In a world where a restaurant existing for as long as a decade qualifies as a small miracle, Spain’s Sobrino de Botin, which has been serving for over 200 years, is almost unbelievable.
Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s oldest restaurant still in operation, Sobrino de Botin was first opened back in 1725. At the time that the restaurant opened (in the ground floor of an inn), it was actually up to the guests to bring their own meat and ingredients, which were then cooked in the eatery’s facilities. After the original owners died childless, the restaurant passed to their nephew, which is when it got its current name, which translates to “Nephew of Botin,” of course.
Over the next two hundred plus years, the trends of the city changed, but Sobrino de Botin never stopped cooking (after it was able to start cooking for people that is). Today the restaurant covers four floors of seating, each with its own Spanish theme, from the brick cellar to the fancier Felipe IV room. Even as the tourists began to flock to the restaurant, as will happen once Guinness gets its paws on you, the cuisine has stayed remarkably true to its Spanish roots, with the whole suckling pig, which is prepared in a brick oven, being the stand-out dish.
The Sobrino de Botin likely saw its finest moment when it was mentioned by Ernest Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises, and it is rumored that the famous artist Francisco de Goya worked there as a young man. However, its legacy is clearly thanks to its astounding age rather than to its ties to art and literature.