Take an imaginary trip around the world via the oldest restaurants

A very old restaurant in Germany
A very old restaurant in Germany
Photo: Wolfgang Kaehler (Getty Images)
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There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing is absolutely clear: nobody’s taking any culinary vacations right now unless they involve cooking over a campfire or in the kitchen of an isolated Airbnb rental. Some of those meals are probably excellent, but they don’t compare to dining in the world’s most celebrated restaurants. Now everyone will have to do what I usually do: take an imaginary vacation.


NetCredit has decided to help us all out by creating a map of the world’s oldest restaurants and their specialties. This doesn’t mean oldest across the board, it just means the oldest in each country (or, more specifically, each country for which the mapmakers could find data). The oldest restaurant in the United States is the White Horse Tavern in Newport, Rhode Island, which specializes in Beef Wellington, a dish that did not even exist when it was founded in 1673. NetCredit has also compiled a spreadsheet of its sources and information about the oldest restaurants, including addresses and websites.

The location of the world’s oldest restaurant may surprise you. A hint: it’s not in France, even though that’s where the word “restaurant” itself originated. Examine, imagine, and enjoy.

(If your eyes are tired from staring at screens all day, there’s an enlarged version of the maps here.)

Associate editor of The Takeout. Chicagoan. Owned by dog.



Great looking map, filled with interesting places, but ...

Sobrino de Botín in Madrid, Spain, claims to be Europe’s longest continuously running restaurant. French cook Jean Botín opened the restaurant in 1725, when restaurants were only permitted to prepare food the guests brought.

They acknowledge the guys The Guinness Book of Records say is the longest continuously running restaurant, and I know the Welsh entry they list was shut for four years, which admittedly isn’t much out of nearly a thousand, but it puts a hole in the idea of continuity.

If you are in the mood to buy something of a similar age, I believe The Big Kitchen and Ice Cream Parlour is up for sale.

Also their England fork is sticking in Liverpool when Wiltons is in London, further south and to the right. As it happens, Wiltons has a head start on Rules which claims to be the oldest restaurant in London, However, London wasn’t always the capital, and there have to be some pre-18th century establishments in England that are still serving food? The Old Jerusalem Inn?