Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

Mateo Bar de Tapas

109 Chapel Hill St. (Ramseur St.) Send to Phone
Spanish tapas are served with a dash of the American South.

Cuisine
Open
Lunch Tues.-Fri., Dinner Tues.-Sun.
Features

* Click here for rating key

Mateo Bar de Tapas Restaurant Review

: Expectations were high when Matt Kelly, executive chef of Durham’s Vin Rouge, opened Mateo Bar de Tapas in 2012. Since then, food enthusiasts have lined up for tables at this vibrant eatery for such authentic Spanish tapas as tortilla española, patatas bravas and pan con tomate. Sweetbreads topped with a sauce of the season are on the menu, as are blood sausage, the finest Spanish hams and cheeses, and varying seafood small plates, like charred octopus with black garlic aïoli and fried squid with piquillo pepper tartar sauce. Kelly’s playful lunch menu offers Iberian riffs on American classics. Try the clever “Tuna Melt,” a split baguette topped with imported tuna, manchego cheese and pickled onion relish. Decorated with Spanish tiles and rustic chandeliers, the former bookstore is acoustically challenged, and the barstools are small and slippery, yet the quality of the food transcends a bit of discomfort. Mateo’s wine list offers perhaps the finest selection of sherry in the Southeast, as well as a collection of wines from all of Spain’s wine-producing regions. If the noise level is too high for your taste, have a glass of sherry with olives or a chorizo-stuffed egg and move on for a quieter dinner elsewhere.



AMERICA'S TOP RESTAURANTS

Discover the best female chefs, top pizzerias and stellar seafood restaurants with GAYOT's Top 10 lists of the best restaurants in America.