This post was completely inspired by the television show “Bizarre Foods” with Andrew Zimmern. A few years ago, I caught this show in which he visited Casa Botin in Spain, the oldest restaurant in the world. From that point, it made a fast track onto my bucket list.
We had initially made dinner reservations for Botin via their website upon our first day in Spain. However, when we got to our hotel, our room was not ready so we walked around the hot and sunny city of Madrid in the middle of World Youth Day 2011. When I say it was hot, it was REALLY hot. I had a backpack holding my laptop and a long sleeve shirt. We had been on a plane for 12+ hours coming to Madrid so we were all a bit tired. Being hungry, we thought, ” why not have our first meal in Spain be at Casa Botin”. It indeed would be a fitting start that our first spanish meal would consist of one of the reasons Spain actually went up on my radar in the first place.
I whipped out my computer and pulled the address from Evernote (this was a godsend for planning a trip BTW). Found it eventually and we found the restaurant after a lot of walking (which only built up our appetite). We waited about 10-15 minutes for them to open for their lunch service and told them we came for lunch instead of dinner. Walking inside the restaurant was pretty historic. Everything was old, and you could see the shadows of hundreds of years of patrons walking through the same stairs and hallways as we were at that moment. We sit down at a nice table, and there was a Japanese couple in the same room as us (it just opened for the day so we were the first ones there).
After ordering a bottle of 2010 Gran Feudo Rosada appeared on the table.
We ordered a Grilled Steak Filet Botin. It was a very tender rare filet covered in mushrooms cooked with wine. The mushrooms appeared canned, which isn’t a bad thing in Spain.
The main thing we came was for the roasted suckling baby pig. This is what we waited for. I was surprised it wasn’t the entire whole suckling pig, but a few sections. Nonetheless, the dish was outstanding. Skin was very crispy and the meat was extremely flavorful.
Squid cooked in its ink was another item we saw on Bizarre Foods, so we ordered that. I loved it. Like Andrew Zimmern said, it was murky and I loved that taste. The squid was tender, not chewy, and just had a really homey feel to it. I scooped the ink sauce on the rice and on the bread brought to our table (we were charged for this though).
The desserts were rather forgettable, a pineapple with some syrup and a scoop of ice cream.
It was a great trek to the oldest restaurant in the world. I am certain its not my last taste of the wonderful Casa Botin, as I will return when I do come back to Madrid.
Note: This visit occured on August 19, 2011