Saturday, November 13, 2010

TIME OUT: Madrid, Spain Part 2: Oldest restaurant in the world (Guinness)

HT wife, being a true blue Filipino, loves eating pork.  Pork dominates most of our dishes.  Whether it's simmered in soy sauce, broiled, fried or barbecued, you would not miss at least a part of a pig in a Filipino's plate.

From whom do we inherit our love for this meat?  Who else, other than the Spaniards! 

Restaurante El Sobrino De Botin, is the oldest restaurant in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records.  The restaurant started way back 1725 and had been significant in Ernest Hemingway's novel, The Sun Also Rises (I heard there is a Hemingway's table - in one corner) which you can book for a quiet, romantic dinner.

And in a restaurant as famous as this...

This long queue was to be expected.  (It was 730 pm and the restaurant opens at 8 pm).  Reservations are recommended, I actually booked ours 2 days before our trip to Madrid.  And if you weren't lucky to make a reservation, most diners were tourists so there is a high turn over of customers and for sure you'll get a table (as long as you don't mind eating late just like the Spaniards). 

As soon as the door opens, diners are accepted one by one (yeah just like they're checking if you have a ticket).  Once you enter the place, you can never miss this counter of bottles of wine and a big slab of jamon (look closely).  It drove away my boredom waiting in line.

We got a table at the 2nd floor (I think this place has 5 floors in total).  No fancy chandeliers or porcelain display, but they lived to being the oldest restaurant and gave the place an old-school atmosphere.  (that means no dress code).

HT couple already knew what to order before we stepped into this restaurant (at least HT wife did!)
Sopa de Ajo - a Madrileno style of onion soup, this bowl consists of onions, chicken broth, and bread with an egg swimming on top.

I broke the egg yolk and mixed the soup just like in congee.

HT hubbie's expectation of this was somehow close to French onion soup which has a very strong, aromatic taste of the bulbs.  However, this sopa, was quite bland but was saved by few pieces of salty jamon.  The egg dominated the soup taste which fitted my mood that night.

HT hubbie's order for the night...Botin's Fillet Mignon.  This is one of their specialties (letters in bold in the menu), but was not an adventurous dish.  This was not HT hubbie's first time in Spain, and he was able to experience a friend ordering a young pig which was almost like embryo in texture.  Thus, he skipped being a local this time.

The meat was succulent and tasty (thanks to almost a pond of mushroom sauce). Both of us do agree that  Morton's steakhouse is still at the top of our list.

And now...what did HT wife got?

A good portion of Cochinillo!  Tracing my roots included making myself at home in this country.  And food is a good medium of transporting me back to my home.  This roasted suckling pig, was perfect for my tastebuds just like our lechon (roasted pig) in the Philippines. (we just made our version of cochinillo bigger...the more the merrier).

And for Filipinos, we consider a lechon perfectly cooked when....
the pig skin is crispy at its finest!  The skin was thin and gave good crack sounds everytime I bite on it.  I didn't mind acting like a scavenger when HT hubbie threw a few pieces at the side of his plate.  (he's not fond of it)

The meat was very tender and not dry.  It was full of flavor from it's own juice.

The other table was amazed by my eating skills of cochinillo.  They had difficulty eating it and I ate mine up to the bones.  Yum!

HT hubbie witnessed my biggest smile ever after I took the last bite of my meal.

If ever you'll be in Madrid, I highly recommend this might be famous for tourists but prices are reasonable (20+ euro per plate).  They served tap water (agua de grifo) and do keep in mind that nothing is for free in Europe (and Spain is not an exception) if you're not eating the bread they served at the start of your dinner, let them know so you won't be shocked when your bill arrives.

Price Summary (in Euros)
Sopa de Ajo: 8+ euros
Main courses: 20+ euros
*wide range selection of Rioja wine

Restaurante El Sobrino de Botin
Calle de los Cuchilleros 17
Madrid Spain (near Plaza Mayor)
+34 913 664 217


  1. I want that crispy pig skin. Hmm next stop Madrid, all thanks to you :)

  2. You're welcome PY! So far, Spain is the food haven for me in Europe :)