Nestled in the heart of Madrid is one of Ernest Hemingway’s favourite restaurants, Restaurante Sobrino de Botín.
First opened as an inn, the landmark eatery was founded in 1725 by French cook Jean Botín and his wife. It is the world’s oldest restaurant, as officially recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records.
Today, Botín is famed for its rustic Castilian cuisine, including succulent roast meats fired in an oven that’s close to 300 years old.
Keep scrolling to see what it’s like to feast on whole suckling pig and delicious Spanish wine at the world’s oldest restaurant.
Brittany Fowler contributed reporting to an earlier version of this article.
The restaurant's name was changed from Casa Botín to Sobrino de Botín ('nephew of Botín') when Mrs. Botín died and her nephew took over. It is now owned by the González family.
Botín has four floors and the air of a traditional Spanish tavern. There are three dining rooms: the bodega ('cellar'), the Castilla room, and the Felipe IV room.
The most famous dishes here are the cochinillo asado ('roast suckling pig') and the cordero asado ('roast lamb').
The restaurant receives suckling pigs from Segovia and lambs from Sepúlveda three to four times per week.
Both the lambs and pigs are roasted in the original wood-fired oven, which is nearly 300 years old and made of cast iron.
Crispy skin on the outside, tender meat on the inside, the suckling pig is served with a side of roast potatoes.
Hemingway was a glutton for Botín's sucking pig, so much so that he immortalised it in 'The Sun Also Rises.' From the book: 'We lunched upstairs at Botín's. It is one of the best restaurants in the world. We had roast young suckling pig and drank rioja alta.'
Clams Botín, another popular dish, features a house sauce of onion, hot chilli pepper, garlic, dry white wine, paprika, tomato purée, and laurel leaf.
In Spain, egg dishes are common at dinner, which is typically eaten between 9 and 11 p.m. Here, a look at Botìn's scrambled eggs with black sausage and potatoes.
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