Spain - Restaurante Mesón El Copo
Cádiz, July 30, 2020
& Maître Rôtisseur Manuel Moreno
" recognised as one of the best restaurants in Spain "

When it started in 1979, Mesón El Copo (which owes its name to trawl fishing gear from the Mediterranean) was a small seafood restaurant. Now it is recognized as one of the best restaurants in Spain.

Cádiz, Campo de Gibraltar, Los Barrios and Palmones
Cádiz is special. Easy to fall in love with - beautiful landscape, rich gastronomy, the grace of its inhabitants guarantees visitors return.

Cádiz is the cradle of famous artists such as Rafael Alberti, Manuel de Falla or Paco de Lucía, the genius who spread the flamenco duende across the seas.

Campo de Gibraltar is one of Cádiz’s six regions. Los Barrios is a municipality right at the entrance to the Alcornocales Natural Park where sun, beach, nature, gastronomy play a very special role. Destination for gastronomic tourism is Palmones, an old fishing village situated near the mouth of the Palmones River.

The story of an entrepreneur
Mesón El Copo’s history is intertwined with the early days of head of the family, Maître Rôtisseur Manuel Moreno.

Born in Algeciras, at 14 years of age Manuel began working at the Hotel Reina Cristina (Algeciras). His personable nature earned him promotions. A most beautiful memory is attending the future Kings of Spain with an impeccable white jacket. He served them years later at his Mesón el Copo. Both moments are captured in treasured images hanging on the restaurant’s wall.

Key was his ability and curiosity to learn, he was like a sponge. Learning to "serve English" Manuel continues to prepare his tuna tartare today in front of the client.

Aged 21 he moved to Marbella to continue learning, later returning to Campo de Gibraltar. In 1979 Manuel and his wife María decided to open Mesón El Copo. The perfect tandem: María was the restaurant’s first cook with Manuel front of house. Their four daughters have joined the family business so generational continuity is guaranteed!

Recognitions of Mesón El Copo and Manuel’s success abound:
- Emblematic Restaurant
- Master for the Best Mediterranean Service
- “Blas Infante” Award, for the promotion of the gastronomy of Campo de Gibraltar
- Xantar Fair Award, for his professional career

And in Algeciras there is a street named after him: Don Manuel Moreno Rojas Avenue!

The life-long cuisine of Campo de Gibraltar is brought to the table of the great restaurant through its marine theme, strength of traditional cuisine and family character. Simple preparations are flavour enhanced with a “less is more” culture strictly observed.

Impressive live fish displays are featured from which clients choose their ‘dish’ which is prepared on the spot.

Gastronomic highlights
Tuna in butter "Mama Curra" - a typical recipe taught to the Morenos by family friend, Curra Lorenzo; clams eaten raw and other shellfish; fried nettles; fish prepared in the oven, in salt or stews.

Meat from Retinta del Guadalquivir (lit. the “spoiled cow”) - a breed of cattle being another of the area’s gastronomic treasures.

Manuel and Maria’s daughter Vanessa is the diva of homemade bread and desserts - always leave room for peppermint ice cream!

Mesón El Copo maintains its own winery with vintages from 1960. Together with imported wines the restaurant’s list is chosen specially to harmonise with the characteristics of the cuisine.

Based on an in-depth article prepared by Rosa Román, Bailli Délégué