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Mateo Bar de Tapas

4.5

109 W Chapel Hill St
Durham, NC 27701
Phone: (919) 530-8700
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Google Reviews

Photo of HumbleK801 HumbleK801
Mar 27, 2022 4

My hubby and I have been to this Tapas Bar twice. The atmosphere is nice. The small plates we have tried were very delicious. The bone marrow dish, fried rice, and the brussel sprouts are a few of our favorites. The plates are shareable and its a great experience. Eric is a great and knowledgeable waiter. He was busy on Saturday, but took care of his tables with no problem! Try the spicy margarita and the rum punch too. The bartender was on point also!! Give them a try and see what you think!!

Photo of P Wallington P Wallington
Mar 21, 2022 4

Had a pretty fun night here. Most plates were great. Service was really, really slow. Considering it's a tapas resteraunt, it would be nice if servers stopped by tables more frequently-- Seems like we'd only be checked on maybe once every 20-30 minutes (we were kind of tucked in a corner upstairs). We wanted to spend more money! More drinks, plates, and dessert, but our night was cut short because the restaurant was closing by the time we could get ahold of our server again. P.S. nice music!

Photo of thomas wong thomas wong
Jun 11, 2021 5

Amazing tapas. The octopus was done perfectly tender with just the slightest char. Try the cheese and pepper jelly and honestly every we had was amazing.

Photo of Luke Smith Luke Smith
Mar 7, 2022 5

This is a special occasion kind of place for me. I've come with various celebrations with friends and this time with my work to interview a candidate. It was great! Plenty of quality menu options and great service.

Photo of Melissa DeStefano Melissa DeStefano
May 14, 2021 5

Do yourself a favor and visit this lovely tapas restaurant in Downtown Durham! This is the cutest little spot with melt in your mouth dishes from start to finish. Best brussels sprouts and calamari we’ve ever had, a must try for sure! The service goes unmatched with the hospitable hosts and our upbeat server Cassy, it’s a great feeling to know the staff truly cares about your experience. Hands down this would be my first place to recommend to anyone visiting Downtown Durham. We wish the team at Mateos Tapas the best and we’ll definitely be back, thank you again Cassy for all of your delicious recommendations and efficient service, you rock!

Photo of John Lee John Lee
Feb 12, 2022 5

Great tapas place for any occasion! The dishes are all delicious and look great! The atmosphere of the restaurant is romantic but may have difficulty talking due to the noise. Try to get a seat upstairs if you want a more quiet setting.

Photo of Bryce Chaney Bryce Chaney
Jan 23, 2021 5

Absolutely amazing... They've opened up the private dining area for spaced out tables.

Photo of Robert Carroll Robert Carroll
Jan 4, 2021 3

It seemed like it's a great place to go on a date or with a group to keep entertained. But as a single guy traveling having heard great things, it wasn't that fun. The staff could have cared less if I was there. With plenty of seating available, I was was initially going to be seated in front of the kitchen that was well lit. I would have felt on display as a single guy. The food was ok. I guess I'm more used to Mediterranean Spanish tapas restaurants and the atmosphere they bring.

Photo of Larisa Lopez Larisa Lopez
Jan 2, 2021 5

Food was delicious. Most are small portions, so make sure to try lots of items. The portions are also great for a group so that everyone can taste a bunch of things. They take your temperature before they seat you, and the staff all wear masks. Great ambiance. Felt safe and comfortable. Street parking or nearby lot. All good other than that.

Photo of Kyle Frey Kyle Frey
Dec 31, 2020 5

Great food! Great experience! Will be back asap!

Photo of Nessim Abu-Saif Nessim Abu-Saif
Nov 28, 2020 5

To start off following current events, solid implemention of "social distancing". Great variety of tapas and excellent, knowledgeable server.

Photo of Julia Münchberg Julia Münchberg
Nov 2, 2020 5

Our server, Cassy, did a great job orchestrating the meal. Timing is everything in a tapas place, and the pace is a little quick at Mateo. We started with a carafe of Cheerwine sangria - a classic red sangria blend. While sipping, we enjoyed a bowl of wonderfully spiced crispy chickpeas.

Photo of Josh Winters Josh Winters
Nov 6, 2020 3

Tried a bit of a mix. We had the fries, ribs, seafood paella and finished with flan. The fries and ribs were wonderful, but the paella and the flan left a lot to be desired. I don't think the paella is worth it for the price. I have had better elsewhere. I'm not sure if maybe it was the squeeze of lemon I added, but it was just off. The flan was lacking caramel and was not creamy. Overall I would try it again, but probably just for tapas.

