Top 10 Oldest Restaurant in the World
Updated: Feb 14
It's odd to think about a world without restaurants. It seems like such a natural part of our lives - to go out to eat, to have someone else prepare our food. But somebody had to start the custom of eating meals outside of one's own house. And fortunately, there are some restaurants that have been around for centuries, providing a window into the evolution of this trend. By examining the top 10 oldest restaurants in the world, we may learn more about how this custom began and how it has changed over time.
1. Stiftskeller - 803 AD
St. Peter, Salzburg, Austria
The world’s oldest restaurant is still found housed within its original structure in St. Peter’s Abbey in Salzburg. The restaurant is thought to have opened in 803, based on the first mention of it in print by the scholar and monk Albuin. Albuin was a devout follower of Charlemagne, and both Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Christopher Columbus are said to have been served at the restaurant. The restaurant is still in operation today, and diners can enjoy traditional Austrian cuisine in a historic setting.
2. Bianyifang - 1416 AD
Bianyifang is one of Beijing's oldest Peking duck restaurants. The culinary tradition that the restaurant specialises in started during the Ming Dynasty. The restaurant started out in a different, much smaller location, but expanded in 1827. Today, it is located at 5 Chongwenmen Outer Street, Dongcheng, Beijing, China.
3. Zum Franziskaner - 1421 AD
Zum Franziskaner was founded by German monks in Old Town Stockholm over 600 years ago. The original structure has been rebuilt numerous times, serving as a sailor’s tavern and fine-dining restaurant in its various incarnations. The current building dates back to 1906 and still serves the same variety of beer (brewed by the monks, naturally) that the venue did when it opened in 1421. Zum Franziskaner is therefore one of the oldest continuously operating businesses in Sweden, and its historic roots are evident in its atmospheric interior. The dark wood paneling, exposed brick walls, and stained glass windows create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for enjoying a pint of the delicious house beer.
4. Honke Owariya - 1465 AD
Honke Owariya is a restaurant in Kyoto, Japan, that is said to be the oldest restaurant in Japan. The restaurant started out as a confectionary store, but it eventually began serving soba noodles to customers. The restaurant is known for its long history, as well as its connection to the Japanese Imperial family.
5. La Tour d’Argent - 1582 AD
The Michelin-rated La Tour d’Argent is said to have been frequented by King King Henri IV. If that’s not enough, it’s also said to have inspired the 2007 film Ratatouille. Its wine cellar is one of the best in the world (thankfully, it survived World War II), boasting a collection of more than 450,000 bottles that has been valued at 25 million euros. La Tour d’Argent has been serving up French classics since it first opened its doors in the early 1600s, and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
6. Zur letzten Instanz - 1621 AD
East Berlin's Zur letzten Instanz has been serving guests since 1561, when it was first mentioned in print. The tavern has seen everyone from Napoleon and Beethoven to Angela Merkel throughout its storied history. The building had to be rebuilt in 1963 after extensive damage from the Second World War was deemed irreparable. During the Cold War, the tavern was only a block away from the Berlin Wall. Today, Zur letzten Instanz remains a popular spot for locals and tourists alike.
7. White Horse Tavern - 1673 AD
Newport, Rhode Island, USA
Newport's White Horse Tavern, the country's oldest continuously running inn, was established in 1673 and swiftly developed into a gathering place for the Colony's General Assembly, Criminal Court, and City Council. Because the public officials who frequented it frequently charged their meals to the city treasury, it is also referred to as the "birthplace of the businessman's lunch."
8. A la Petite Chaise - 1680 AD
The second-oldest restaurant in Paris has served as a gathering place for the city's social, cultural, and political elite since it opened its doors in the late seventeenth century (Colette is said to have read here). The menu includes dishes that are textbook representations of French classics, such as escargot, French onion soup, boudin noir salads, and slabs of foie gras.
9. Sobrino de Botín - 1725 AD
Although several of the eateries on this list are probably older than Sobrino de Botin, many of them have moved, undergone reconstruction, or been shuttered at various points in their lengthy existence. As a result, Madrid's temple to roast lamb and suckling pig holds the Guinness Globe Record for being the oldest continuously running restaurant in the entire world. Goya worked there before he became a well-known painter, but the restaurant's association with Ernest Hemingway—it is included in The Sun Also Rises' climactic scene—is largely responsible for its current English-language reputation.
10. Fraunces Tavern - 1762 AD
New York City, New York, USA
Fraunces Tavern in New York City is not only one of the country's oldest eateries, but it also has a number of noteworthy (and significant) ties to the nation's past. During the American Revolution, George Washington moved in, turned the structure into his official headquarters, and finally conducted peace talks with the British there. At the southernmost point of Manhattan, there is currently a whiskey bar and restaurant.