Old School Eats: Dining at the Oldest Restaurants in Europe

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A La Petite Chaise, 1680 (Paris)
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A La Petite Chaise, 1680 (Paris)
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A La Petite Chaise, " an historic gem in the seventh arrondissement in Paris, opened as a wine shop (with food served, too!) in 1680.

Opened by the Baron de la Chaise at the edge of his hunting preserve on what is now Rue de Grenelle, A La Petite Chaise is a traditionally Parisian restaurant with old wood paneling and ornate wall sconces. The restaurants front door is an iron gate that dates from the 17th century, which makes the building an historic monument, and the owners are prohibited from altering its appearance.

The menu features French classics such as foie gras, escargots, and French onion soup. Diners at this historic restaurant can also enjoy menu options like duck breast with apple and sweet-and-sour sauce, as well as salmon marinated in dill with a whole-grain mustard cream sauce.

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A La Petite Chaise

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Det Lille Apotek, 1720 (Copenhagen, Denmark)
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Det Lille Apotek, 1720 (Copenhagen, Denmark)
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Located in a former pharmacy, Det Lille Apotek opened its doors in 1720 and is named "The Little Pharmacy."


Det Lille Apotek is divided into four small dining rooms with low ceilings. Old walls, kerosene lamps, and stained glass windows give the restaurant its historic character.


Det Lille Apotek serves lunch and dinner. Popular dishes include cured beef tenderloin on a hot stone (which diners use to grill the meat to their liking) served with a choice of sauce, the potato of the day, grilled tomato, and mixed salad.

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Flickr / mandydale

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Hostaria dell’Orso, circa 1400s (Rome, Italy)
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Hostaria dell’Orso, circa 1400s (Rome, Italy)
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Hostaria dellOrso is a refined and elegant restaurant in the heart of Rome. Situated in an ancient building dating back to the 1400s, the restaurant has retained much of its original character and charm.


The restaurant was once a meeting place for the intellectuals of Rome, who would discuss matters of importance over a meal and glass of wine. Now, it is a restaurant, discotheque, and piano bar filled with a less sedate crowd.
Hostaria dellOrso can accommodate up to 100 diners and offers a seasonal menu of rich Italian cuisine. The chefs take traditional Italian dishes and make them innovative diners can enjoy dishes like risotto with provolone cheese fondue and sweetbreads; lamb with sweet garlic sauce, mushrooms, and a rosemary glaze; and ricotta gnocchi with prawns.

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Hostaria dell’Orso

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La Tour d’Argent, 1582 (Paris)
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La Tour d’Argent, 1582 (Paris)
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La Tour dArgent claims to have been frequented by Henri III and Henri IV. The first mention of the restaurant is in German tour book publisher Karl Baedekers 1860 guide to Paris.


The Michelin-starred restaurant, which seats 80 and has private dining rooms, has an outstanding view of Notre Dame and the Seine. La Tour dArgent has a noteworthy wine cellar that holds more than 450,000 bottles of wine, and the restaurant offers around 15,000 wines in a 400-page wine list.


The pressed duck is a specialty here the restaurant owns a farm that raises ducks, which are served for supper. Diners who order the duck are also given a postcard with the ducks serial number. Another noteworthy dish of the restaurant is Les Crepes Belle poque, which are a variation of crepes Suzette.

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Flickr / jmhullot

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Ristorante del Cambio, 1757 (Turin, Italy)
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Ristorante del Cambio, 1757 (Turin, Italy)
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Ristorante del Cambio,which remains largely unchanged since its opening in the 18th century,is located opposite the Palazzo Carignano, where Italys parliament was once located. The restaurants gilded, antique dcor of sparkling chandeliers, mirrors, and tall ceilings evokes a time gone by.


Michelin-starred chef Riccardo Ferrero oversees the kitchen. His dishes, like vitello tonnato and Piedmontese-style stuffed pasta, are specialties of Ristorante del Cambio.

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Flickr / torephoto

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Rules Restaurant, 1798 (London)
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Rules Restaurant, 1798 (London)
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Londons Rules Restaurantwas established by Thomas Rule in 1798. Rules Restaurant stayed open during World War II and survived because it was reinforced by thick wood, but during the war, it was only able to serve rationed meals of rabbit, grouse, and pheasants.


The restaurant has three floors of dining rooms with large stained glass skylights and chandeliers, and pictures and paintings cover almost every inch of the thick wood paneled walls.


Rules Restaurant serves traditional British food, but specializes in game, oysters, pies, and puddings.

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Flickr / roger4336

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Sobrino de Botín Restaurant, 1725 (Madrid)
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Sobrino de Botín Restaurant, 1725 (Madrid)
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Sobrino de Botn was founded by Frenchman Jean Botn and originally called Casa Botn, until Botns nephew inherited the eatery. Thus, the named changed to Sobrino de Botn, which means "nephew of Botn," and the name stuck. The restaurant is located in a 16th-century building and has four floors, wood-beamed dining rooms, and cast-iron ovens.


