One of the things you must do when visiting Madrid for the first time is to dine at Restaurant Botin. This is recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the oldest surviving restaurant in the World - established in 1725 and still going strong. It wouldn't be worth a mention if the food is no good, but the food is actually great - especially the famous roast suckling pig.
Being so famous, Restaurant Botin is now a tourist attraction in its own right. You will see lots of tourist groups from all over the World flocking there - but do not be put off. The service is wonderful and the quality of the food doesn't disappoint.
We booked the lunch through Insider's Madrid, a tour company run by a very nice British lady Joanna Wivell. The tour is called The Botin Experience. At the appointed time we were met by Joanna herself outside the restaurant - who proceeded to give us a historical introduction and tour of the restaurant before lunch. She showed us all the nooks and crannies of the restaurant - including the basement cellar and dining room, the kitchen and all the other dining rooms. It is definitely not an experience you will get if you went there on your own.
The dining space in the cellar.
The kitchen is surprisingly tiny.
The roasting pit where all the suckling pigs were prepared.
After the tour we were shown to the 2nd floor dining room which used to be the owner's apartment. Then the food started to arrive quickly. First was the Manchego Cheese - a very nice cheese with a pleasant nutty taste.
Roasted Red Peppers with Cod.
Scrambled Eggs with Black Pudding and Potatoes. A very tasty dish.
Sauteed Mushrooms from Segovia.
The star of the meal - roast suckling pig. The skin is crispy - but don't expect Chinese-style crispiness. The meat though is melt-in-the-mouth and delicious.
The meals ends with a selection of desserts from the menu.
A meal at Restaurant Botin is a great experience - not to be missed if you are visiting Madrid. Make sure you book through Insiders Madrid - you pay a bit more compared to going on your own - but is absolutely worth it.