I knew before moving to Madrid that I wanted to eat at Botin, founded in 1725 and considered the oldest restaurant in the world according to the Guinness Book of Records. When a friend from California came to visit Madrid post-Camino, we decided to give it a try and made a dinner reservation for the very Spanish time of 11:30pm.
Stepping into Botin was like going back in time...from the decor to the centuries old wood-burning oven used to cook the roast suckling pig, the house specialty.
Sorry, little piggies!
I love places like Botin that are full of history. I liked trying to imagine the people that have passed through the restaurant over the almost 300 years its been open. Ernest Hemingway was a frequent visitor and mentioned it in both Death in the Afternoon and The Sun Also Rises.
We arrived at Botin excited and ready to try the "must-have" dishes the restaurant is known for. There are several floors of dining rooms and we asked to be seated down in the cellar.
Before having the suckling pig, we decided to try another one of the house specialties, Clams Botin. I generally have a love/hate relationship with clams and sometimes don't like them that much, but these were the best clams I've ever had! I couldn't get enough of the sauce they came in and I definitely ate an entire loaf of bread trying to mop up every last bit of it.
While waiting for the suckling pig to arrive, we had more wine and a bit of entertainment. They were actually really good, and from what I gathered, students at a local music school (I think??).
Finally, it was time for the suckling pig and it did not disappoint. So tender on the inside and a perfect crispy skin on the outside.
My friend and I thoroughly enjoyed dinner at Botin. Is it touristy? Sure, but sometimes you have to do those touristy things in the guidebook. I would definitely recommend eating at Botin for the experience of stepping back in time and dining in such a historical place.
I'm Becki...a part-time traveler and recovering expat back in the U.S. after two amazing years spent living in Spain.