Photo of Brett Fox Brett Fox
Feb 7, 2020 5

Don't forget to budget for this meal, because this place is amazing and will drain your bank account quick! We only have been a few times for special occasions but every visit has been an absolute treat! Everything is small plates, which adds up quick, but gives you a chance to try and eat so many different things. Spanish food with a southern twist! You can't go wrong! Get the Sweet Tea Sangria!

Photo of Matthew Cloues Matthew Cloues
Dec 20, 2018 5

Really great spot for tapas in Durham. Food is outstanding with variety of choices and regular specials. Really fun spot as well in refurbished section in older building. Is not formal by any means but is really nice in an informal way. Good service. Popular bar area as well. The food is the star to me though.

Photo of Bobby Dellgrange Bobby Dellgrange
Oct 4, 2020 5

Best tapas in town. My family loves coming here every other week to enjoy the delicious food.

Photo of Bonnie Batterson Bonnie Batterson
Oct 8, 2020 5

We had stayed in Durham for a period of time due to treatments at Duke Cancer Instiute and had reviewed this dining establishment. However, didn't dine until the treatments were complete due to crowds and taste. Delighted we didn't miss as one of the best findes in Durham. Very unique and outstanding service and food.

Photo of Ciro Mcalpine Ciro Mcalpine
Sep 3, 2020 5

We had stayed in Durham for a period of time due to treatments at Duke Cancer Instiute and had reviewed this dining establishment. However, didn't dine until the treatments were complete due to crowds and taste. Delighted we didn't miss as one of the best findes in Durham.

Photo of Wesley Hayward Wesley Hayward
Aug 25, 2020 3

Cramped Bar de Tapas Son Malas (I.e. this place is cramped and the food isn’t that great.) I’ll pass.

Photo of Monica Hawke Monica Hawke
Feb 15, 2020 5

We went here after a show at DPAC since it was within walking distance. Great drinks from their cocktail menu and a chalk board of specials. Small plates are sharable which allowed us to try 4 different things without overdoing it. The fried oysters were so good we ordered another plate. What we really liked was being able to start off with a couple of dishes, then deciding later to try a couple more, reorder the oysters for a second time and then share a dessert. More fluid than typically ordering an appetizer, salad and entree and having them served up according to the kitchen's schedule. We got to drink, eat and laugh at our own pace.

Photo of Ray Hernandez Ray Hernandez
Aug 5, 2020 5

We didn't have a reservation but we got there as soon as they opened and we were able to sit at the bar right away. The bartenders were both very friendly and offered great recommendations. Everything we ordered was great, presentation was very nice, and to top it all off we had the banana pudding... it was amazing!!

Photo of Ryan Calderwood Ryan Calderwood
Feb 22, 2019 4

One of the best burgers downtown, good choice for a solo lunch. All of the lunch tapas are tasty, all of the pork plates are really good too. Drink beer elsewhere, six dollars for a twelve ounce pour where the same will buy you a pint just about anywhere else.

Photo of DXENO DXENO
Jun 9, 2019 5

Great service excellent Spanish tapas good quality of seafood. We love every single orders

Photo of Shoba Kumar Shoba Kumar
Feb 13, 2020 4

Clearly a popular date night spot. Decent variety of spanish tapas and wine. Some dishes were amazing while others were fairly good. Service was good but nothing special.

Photo of Brett Fox Brett Fox
Feb 7, 2020 5

Don't forget to budget for this meal, because this place is amazing and will drain your bank account quick! We only have been a few times for special occasions but every visit has been an absolute treat! Everything is small plates, which adds up quick, but gives you a chance to try and eat so many different things. Spanish food with a southern twist! You can't go wrong! Get the Sweet Tea Sangria!

Photo of Kyra Malone Kyra Malone
Jan 22, 2020 5

Finally made it here. Tapas is not a go-to for us, but this was a great meal to share with friends. The food was excellent - we especially loved the Brussels sprouts, short ribs, and steak tips. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable. I will say we were very relieved to be seated upstairs as the first floor felt very loud and crowded, but nothing out of the ordinary for restaurants these days.

Photo of Eric Miller Eric Miller
Jan 4, 2020 5

Always an excellent experience and one of our Durham favorites. Small plates with a lot of great options. Definitely won’t disappoint!

