DISCOVER MADRID’S CENTURIES-OLD RESTAURANTS NOW DECLARED AS BEING OF SIGNIFICANT CULTURAL AND TOURISTIC INTEREST
Madrid has declared its Restaurantes Centenarios (Centuries-old Restaurants) as having cultural and touristic interest.
Madrid’s City Council has declared its Restaurantes Centenarios as spaces of cultural and touristic interest. These establishments are identified by their traditional, cultural and gastronomic heritage accumulated over hundreds of years of history. Madrid is valuing these restaurants as their survival has been seriously threatened by the global pandemic.
There are 12 establishments that make up the Association of Centenarian Restaurants and Taverns of Madrid (RCM) whose objective is to combine efforts to consolidate the traditional gastronomy of Madrid and create a wider appreciation of the Centuries-old Restaurants and Taverns of Madrid, both within and outside regional and international borders.
The Madrid Tourism Board has created a map to help travellers discover the time-honoured establishments where diners can savour many of Madrid’s traditional dishes such as cocido (Madrid-style stew), soldaditos de pavía (battered and deep-fried cod with red peppers), and callos (tripe), or just enjoy a caña of beer, a glass of vermouth on tap, or wines from the region.
Aside from treasuring the history of gastronomy, the Restaurantes Centenarios have witnessed the evolution of politics, literature and art. Significant chapters in the history of Madrid have been written within their walls such as in Lhardy (1839) where the overthrowing of monarchy and politicians was plotted and ministerial meetings have been held with Miguel Primo de Rivera, former President of the Council of Ministers.
The Spanish Tourist Office has highlighted just a handful of these restaurants and taverns, all of which opened over a hundred years ago, to showcase the essence of what makes them so special:
La Casa del Abuelo (Vitoria) continues to serve its famous prawns in a variety of ways: with garlic served in a ceramic dish; sizzling with garlic, oil and parsley; griddled to perfection and served with coarse salt; in pastry; or skewers, always accompanied by “El Abuelo” sweet wine or Toro wine. These traditional dishes have been served in the same famous way since 1906.
Antonio Sanchez Tavern, found in the Lavapiés district, is the oldest tavern in Madrid. Although its exact opening date is a mystery, we do know it was sometime before 1787. The menu is entirely dedicated to traditional Madrilenian cooking.
Casa Ciriaco was founded in the heart of the Calle Mayor at the end of the 19th century. All manner of famous faces have passed through here including writer Valle-Inclán and cartoonist Antonio Mingote.
Botín, on Calle Cuchilleros, is considered to be the oldest restaurant in the world. The restaurant has maintained its original atmosphere so much so that the building’s wood-burning oven, which still roasts suckling pigs and lambs in a Castilian style, is the same as that of 1725.
According to data provided by the RCM, the turnover of the Restaurantes Centenarios has dropped by up to 80%, which is almost entirely down to the lack of visitors during the pandemic. As a result of their traditional and original layouts, many of the restaurants do not have the facility to provide outdoor dining. This means they have not been able to accommodate diners when restrictions have been eased. Furthermore, due to their unique characteristics, they do not have sufficient demand for home delivery.
To help alleviate this situation and to honour their cultural and gastronomic heritage, Madrid has declared these establishments places of significant cultural and touristic interest.
For more information on the Centenarian Restaurants, please visit www.esmadrid.com/en/centuries-old-restaurants-madrid
For more information on the Association of Centenarian Restaurants and Taverns of Madrid (RCM), please visit www.restaurantescentenarios.es/en