Madrid: Chocolaterier St Gines — The Best Hot Chocolate and Churros

After the suckling pig lunch at the world’s oldest restaurant, we went for dessert. High on our list of stuff to eat in Madrid is churros and hot chocolate. Yeah, we had eaten that several times already for the past two weeks but visiting this one restaurant is gonna be different. This time we are going to the restaurant that is regarded as the best.

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Central Madrid is not very big. We could walk to most of the places. So we walked to look for the restaurant. I knew it was along Calle Arenal which is just minutes from our hotel. This is one of the many busy pedestrian malls radiating from Puerta del Sol which is the center of Madrid.

We walked up and down this street three times and could not locate a place called Chocolaterier St Gines.

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It was only the third time on this street that we finally spotted a lighted sign with that name. All the while we thought it was going to be on Calle Arenal but it was not. It was on a side street and if we did not look hard enough we would not have noticed at all.

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I love that place. It is hard to believe that this restaurant had been around for the past 120 years. The place looked like the same as it was back when it opened. The place does look upscale and definitely very clean and bright which is accentuated by the mirrors and waiters in white shirts and gelled hair.

See the big shiny copper pot in the picture above? That is where the hot chocolate is dispensed from.

Gosh, this place reeks of sugar and sweetness that I can virtually feel it.

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They do have other things but every table we saw had churros and hot chocolate.

We are here for that only. So we said to the waiter that we wanted churros and hot chocolate but he asked us … (more…)

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Madrid: Dining in Botin, the Oldest Restaurant in the World

For our “big restaurant” visit in Madrid we picked Botin.

Botin is well known as the oldest restaurant in the world which is disputable. We knew up front that this restaurant is now a tourist magnet but we just wanted to go there to experience dining there.

Dining in the world’s oldest restaurant is a big item on our bucket list and we are happy to tick that off the list.

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It was not too long a walk from the Royal Palace of Madrid. We knew it was near the Plaza Mayor and so we walked in that general direction. We actually thought it was INSIDE the Plaza Mayor. We walked round and round the plaza and then outside before we stumbled upon THE restaurant.

We were looking for Botin and did not realize that the official name of the restaurant is long.

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For what it’s worth, Botin can lay claim to being the oldest restaurant in the world because the Guinness Book of Records said so.

Botin is founded in 1725 which makes it almost 300 years old today.

Actually, Botin had never been operating in the same place over it’s history. Anyway, I checked and found the following interesting article about the history of restaurants.

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Botin is in a really old building. The whole structure of the building is made with heavy timber and beams seasoned over the years. It is just simply amazing to think that the great Spanish painter Goya worked here as a waiter before and not to mention Ernest Hemingway too.

We were led to the dining area upstairs. There is also a dining area downstairs and I suspect that they also have other floors too. But it was early for lunch and so only the ground floor was packed.

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Service is excellent. It is obvious that speaking English is not a problem here. We can see that most of the customers here are tourists but there are also a few tables of locals. At least we think they are local because … (more…)

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