restaurants

restaurants
   Restaurants of all kinds, from the cheap to the deluxe, from the long established to the most recent arrival, and from the traditional and regional to the ethnic and international, are to be found throughout Spain, but with the greatest variety in the largest cities.
   The Casa Botín, which dates from 1725 and features in Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, is said to be the oldest restaurant in the world, and is certainly the oldest in Madrid, which is famous for individual traditional and high-class establishments such as Lhardy, dating from 1839, and La Sola, dating from 1870, as well as El Amparo, Clara's, Horcher, Jockey and Zalacaín. Particularly characteristic are the concentrations of restaurants such as those occupying the former inns (posadas) in the Cava Baja, and the mesones off the Plaza Mayor, which take their names from their particular speciality. But changes within Spain, such as the disappearance of domestic help and an increasing "interregionalism", together with influences from abroad, have resulted in a marked increase in the creation of new high-class restaurants throughout Spain, and in the variety of regional and ethnic restaurants available in the larger cities.
   All restaurants are classified on a range between one and five forks, are regularly inspected, and are obliged, along with other public establishments, to keep a register of complaints. They are also theoretically obliged to offer a three-course menú del día, or tourist menu, at 80 percent of the cost of the courses taken individually, but the practice is becoming less common, and can easily be made unattractive.
   EAMONN RODGERS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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