3 historic restaurants across Europe

These classic establishments in historic European cities have barely changed in centuries

If there was ever a travel destination to make Australia feel its youth, it’s Europe. As you immerse yourself in the rich culture of European cities – exploring medieval architecture and impressive churches, tasting recipes that have been refined over centuries and treading cobble stone streets laid hundreds of years ago – you begin to feel the full weight of human history.

While we tend embrace the new with such fervor when it comes to dining out, let’s take a look at some European restaurants that have been doing the same thing for hundreds of years – and owe their success to the fact that some tastes simply don’t change.

Rules, London

Rules has been dishing up traditional English fare from its Maiden Lane, Covent Garden location since 1798. Privately owned by just three families over its 216-year history, it has served literary legends including Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray and H G Wells, along with thespians Clark Gable, Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

Classics including Duchy of Cornwall oysters, steak and kidney pie, roast poussin and potted shrimps fill the menu, enjoyed against a backdrop of the sumptuous red velvet and dark wood of the dining rooms. The restaurant’s estate in the High Pennines provides the game served to diners, with a warning that dishes may contain a lead shot.

Start your meal over house cocktails including the Champagne and Guinness ‘Black Velvet’ concoction, treat yourself to a Cropwell Bishop Stilton to round out the meal and turn out into the London night as others have done before you for hundreds of years.

Sobrino de Botin, Madrid

Cropping up time and time again in literary works over the years – including Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Death in the Afternoon, where the author paid homage to the restaurant’s roast suckling pig on both occasions – Madrid’s Sobrino de Botin is forever etched in history. Established in 1725, it once employed Spanish romantic painter Francisco de Goya as a waiter while he was waiting to get accepted into the Royal Academy of Fine Arts.

Today the restaurant is as popular as ever, with visitors to the city flocking to its signature polished timber façade to feast on the traditional menu, including black sausage from Burgos, artichoke hearts with Iberian ham and the enduring roast suckling pig specialty. With a décor that has stayed true to its beginnings, Sobrino de Botin transports you right back to 18th century Madrid.

Trattoria Sostanza, Florence

Renaissance architecture, handmade leather goods, old-fashioned stationary shops and beautiful frescoed ceilings from the days of the Medicis…travelling through Florence already feels like a trip back in time. While not quite as old as Michelangelo’s David, Trattoria Sostanza has certainly chalked up the years serving the good citizens of Florence since 1869.

Between the Arno River and Santa Maria Novella, this local haunt has changed little of its interior or menu over the years. Simple and consistent, it’s all about the artichoke omelette, chicken cooked in butter (decadent but delicious) and the Florentine steak. With communal seating, reservations based on sittings and cash only, it’s not somewhere you come to linger all evening, but it’s a local winner that has remained true to its focus on food.

(Images: Main: Rules: Javi Vte Rejas; Rules: James Petts; Sobrino de Botin: Edmund Gall;Trattoria Sostanza: Kok Chih and Sarah Gan)

Insure your health when you travel with Medibank travel insurance

Recommended reading - Recipes on-the-go

Lifestyle

On-the-go breakfast ideas

Easy, delicious ways to kickstart your morning - even when you’re in a rush.

Read more
Recipes

6 quick and easy breakfast ideas

6 easy and healthy breakfast ideas for an inspiring start to the day.

Read more
Recipes

Quick and easy pizza dough recipe

Chef Adrian Richardson’s foolproof pizza dough recipe is ideal for simple summer meals.

Read more
Recipes

Banana buckwheat pancake recipe

There's nothing quite like pancakes for breakfast. Enjoy this wholesome recipe from Lesh Karan.

Read more
Recipes

Homemade Toasted Muesli recipe

This muesli is quick and so yummy – especially when you have a serve straight from the oven.

Read more
Recipes

Coco-Cacao Truffles Recipe

Power up your afternoon with these scrummy treats

Read more
Recipes

Apple and oat pancakes recipe

Warm, oaty pancakes served with rich stewed apples – the perfect way to brighten up your weekend

Read more
Recipes

Roasted apricot yellow couscous with grilled fish recipe

Bill Granger believes in a relaxed approach to good food. Here, he shares a family favourite.

Read more
Recipes

Avocado smash recipe

Avocados are an Australian breakfast staple. Try an Italian twist on your avocado smash.

Read more
Recipes

Vietnamese pho soup recipe

Fresh, healthy Vietnamese Pho soup recipe you can make at home.

Read more
Recipes

Asparagus, leek and pea tart recipe

Asparagus, Leek and Pea Tart is a delicious and easy dish for lunch or dinner.

Read more
Recipes

Sticky date pancake recipe

Wind up your weekend workouts and treat yourself with these delicious sticky date pancakes.

Read more
Recipes

Barbecued island beef recipe

A dish inspired by coconuts and green pastures

Read more
Lifestyle

Salsa verde recipe

This classic condiment by Peter Kuruvita is great with anything, especially barbecued meat

Read more
Recipes

Vietnamese salad recipe

A fresh, healthy summer salad that’s perfect for lunches.

Read more
Recipes

Cucumber and corn salsa recipe

A refreshing corn salsa perfect for summer.

Read more
Recipes

Simple berry bircher recipe

A bircher muesli that takes 2 minutes to prepare - leave overnight and enjoy for breakfast.

Read more
Lifestyle

Carrot and lentil salad recipe

Brighten your day with this hearty salad

Read more
Recipes

Quinoa sushi bowl recipe

Love sushi? Try this unwrapped quinoa sushi bowl recipe for an interesting variation.

Read more
Recipes

Persimmon, rocket, blue cheese and candied walnut salad recipe

The softly sweet taste of persimmons brings Poh Ling Yeow's fresh and healthy salad to life

Read more
Recipes

Cherry smoothie recipe

Cool down this summer with a low-fat smoothie packed full of cherry superpowers.

Read more
Recipes

BBQ lamb cutlets recipe with a yoghurt, feta and mint dipping sauce

five:am yogurt provide natural, healthy products. Here they share a delicious recipe for lamb.

Read more
Recipes

Grilled peaches with vanilla ricotta recipe

Enjoy the last of this season's peaches with this delicious recipe from Rachael Finch.

Read more
Recipes

Prawn and mango salad recipe

To kick off Australia's Healthy Weight Week, Sprout Cooking shares a fresh and juicy salad recipe.

Read more
Recipes

Peach and ham crispbread recipe

Savour the stone fruits and impress your guests with a tasty appetiser by Rachael Finch.

Read more
Lifestyle

Pumpkin soup recipe

This simple winter favourite is spicy and fragrant with ginger, nutmeg and cumin

Read more
Recipes

Chargrilled Mediterranean and macadamia salad recipe

The creamy goodness of Australian macadamias paired with chargrilled Mediterranean veggies

Read more
Recipes

Butternut pumpkin tagine recipe

Infused with spices and full of flavour, this pumpkin tagine is comfort food you feel good about.

Read more
Recipes

Lentil shepherd’s pie recipe

A tasty vegetarian twist on a classic, this tasty pie is what chilly winter days were made for.

Read more
Recipes

Thai pumpkin soup recipe

Creamy smooth pumpkin soup with a kick of hot chilli, fragrant lemongrass and coriande.

Read more
Recipes

Crumbed chicken and salsa in pita recipe

Emily Rose Brott shares a great chicken recipe for kids.

Read more
Recipes

Minestrone soup recipe

This minestrone by Dani of Fitness, Food and Style is packed full of antioxidants.

Read more

For full functionality of this site it is necessary to enable JavaScript. Here are instructions on how to enable JavaScript in your web browser.