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  • Mateo

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Mateo Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.mateotapas.com
  • Phone: (919) 530-8700
  • 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.
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Executive Chef: Matthew Kelly
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Bar Dining, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Late Night, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wheelchair Access, Wine, Wine Bar

Getting there

  • Parking: Public Lot
  • Parking Details: 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.
A word from Mateo
Spanish Heart / Southern Soul from the crew at Vin Rouge.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Overall
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Food
  • Diners' Choice WinnerBest Service
Diner Reviews
  • "Great variety of offerings. Very helpful and knowledgeable waiter. Had not been to such a tapas bar since visiting Spain last summer. Great find."
    Dined on 7/20/2014
  • "You seriously can believe you're sitting in New York City's latest 'place to be'. Great food, wine and buzz but like NYC it can be noisy so keep your group small and have a great time."
    Dined on 7/19/2014
  • "The place had a nice ambiance. It was busy & lively so I was excited for the experience. The hostess was very nice so we had a great first impression. She said our table was paying their bill so we should wait at the bar. It was a bit too loud for my parents. But my sister assured us that it was amazing & that it would be worth it. I ordered a glass of wine & honestly the bartenders were not that friendly. It actually left a bad taste in my mouth. Not even the wine could take that away (a very good Albariño btw). We were sat 20 min later. Out of the 10 items we received only 1 thing was moderately good which was the special vegetable dish. My mom said the chickpea mini app tasted like armpits. Everything was really salty. Maybe a bad night."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Great food. Wonderful mix of fabulous combinations. Great service. Can't wait to return."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "Why don't more people come here for lunch? The food and service are just as amazing, and we never have to wait for a table. So great."
    Dined on 7/17/2014
  • "I'd heard a lot of friends say how good Mateo was, and I wasn't disappointed. Everything was super, super yummy. The major downside is that it is so loud it is hard to hear your friend across the table. Perhaps consider installing some sound absorbing material."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "After dining at Mateo a number of times we have decided to not return. It is so loud that you can not hear the conversations at your table. There were three of us dining on a Tuesday night in the back of the restraunt (which was the quietist spot) and we could not communicate. Crazy! Mateo has a lovely private dining room upstairs which was available for open dining one time when we were there. This was wonderful but, they don't seem to be opening it any longer. Too bad….because we won't go back unless we can sit upstairs. We are not alone in our thoughts. A number of our friends have said they won't return either."
    Dined on 7/15/2014
  • "The food was very good but there was a lack of vegetable dishes. We aren't vegetarians, but wanted a lighter, non meat dish, and besides a delicious kale salad and a beets dish, a lot of the veggie dishes had chorizo. Otherwise everything was delicious, especially the sweetbreads, although there weren't many sweetbreads for the price."
    Dined on 7/13/2014
  • "I just returned (not too long ago) to the Triangle after living in NY. I had heard amazing things about Mateo while I was gone but still read all of the Durham restaurant reviews. I was really excited that they took late reservations, because we'd been at one of the American Dance Festival events at DPAC. I honestly can't think of a way the experience could have been better. Everything (calamares fritos, pulpo, albondigas, datil, fideua de conejo and churros) was amazing, and the server recommended an amazing bottle of wine. I can't wait to go back!"
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Mateo is a favorite in Durham due to amazing food, wine list, location, and atmosphere. Definitely need a reservation though to avoid a long wait."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "I've never been disappointed with the food at Mateo. Eclectic combos I wouldn't try normally. Always amazing."
    Dined on 7/12/2014
  • "Good food (if slightly pricey). The unsmiling manager was rude and self-importantly informed us (multiple times, in case we had missed his point) that we had overstayed our "allotted time" - no one had told us about this when we had made the reservation! Mind you, we had hardly stayed for more than 1 hour and had barely just finished our food when he pounced on us to chase us out. Not the most pleasant way to end the night. The food is good, but the staff need not be uptight, much less self-important."
