We landed in Madrid on the first day of our Spain trip. Since it was just a travel day we hadn’t set a very specific plan for the rest of the day. We knew we would hit the Prado, but before then we needed to eat. I didn’t look into restaurants beforehand, we figured we would just find something around our Airbnb. My mom and FIL were set on finding the famous suckling pig that is so popular in Spain. After a quick search we came across Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world, it was a taxi ride to get to but we knew it was the only place to go.
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It turned out that we had stumbled upon something that we probably should have already heard of before landing. Botín is in the Guinness book of world records as the OLDEST restaurant in the world. Botín was founded in 1725. WOAH. How did I not see this place when I started planning this trip? I have no idea, but it is for sure a must-see when visiting Madrid.
We went during lunch. Spain has weird hours, many places close mid-day between lunch and dinner. Siesta, of course. Either way, be sure to check the times before you head anywhere, especially restaurants. Turns out lunch was a great time to do, we later learned that dinner wait times can be hours long. At lunchtime, we only waited for about 10 minutes.
Restaurante Botín in the heart of Madrid, just down the stairs from the Plaza Mayor. You can tell when you walk up, this place is old. It has large wooden doors that you walk into. It’s tight when you walk in! It is 3 stories and every story has tables for seating. The small spiral staircase takes you up to the different levels. Servers squeeze by as you make your way to your seat. Even at lunch, there are hardly any empty seats and there is the constant hum of these people carrying throughout the restaurant.
The walls are covered in stunning old tiles and the windows have old traditional stain glass. There is so much here that shows the history of the place and they have done an amazing job keeping it updated and clean but not taking away the historic feel of the place.
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The food is so good. This is important. Sometimes these old places get to rest on fame, it becomes a destination and less about the original purpose. This is not the case here. The food is very tasty and fresh tasting. I am not as familiar with traditional Spanish cuisine but Botín prides itself on sticking to tradition. Botín specializes in Castilian style roasted lamb and suckling pig. In fact, it was given third place in Forbes magazine in the list of the world’s top 10 classical restaurants!
The bread they bring to the table is amazing. It’s got a crunchy outer crust and is so chewy and yummy on the inside. I had to be careful not to fill up on it before the meal came.
Everyone aside from me got the suckling pig. I understand why it is not only what Botín is known for but it is what this part of Spain is known for.
I couldn’t wrap my head around eating a baby pig so I opted for the roast chicken. Though I did have a taste of the pig, it was very flavorful and tender. Everyone loved it. My Chicken was delicious, juicy and tender and the flavor was wonderful. The side was roast veggies they were cooked and seasoned well.
You can’t really go wrong coming here, delicious food and dining in a piece of history. I whole heartily recommend putting this on your itinerary if you find yourself in Madrid.
If you want to learn even more about Botín you can check out their site to learn about the chefs, food and history.