The Oven At The World's Oldest Restaurant Has Been Burning For Almost 300 Years

Backed by the Guinness Book of World Records, Sobrino de Botín is the oldest operating restaurant in the world. Founded in 1725 in Madrid, Botín has been serving guests in its charming, brick-lined establishment for nearly three centuries (per Food & Wine). Its cellar, once lined with vintage Spanish wines, dates back even further to 1590 (per Bro Bible). Surviving war, famine, plague, and political uprising, the restaurant is a historical landmark whose heart beats with the stories and recipes of countless generations.

According to its website, Botín has sustained a series of renovations, primarily to accommodate its increase in popularity as a tourist attraction for curious travelers from all walks of life. However, one asset of the restaurant remains unscathed — its oven. Not only has the oven endured hundreds of years, but it has been burning the entire time. Luis Javier Sanchez, a Botín employee who has manned the kitchen for over four decades, told Food & Wine that its oven "needs to keep hot at night and be ready to roast in the morning. That's the reason why we must never put it out. There is a special aroma in there; it's truly incredible."

The ancient oven is seasoned to perfection

While your 10-year-old cast iron pan may be seasoned with years of pepper, spices, herbs, and acids, it will never live up to Botín's artifact of an oven. At least not for another 300 years. An ancient inferno relentlessly burning the vestiges of recipes perfected in the 1700s, Botín's wood-fired oven is a smoldering portal to a distant past. The restaurant's specialty dish, suckling pig, is baked in a storm of three centuries' seasonings, which gives it a peerless flavor that even the great American writer Ernest Hemingway enjoyed, as detailed in his novel "The Sun Also Rises" (per Insider).

The restaurant also offers other delectable roasted and grilled entrees like its filet mignon, roast chicken, veal, and lamb. Additionally, Botín offers vegetable plates served with ham, egg dishes for a morning fix, gazpacho soup, clams, fish casserole, and a delightful array of desserts. Perhaps one of the most inviting attractions of the restaurant is its prices. Almost every dish on Botín's menu is under 30 euros. So the next time you find yourself exploring the vast wonders of Madrid, book a reservation at the world's oldest restaurant and get a taste of Botín's ancient, seasoned oven.