Restaurants have been a part of Spanish culture for centuries. Indeed Spain is home to the oldest surviving restaurant in the world. According to the Guinness book that would be Sobrino de Botín(established 1725) just off Plaza Mayor in Madrid. Botín is merely the oldest and you’ll find many other eateries that are well over 100 years old. Most of these restaurants began as coach houses, places where travellers stopped for the night. Or they were like Botín, what today we might call a working-class tavern or pub. It was then a lane full of workshops, smithies, potters and the like. At mealtimes the workmen would come to Botín for bread and wine, a bit of ham or chorizo. And some respite from the afternoon sun.
Horno Asador (Roasting Oven)
Restaurante (Restaurant)Arzak in the Basque Country or Bulli in Cantalunya, reservations are required year round and often far in advance.
Casa de Comidas (Working-Class Restaurant)There is one type of restaurant that is never mentioned in guide books. And we are reluctant to do so here. But we trust you not to spread this around. Want a cheap meal of wholesome fare with good service? Unless you are staying at an expensive hotel, you could ask the receptionist “where do you go for lunch?” or ask them “where can I find a working-class restaurant?” They will probably direct you to a place across the street or otherwise very near. Working-class restaurants are, penny for penny, the best deal in Spain.
Tasca (Tapas Bar)
Jamónería (Ham House)Palacio de la Bellota, Valencia. ‘Donde jamón es jamón!’ is their proud motto. ‘Where ham is ham!’ More guides to eateries in other countries here.
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