According to the Guinness Book of Records, the "Botin Cochilleros", just off of La Plaza Mayor in Madrid, is the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world. We not only visited this magnificent establishment, we actually ate there. In 1590, the building began life as an inn and restaurant for muleteers and traders who brought their goods to Madrid. The Botin family bought the building in 1725 and have been running this establishment ever since. The Spanish artist, Francisco de Goya, worked here as a waiter, while awaiting his acceptance into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Ernest Hemingway was a frequent guest in this restaurant, sitting at a corner table on the second floor. We had the opportunity to sit at his table when we enjoyed a delightful lunch. The place is amazing! The ambiance of the rooms alone is worth a visit, but stay for a meal. The food is delicious. The house specialty right from the beginning of its existence as a restaurant has been the roast pig. You can smell it as soon as you enter. Mmmmmmmm!!!
The Botin restaurant is just a few short steps from La Plaza Mayor.
The Guinness Book of Records certificate naming this establishment as the oldest continuously operating restaurant in the world. The current owners, the Gonzalez family, apparently are an off-shoot of the Botin family, the original owners.
As soon as you walk in the door, this picturesque bar is on the left.
Right from the beginning, the house specialty has been roast pig. The roasting kitchen, which is situated next to the bar, retains the original wood-fire ovens that were used in 1725.
This is the ground floor dining room. When we first walked in, we felt we were stopping back in time.
Next to the roasting kitchen are the stairs leading down to the old wine cellar....
...part of which has been converted into additional dining areas.
Part of the original wine cellar. From the looks of some of the bottles, however, we suspect the wine may have turned to vinegar by now.
This is the corner table where Ernest Hemingway always sat when he ate here.
A very nice couple from Los Angeles, Jennifer and Eric, were sitting next to us, and we had a nice conversation with them.
The second floor dining area, while a bit crowded, was just as delightful.
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Carl and Lorraine Aveni are two retirees planning on traveling through Europe for at least one year.