Publication date November 26, 2021

6 Oldest Restaurants in the World that’s been here before your Great Grandma


How would you like to have your meal amidst an 18th century aesthetic? Picture this-you're marveling at the sky-high ceiling overhead, a grandiose chandelier that sparkles more than it illuminates, slightly worn-off yet sturdy seating with intricate details in the work, and paintings of people you wouldn’t know… because let’s be honest, history isn’t your strong suit! 

Digging the rustic, antique, and mysterious vibe already? Perfect, then hop on for a tour of these freakishly old restaurants that aged like fine wine and stood the test of time over not decades…but centuries!

Sobrino de Botin – Madrid, Spain

Year of established: 1725

Specialty: Traditional Spanish and Castillian

Average Spend: 50$ per meal

Reservation: Best bet is to make it a day prior

Sobrino de Botin holds the Guinness World for the oldest restaurant in the world which is also one of the reasons the popularity spiked. However, there are much older restaurants on the list, but Sobrino de Botin has an upper hand because it is still in its original location as brick and mortar, with the same interior as in the 1700s. The founders of the restaurant are Case Botin and Jean Botin, from France and Austria respectively, and were originally named Casa Botin. The couple did not have children to pass on the family business to, and the nephew took over eventually. He also renamed it Sobrino de Botin as ‘Sobrino’ means nephew in Spanish. It does sound like a name from the classic novels, doesn’t it? That’s because it was indeed mentioned in novelists like James A. Michener, Graham Greene, Frederick Forsyth, and Ernest Hemingway.

White House Tavern – Rhode Island, U.S.A

Year of established: 1673

Specialty: American

Average Spend: 40$ per meal

Reservation: Best bet is to make it a day prior

The building that White House Tavern sits in has seen a lot over the centuries and has a fascinating history. It was originally built in 1652 and later sold to Willian Mayes in the year 1673. After the sale, the building was remodeled and expanded to be opened as a tavern which is believed to be the oldest in the U.S. Owing to its large size and hence flexibility, the building housed a court, and later a city hall, then a meeting spot for the Rhode Island General Assembly, all at different timelines.

It was also used as housing quarters for the British and American soldiers during the Revolutionary War. The building was finally restored in 1954 from the funds of a donation made by the Van Beuren family and the restaurant also re-opened up to business as the White House Tavern in 1957.

Zur Letzten Instanz ­– Berlin, Germany

Year of established: 1621

Specialty: German

Average Spend: 35$ per meal

Reservation: Best bet is to make it a day prior

The unique selling point of this restaurant is that it’s a black away from the Berlin Wall and also serves as the oldest tavern in Berlin. The restaurant was originally named Maira Beil and then renamed in 1924 by then original owner G. Hoffman to Zur Letzten Instanz. The building suffered heavy damage during World War II and had to be renovated in 1963, but otherwise was one of the oldest buildings in the city. Evidently, the interiors also had to be remade but the owners made sure to replicate the style of the original building.

Another claim to fame of this restaurant is its guests – Napolean Bonaparte, Ludwig Von Beethoven, and even Angela Markel, the German Chancellor. 

La Tour d’Argent – Paris, France

Year of established: 1582

Specialty: French

Average Spend: 500$ per meal

Reservation: Best bet is to make it a day prior

I know what you’re thinking. 500$ per dish is A LOT! La Tour dÁrgent, however, is an upscale place with one Michelin Star and also has hosted literal royalty like King Henry IV. It also managed to acquire three Michelin stars at one point in time but lost two of them in 1996 and 2006 respectively, however, the popularity doesn’t seem to be affected.

There’s no record of King Henry IV visiting the restaurant, but other big names like Marlene Dietrich, Charlie Chaplin, and Franklin D. Roosevelt have evidently enjoyed a meal or two at La Tour dÁrgent. Still not sold on the idea of spending 500$ on a meal? What if I tell you this restaurant was the inspiration for the restaurant in Ratatouille? Still no? Well, it was worth a try!

Honke Owariya – Kyoto, Japan

Year of established: 1465

Specialty: Japanese

Average Spend: 30$ per meal

Reservation: Not required

Honke Owariya kick-started its long journey as a confectionary shop and had just relocated from the Owari province to Kyoto on the orders of the King at the time. Yea, just another day where you’re summoned by royalty, that’s totally normal, right? It was the 15th century after all. The shop took off with its infamous soba rice cakes and gradually moved on to making soba noodles in the 1700s, which made Honkey Owariya the oldest soba shop. 

The signature dish, which is unsurprisingly soba noodles, is made from quality buckwheat flour from Otoineppu, Hokkaido. When asked the secret behind the flavors of their dishes, the restaurant claims that it’s pure water. Is it just me that finds it ironic? Does pure water add flavor? Hmm, it’s okay if you don’t want to disclose the secret, Honke Owariya.

St. Peter Stiftskeller – Salzburg, Austria

Year of established: 803

Specialty: Austrian

Average Spend: 70$ per meal

Reservation: Best bet is to make it a day prior

St. Peter Stiftskeller is located within the premise of the St. Peter’s Abbey and is technically the oldest restaurant in the world. The first mention of the restaurant was made by an English scholar who went by the name Alcuin of York in 803 AD. He apparently served Bishop Arno of Salzburg and Emperor Charlemagne.

Yes, the building that now stands is a result of multiple renovations, given the time it was built it. However, the dining rooms are as original as it gets because it was carved into the cliffs in the original structure. The restaurant hosts Mozart Dinner Concerts daily which are quite a hit and are performed by the Amadeus Consolt Salzburg with about two vocalists and six musicians. They’re held in the Baroque Hall, in case you want to pop by!

Which one of these old restaurants fascinates you the most? And which one would you love to visit? My personal favorite is the La Tour d’Argent due to its association with Ratatouille and the pure Parisian aesthetics which is lost in the modern cafes popping by and disappearing every other year. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


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