Spanish version

Mussels at El Rocio

El Rocio

Close to Puerta del Sol is a little passage called Pasaje de Matheu where we find one of these typical little bars, that have nothing special in their design or a luxury exterior, but that have a treasure inside.

El RocioEl Rocio is one of these bars. It is located at Pasaje de Matheu, 2.

Santiago Sanchez Martinez has been its owner since 1982, more or less. He was born in Toledo, but came to Madrid when he was about 8 years old. After school he started working when he was only 12 years old. His first jobs were as errand boy for different shops, but he never turned down any other job. In those years his salary was 500 Pesetas, less than 6€.

Santiago Sanchez at El Rocio


While working as installer of neon signs, his father and brother bought a bar in the area of Vallecas and he decided to help them in their new business. Some years later they bought another one near Palos de Moguer and, finally, Santiago opened his own bar.

He tells us, that El Rocio already existed during the Spanish Civil War. In fact, the main door had been bricked up and it seems that people entered through the back door to have something to eat at the meson. There were three former owners, two were Spanish and one from Portugal.

When he opened El Rocio, he offered his clients normal menus and the speciality were mushrooms with garlic.

But at home Santiago preferred to have mussels and one day he thought that it could be a good idea to offer them also to his clients. And that is what he did.

The mussels are prepared in front of the client Mussels with lemonand they are served in three different ways, depending on the sauce. They can be spicy, with garlic (provenzal) or with lemon.

All mussels are fresh and come daily from Galicia. They serve about 400kg every week. Although the preparation is not difficult, it is very important that the mussels have been cleaned properly and their quality is decisive.

Apart from the mussels we can also have shrimps, mushrooms and all kinds of different tapas or raciones (portion) with a carafe of wine or beer for a very good price.



terrace of El RocioEl Rocio also has a terrace, that makes it even more tempting. As Pasaje de Matheu has no traffic, it is an ideal place to rest, have something to eat and enjoy yourself.


Santiago´s wife and children also worked at the meson for a while, but none of them is taking over the business. They have chosen different activities.


El Rocio has many Spanish and foreign clients. Some only come because they just pass by the bar and other have been clients for years. Santiago wants them to feel at home and his friendliness and kindness undoubtedly achieves it.


If you like mussels do not miss this place!


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