Photo of John Steigerwald John Steigerwald
Dec 29, 2019 4

Great gourmet food. Service is very good. Very pricey. Food is very rich. Great place for a special occasion if you are a foodie

Photo of Coco Mann Coco Mann
Dec 23, 2019 5

Mateo is always delicious. It's pricey, but worth it if you are a foodie and can handle the price point. Their wine selection is great and the servers are knowledgeable if you need help selecting a wine. The food is amazing. I've yet to have anything bad there. The atmosphere is also super cozy, even if a little loud. This place is a long time favorite.

Photo of Mike Crow Mike Crow
Dec 8, 2019 5

Incredible! Small plates, all wonderfully flavored. Flavor artistry in a warm old style atmosphere. Highly recommended!

Photo of Lynn Wong Lynn Wong
Dec 8, 2019 4

Very expensive, for its portion. As a big fan of Spanish cuisine, I think it is an OK choice in RDU area. But that's about it, as the culinary standard in this part of the country is not so high. Some dishes are unnecessarily salty. It has a blackboard for daily specials, and I'd recommend checking it out.

Photo of Pilot Pilot
Dec 11, 2019 5

The staff was very courteous and professional. The food was very good and a great affordable selection. I would highly recommend you to stop in and try it out.

Photo of Alex Bibbey Alex Bibbey
Oct 24, 2019 5

After several years of thinking about it and dozens of visits, this is our favorite restaurant in Durham. The classic tapas are consistently excellent and executed to authentic form. The pan tomate is perhaps the best I have ever had anywhere. The specials board, rife with local delicacies and seasonal specialties prepared with Spanish inspiration, also shines and you really cannot go wrong with any dish. When crab season comes around, we are always excited for the crab claw appetizer, which is always done a little differently, but always decadent and delicious. I'm not sure I've ever had an off dish on any occasion. Great Spanish draft and wine selections round the menu out. Mateo in my estimation deserves attention from the James Beard Foundation and I hope someday it will receive recognition.

Photo of Allan Voichuk Allan Voichuk
Nov 5, 2019 5

Good selection of food. There is flexibility with the dishes to get vegetarian versions. The wait staff provides good recommendations. Fast service too. I liked the Halloween decorations. Many of them were themed after Stranger Things.

Photo of Brittany Murdock Brittany Murdock
Sep 11, 2019 5

Best restaurant in Durham hands down. The chicken croquettes are the best things I’ve ever tasted. The chicken fried chicken is also out of this world.

Photo of Rachel Zamorski Rachel Zamorski
Aug 11, 2019 5

I've been 4 times in the last 6 months. I make a reservation ahead of time. The food and drink selection has always been great. The servers we had were fantastic, they always have great suggestions. Eileen was our most recent server and her drink and app suggestions were spot on.

Photo of Paul Frank Paul Frank
Jun 22, 2019 5

Excellent food! Service is good to great. The knowledgeable wait staff helps you decide if you can't choose from all the great options. Daily specials are usually my favorite. Extensive wine list. Price is as expected for this area. Fantastic desserts. Can get noisy and cold, especially if seated near the kitchen. Bring a jacket, even in the summer.

Photo of David Kim David Kim
Jul 3, 2019 5

The food is very interesting and I would come here often in special occasions. They have great selections on drinks and food is very delicious. For me, it was a little too exotic since I have pretty simple taste buds. But it was a very exciting experience! It was impossible to be full at this restaurant because the dishes were small...

Photo of Katie Ault Katie Ault
Jun 13, 2019 4

Went for lunch while visiting. Service was a bit disappointing and absent, and I wish I had been made aware of the specials board before ordering. Nice wine selection. Ordered four small plates and they were good, but nothing out of this world.

Photo of Kristen Dewey Kristen Dewey
Mar 3, 2019 5

Excellent food and trendy atmosphere. The portions were great (we had 5 people and ordered 10 tapas and we all left stuffed). Prices were reasonable and the service was very professional. This was my first time here and I would definitely come back. Every single thing we ordered was delicious and unique.

Photo of Ben Hommerding Ben Hommerding
Jun 12, 2019 5

We really enjoyed our tapas at Mateo. We for a variety of different menu items and they were all very good. It's got a funky, fun atmosphere too!

