Centuries-old restaurants and tabernas - Saborea España

Centuries-old restaurants and tabernas

Centuries-old restaurants and tabernas

A journey through the history of Madrid

Madrid’s Association of Centuries-old Restaurants and Tabernas is formed by twelve establishments steeped in the history of not only the city’s distinguished gastronomy, but also its politics, literature, art, and bullfighting. The most popular among tourists is Casa Botín, which opened its doors in 1725 by the arches of Arco de Cuchilleros; the magnificent Posada de la Villa was founded in 1642 and pays homage to everything traditional on Calle Cava Baja; Casa Pedro opened its doors in 1702 in the district of Fuencarral as a roadhouse for people travelling north of Madrid; Casa Alberto was founded in 1827 on Calle de las Huertas at the same address where Miguel de Cervantes wrote Journey to Parnassus; the Taberna de Antonio Sánchez, on Calle de Mesón de Paredes, was established in 1839 by the bullfighter Colita; in the same year, Lhardy – the most literary of Madrid’s restaurants – opened its doors on Carrera de San Jerónimo; Casa Labra opened in 1860 on Calle de Tetuán, right by Puerta del Sol; Casa Ciriaco was established as a wine store in 1887 on Calle Mayor; Café Gijón can be found on Paseo de Recoletos and dates back to 1888; Bodega de la Ardosa located on Calle de Colón, close to Gran Vía avenue, opened its doors in 1892; Malacatín opened in 1895 on Calle de la Ruda, within walking distance of the Rastro (flea market); and, last but not least, the youngest of the twelve, Casa del Abuelo was founded in 1906 on Calle de la Victoria, a street brimming with bullfighting history.

Points of interest:

Casa Ciriaco

  • Address: Calle Mayor, 84 Madrid 28013
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from midday to 11:00pm. Sunday and Monday from midday to 4:00pm.
  • GPS: 40.41528, -3.71231
  • Phone: +34 915 48 06 20
  • Email: info@casaciriaco.es
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Español e inglés.
  • Description: This traditional taberna has formed part of Madrid’s history since the end of the 19th century, when it was known as Casa Baliñas. In 1923, it was acquired by the brothers Pablo and Ciriaco Muñoz Sanz, to whom it owes the name that hangs above the door today.
  • Reasons to visit: This restaurant was fully renovated in the summer of 2018 and its ownership changed hands, yet its traditional, homemade menu is still the same, serving the likes of chicken fricassee and Madrid-style cocido (chickpea and meat stew).
  • What’s on offer: Casa Ciriaco, a former wine shop founded in 1887, is named after Ciriaco Muñoz Sanz who, alongside his brother Pablo, breathed life into this family-run business and transformed it into a restaurant in 1929. Serving local cuisine that Madrid is renowned for, such as cocido, chicken fricassee, veal tripe and many more. On the wall, a charming tile reminds us that the painter Ignacio Zuloaga, who lived close by, had dinner there for the last time on 25 October 1945.  Ciriaco was also a place that many of his friends frequented, including the artists Eduardo Vicente and Gerardo Rueda (who also lived close by); the writers Valle, Camba and Bergamín; the bullfighters Juan Belmonte and Domingo Ortega, and the comedian Mingote. What’s more, on 31 May 1906, the anarchist Mateo Morral threw a bomb from this very building. His target was King Alfonso XIII of Spain and his wife, who had just got married in the district of los Jerónimos. The attack caused twenty-five deaths and over one hundred people were injured.
  • Resident’s tip: On the 23 April every year – the Eve of Max Estrella – a literary tour that follows in the footsteps of the protagonist of Valle-lnclán’s Bohemian Lights starts on the doorstep of this very restaurant.
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Sobrino de Botín

