There had to be a beginning for the custom of eating meals away from one's own house and having someone else prepare the food. There are a few remarkable eateries that have somehow endured the test of time in an era where restaurants appear to come and go with the seasons. The world's oldest restaurants have a certain allure and, in so doing, have followed in the footsteps of a few of history's greatest artists and thinkers. It is even better when that aura of mystery is accompanied by some of the world's top cuisine. The following list delves into the history of eating out by examining the world's ten oldest restaurants.
10 Sobrino de Botín, Madrid, Spain (1725)
According to the Guinness Book of Records, the Sobrino de Botín, which opened its doors in 1725, is the world's oldest restaurant. It serves as a standard for the top regional cuisine in Madrid. The House, along with its two signature dishes—the mouthwatering suckling pig and lamb grilled in the Spanish manner—ranked third on Forbes' list of the world's top 10 traditional restaurants. Numerous literary figures, including Benito Pérez Galdós, Ernest Hemingway, Graham Greene, and Mara Dueas, among others, have dined at the restaurant.
- Location: Calle Cuchilleros, 17, 28005, Madrid
- Operating hours: Lunch (1 pm – 4 pm), Dinner (8 pm-midnight) every day
- Recommended dish: Suckling pig and Lamb
- Price: from $29
9 A la Petite Chaise, Paris, France (1680)
This is the second-oldest restaurant in Paris. The political, social, and artistic elite have congregated here, including Colette. Louis XIV was in power when it was established in 1680. The menu includes dishes that are textbook representations of French classics, such as French onion soup, escargot, boudin noir salads, and slabs of foie gras. Traditional French food prepared by its chefs Franck and Christophe is served in one of the three rooms or, when the weather permits, on the patio. The restaurant's two rooms on the first floor may accommodate groups of 20 to 60 customers. Delivery is available in the nearby area.
- Location: 36 Rue de Grenelle, 75007, Paris
- Operating hours: Lunch (12pm – 2:30pm), Dinner (7pm – 10pm) everyday
- Recommended dish: Escargots, Veal, and Duck breast
- Price: from $28
8 White Horse Tavern, Newport, Rhode Island, USA (1673)
This is the oldest running tavern in the US, established in 1673. It housed the Colony's General Assembly, Criminal Court, and City Council and is known as the "birthplace of the businessman's lunch" since the public administrators who visited it frequently charged their meals to the city treasury. It features classic dining rooms that serve exquisite and regional food, as well as comprehensive wine pairings from all over the world. Customers can also shop at the tavern shop.
- Location: 26 Marlborough St, Newport, RI 02840, US
- Operating hours: Monday – Thursday (5 pm-9 pm), Friday – Sunday (4 pm-9 pm)
- Popular dishes: Beef Wellington, Perigeaux Sauce, Puff Pastry, Foie Gras Mousse, Sautéed Greens, Whipped Potatoes, Glazed Carrots
- Price: from $31
7 Zur letzten Instanz, Berlin, Germany (1621)
In 1621, this establishment first opened as a tavern. It has a fascinating history and is the longest-running restaurant in Berlin. Being within a block of the Berlin Wall, it sustained significant damage during World War II and was rebuilt in 1963. Famous people, including Napoleon, Beethoven, Loriot, Jack Nicholson, and even Angela Merkel, have been served here. It features two dining areas, the Separee and the Beer Garden, where cuisines made from regional specialties created with the best ingredients are served.
- Location: Waisenstraße 14-16, 10179 Berlin, Germany
- Operating hours: Monday + Tuesday, Thursdays (Lunch: 12pm – 3pm, Dinner: from 5pm), Sundays (12pm – 4pm). Closed on Wednesdays
- Popular dish: Eisbein
- Price: from $30
6 La Tour d’Argent, Paris, France (1582)
King Henri IV is rumored to have frequented the La Tour d'Argent in Paris. The 2007 movie Ratatouille is also reported to have been inspired by this Michelin-starred restaurant. With a collection of over 450,000 wine bottles valued at 25 million euros, it has one of the best wine cellars in the entire world.
