Dine Out at Botin in Madrid
If you are the type of traveler who avoids “touristy” eating and drinking establishments at all costs, you won’t have any problem discovering local restaurants and bars in Madrid. Eating and drinking where the locals do is a great way to try traditional food and experience culture in person in Madrid.
Yet you may want to make one exception to your rule about avoiding touristy restaurants during your visit to Madrid. Botin is not only a very popular and famous restaurant with tourists, it is also an outstanding place to dine. A meal at Botin is something to experience at least once, and you’re likely to be pleasantly surprised to find yourself drawn to return on subsequent visits to Madrid.
Botin is located at Calle Cuchilleros, 17, just off Plaza Real, and it is easy to access from the La Quinta metro stop. If you haven’t heard of Botin before, you haven’t done much research on eateries in Madrid. It is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s oldest restaurant, as it dates from 1725. It is also mentioned by Benito Pere Galdos in his book Fortunata y Jacinat from 1886. Hemmingway considered Benito his favorite restaurant, and Goya allegedly worked here before beginning his career as a painter.
Nearly every tourist book or guide you read on Madrid restaurants mentions and recommends Botin. Fortunately for the masses of tourists that flock here as a result, the food, service and atmosphere are just as remarkable as its reputation.
Botin is located in a 17th century building, and each of the four levels of dining areas are full of atmosphere. The old wood beams, tiled floors, and traditional Spanish furniture create a very historic ambience, and you wonder if the place has changed at all since the days of Benito Pere Galdos, Goya and Hemmingway.
There is plenty of variety on the menu at Botin, including many interesting seafood as well as meat dishes. If you want to sample one of their specialties, order the cochinillo asado (roast suckling pig) or cordero asado (roast lamb).
If you would like to experience a meal at Botin for yourself, plan ahead and make your reservations a few days in advance. Be prepared to eat with many other tourists, although you will also see Spaniards dining here. The restaurant’s well-deserved reputation for fine food and moderate prices make it a popular choice with locals as well as tourists.