Imagine dining in a restaurant that’s served kings and emperors. Or eating in a medieval chamber. Or enjoying a recipe that’s remained unchanged since the 15th century.
At the world’s oldest restaurants, these experiences await, inviting you to step back in time while savoring delectable fare.
From across the globe, we’ve rounded up restaurants that date back centuries and boast some of the most intriguing histories around. Despite some restorations and name changes, these establishments guarantee an authentic taste of culinary tradition.
St. Peter Stiftskulinarium, Salzburg, Austria
Austria is a country full of wonders, from gorgeous cathedrals to world-renowned musical history. Add to that Salzburg’s historic culinary house, St. Peter’s Stiftskulinarium, and you won’t be disappointed.
This former abbey-turned-restaurant was first mentioned in 803 AD by an aide to Charlemagne, and though the restaurant has seen many renovations over time, this ancient connection is apparent. The courtyard area boasts special seating carved from stone pillars, and there are a total 11 throwback dining environments, including a grand Baroque-style room complete with vintage chandeliers.
The staff continually strives to create an enjoyable, elevated dining experience with dishes like marinated scallops with pickled veal tongue, white asparagus and wild garlic. For a true Austrian experience, enjoy a Mozart-themed dinner concert.
Restaurante Botín, Madrid, Spain
According to the Guinness World Records, Restaurante Botín is the world’s oldest restaurant, a title it earned because — though other establishments date back further — it remains in its original building with the same interiors. Founded in 1725, the restaurant impressively uses its original firewood oven as well.
Botín has had only two families as owners: the original namesake family and the Gonzálezes, whose third generation of owners now lead the business. The restaurant has four floors for dining, and includes an exposed brick cellar, warm woodwork and stained glass throughout.
The menu has broad appeal, but the famous roast suckling pig, or cochinillio asado, is a standout.
La Tour d’Argent, Paris, France
No restaurant list would be complete without a special culinary standout from the City of Lights. Paris is home to a wealth of eateries, but La Tour d’Argent is among its oldest.
The restaurant traces its history back to 1582, when it was opened as a hostel, and it’s been captivating both tourists and Parisians in the centuries since. In the 16th century, it was the first restaurant in France to use a revolutionary new product: the fork.
Today, the restaurant continues to serve its signature item, pressed duck, first introduced in 1890. Currently at La Tour d’Argent’s helm is André Terrail, a third-generation owner who continues to cultivate the prestige of the restaurant while remaining true to its roots.
A La Petite Chaise, Paris, France
Because it began as a hostel, La Tour d'Argent is not technically Paris' oldest restaurant. That honor belongs to A La Petit Chaise, which opened its doors in 1680.
Today, this historical monument works diligently to maintain its original appearance, while serving up superlative fare with a focus on game. Artists, writers, actors and politicians have frequented the spot for centuries, and still do today.
The menu features plenty of French classics, like foie gras and escargot, but also offers dishes like seafood choucroute, a typical Alsatian dish that pairs sauerkraut and fresh fish in a creamy white butter sauce.
Stay for dessert and experience a time-honored crème brûlée, or opt for the coconut flan with dark chocolate sauce.
Rules Restaurant, London, England
London has no shortage of excellent dining options — but why not take a step back in time and see where the city’s restaurant scene began?
To do so, you’ll need to go to Rules Restaurant, London’s oldest dining establishment, with a birthdate of 1789. Settle in to one of the restaurant’s red velour booths and discover a standout meal of classic English game. The meat comes from the restaurant’s estate in the High Pennies, where staff can learn about game management.
This is the original farm-to-table experience, but with the classic elegance of fine London dining. The restaurant also offers excellent oysters, pies and puddings in the traditional British fashion.
It's appealingly modern, too, thanks to two signature cocktails with instant name recognition: the Kate Middleton “Royal 29,” which consists of gin, vodka, Lillet and crystallized violet petals, and its newest addition, the Meghan Markle’s “Royal 19” with Makers Mark, violet liquor and Cuvée Royale Champagne.
Honke Owariya, Kyoto, Japan
Step into Honke Owariya and you’ll immediately feel the sense of zen that has been cultivated for hundreds of years. Indeed, at the origin of the restaurant’s story is soba, or buckwheat flour, which is known as an essential element to zen culture to nourish the mind and body.
Honke Owariya began as a confectionary that served soba cakes in 1495, which is still one of its most popular items, though the soba noodle dish has taken off as a favorite among restaurant regulars (including the Imperial family).
One of Japan’s oldest soba shops, family operated for generations, continues to offer a peaceful setting. If you go to their original location in central Kyoto, you might even catch a Buddhist monk chanting sutras for the family’s ancestors.