Sobrino de Botn is famous for its traditional Spanish cuisine. Specialties of the restaurant include roast suckling pig and the roast lamb, each roasted in a Castilian wood-fired oven, which dates back to the opening of the restaurant. Hemingway was a visitor of Botn and the author mentioned the restaurants signature dish, roast lamb, in his 1926 novel The Sun Also Rises.

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Wiki / Esetena

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St. Peter Stiftskeller, 803 (Salzburg, Austria)
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St. Peter Stiftskeller, 803 (Salzburg, Austria)
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Located in the center of Salzburg's old town, St. Peter Stiftskeller claims to have been in the hospitality business for more than 1,200 years, with an opening date of the year 803. The restaurant is a site on the UNESCO World Heritage list, which recognizes sites with special cultural or physical significance.


St. Peter Stiftskelleris surrounded by old monastery walls, but its interior has 21st-century dcor, giving the restaurant a unique and distinctive character. St. Peter Stiftskellerhas 11 dining rooms and a courtyard, which in total seat around 850 guests.
The menu lists classic dishes of Austrian cuisine and uses locally sourced products, such as Austrian Tafelspitz, a prime cut of beef served boiled with fried potatoes, creamed spinach, and apple horseradish, as well as beef goulash and wiener schnitzel.

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St. Peter Stiftskeller

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Tavares Rico, 1784 (Lisbon, Portugal)
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Tavares Rico, 1784 (Lisbon, Portugal)
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Tavares Rico opened its doors to the Portuguese in 1784, but at its opening, the caf only served soft drinks and fried eggs.


The meal options have expanded over the years to include traditional Portuguese fare like bacalhau and sopa alentejana (garlic soup) from Michelin-starred chef Jos Avillez.

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Tavares Rico

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The Brazen Head, 1198 (Dublin)
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The Brazen Head, 1198 (Dublin)
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The Brazen Head is one of Irelands oldest pubs, and is one of Dublins best Irish music venues, hosting live music nearly every night.


The pub doesnt just serve drinks; it also serves traditional and contemporary dishes in the bar and in its courtyard restaurant.

The Brazen Head is known for its traditional, hearty stews like beef and Guinness, and Irish stew. Restaurant specialties also include steamed Irish mussels, smoked salmon, and fresh cod breaded in beer batter.

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Flickr / Adrian-Purser

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Restauracja Wierzynek, 1364 (Kraków, Poland)
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Restauracja Wierzynek, 1364 (Kraków, Poland)
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Restauracja Wierzynek claims to have opened its doors to diners around 1364 and was mentioned in the book, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.

Restauracja Wierzynek overlooks Market Square, so pick a table by the windows to enjoy the view of the bustling area. The dining rooms of the restaurant are decorated in different themes and are furnished with historical paintings, armor, and clocks. Recently, the restaurant added a grill garden.

The menu features traditional Polish cuisine. The set tasting menu is a good way to sample the restaurants signature dishes. Traditional offerings on the menu include roast duck with apples and cranberries served with potatoes, as well as homemade dumplings with cottage cheese, sauerkraut, and mushrooms.

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Restauracja Wierzynek

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Yar Restaurant, 1826 (Moscow)
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Yar Restaurant, 1826 (Moscow)
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Yar Restaurant opened in 1826, but it moved in 1910 and now shares a building with the Sovietsky Hotel. Tolstoy and Rasputin are said to have dined here.


The main hall has high walls, columns, balconies, antique chandeliers, frescos, and a stage for live performances by cabarets. There is a separate VIP room next to the Gypsy Theatre with wall-length mirrors and a white grand piano. In total, Yar Restaurant seats 300 people.


The menu is a mix of Russian and European cuisines, with specialties such as a Russian caviar collection, foie gras and apple, and smoked duckling breast placed on a mango and strawberry salsa. This historic restaurant also serves classic Russian foods like borscht and veal Stroganoff.

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Flickr / anutkak43

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Zum Franziskaner, 1421 (Stockholm)
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Zum Franziskaner, 1421 (Stockholm)
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German monks founded Zum Franziskaner but the bar and restaurant has moved since its opening in 1421 to a historic building on the edge of Stockholms old town. The interior has booths and bar stools, large bay windows, thick wood-paneled walls, and ornately painted ceilings.


Zum Franziskaner serves German and Austrian beers and sausages, as well as Swedish specialties like isterband, a Swedish sausage served with sauce, as well as roe deer with lingonberries, fennel, goat cheese, and potato cake.

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Flickr / randomduck

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Zur Letzten Instanz, 1621 (Berlin, Germany)
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Zur Letzten Instanz, 1621 (Berlin, Germany)
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Napoleon is said to have imbibed at Zur Letzten Instanz, which has a long, storied history.


The first documented mention of the present restaurant building dates to 1561, according to the restaurant. But it was not until 1621 that the current iteration of Zur Letzten was developed. Throughout its history, the restaurant has regularly attracted the worlds most famous diners in the 1920s, the restaurant even played host to the likes of Charlie Chaplin.


Zur Letzten Instanz seats 120 people and has a beer garden with 50 seats. From the restaurant there are views of the city and diners can enjoy traditional Bavarian fare made with regional products like pickled eggs, and liver with sliced apples.

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Flickr / Tilemahos-E