  • Address: Calle de Cuchilleros, 17 Madrid 28005.
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm and 8:00pm to midnight.
  • GPS: 40.414188, -3.707986
  • Phone: +34 91 366 42 17
  • Email: aegonzalez@botin.es
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English
  • Description: The oldest restaurant in the world is right here in Madrid. Casa Botín opened its doors in 1725 on Calle de los Cuchilleros, a stone’s throw away from Plaza Mayor. Its firewood oven — in which large Castilian-style roast dishes have been prepared for centuries — is still used to this day.
  • Reasons to visit: Ranked third on the list of the most classic restaurants in the world by the prestigious magazine Forbes, Botín is currently run by the fourth generation of the González family, successors of the family who originally founded this establishment.
  • What’s on offer: It was Cándido Remis, the famous nephew or “Sobrino” of the Frenchman Jean Botin, restaurateur in the Plaza de Herradores, who opened the doors of this eatery in 1725 by the arches of Arco de Cuchilleros. From writers such as Galdós, Arniches, Camba, Valle and Hemingway to politicians, bullfighters and actors, many are those who have flocked to try its legendary dishes of roasted lamb and suckling pig. Don’t miss the pictures hanging on its walls, including a scene that depicts 16th century Madrid painted in 1956 by Pierre Schild – a mysterious Russian artist, remembered above all for his set design for films by Buñuel and Edgar Neville.
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Posada de la Villa

  • Address: Calle de la Cava Baja, 9 Madrid 28005
  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm and 8:00pm to midnight. Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:00pm.
  • GPS: 40.413126, -3.708449
  • Phone: +34 913 661 860
  • Email: reservas@posadadelavilla.com
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  • Languages: Spanish and English.
  • Description: The spectacular Posada de la Villa, on Calle de Cava Baja, was the first of its kind in Madrid, founded in 1642. Reopened as a restaurant in 1980 by Félix Colomo, it pays homage to everything traditional: Madrid-style cocido (meat and chickpea stew), veal tripe, oxtail stew, chicken fricassee, plus a variety local seafood dishes, despite the distance!
  • Reasons to visit: Highlights on the menu include the best of Castilian- and Madrid-style cuisine, with house specialities such as cocido (meat and chickpea stew) cooked slowly in a casserole pot and wood-fired roasted lamb.
  • What’s on offer: In the heart of La Latina neighbourhood, this centuries-old establishment began life as the only flourmill in Madrid. In 1642, it was reopened as the first inn of the Spanish Court, offering food and shelter to all travellers when they arrived in Madrid. As the other boarding houses of the city fell into decline, this posada was no exception, and it too eventually went to ruin. In 1980, it was Félix Colomo who both rescued and restored the inn to the restaurant we know today, specialising in traditional cuisine of the capital.
  • Resident’s tip: In addition to being included in the Michelin Guide, La Posada has been awarded with multiple awards and prizes including the International Gastronomic “Gran Collar” Prize, the National Prize of Traditional Gastronomy and the Chaine des Rotisseurs, in addition to being recognised by the Madrid City Council as a Centuries-old Business thanks to its service excellence to citizens.
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  • Address:: Calle de la Ruda , 5 Madrid 28005
  • Opening hours: Sunday to Tuesday from 11:00am to 6:00pm
  • GPS: 40.410320, -3.707625
  • Phone: +34 913 655 241
  • Email: reservas@malacatin.com
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English.
  • Description: The history of this traditional taberna dates back to 1895 – the year that Julián Díaz García, born and bred in Cuenca, opened an alcohol and spirits store on Calle de la Ruda. It was there, in the area of the Rastro (flea market), that it began to grow in popularity, renowned amongst locals both for the warm hospitality of the owner and his family and for the busker who’d play his guitar in the entrance to the shop. The story goes that he would sing “tin, tin, malacatín” giving the taberna the name that still hangs above the door today.
  • Reasons to visit: In the 50s, one of Julián’s daughters took the helm of the taberna and registered it officially under the name Malacatín. Injecting new life into the business, homemade recipes made using quality ingredients were added to the menu at reasonable prices. Not long after, they began to serve what is today the house speciality: Madrid-style cocido (meat and chickpea stew) made with only the best products and served in three dishes.
  • What’s on offer: Now run by the fourth generation of the family, Malacatín prides itself on being a true temple to food and serving the best of the capital’s cuisine. You can’t leave without trying their traditional cocido and other classic dishes from the capital, including a diverse selection of tapas and canned products. The wine list boasts a variety of Spanish and international wines from France, Germany, Italy and Morocco, and there is also a special menu for groups.
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Antonio Sánchez