Pod Starim Krovovima, Zagreb, Croatia
Croatia’s capital city of Zagreb has a plethora of cafes and pubs to whet your palate, and one of its oldest is still among the best. Pod Starim Korovima opened in 1830 and has kept the tap flowing since. The name means “Under Old Rooftops” in Croatian, and fittingly so; the restaurant features woodwork throughout, from the panels to the pine floor to the exposed beam ceilings.
It’s not hard to imagine the age of the place and all the characters who enjoyed a pint there. Indeed, the pub has managed to hang on to a bohemian-like spirit that began in the 19th century when poets, writers and other artists frequented it for some rakija, Croatia’s popular liquor distilled from fermented fruit. Today’s drinks include not only rakija options, but Vukovarsko beer on draft and Croatian wine.
The cozy atmosphere and convenient location, near the popular Saint Mark’s Square, help make this a must-see on your trip to Zagreb.
Zum Franziskaner, Stockholm, Sweden
The flavors of Zum Franziskaner were first brought to life by German monks in 1421. Since then, the restaurant has been updated with a modern yet rustic aesthetic, complete with abundant natural light, wooden pergolas and picnic-style seating for a laid-back feel.
The menu offers something for everyone, but your best bet is to start with the white beer obatzda. This Bavarian cheese dish is made by mixing aged Camembert, butter, sweet and hot paprika, and some traditional seasonings. Topped with a splash of beer and served with warm, soft bread, you’ll be in a Bavarian culinary heaven.
And that’s just the beginning. Continue on to enjoy fish, sausage, veal and duck dishes for an unforgettable experience in a historic space.
Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem, Nottingham, England
Few pubs rival the character and history of Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem, which dates back to 1189. Even the name is a history lesson: It comes from pilgrims who made a stop there, back when it was also an inn, during the Kings’ Crusade in the late 1100s. (Trip, in this sense, means a stop on your travels, not the actual journey.)
Today, “The Trip,” as it’s known to insiders, offers cellar tours and features sandstone cave rooms to explore (best discovered with a pint in hand, of course). It also has lovely garden and courtyard areas offering views of Nottingham Castle.
Thanks to a renovation this year — the first since 1996 — the restaurant now brings greater comfort to pub-goers, with some new seating and a fresh outdoor bar. Part of the renovation included adding tables with etched maps and phrases, along with other historical displays to offer an easy way for diners to learn the pub’s history.
One crucial part of the pub’s story is an old model ship covered in years of dust. Legend has it that the galleon brought a sudden and unexplained death to anyone that cleaned it, so the cursed model ship remains encased in glass, forbidden to touch. Wisely, this historical piece is staying put despite the pub’s renovations.
The Griswold Inn, Essex, United States
This quintessential colonial tavern harkens from the same era as the American Revolution. Since its opening, the Griswold Inn has welcomed a host of historical figures, including George Washington and Albert Einstein, just to name a few. It has a beautiful, classic colonial appearance, with warm woodwork, bookshelves full of well-worn literature, and a plethora of antique photos.
Yet the inn and tavern’s traditional feel don’t hold it back from offering a menu fit for the modern traveler. Stop in on a Sunday to experience the Hunt Breakfast, a feast of fresh cornbread and fruit, smoked bacon, and the decadent pecan and caramel French toast soufflé.
Tavares, Lisbon, Portugal
If you’re looking to go back in time to the splendor of Portugal’s imperial days, head straight to Tavares restaurant in Lisbon. The place is resplendent, thanks to details like gorgeous chandeliers, gilded accents and, of course, crisp white tablecloths.
The restaurant dates back to 1784 and has continued a tradition of excellence and personalized service into its third century of existence. To fully enjoy the diversity and depth of Tavares’s options, try the five-plate tasting menu with paired wines.
The menu selection offers classic Portuguese seafood dishes with contemporary twists, plus elements of French cuisine as well. Try the swordfish with citrus and almonds, or choose from a list of curated meat dishes and discover the lamb, beets and berries entree.
Union Oyster House, Boston, United States
The 19th century brought about an oyster craze in the U.S., birthing the famous Union Oyster House, America’s oldest restaurant in continuous operation.
The restaurant originally offered Virginia, Narragansett and Capes oysters, all prepared in various ways: stewed, roasted, raw, fried or on the half-shell. Today’s menu still focuses on oysters — shucked, grilled and Rockefeller are favorites — but also encompasses the freshest seafood and some of Boston’s best New England clam chowder.
The restaurant has attracted some famous names to its half-circle bar, including Daniel Webster and members of the Kennedy family. John F. Kennedy was fond of the privacy of the upstairs dining room, and his favorite booth is dedicated in his memory. Since opening its doors in 1826, the restaurant has had just three owners and brings a proud tradition and historic experience to all of its diners.
