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“Great new addition to the North Shore restaurant scene” 4 of 5 stars
Review of El Matador

El Matador
131 West Esplanade, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
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Ranked #992 of 2,795 restaurants in Vancouver
Cuisines: Tapas
Dining options: Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night
North Vancouver
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great new addition to the North Shore restaurant scene”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2013

El Matador is a new tapas bar that has opened in North Vancouver across the street from Lonsdale Quay. It is a tiny little restaurant with low ceilings and a cozy atmosphere. 4 of us stopped in on a Thursday night around 7:30, without a reservation and were seated within 15 minutes. As it is very small (maybe 28 seats), next time we'll either go down earlier, or make a reservation to ensure that we get in. Service was friendly and attentive, without being overbearing. All the tapas are $5 (Sun - Thur after 9pm, they go down to $3). Our server explained how to order and brought us a small bowl of tasty olives. We ordered a bunch of the tapas to try and favourites included: The crab tapas, carne picada, patatas bravas and the cheese & chorizo puffs. We found that the rustic bread w/ tomato & jambon was nothing special and none of us liked the olive tapenade with anchovy ... way too salty. The sangria was great (though, perhaps a little weak), and we liked it so much we had 2 pitchers. Our only disappointment was that we couldn't get an espresso coffee (only drip) and they didn't have any tea. Total bill for 4 (including one dessert ... delicious rice pudding) was under $80. We'll definitely be back. (I wouldn't recommend it for kids/families)

  • Visited May 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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20 reviews from our community

50% Recommend
    6
    4
    7
    1
    2
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
north vancouver
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
15 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“If you like bland, flavourless food, uptight staff and watered down drinks this is the place for you”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed May 19, 2013

First visit to El Matador last night, as we walked in we were looking forward to what should have been a great meal, the decor was really great , a small and quaint dining room with communal dining areas. We ordered a pitcher of Sangria but what we received was like watered down kool-aid and a bowl of mushy olives, not only was the sangria low in the alcohol content but had no fruit or fruit juices. We ordered a number of tapas, the mushroom caps, sherry prawns, papas bravas, some sort of grilled cheese, chicken wings and the chorizo cheese puffs, I won't go into details about each one individually as all of them were a 6 out of 10. The service staff were unsmiling and uptight as well. I am a foodie as are my 2 friends that were with me, and we all gave the food a thumbs down I. We won't be back.

  • Visited May 2013
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 1 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
North Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
38 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Has become my home away from home...”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

El Matador is a tapas bar near my home. I'm glad I didn't know until recently it is owned by the same people who own The District for reasons which will be evident if you read my review of that restaurant.

This place is awesome. It's not large, which is one of the great things about it (Don't change this, please!!!). It has one long table with tall stools which seat about 20 people and then a bank of tables for 2 or 4 along the back wall. They sell 5 oz. glasses of wine which is a nice size to have with tapas. (To clarify, they do sell other beverages in other sizes as well.)

The server brings you a small bowl of delicious olives, whatever your beverage of choice is and a piece of paper and a pencil. The tapas are listed on the paper and you just check off the tapas you want. They are all $5/each, which allows you the opportunity to be adventurous. I'm a pescetarian (I eat seafood but not meat) and I have no trouble finding tasty options here. My fellow carnivores are equally impressed, though. The servings are generous while still being what they are - tapas. There are cold ones and hot ones - as they all come in quite quick succession, you may want to consider just ordering the cold ones to start and then moving to the hot ones after.

After 9:00 p.m. (they're open late), most tapas are only $3! What a deal!

I have been to this restaurant probably half a dozen times since I discovered it a month or so ago. There are lots of options out there for me to spend my $$ and I am quite particular about where I eat out, so that should tell you something.

If the owners are reading this - please do not change anything. You have a great staff, great chef, great atmosphere. Don't wreck it by making the restaurant bigger or making the servings skimpier or jacking up the prices now that the locals are starting to recognize the value. You've got something great - don't screw it up!!

  • Visited April 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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OLYMPIA
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
8 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
“El Matador”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 22, 2013

I'd never had tapas before, but during a recent trip to North Vancouver we felt adventurous. El Matador was about a block away from the Pinnacle where we were staying so we gave it a try.

We're so glad we did.

The atmosphere is warm and friendly. We felt comfortable enough to sit and stay for awhile - we even ordered another round of food.

The service was terrific and the chef happily accommodated our food requests.

Worth a visit!

  • Visited March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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