  • Address: Calle del Mesón de Paredes, 13 Madrid, 28012.
  • Opening hours: Sunday to Tuesday from 11:00am to 6:00pm Wednesday to Saturday from 11:00am to midnight.
  • GPS: 40.411088, -3.704839
  • Phone: +34 915 397 826
  • Email: taberna.antonio.sanchez@gmail.com
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English.
  • Description: The Taberna Antonio Sánchez is Madrid’s oldest traditional taberna. Even though the exact date this restaurant was founded is somewhat of a mystery, we do know it was before February 1787 when it was published in the newspaper Diario Curioso, Erudito, Económico y Comercial that it would reopen as a wine cellar.
  • Reasons to visit: In the 19th century, the taberna rose in popularity, becoming the place for intellectuals from the worlds of bullfighting, culture and the arts to gather together to debate and discuss an array of topics. In 1884, it was purchased by Antonio Sánchez Ruiz, the son of well-known tavern keepers, whose name hangs above the door today. In fact, it was his son, the bullfighter Antonio Sánchez Ugarte who inherited the place, breathing new life into it as a regular meeting place for personalities such as Pío Baroja, Sorolla, Marañón, Camba, Cossio, Juan Cristóbal Vázquez Díaz, and Antonio Díaz Cañabate. What’s more, it hosted the final exhibition of the renowned painter Ignacio Zuloaga, of whom Antonio Sánchez was both a great friend and student. The book, The History of a Taberna, by writer and journalist Antonio Díaz Cañabate, captures the past of this timeless spot, which is also cited in Camilo José Cela’s novel Bullfighting and was the place the poetess Gloria Fuertes chose to write many of her stories and poems.
  • What’s on offer: The menu boasts 100% homemade Spanish recipes, with a focus on cuisine of the capital. Favourites include oxtail stew, Madrid-style cocido, olla gitana (pumpkin, pear and vegetable stew) and local veal tripe and snout. The restaurant also serves a range of vegetarian options and food can also be ordered to take away. What’s more, pets are welcome.
  • Resident’s tip: The land registry plan for the building dates back to 1749, when Philip IV of Spain was on the throne. It shows that the space occupied by the taberna is one and the same, and that no changes were made to it over the course of time. Steeped in almost 250 years of history, visit this timeworn eatery to travel back to the Spain of the past with the best traditional cuisine. 
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Casa Alberto

  • Address: Calle de las Huertas, 18, 28012 Madrid.
  • Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from midday to 11:00pm. 
  • GPS: 40.413842, -3.700093
  • Phone: +34 914 299 356
  • Email: casaalberto@casaalberto.es
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English
  • Description: Casa Alberto, located on Calle de las Huertas, was founded in 1827, in the exact spot where the house in which Cervantes wrote Journey to Parnassus stood. On its walls hang pictures and photos of the clientele that have passed through its doors, hailing from the worlds of bullfighting (given its proximity to the ticket offices on Calle de la Victoria and the hotel of the same name), theatre (with the Teatro Español and Teatro de la Comedia just around the corner) and sport.
  • Reasons to visit: The highlights of this traditional restaurant are its vermouth on tap, veal tripe, oxtail stew, and Madrid-style cod. When Ferdinand VII of Spain was on the throne, locals would head to Casa Alberto for a chato (small glass) of wine, served alongside boiled egg and cod. Nowadays, the menu includes a variety of typical local dishes, including Madrid-style veal tripe and cod. The house speciality dish of stewed oxtail stew is considered one of the best in the entire capital.
  • Resident’s tip: Before you leave, on the second floor of this old taberna are relics of the building from Cervantes’ time and later. Discover this display, which includes the writer’s zinc notebook alongside a wooden onyx bar, a bottle rack, a Seltz water pressure gauge, an old, valuable tap, a cash register, columns, and ticket boxes where tickets were sold for the theatre claques.
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Casa del Abuelo