Photo of John Won John Won
Jun 11, 2019 5

My anticipated visit to Mateo's didn't disappoint. Food was very traditional and well made. Drinks were great too. And it was one of few places in NC that did the "raspa" portion of the paella just right. Can't wait to get back there again.

Photo of Sasha Lubkin Sasha Lubkin
May 22, 2022 5

Went to a wedding rehearsal dinner here. Food was very good. I loved the salad and the calamari. Everything seemed very fresh and well prepared. Don't skip the chocolate mousse, it's delicious! Servers were friendly and happy to make non alcoholic mocktails on request.

Photo of Casey Collins Casey Collins
Mar 10, 2021 5

Great for small plates, and always something new and interesting to try. It’s pricey, but the food is well worth it. Unless you’re a high-flyer, probably more of a special occasion place. But consider it for receptions—the upstairs area is prime for private gatherings of probably 40-50 people.

Photo of Corinne Goudreault Corinne Goudreault
Jun 11, 2022 5

Mateo is reliably delicious and great service, but as with all small plates the tan runs up. We paid about $45-50 without drinks and dessert. If it’s your first time, try the paella with some small plates as apps. Mateo also has reservations! Which for some reason is hard to come by in Durham. Always polite and prompt, food is always quick and great.

Photo of Joshua Novak (Josh) Joshua Novak (Josh)
Jun 18, 2022 4

This was our first experience in a tapas restaurant - the food, service, and atmosphere was excellent. Taking off 1 star because it's just too expensive for the amount of food you get. Sure, you get to try a bite of a lot of things, but at the end of the night you're still hungry. My family all came home and immediately ate dinner again - and this is after over $30 per person in food! Again, the food is great, and the service excellent - just pricey.

Photo of Robert Haarsgaard Robert Haarsgaard
Jul 1, 2022 5

Mateo's is easily one of my favorite restaurants in NC. My most recent visit was the best yet. Every plate and every bite was incredible. The Sea Bass and The Bone Marrow plates were the highlights of the evening.

Photo of Hersh Mahajan Hersh Mahajan
Aug 4, 2022 5

Octopus with tomatoes was excellent. Everything else I had (trout, calamari, and fried chicken) was a solid 4 stars. Nothing was bad. Service at the bar was on point and the drink was strong. 4.5 overall rounding up.

Photo of Zung-Ru Lin Zung-Ru Lin
Jul 21, 2022 5

The best food I had in Durham! Atún tuna tartar, blue crab thingy was good for me a seafood lover. Pulpo, the octopus with inky black olive aioli was perfectly cooked! The other were also excellent. Even though they are expensive, I’d still recommend it to anyone who loves seafood and small elegante dishes. Oh right, the male waiter was super friendly and patiently explained everything to us.

Photo of B B
Nov 1, 2021 4

This is great for the experience but I wouldn’t make it a regular spot. Since it is a tapas restaurant the dish sizes are VERY small, even to share with one other person. You can easily rack up an insanely pricey bill at this place just trying a few things. Note that part of their dining section is upstairs and causes great traffic jams so if your party is not good with stairs you should make a reservation ahead of time. I didn’t get to take pictures of everything that we tried, but most things were pretty delicious. The chicken croquettes were absolutely TINY, like smaller than a donut hole. Some things were not easily shared (like the fried chicken ball stuff with cheese and topped with pickles / pickled radish is one piece we needed to cut up) and I feel like that should be indicated on their menu which dishes are shareable and which are not. Their dessert portions were just as tiny as the tapas portions. The desserts were also extremely lacking in flavor. I think the Apple hand pie would have been better if served over a vanilla bean cream because the cream on the plate was flavorless and not giving anything to the dish. The sweet potato cheesecake was also flavorless and could have used some cinnamon or something to liven it up.

Photo of Guan-Lun Liao Guan-Lun Liao
Jun 21, 2022 4

This is a great restaurant with amazing food and friendly staff. But it seems like the place is a bit understaffed. We were waiting for our food for a long while, and we needed to remind them one item never showed up. The place is super busy, so do make a reservation before visiting. Everything is small and pricy but tasty!

Photo of Andrew Strachan Andrew Strachan
May 1, 2022 5

Loved some of the dishes a lot especially the picked sardines, duck confit, and pulpo. We also ordered the bone marrow, shrimp, and serano ham but they were just good, didn't wow us like the other 2. Would recommend we paid 140 for 2 people dinner plus 2 drinks and left very satisfied. Would recommend!