Food / Restaurants

Rocotillos – restaurant review

By martin booth, Thursday Aug 4, 2016

If a large banner on the outside of Rocotillos celebrating its 21st birthday isn’t enough to remind you how long this ever-popular diner has been here for, then Oasis, Alanis Morisette and Coolio on the stereo take you straight back to the 1990s when this diner first opened its doors.

1993 to be precise, so the banner is now a couple of years out of date. But with the high turnover of food and drink businesses especially in this corner of town, its longevity should still be celebrated.

On a recent rainy Tuesday morning, a businessman with heavy silver cuff links tapped away on his laptop while perched on one of the tall bar stools, getting his free refill of filter coffee before talking about last night’s Euro 2016.

In one of the small booths with just enough room for four people, a couple tuck into their breakfasts after dropping their children off at school. On another table at an out of office meeting the talk is of feasibility studies and takeovers.

For another customer, a takeaway is the order of the day.

A breakfast of two rashers of bacon, one fried free range egg, a sausage and toast costs £3.95 before 10.30am and is a popular option.

The meat here comes from Ruby & White butchers just half a mile or so away up Whiteladies Road, with everything on the menu made to order. 

Like the Café des Deux Moulins in the Montmartre district of Paris where Amelie worked and is now packed with film tourists, Rocotillos was a popular haunt for the cast of Skins and still gets fans paying homage to Tony, Michelle, Cassie and Sid.

Mirrors hugging the ceilings give a deceptive sense of space inside, with seats at a premium especially during term time when it’s a popular haunt for university students.

Returning a couple of days later for lunch, burgers and pancakes were the most popular items.

Burgers cost from £6.95 for the basic hamburger to £10.45 for the fiery chilli burger, and there are 10 extra toppings to put on top.

Pancakes from £5.25 are American-style short stack topped with maple syrup and either ice cream or butter. They come in four options: plain, choc chip, banana and blueberry.

And then there are the milkshakes from £3.75, which Rocotillos claim to have sold more than one million of in their 23 years on the Triangle.

An expert on the next table recommends to keep it simple with strawberry, chocolate or banana. But the options are way more than that with flavours such as cookie dough, Snickers and Eton mess, with the options of making your ice cream- based shake double- or triple-X thick.

You can even add liqueur, with recommendations of Baileys, Kahlua and Cointreau.

With more than two decades in business when other establishments are lucky to make two years, Rocotillos remains a bonafide Bristol institution.


Rocotillos, 1 Queen’s Row, Triangle South, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1EZ
0117 929 7207

Photos by Doug Jewell

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