A good restaurant dining experience is more than just the food. It is hospitality, ambiance, aesthetics and, rare as it is, history. How would you feel if you were to dine in the same place as Tolstoy or Dickens? The food will probably taste better, we are willing to bet! Here’s a list of the top 10 oldest and most historic restaurants from around the world. Let us know if any among them is a favorite of yours.
Since we mentioned Tolstoy, it seemed appropriate to begin with the Yar Restaurant. The experience is unique – with frescoes, vintage chandeliers, gilded architecture and a grandeur reminiscent of the long lost era when the Czars ruled Russia. Yes, Tolstoy did, indeed, hold this as a favorite and so did many others of note. The menu comprises traditional Russian recipes cooked by the best chefs: chicken kiev and veal stroganoff being popular choices. Elaborately choreographed dance shows could form a part of your evening’s experience, as well. And, the wine list features over 150 selections from all over the world!
Address: 32/2 Leningradsky Prospect, Moscow, 125040, Russia | Phone: + 7 (495) 960-2000 | sovietsky.ru/content/eng/yarrest/legendyar/open
Dickens, did we say? Add to that Sir Laurence Olivier, and many, many more who ruled the Rules over the ages – the oldest restaurant in England. The Rules was originally an oyster house whose menu now primarily offers game. You can experience the passage of time with the various patrons from different ages adorning the walls in the form of artworks. A very English atmosphere, this, perfect for a night out with someone you want to impress.
Address: 35 Maiden Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7LB | Phone: 020/7836-5314 | rules.co.uk
3. Rhode Island
Apparently, the oldest tavern of America, known to have been run by a famous pirate, the White Horse Tavern looks very like a barn. If you happen to be in Newport, do visit for the classic New England Chowder and enjoy having it while sitting beside a traditional wood-burning fireplace. If you are lucky, you could catch a glimpse of the seaman, William Mayes Jr. who, it is said, still haunts the place!
Address: 26 Marlborough St., Newport, RI 02840 | Phone: 401/849-3600 | whitehorsetavern.us
The Tour D’Argent has been the special occasion restaurant in Paris since the 16th century when it first opened its doors to patrons on the very same site it stands today. If you order the Pressed Duckling (Caneton), you will be literally counted among all those who have ordered the delicacy since 1890. The owner kept count and today, the number has exceeded 1.2 million. Enjoy a brilliant view of the Notre Dam while you taste your meal.
Address: 15-17 quai de la Tournelle, 5e Latin Quarter, Paris, 75005 | Phone: 01-43-54-23-31 | latourdargent.com
Does buckwheat noodle sound good to you? It will, if you visit the Owariya restaurant in Kyoto. Everyone who has been someone in Japan since the 15th century has tasted the unique recipe for the noodles and you can, too. Just order any one (or more) of the two dozen dishes made from the ‘soba’, and don’t forget to have some of the delectable sweets for dessert.
Address: 64 Teianmaenocho, Shijo Teramachi-dori Higashi-iru, Simogyo-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan | Phone: +81 75-221-6080 | honke-owariya.co.jp
Ever had Peking Duck? For the real deal, visit the Bianyifang restaurant in Beijing that has catered to the locals since the times of the Ming Dynasty. They cook the bird in a special closed oven and serve it whole, beak, feet and all! While this may not be everyone’s idea of the perfect duck, there has to be something to it since the Bianyifang is known to be the oldest Duck Restaurant in the city and still going strong with its trademark dish.
Address: 101 Fucheng Rd, Haidian, Beijing, China | Phone: +86 10 8814 6066 | bianyifang.com
7. New York
George Washington’s portraits on the walls along with the collection of early American flags will tell you that our first President must have had something to do with the Fraunces Tavern. Indeed, this is where the Commander in chief wined and dined his lieutenants when he bid adieu to them in a formal farewell in 1783. It always remained a personal favorite with Washington and you can sample the Pot Pie which, the menu will tell you, he loved the best. The two top floors have been turned into museums with a section entirely on Washington and the other displaying relatively less famous items from the annals of American history.
Address: 54 Pearl St., at Broad St. Financial District, New York, NY 10004 | Phone: 212/425-1778 | frauncestavernmuseum.org
The Sobrino do Botin in Madrid is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest restaurant in the world. Whether or not that is really the truth, it is a fact that the oven has been where it was since the restaurant opened in 1752. Roasted meat dishes like baby lamb are its specialty, and Earnest Hemingway, its most famous patron.
Phone: +34 913664217, +34 913663026 | botin.es
The earliest mention of the Stiftskeller St. Peter restaurant is in a manuscript which dates back to 803 AD (is Guinness listening?). Filet suckling pig with parsley and walnut risotto are served with ‘genuine Salzburg hospitality’ as it has been, for ‘over 1200 years’. On some nights, there are dinner concerts as well, usually featuring Austria’s very own musical genius, Mozart.
Address: St. Peter Bezirk 4, Salzburg, A-5020 | Phone: 0662/841268-0 | haslauer.at
It is said that German monks were responsible for the creation of the Zum Franziskaner in Stockholm in the 15th century. You may feel a temporal shift to that era when you sit in the high-backed booths and stare at the wood paneling and the shelves with beer steins. Wurst and smoked herring is best enjoyed with the restaurant’s own Weissbier. A unique experience, and you might feel quite startled when you come out of there into the daily bustle of the present era.
Adress: Stadsdel: Gamla Stan, Skeppsbron 44, 111 30 Stockholm | Phone: 08-4118330 |zumfranziskaner.se
Author Bio: Alecia Gilbert is an Online Manager for ClassicadventuresRV.com – expertise in Renting Motorhome. She loves to blog and Travel across the world in search of new places, people and culture.