    Dined on 7/11/2014
  • "This was our first time dining at Mateo and certainly won't be our last. We were a little slow on the process initially but once we started ordering, it all fell into place. The wait staff appear to work in teams so we were never left waiting to place another order. We ended up ordering 2 cold plates and 4 hot. There wasn't a dish we didn't like but we did have 2 favorites: Bacalao Frito (cod fritters) & Pato Y Arroz (risotto-like dish with mushrooms, caramelized onions & duck). I'm a wine drinker but decided to try a glass of Sherry since it is the prominent drink there so the waiter offered me a couple of tastings before I ordered. We topped off the evening splitting bread pudding for dessert which was just enough for 2 people to enjoy."
    Dined on 7/6/2014
  • "Our dinner was delicious; the specials on July 5 were delicious, especially the Octopus 'stew.' Lovely place to enjoy a birthday dinner."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "First time being seated upstairs and boy was that a treat! Usually reserved for private parties but I guess this weekend it was available. The noise level was so much more manageable than usual. Food was great, new additions to the menu were amazing and old favorites still made my mouth water. The waiter forgot some of our stuff and blamed it on the kitchen (but he definitely forgot) but we got those comped so it was okay by us!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "My sister was visiting us from PA and we got a Saturday night dinner reservation at the last minute. Everything was delicious and our waiter had some great recommendations. It's a splurge of a meal but very worth it for a special occasion!"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "Great dinner enjoyed 3 of the nightly specials. One of our favorite places."
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "The food is always amazing. The specials are usually pretty unique. Get to try new things all the time. The tapas plates are great size for sharing and prices are so reasonable. Service never fails either. Very friendly and funny wait staff"
    Dined on 7/5/2014
  • "The food was fantastic! Service was great! Sangria was delish too!"
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "I wasn't sure of what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised. Every plate we ordered was unique and delicious. The special plate last night was foraged mushrooms sautéed in a creamy sauce over toasted bread and it was to die for."
    Dined on 7/4/2014
  • "I was born and raised in Durham and now live in Brooklyn, NY. Mateo is right up there with the Spanish tapas places in New York, and it's incredibly reasonable for the quality of food. Our server was lovely, the atmosphere was fun -- I highly recommend Mateo!"
    Dined on 7/2/2014
  • "Mateo is a Spanish themed restaurant that does small plates. A few of the dishes we had were excellent (the remolacha asada); most were good; none were bad. Mateo has a bustling atmosphere and is loud."
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "Service is spot on; everyone is so friendly! It was my boyfriends birthday and they brought out desert with a candle! They know how to recommend food for your taste and they usually change a few things on the menu to keep things new! Also have some cool cocktails; we liked miss man! You have to try it! Recommend reservations."
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "We really liked this place. Our server, Margie, was very helpful in ordering the plates. Everything was cooked perfectly. I looked at our bill and we had purchased 17 different items and we all unanimously agreed that everything was outstanding. From the regular items to the blackboard specials, we all were extremely satisfied with our food. The place was very busy from 7pm to 9pm while we were there on a Sunday evening--that was amazing in and of itself. Don't miss this place for the best in what you want to eat. You will never be disappointed, I feel very sure."
    Dined on 6/29/2014
  • "We've enjoyed Mateo many times since they first opened and like the fact that the menu changes reguarly. The food is always very tasty, creatively prepared and nicely presented. If you give them a try I promise you won't be disappointed."
    Dined on 6/24/2014
  • "Everything we ordered was well seasoned, with unique and flavorful combinations. The plates here are smaller than Taberna (another tapas place around the corner), and much more expensive. They both have great menu options, but I would say Mateo is a bit more adventurous in the flavor department. They both have great ambiance. If you're looking for a place to fit a larger party, Mateo would be the best option."
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "We enjoyed our dinner but noticed a slightly disturbing pattern. In the duck and rice dish, there was not much actual duck, in the rabbit dish not much rabbit, in the smoked trout dish not much smoked trout, etc... Although everything was very tasty, this pattern left us with mixed feelings."
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "We are vegetarians and were not sure if we would have a good selection of dishes. We were pleasantly surprised and found more than enough items on the menu to satisfy everyone. The beet salad and NC greens dish were delicious. We did have to make a reservaton a few months in advance and specified our dietary needs while reserving."