It has been providing meals since 1582, making it the earliest restaurant in Paris. Visitors are sure to be impressed by its service, especially when dining there and taking in views of Notre Dame.
- Location: 19 Quai de la Tournelle, 75005 Paris, France
- Operating hours: Lunch (12pm – 2:15pm), Dinner (7pm – 10:30pm) everyday
- House special: Pressed duck
- Average price per person: $115
5 Honke Owariya, Kyoto, Japan (1465)
This is the oldest restaurant in Japan that originally served as a candy shop. Since its establishment in 1465, this restaurant, which excels in soba noodles, has catered to everyone from Buddhist monks to wandering shoguns, including the Japanese Imperial family. The restaurant is housed in a charming old wooden structure with intriguing furnishings and tranquil settings. Traditional buckwheat noodles are its specialty, and the restaurant's delectable soup broth is made with only the "freshest" Kyoto spring well water.
- Location: Japan, 〒604-0841 Kyoto, Nakagyo Ward, Niomontsukinukecho, 322
- Operating hours: 11 am – 3:30 pm every day (hours slightly differ on Mondays as it is Marine Day)
- Popular dish: Soba noodles
- Price: $16
4 Zum Franziskaner, Stockholm, Sweden (1421)
German monks established Zum Franziskaner in Old Town Stockholm. It has been renovated multiple times and is no longer in the same form. The establishment continues to sell the same kind of beer—brewed by the monks that it did when it first opened in 1421 in its current structure, which dates to 1906. The hearty food combines the Scandinavian setting with the founders' heritage. With one of the many robust Germanic beers on tap, customers may wash down a serving of spätzle, Wienerschnitzel, or pickled herring.
- Location: Skeppsbron 44, 111 30 Stockholm, Sweden
- Operating hours: Monday (4 pm – 11 pm), Tuesday – Thursday (4 pm – 12 am), Friday – Saturday (3 pm – 12 am), Sunday (3 pm – 11 pm)
- Dish: The restaurant serves excellent dishes and beer
- Average Price: from $150
3 Bianyifang, Beijing, China (1416)
Bianyifang is Beijing's oldest Peking duck restaurant, continuing a culinary heritage that began during the Ming Dynasty. It was established well over 600 years ago and initially located in a different, far smaller area before expanding in 1827. It currently has several locations and is one of China's top 10 restaurant brands. It uses an old-fashioned roasting technique that produces juicier meat and softer skin. A method of flavor-infused duck (either "flower" or "vegetable") that is more expensive than regular poultry has been patented.
- Location: QGP8+44M, Ronghua S Rd, Daxing District, Beijing, China, 102676
- Operating hours: 10:30 am – 10 pm every day
- Popular dish: Peking duck
- Price: from $25
2 Stiftskeller St. Peter, Salzburg, Austria (803)
The oldest restaurant in the world is still operating in St. Peter's Abbey in Salzburg, where it is still housed in the original building. Although the exact date of its founding is unknown, the first mention of it in print dates to 803, in the writings of the scholar and monk Albuin, a devoted adherent of Charlemagne.
According to legend, the restaurant served both Christopher Columbus and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. However, the kitchen has been updated and now offers sophisticated versions of traditional Austrian meals as well as cutting-edge European cuisine made with ingredients that are cultivated nearby.
- Location: Sankt-Peter-Bezirk 1/4, 5020 Salzburg, Austria
- Operating hours: Monday – Friday (12 am – 11 pm), Saturday – Sunday (10 am – 11 pm)
- Popular dish: The Wiener Schnitzel
- Price: from $30
1 Fraunces Tavern, New York City, New York, USA (1762)
One of America's oldest restaurants, The Fraunces Tavern, was founded in 1762 and had a number of noteworthy and significant ties to the nation's past. For instance, George Washington moved in during the American Revolution, turned the property into his official headquarters, and finally conducted peace talks with the British while residing there.
Today, at the southernmost point of Manhattan, it houses a restaurant and whiskey bar.
- Location: 54 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10004
- Operating hours: Sunday – Wednesday (11:30 am – 12 am), Thursday – Saturday (11:30 am – Late)
- Recommended drink: Passion Fruit Sangria
- Price: $18