The world's largest restaurant and other amazing facts
I can't figure out what got into guest poster Bucky today. I was expecting a good ole boy take on, say, summer grilling, and look at the fascinating facts he came up with. Here's Bucky. EL
Have you ever been in a restaurant that was so crowded that you couldn’t get your server’s attention to, say, get a refill on your Coke?
Think what it must be like at the Bawabet Dimashq during the peak dinner hour.
The Bawabet Dimashq (Arabic for “Damascus Gate”) is located in Damascus, Syria and is the world’s largest restaurant. It seats 6,014 diners and at peak times during the day over 1,800 people are working there. (I, myself, probably would have named it the Bawabet Bistro, just to make it sound more intimate, but I digress.) ...
It has a 581,251 square foot dining area and a 26,910 square foot kitchen. (By comparison, a football field covers 48,000 square feet, excluding the end zones.)
I tried to find a Web site, but there isn’t one, apparently. So I can’t tell you what’s on the menu. But I bet Lissa can.
The world’s oldest restaurant is Sobrino de Botin in Madrid, Spain which has been continuously operating since 1725. (Those of you who speak Spanish will notice that the name of the restaurant translates to “The Nephew of Botin.” You might think it is sort of like calling a diner, “Mom’s.” The truth is that the founder, Jean Botin, and his wife died childless and their nephew took over the business.)
Being Spanish, the specialties are lamb and pork. The roast sucking pig is so good that it garnered a mention in Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises.
(By the way, the oldest continually-operating restaurant in the U.S. is the Union Oyster House in Boston. It was established in 1826. Originally the Atwood & Bacon Oyster House, it is still in operation at 41 Union St., near Faneuil Hall.)
The best restaurant in the world is El Bulli in Roses, Catalonia, Spain. Advance reservations are required. (They are fully booked through 2009 and will announce in December which days reservations will be taken for 2010. Yep, they take an entire year’s reservations in advance, although to be honest, they are only open from April to mid-December, so it isn’t really an entire year.)
Here is some of El Bulli’s philosophy about cuisine: “Cooking is a language through which all the following properties may be expressed: harmony, creativity, happiness, beauty, poetry, complexity, magic, humour, provocation and culture.”
And this: “Decontextualisation, irony, spectacle, performance are completely legitimate, as long as they are not superficial but respond to, or are closely bound up with, a process of gastronomic reflection.”
The next time you start thinking you’re a serious foodie, just go to the El Bulli Web site and be humbled.
(Photo of tomato and courgette flan with snails, courtesy of El Bulli Web site)