  • Address: Calle Victoria, 12 Madrid 28012.
  • Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday from midday to midnight. Friday and Saturday from midday to 1:00am.
  • GPS: 40.415733, -3.701724
  • Phone: +34 910 000 133
  • Email: hola@lacasadelabuelo.es
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English.
  • Description: For over 100 years, Casa del Abuelo has been serving its house speciality all the ways it knows best. Here you can choose from prawns al ajillo – doused in garlic infused oil and parsley, and served in individual clay pots; a la plancha – grilled to perfection and sprinkled with coarse-grained salt; en gabardina (fried) or en banderillas (on cocktail sticks). Order your favourite alongside the house “El Abuelo” sweet wine or wine from the Toro denomination of origin.
  • Reasons to visit: This traditional taberna is a place where the prawn is celebrated and served together with a glass of sweet wine. 
  • Resident’s tip: Step through the door of Casa del Abuelo to discover a corner of Madrid where time has stood still. Run by four generations of the same family, the utmost respect to authenticity and tradition prevails, with a rather unusual business strategy of not evolving with the times. What’s more, not only did Casa del Abuelo became the first taberna to sell sandwiches made with chorizo, anchovies and sobrasada Mallorcan sausage, it also once sold more than 1,500 sandwiches in one single day!
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  • Address: Carrera de San Jerónimo, 8 Madrid 28014
  • Opening hours: De lunes a sábado de 9:00h a 22:00h. Domingos de 10:00h a 15:00h.
  • GPS: 40.416650, -3.701280
  • Phone: +34 915 213 385
  • Email: lhardy@lhardy.com
  • Web: go to the web
  • Access:     (Parking Metro Sevilla) 
  • Language: Spanish and English
  • Description: Lhardy was Madrid’s first luxury restaurant. Opened in 1839 by Eugenio Huguemei, it embodies the splendour of Spanish and international haute cuisine, attested to by over 175 years as a focal point of city life.
  • Main offer: On the menu, you’ll find typical Madrid fare such as cocido (chickpea stew) served en dos vuelcos, or two different courses, which is likely among the best in the city. There are also traditional game dishes, cooked in sauce, and the house specialities, including Madrid-style tripe, glazed loin of venison, stewed partridge and wild duck a l’orange, deserve a special mention.
  • Main products: Lhardy also has a shop where you can purchase a large selection of gourmet products and choose from a wide variety of wines, company gifts and Christmas hampers.
  • Resident’s tip: The restaurant has a main dining room, the Isabelline Room, as well as 5 private dining rooms: the Japanese Room, the White Room, the Sarasate Room, the Gayarre Room and the Tamberlick Room. Decorated with timeless 19th century elegance, they have borne witness to important meetings of politicians and intellectuals where decisions were made to topple republics and oust monarchs, regents and dictators.
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Casa Labra

  • Address: Calle de Tetuán, 12 Madrid 28013.
  • Opening hours: 11:00am to 3:30pm and 6:00pm to 11:00pm. Open every day of the year, including Sundays, except 1 January.
  • GPS: 40.417183, -3.704610
  • Phone: +34 915 310 081
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English
  • Description: This age-old establishment was founded in 1860 at number 12, Calle Tetuán, within a stone’s throw of Puerta del Sol.
  • Reasons to visit: The bar is greatly renowned for its tapas, especially its freshly fried cod slices and cod croquettes. In its lounge, a variety of other tapas and cod dishes are served, in addition to typical dishes from Madrid, including starters, oxtail stew, tripe, and a hand-picked selection of wines.
  • What’s on offer: The decor of the establishment still remains the same, as does its original curved shop front and a curious glass sign with its name above the door. Inside, it boasts a zinc bar counter and traditional marble tables, with several paintings and plaques etched with sayings that record the taberna’s history on its walls. There are two rooms, one of which is the restaurant serving à la carte meals, and the other serving raciones (dishes to share).
  • Resident’s tip: This restaurant has played witness to the history of Madrid; it was here that, on 2 May 1879, Pablo Iglesias founded the clandestine Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party. 

