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Mateo. Durham nc

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Tapas. Food very interesting, but, now the usual for a Spanish Tapas spot.
However, the noise is unbearable !!
Forget a dinner conversation..you will literally need to yell at your table guests to overcome the ambient noise.
I would never return. Sad, because the food was good.
NOISE !!!

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  1. Too many of the downtown Durham restaurants seem intent on being part of a hip, trendy "scene" rather than creating a comfortable atmosphere for diners. It works for some segments of the market, not for other. Sadly for me, I'm one of the others. Too bad because, as you say, the food is good.

    7 Replies
    1. re: rockycat

      I would just like to point out that loud restaurants often are that way because they're busy. The reason they're busy is because they do a good job of making food and drink, and then delivering it. I've been to Mateo late after it clears out, and it's not too loud to hold a conversation with someone at the other end of a table of eight. Granted, no restaurant is for everyone, but I don't think they set out to be trendy and loud. It's just the result of being in an old downtown building and very popular. Many restaurants struggle with muffling sound, and it's usually because they do a great job being a restaurant. I will say I'm glad it's not for everyone, because I have a hard time getting a table. The food, drink program, and service is excellent.

      1. re: veganhater

        If you like the place why not go earlier? I was just at Kipos which gets very busy & noisy, but I dined earlier at 6:30 and really enjoyed it.

        1. re: Rory

          Noise damping material is easy enough to do. I remember when Vivace in Raleigh opened, it was impossible to have a conversation with the person sitting next to you much less across the table. They did something to the ceiling and it's much, much better.

          I agree with rockycat that it's more about creating a trendy buzz. And don't get me started on my pet peeve: those trendy, but torturous tiny plastic seats. That so-called cool "vibe" shows real disdain for customers who appreciate a comfortable seat and a conversation.

          1. re: TerryG

            Oh, those seats are horrible.

            That said, I love the place. We tend to go early because I want to be home in time to put Lulu to bed, so while it has been loud I am sure it isn't as loud as it gets later in the evening. We've only been as a two-some, so maybe that also helps - you just lean a little farther across the table (might even sneak in a kiss). I think most of the food is very good, and I always look forward to a meal there.

            1. re: LulusMom

              You're right. We really love the food. So, we go for a late lunch when the noise is tolerable and my DH carries a cushion with him for his tush.

            2. re: TerryG

              The decorative pressed tin (?) ceiling is one of the things that makes Mateo so beautiful. It would be shameful to mar that with sound dampening material. Perhaps they have considered sound dampening but decided that it would harm the restaurant's aesthetic.

              1. re: bbqme

                Maybe it's a tapas thing? I when we lived in Chicago, the noisiest restaurant was a tapas place. This was measured noise level. I'm sure if they hung some decorative stuff on the walls it would help the noise level without marring the tin ceiling. Perhaps a nice "dogs playing poker" tapestry

      2. I love Mateo's , yes it is loud, just like the tapa bars in Spain. To be expected with this style of restaurant and food.
        One complaint I have is the food can be pricey. In Spain tapas are inexpensive and sometimes free.
        Also, their Jamon Iberico is nowhere near as good as what I had in Spain.