“We lunched up-stairs at Botin’s. It is one of the best restaurants in the world. We had roast young suckling pig and rioja alta…. I ate a very big meal and drank three bottles of rioja alta.” (Ernest Hemingway, “The Sun Also Rises”)
When you have existed as long as Botin has, it being the oldest restaurant in the world according to the folks at Guinness, there are likely going to be many things written about you and you are likely to have swung in and out of and back into the public’s attention much like a metronome. Botin is now an institution, a landmark for visitors, a place to photograph and to be photographed at, a must-do on everyone’s Madrid list. At its core, however, Botin has remained an excellent restaurant and that keeps it from becoming a parody of itself. The scent of the wood burning stove wafts tantalizing through its narrow corridors; its stairs and washrooms, diminutive and designed for a lost generation, are filled with memories and you know that once you have stepped into the old space that you, like all who have entered before you, will become a part of the restaurant’s rich history. So do what I assume Hemingway must have done on several occasions and have the pig and the rioja, although I might, respectfully, recommend stopping at that first or maybe second bottle.