    Dined on 6/22/2014
  • "This was my second time and everything was fantastic. The food was great and reasonably priced for the quality and quantity. Service was perfect, just attentive enough, but left us alone on our date. She actually did great job on suggesting our second glass of wine based on our first, and it was excellent: a 2000 Tempranillo. Definitely recommend Mateo, especially for "date night" and special dinners. The only complaint is that it can get a little loud, but it was a "good loud" - you get the vibe that everyone is really happy."
    Dined on 6/19/2014
  • "My wife and I checked out Mateo for our anniversary, and it was SO GOOD. My favorite dish was the Datil, one of the pintxos (small plates). We wound up getting 2 pintxos, the cheese plate, and four of the tapas dishes. The cheese plate was good, but probably we wouldn't get it again. Our favorite of the tapas dishes was the Almejas Pequenas (clams), they were cooked in some kind of amazing sherry sauce that was a bit salty and just delicious. I had a couple glasses of one of the Rioja wines which were excellent. We also got the Patatas Bravas which were good, but we probably wouldn't get again. All in all, it was a fantastic meal."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "The variety of offerings is fantastic and the dishes are fresh and exciting. Mateo is in a renovated warehouse-like space with high ceilings and bare brick. The ambience is not formal."
    Dined on 6/18/2014
  • "The food was absolutely delicious. We got about a dozen plates for the four of us. It was nice to be able to order a couple things at a time, and thus have a more relaxed meal. All of the food was amazing. I particularly recommend the ribs, the pato y arroz, and crispy manchego dish. No problems with the service; they kept our waters topped up! It's definitely rather pricey for the portion sizes, but given the uniqueness, the variety, and the quality of the food, I'll definitely be back, if only for special occasions. Definitely make reservations; we had reservations for 8pm on a Tuesday, but it was packed, and we still had to wait ~15min for our table."
    Dined on 6/17/2014
  • "This was our second time at Mateo and we loved it again. It was great tasting food!! We shared a good number of dishes and our waitress was very receptive and helpful. The wine she suggested was excellent and went extremely well with our dishes. It was not as noisy this time as our first time there, probably because it was early on Sunday evening, but they were still quite full, just a quieter crowd than later in the evenings."
    Dined on 6/15/2014
  • "This restaurant balanced good food, great Spanish decor and atmosphere, and attentive but not intrusive wait staff. Recommend reservations and request the second floor if you don't want to yell at your dinner partner. It's on the expensive side if you like to try a lot of different dishes, but the fact that there were so many we wanted to try says something. All of them were well prepared and got to us piping hot and at good intervals. The savory buenelo stuffed with meat was the table's favorite. The bread with the bone marrow was a bit charred and the olive oil flan was nothing special, but the goat cheese stuffed dates, calimari, and churros were outstanding."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "Everything was amazing! And surprisingly our bill was much less than expected. I could eat the Pato y arroz everyday. It's a must if you go."
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "Tapas selection somewhat limited, but all we tasted were excellent. Tortilla espanola portion too small. Gazpacho was exquisite, as well as the deviled eggs!"
    Dined on 6/13/2014
  • "Splendid imaginative tapas with outstanding yet nuanced flavors. Wow!"
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "Sometimes you worry when you read rave reviews about a place that they won't live up to it, but this place did. The service was excellent though I would suggest ordering a couple of dishes at a time instead of all at once as that's what I did and the dishes overlapped and came a little faster than I would have liked. The server was very knowledgable about the wine list which was great as I am not familiar with Spanish wines. Great place if you are a foodie."
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "I'd read about Mateo before visiting the restaurant, and I wasn't disappointed. Great downtown dining with a variety of unique dishes to sample."
    Dined on 6/10/2014
  • "The lovely newly decorated upstairs room is a great place for a date, with true Spanish decor and an awesome view of the Bull City ! It is also a lower noise level than the main bar. We enjoyed the many drink options and the wait staff made great suggestions. I loved the patatas bravas (soo yummy!) Everything we tried was superb."
    Dined on 6/7/2014