Madrid is famous for having some of the oldest restaurants in the world. You can chow down on delicious, authentic Spanish cuisine and take a trip through history at the same time when visiting some of the city’s restaurants, some of which date back to the 18th and 19th centuries. If you can’t make it to Madrid in person to eat at some of these famous spots, you can at least admire them in the photos below.
Madrid is home to Restaurant Botín, which dates back to 1725 and is the oldest restaurant in the world according to Guinness World Records.The restaurant, which still uses a wood-fired oven also dating back to 1725, specializes in roast suckling pig and lamb. These delicacies are still prepared in the famous oven today, just as they were centuries ago.Literature buffs can take pleasure in reading about Botín as the restaurant appears in texts like Fortunata and Jacinta by Galdós and Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon, as well as works by Frederick Forsyth, Arturo Barea, Carlos Arniches, Graham Greene and even F. Scott Fitzgerald. Today, you an enjoy a typical Spanish lunch or dinner in Botín in one of the upstairs rooms or even in the downstairs wine cave.
Casa Pedro’s roots actually date back to 1072, when founder Pedro Guiñales created a restaurant and inn called Casa de la Pascuala. Cattle breeders on the road from France to Spain often stopped here for a rest and a meal. In 1825, one of Guiñales’ descendants changed the establishment’s name to Casa de Silvestra and began to sell grapes and wine produced in the family vineyards.In 1940, the restaurant changed its name to Casa Pedro, specializing in traditional Castilian cuisine.The restaurant has also refurbished their wine cellar, Bodega Pedro, where you can sample plenty of Spanish vinos.
Lhardy maintains its aristocratic charm today, once known as an establishment that entertained royalty and Madrid’s elite back in 1825. In 1880, the restaurant had a makeover by famous decorator Rafael Guererro, who was known for creating chic and glamorous spaces around Madrid.The “secret” room, known as the Salon Japonés, was the meeting spot for many Spanish revolutionaries, and it’s said that many conspiracies and plots were born there. This secret spot wasn’t just for men, though—it’s also rumored that Queen Isabel II met her lovers at this spot too. Today, the restaurant is known for its delicious Spanish cuisine and elegant atmosphere.
Casa Mingo is one of the oldest and most famous sidrerías in Spain. Dating back to 1888, the spot serves sidra, an apple cider-like drink originating from the Asturias region in Spain.The restaurant has a fun and bustling atmosphere and its menu is simple but delicious, featuring roasted chicken, cheeses, sausage and a few other key Spanish dishes.The building’s decor has remained almost entirely the same over the years with plenty of bottles and wooden barrels in sight. The grounds of the venue have often been used as filming locations in commercials and movies, putting it firmly on the map as one of the most well-known restaurants in Madrid.
Not necessarily the oldest restaurant in Madrid but producing some of the city’s most delicious fare, Casa del Abuelo stills hits well above the hundred-year mark, having been open since 1906.The tavern started out selling donuts and sweet wine, and later expanded to include sandwiches and in the 1940s, prawns. To this day, a glass of wine with some gambas remains the most popular order.Nicknamed “El Abuelo” (“The Grandfather”) by the locals, this restaurant is considered a local favorite by many in Madrid. If you go, make sure to sample the famous prawns—although these days the menu has expanded to include cured meats, cheeses, seafood and more.