation, we were led to a winding staircase that revealed the mysterious, yet vibrant wine cellar dining room. Be forewarned, it is a relatively small space. There is a small room adjacent to the main room, where we sat, which was perfection. Just the right amount of privacy, but also had a view of the main room. If you are someone who prefers to be in the thick of it all, or simply does not like cozy spaces (ie: claustrophobic), I’d recommend sitting on one of the main floors.

Now, what about the food?

Picture of me (brunette woman) browsing the menu at Restaurante Sobrino de Botin - oldest restaurant in the world - Madrid. There is a beautiful, antique, dark brown door behind me.
Browsing the menu. Check out that gorgeous door behind me!

Sobrino de Botín serves traditional Spanish dishes. They are renowned for their roast suckling pig, which is apparently so good it’s even mentioned in a Hemingway novel. Apparently, this is the thing to get here and, unfortunately…. we didn’t. Regardless, their signature suckling pig is raved about by countless diners and is the thing to get at Sobrino.

So what did we get?

Picture of the Lamb accompanied with roasted potatoes that Brady ordered at Restaurante Sobrino de Botin - the oldest restaurant in the world- Madrid
Brady ordered the lamb which was accompanied by roasted potatoes
at Restaurante Sobrino de Botin. He said it was excellent.

First of all, I love Gazpacho. It’s a cold soup made of raw blended vegetables. When in Spain, I will order it everywhere I can. It’s really good, we both enjoyed it. I recommend trying it.

Brady ordered the lamb, which he liked. Apparently the lamb and pork dishes are roasted in the almost 300 year old cast iron, wood fired oven. I ordered fish for my entrée. It was good, but I’d probably order something different upon our next visit.

Picture of the Gazpacho Soup I ordered at Restaurante Sobrino de Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world- Madrid.
Delicious Gazpacho (cold soup made of raw, blended vegetables) at Restaurante Sobrino de Botin

The proteins seem to all come with large roasted potatoes. Although, mine tasted and looked steamed. We, of course, ordered Sangria to complete our Spanish, “old world” gastronomic adventure. Between the croquettes, bread, soup and main courses, we were pretty full. But never too full for dessert!

Picture of what I ordered from Restaurante Sobrino de Botin - a fish dish with roasted potatoes
My fish and roasted potatoes. This dish was good, but not great.
My roasted potatoes tasted more steamed to me, much to my dismay.

Desserts May Sell Out

Due to a busy daytime itinerary, we ended up making dinner reservations for the later evening. This was great on all fronts, except, most of the desserts were already sold out by the time we got to that course.

Picture of the cheesecake we had for dessert at Restaurante Sobrino de Botin, the oldest restaurant in the world - Madrid
Since we were dining so late, all other desserts sold out. The only thing that was
left was cheesecake. It was still good though!

All that was left was… Cheesecake. Probably not how we would’ve ended our traditional Spanish meal. But cheesecake is pretty hard to mess up, so we went for it. It was delectable, as cheesecake tends to be. Besides, as the oldest restaurant in the world – Madrid, they have had about 300 years to perfect their cheesecake. I had a feeling it’d be okay!

Dinner Serenade

I am uncertain of the frequency of this occurrence, but we were serenaded during dinner by a Spanish quartet. This was certainly a welcomed and pleasant surprise, and really rounded out our memorable experience dining at the oldest restaurant in the world!

What’s the verdict? Is it worth a spot on your itinerary?

That is a resounding yes. I think this is something that is worth being on your itinerary when in Spain. This experience will be particularly meaningful to you if you love food, history or unique places. But honestly… maybe you just want to dine in the oldest, continuously run establishment in restaurant history!?

The wine cellar at Restaurante Sobrino de Botin. A Spanish Quartet came and serenaded us at the oldest restaurant in the world - Madrid
The Spanish Quartet that came down to the wine cellar to serenade us. It was lovely and really completed the experience!

There are mixed reviews on several review platforms, usually complaining about either the quality of the food or the prices. Usually one’s assessment of the quality of the food was rooted in not being happy with what they got for the price points.

Picture of the Spanish Quartet that serenaded the patrons in the wine cellar of the oldest restaurant in the world - Madrid
A closer picture of the lovely Spanish Quarter that serenaded us – really a treat!

Pricing – What to Expect?

It’s important to keep in mind that this is not the sort of place you go if you are seeking best value for bargain prices. In most any major city, there are always “hidden gems” where you can get remarkably good food for cheap.

Don’t go to a restaurant that is holding a Guinness world record – the only one of its kind – expecting that. That aside, we both thought the food was pretty good. The pricing is on the higher side. But, that will also probably be relative to where you are visiting from. The croquettes are 10€ (or $12 USD). Unfortunately, $12 USD for an appetizer is pretty standard in California. The gazpacho was 9€ ($11 USD). You can definitely have a conservative dinner for two people for under 100€, but I would recommend budgeting for more than that.

Picture of the Sangria pitcher we ordered and Restaurante oldest restaurant in the world - Madrid
Our pitcher of Sangria along with the restaurant’s house bread (there is a charge for bread, FYI)

Comer Bien y Disfrutar (Eat well and Enjoy)

With over 300 years of history, I couldn’t help but imagine all the generations of people, including author Ernest Hemingway himself, that have walked through these doors. Botín opened its doors before Madrid was the capitol of Spain. It was just a small village. It’s such an interesting thought to ponder all the guests that El Botín has seen over hundreds of years.

We had such a wonderful experience at this family owned and operated restaurant. Will it be the best meal you have in Madrid? Maybe, maybe not. But I’m almost certain it will be the most memorable. We will definitely visit again the next time we are in Madrid. I wish them another 500+ years of success and longevity.

Travel Tips & Resources to Help You Plan an Epic Trip!

Going – I’ve subscribed to Going (formerly, beloved, Scott’s Cheap Flights) for awhile now and it’s an amazing resource for finding… did you guess cheap flights? Yes, you can set your preferences from airports to flight class and get destination deals right to your inbox. It’s fab! I use the Premium paid version, but they have a FREE version too. So what are you waiting for?! Let’s get Going!

Booking.com – the majority, if not almost all of my stays are booked on Booking.com. It’s a reliable site to book and manage your reservations. It’s a great way to find boutique stays and unique accommodations at the best rates! You can also easily communicate with your accommodation through the app.

Expedia – If I am looking for a flight to a specific destination for specific dates, I find myself booking many flights on Expedia. It’s user friendly and straight forward. I often find the most cost effective rates, while earning points for every flight I book (in tandem with the points I receive from the credit cards I pay with).

Viator – most of the activities, tours and excursions I book for my trips are booked through Viator. Whether you’re seeking a guide for the day, a group tour, a cooking class, Viator has you covered!

Get Your Guide – this is another great marketplace to find tours, excursions and activities to book for your upcoming trip.

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