Bianyifang, Beijing, China
With roots in the Ming Dynasty, Beijing’s oldest Peking Duck restaurant, Bianyifang, is an essential part of the Chinese cultural experience.
Established in 1416 in a duck and chicken food-production center, the restaurant has since moved its operation to a more suitable dining environment, but it’s retained its original winning recipe for mouthwatering meat with a crispy exterior. The dish is served with a sweet bean sauce, scallions and cucumbers, along with steamed pancakes. Also of note is a small dish of sugar to dip the duck skin in.
Savor this imperial-era dish at any of Bianyifang’s five locations throughout Beijing. But for the best historical experience, go to the original spot in the Qianmen district, a famous pedestrian area that dates back nearly 600 years.
Zur Letzte Instanz, Berlin, Germany
Berlin is certainly a city that has seen many changes over the years, but one constant has been the presence of Zur Letzte Instanz. The establishment originally opened as a pub in 1621 and eventually turned into a restaurant. And though it’s undergone expansions and renovations, it’s retained a historic touch; it still has a tavern-style feel, and its medieval-era wall can still be found in the biergarten.
As for the food, it’s authentic and delicious. In Zur Letzte Instaz’s rustic setting, you can dine on a “light” meal of meatballs, pickled pork brawn or calf’s tongue. For even heartier fare, try the Berlin specialty, Zeugenaussage, pork knuckles served with sauerkraut and pea purée.
To keep up with the times, the restaurant also serves a tasty vegetarian dish—potato pepper roulade served with tomato jam.
Fraunces Tavern New York City, United States
Fraunces Tavern took root even before the United States of America was officially formed.
Located in New York City, the tavern was bought in 1762 by Samuel Fraunces and became an early location for the meetings of the secret group the Sons of Liberty, whose members aimed to protect colonists’ rights. During the American Revolution and the following years, it was used by George Washington himself and became home to early government agencies.
For the following century, the tavern changed hands and purposes, until — in 1907 — it was restored and reopened. Thanks to this significant restoration and expansion, including the addition of a museum, the Fraunces Tavern is today a thoroughly 21st century fixture, but it hasn’t lost its historic charm. Features include the Dingle Whiskey Bar, featuring leather chairs to sink into next to the fire and no fewer than 170 fine whiskey options.
Stop in for a hearty all-American-style brunch, or make it a lunch date and choose from elevated pub classics, like a veggie burger with beetroot aioli. Dinner offers sumptuous steak options and a classic slow-roasted chicken pot pie. For a modern meal in the old-time tavern setting, go for the tapas and charcuterie menus, and experience the Spanish-themed pintxos plates.
Wierzynek Restaurant, Krakow, Poland
The opening of the Wierzynek Restaurant is the stuff of legend. In 1364, a well-to-do merchant, Miko?aj Wierzynek, took up a grand task: hosting a feast for European monarchs on behalf of Poland’s king, Casimir the Great. The result was an extraordinary feast that was said to have lasted 20 days; as a parting gift, each guest took home gold and silver tableware.
Though guests can’t take the silverware with them today, they can still experience an elegant meal in the same historic location. Weirzynek Restaurant has meticulously maintained its original look, with period-appropriate oil paintings, tapestries and furniture.
Start your royal-worthy meal with caviar, then dine on duck breast coated with lavender honey and raspberry vinegar, and finally finish with smoked white chocolate with saffron and elderberry jelly. For an additional experience, head to the Champagne Bar to sip bubbly in the grandest of style.
La Opera Bar, Mexico City, Mexico
Ornate carved woodwork and splashes of red velvet welcome you to Mexico City’s La Opera Bar.
This storied locale opened as a pastelaria in 1876 and transitioned to a cantina a couple decades later, bringing in more politicians and high-profile clients. Since then, La Opera Bar has maintained its grandeur — despite an infamous brawl involving Mexican general Pancho Villa (check for the hole in ceiling from his pistol shot).
Settle in at an ornate booth for the house specialty of snails with chipotle sauce or another popular house dish of octopus, served in the Spanish Galician style with a hearty dose of potatoes and paprika. Then make your way to the wide wooden bar for a tequila tasting to top off the night.
Vassilenas, Athens, Greece
The storied Vassilenas restaurant has been enchanting diners since it opened in 1920 with just three tables. The original location was in Piraeus, where the current proprietor and third-generation owner, Thanasis Vassilenas, was born and raised in the family restaurant business.
Thanasis took over in 2005 and continued the tradition of using premium ingredients to create modern Greek cuisine and innovative dishes. The restaurant recently moved from its home in the port of Piraeus to Athens, and opened its doors to an exquisitely designed space, complete with a walk-in wine cellar that harkens back to the restaurant’s roots in selling Retsina, a white or rosé wine that has been produced in Greece for over 2,000 years.
