Durham, NC 27701
Spanish Heart / Southern Soul from the crew at Vin Rouge.
Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Thursday 11:30 am - 2:30 pm and 5:00 - 10:30 pm; Friday 11:30 am - 2:30 pm and 5:00 pm - 12:00 am; Saturday 5:00 pm - 12:00 am and Sunday 5:00 - 9:30.
$30 and under
AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
There is a small lot beside our restaurant as well as street parking. There is also a large parking lot located behind Mateo on Ramseur St.
Bar Dining, BYO Wine, Corkage Fee, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking, Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine
Mateo Ratings and Reviews
Atmosphere and food were excellent. The dishes were delicious and entertaining. A couple of the small plates were not quite as good as others, The waitress not as communicative as she could have been about describing the food. Since the dishes are complex, it would have helped to understand a little more about what we were ordering.
I've now had two meals at Mateo and nothing about the second outing tainted my initial opinion - this is a wonderful restaurant. The menu is fun to explore and the wait staff was very knowledgeable during both visits. The food is stellar and eclectic. Foodies will flock here for some time to come. Highly recommend trying the nightly specials.
Service was very poor. Our server was not exactly friendly and agreeable to begin with, but when we told her my wife had an onion allergy she made us feel like more of an imposition than a welcome customer. Only visited the take maybe 6-7 times in the almost 2 hours we were there. I know they had food and drink runners, but that's to allow servers to give their tables more attention not less. No one asked how anything was. The food was decent, but definitely sub par from what I was expecting, given price and reputation. We ordered about 8 different items, and a common theme was that they had good intentions but either did not think it through or it was poorly executed. All minor details, like wiping the edge of a plate, covering the entire plate of otherwise delicious venison carpaccio with a pool of overly bitter olive oil instead of using less or a higher grade olive oil, stating that their food is perfectly seasoned through a lack of salt and pepper shakers on the tables, then getting food that is lacking in any salt (not under salted, but entire lack of). Not placing a listed accompaniment to a dish on a plate, putting a hot espresso drink in a glass instead of ceramic cup making it difficult for someone with kitchen hands to hold due to the heat of the glass. I honestly don't remember it all. I'm not trying to sound snooty or picky, I'm a chef of 20 years and hate picky reviews myself, but it was little details where a restaurant up for a James beard award, and where I'm spending over a hundred dollars on dinner for two, should not drop the ball.
We had a great meal at Mateo on 2/15 prior to seeing a show at DPAC. The food was outstanding. We shared small plates that consisted of dates stuffed with goat cheese and wrapped in bacon, roasted brussel sprouts, beet salad, bomba rice with duck, and the spare ribs in pepper jelly. All were fantastic with our favorite being the bomba rice. The restaurant is very popular, so reservations are a must unless you want to take a chance of snagging a spot at the bar. The night we were there, the bar was full when we arrived at 6:30. Service was excellent and our server helped us with a couple of selections. The only negative to Mateo is that the noise level is extremely loud. It took us a while to adjust to the high level of noise so that we could carry on a conversation. Other than that, this place rocks!
Don't go on Valentine's Day! Let me start by saying I love Mateo. I've been here before and had an awesome experience. We decided to go on Valentine's Day because we had a $60 gift card. We didn't realize they were serving a "special" Valentine's Day menu. It was an abbreviated menu, which was slightly disappointing but at least we knew it was going to be good. Normally Mateo's tapas plates range from $4-16, with more than double digits under $10. Their Valentine's Day special was 4 plates for $65, or $16.25 per plate. I was extremely disappointed. They were up-charging for the V-Day special. The food was still amazing, as always, but the price tainted it slightly. We will be back, but never again on Valentine's Day!
Molecular gastronomy? Who knows?
Kind of expensive, but we had cocktails, so....
Extensive tapas menu on regular nights; we were there on Valentine's Day and menu was abbreviated.
Fun crowd at the bar.
Good for special event or intimate date.
Friendly staff and fast service.
Service was really bad. We got the wrong tapas (as did tables on either side of us) our meals took an hour, we ordered salad. The food was good but service seemed in chaos for everyone. No apology offered even though it was evident things were completely sideways. Would not go choose to go back, would recommend to friends with a large warning. So many other options in the same area.
My wife and I really enjoyed our first visit to Mateo. The food was delicious and our server was friendly, attentive and helpful. Our only complaint is that when we usually go to a tapas place, we rely on the staff to bring us the small plates we order in groups or pairs over the course of our meal. Instead, Mateo brought us all five plates we ordered at once, which was pretty overwhelming and prevented us from eating at a leisurely pace. We'll definitely go back, but when we do, we'll have to specific what we want and when.
This was our second visit after we had an excellent experience at Mateo 4-5 months ago. Maybe it was because it was a busy Saturday evening, but the service was just barely mediocre. Our server didn't seem at all welcoming and friendly and that was a real disappointment after previous visit. Food was good--but not excellent--and the 4 of us shared plenty of dishes. With dessert, I asked for cup of coffee. I received it, but it wasn't super hot like I enjoy and the waitress never returned to offer refills. Not sure we'll return...
I was very surprised by how busy it was so late in the eve. The food selection was Fantastic. Small size tapas great for sharing, many choices. Cocktails and wine were very well chosen to compliment the menu. Atmosphere was a bit noisy but it was packed so can't expect much intimacy when it's that popular!
This was our first visit to Mateo and we can't wait to get back. The food and service were stellar! Highly recommend the octopus. All dishes were tasty and fun to share. Also, great wine list and server was able to recommend wines especially to Spanish novices. 5 star all around!
Mateo food quality was very good and authentically Spanish. A diverse variety of Tapas including Octopus that was outstanding. Our server, although relatively efficient came across as not wanting to be there that evening. This is a restaurant for "foodies", it is not romantic, a bit noisy and casual but the food and food variety is awesome.
The best calamari we have ever had and most other dishes were better than average. The noise level, though, was beyond reasonable even before the restaurant filled up. Also, they must have used an algorithm to maximize the number of seats that could reasonably be included -- fortunately, I didn't find my neighbors a problem but we WERE elbow to elbow.
A very good small plate restaurant. However, Triangle Restaurant Week was no bargain here as the price of $35 covered three small plates and no dessert. The three small plate selection could easily be less expensive by going to the a la carte menu.
This restaurant is typically of many small city establishments where tables are lined up from the wall and the dining experience lacks any privacy especially with a bar directly placed across from the tables.
Service was very good but lacking in a couple respects such as the waiter asking us to remove forks from the plates rather than offering a option to get a new fork. Personally
I dislike using the same fork for appetizer type items, salads and entrée items.
Also, service was too fast when you are only half way through your plate and another plate arrives at the table.
Wine selections from Spain and that area were excellent especially enjoyed the waiter recommending Federico.
Small plates served were also excellent and prepared attractively.
The food was so much more than we expected to find here! Loved to find the tapas menu and try out so
Many different dishes!!! Will definitely return on our next visit to Durham. Our waiter was wonderful, helping guide us in making selections... thanks Matt!!!
We were seated immediately in the upstairs dining room and given a brief history of the building on the way to our table! Our server was friendly and efficient and gave us two great recommendations for wine to pair with our dishes. The food was outstanding! We ordered the grilled whole head of broccoli, the Jamon-wrapped Medjool dates, The Gambas, and two dishes with crostini and homemade pimento cheese and homemade farmer's cheese, and all of it was fabulous and flavorful. Will definitely return!
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