Bodega de la Ardosa

  • Address: Calle de Colón, 13 28004 Madrid
  • Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday from 11:00am to 5:00pm and 7:00pm to midnight. Friday and Saturday from 11:00am to 5:00pm and 7:00pm to 1:00am.
  • GPS: 40.423799, -3.701827
  • Phone: +34 915 214 979
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English
  • Description: In 1892, Rafael Fernández opened a series of traditional tabernas under the name La Ardosa, after the town of the same name in the province of Toledo. To this day, the classic establishment located in Malasaña still features its original decoration, including its etched glass sign above the door, tiled skirting and ceiling fan.
  • Reasons to visit: Over the years, La Ardosa has become a unique place to visit, and prides itself on teaching its waiters and the many lovers of beer who have passed through its doors new ways to serve and enjoy the drink.
  • What’s on offer: Don’t miss the large selection of very affordable Irish beers, vermouth on tap, pale ales, and good quality wine from the Ribera and Rioja regions. To eat, choose from a variety of canapés, salmorejo (cold soup made with blended tomatoes and breadcrumbs), salted fish, cecina (salted dried meat) from León, or cured Iberian ham. You can’t miss the house speciality of tortilla de patatas, which is said to be one of the best Spanish omelettes in the entire city.
  • Resident’s tip: Don’t leave without taking a look at the unique tiles on the walls. And don’t forget to get there early, as the place fills up very quickly.
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Café Gijón

  • Address: Paseo de Recoletos, 21 Madrid 28001.
  • Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 7:00am to 2:00am
  • GPS: 40.422297, -3.692306
  • Phone: +34 915 215 425
  • Email: cafegijon@cafegijon.net
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English.
  • Description: In 1888, the Asturian-born Gurmensindo Gómez returned from Cuba and settled down in Madrid to invest the fruits of his labour in a café. On 15 May of the same year, he opened the doors of the “Gran Café de Gijón” in honour of his hometown. Gurmensindo never dreamt that this coffeehouse, close to Paseo de la Castellana, would come to be known as one of the finest literary cafés in the capital.
  • What’s on offer: The walls of this establishment have seen the likes of Canalejas, Ramón y Cajal, Pérez Galdós, Romero de Torres, Ramón María del Valle-Inclán, Cossío, Cañabate, Gerardo Diego, Torrente Ballester, Sastre, Cela, and the list goes on. In 1914, the owner sold the café to the barber Benigno López Jabato for a price of 240,000 reales (more than 50,000 pesetas), and under the conditions that it would remain a café and that the name above the door would not change. To this day it is still a place for intellectual and literary debates and discussions.
  • What’s on offer: The centuries-old Café Gijón has featured in an array of books, films and paintings by prestigious artists, including “Crónicas del Café Gijón” by Marino Gómez Santos, “La noche que llegué al Café Gijón” by Francisco Umbral and “La Ronda del Gijón”, a book by Marcos Ordoñez that compiles the stories of 17 people with some connection to the café.
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Casa Pedro

  • Address: Calle Nuestra Señora de Valverde, 119 Madrid 28034.
  • Opening hours: Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to midnight. Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm.
  • GPS: 40.497454, -3.687000
  • Phone: +34 917 340 201
  • Email: info@casapedro.com
  • Web: go to main web
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  • Languages: Spanish and English
  • Description: Without a doubt one of the best restaurants in Madrid, serving exquisite dishes inspired by local recipes. Since 1825, it has prided itself on being one of the leaders in Castilian cuisine, by using the best, freshest ingredients. This welcoming spot is brimming with antiques, with a bare-brick wine cellar and charming terrace.
  • Reasons to visit: The establishment started out as a small diner and eatery in the town of Fuencarral, now a neighbourhood of the capital, serving food to people travelling along the former French motorway and those who arrived in Madrid. The people of Fuencarral made their living in the fields, tending to agriculture and livestock, and it was also a royal hunting area where the monteros (royal hunters) lived. The Guiñales family have been at the helm of this inn since its beginnings, despite its name changing various times, with references to “Mesón Nuevo”, “Casa de la Silvestra” and “Casa de La Pascuala” being found.
  • What’s on offer: On the menu choose from homemade stews, rabbit in garlic sauce and dishes of wood-fired roasted lamb doused in the house’s special wines. Over the years, its clients have included King Juan Carlos I of Spain, in addition to many an illustrious personality from the world of art, sport and entertainment.
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