The Vassilenas family and restaurant has expanded its wine selection over the decades to include domestic and international wines that pair perfectly with dishes like smoked eel salad, lamb picanha and chickpea purée.
White Horse Tavern, Newport, United States
The tavern culture in the United States is particularly strong in New England, and there are few places that can stand up to the uber-historic White Horse Tavern in Rhode Island.
If you’ve ever had a businessman’s or executive lunch, you can thank this place for starting the tradition. After its founding in 1673, it became a go-to place for lunch for public officials, many of whom charged their meal to Newport’s city treasury tab. Though it retains the tavern name, the establishment is rooted in a more formal tradition, with impeccably dressed waiters and tables dressed in white linen. But it’s plenty cozy too, with lots of warm wood finishes, exposed beams and, of course, a welcoming fireplace.
Finely crafted dishes speak to centuries of gastronomic experience. Start with the duck Scotch egg for an unexpected delight and make your main plate lobster mac and cheese, an easy favorite thanks to the homemade rigatoni, native lobster meat and a delicious mix of mascarpone, aged gouda, fontina cheese and toasted truffle crumbs.
Leopold Café, Mumbai, India
The bustling city of Mumbai has no shortage of dining options, and Leopold Café is among its most beloved locations by locals and tourists alike. Established in 1871, the cafe became a staple thanks it part to its long opening hours, 7:30 a.m. to midnight, and its variety of food options.
Leopold’s, as the regulars call it, brings the best of traditional Indian food to the table, starting with a huge spread of Indian bread, including various naans, rotis and parathas, and continuing with Tandoor beef, chicken and seafood kebabs and a host of curries. In addition these traditional favorites, there are multicultural options like soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, pastas and even Chinese food.
Settle into a booth and have a look around the cozy wood-paneled walls to find plenty of vintage-style signs. To make the most of your Leopold’s experience, take a look at the 2003 novel “Shantaram” by Gregory David Roberts; the cafe plays an important role in the book.
Checchino dal 1887, Rome, Italy
No restaurant list is truly complete without a trip to food-obsessed Italy — and what better place to find a tried-and-true establishment than the ancient city of Rome?
What began in the Testaccio neighborhood as a wine cellar and bar eventually grew into a neighborhood eatery. Run by the same family since its founding, the restaurant was restored by the original owners’ grandson, Checchino, in 1927, when it was given the name Checchino dal 1887 as a nod to the original year of its licence. Today, the family story continues with Checchino’s great-grandchildren, who work the restaurant.
Food was once sourced from the leftovers of a nearby slaughterhouse, and this still tradition carries on in modern times, with many dishes inspired by the local meat industry. Pair plates with an Italian wine from the curated list and call it a night well spent.
La Puerta Falsa, Bogotá, Colombia
Bogotá is rising as a globally-renowned foodie destination. And while modern experiences are taking center stage in the gastronomic scene, it’s worth taking a table at one of the capital city’s oldest restaurants, La Puerta Falsa, or The False Door.
This restaurant opened its doors in 1816 in the historic La Candelaria District, and retains its simple charms, from the basic but delicious hot chocolate and cheese combo, to its simple wooden tables and cozy interior. Though La Puerta Falsa is located in a heavy tourist area near Plaza Bolivar, it doesn’t have that overwhelming touristy feel, and the food is clearly authentic.
Tamales are one of the house’s oldest and most popular dishes, along with ajicaco, a soup of chicken, cream, potatoes and capers. Just note that the restaurant is small, so larger parties may need to sit separately or split their visit.
New Toho Food Center, Manila, Philippines
Consistency is the recipe for success at the New Toho Food Center in the Philippines capital. Among Manila’s oldest restaurants, the place was originally opened in 1888 by Chinese immigrants as Toho Antigua Panciteria. For nearly a hundred years the restaurant enjoyed good fortune, until in 1984 a neighboring restaurant caught fire and burned down the Toho as well.
Rebuilt and renamed the New Toho Food Center, the restaurant reopened and remained simple in its decor. What it may lack in aesthetic terms, though, it makes up for with reliably high-quality Chinese cuisine, like the sweet and spicy roasted pork belly or the ever-popular Pancit Canton, a stir-fried noodle dish with pork, shrimp, vegetables and a sauce that offers just the right amount of flavor.
Karim's, New Delhi, India
Dating back to 1913, Karim's boasts food fit for an Emporer; its recipes can be traced to the "royal food" of the Mughal, the Indian empire founded in 1536. Staples include aloo gosht, a traditional savory curry made with lamb or mutton and potatoes.
Today, the restaurant is run by the fourth generation of the family that opened it.