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“Nice ambiance but nothing special except for...”
Review of The Matador

The Matador
Ranked #505 of 4,592 Restaurants in Portland
Cuisines: Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Late Night, Reservations
Neighborhood: Northwest District
Description: The Matador in NW Portland, formerly Casa del Matador, our first Portland location, sits on the lively corner of NW 23rd and Quimby. When the sun comes out, the eight-foot high windows slide open for open air dining and the crowd vies for window or outdoor seating, while socializing over the city’s freshest Mexican cuisine.
Reviewed July 11, 2014

Come here for lunch once in a while because it's close to work. Nice ambiance, but service is average.... servers are not very attentive even when it's not busy. Food is also average.

Came here this time to watch world cup soccer and decided to have something different, a spicy chicken sandwich. Loved it. Great taste and flavorful. It's probably my favorite food on the menu... the french fries aren't bad either.

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Thank jetters888
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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80 - 84 of 113 reviews

Reviewed July 1, 2014

The décor of the Matador is intimate, with subdued lighting (amber incandescent and candles), cozy booths, and wrought iron. The walls are adorned with a plethora of skulls – 6 cattle, two human replicas – adding to a Southwestern appeal. The outdoor seating is to the side of the building, away from the busy Burnside streetfront, and sheltered by bamboo plants from the parking lot.
The complimentary chips and Salsa were excellent, both obviously homemade and fresh. The chips were delicately crisp, paper-thin, perfectly salted, and fried at the right temperature (ie, not greasy!) in fresh oil. The salsa was so tasty I literally ate it by the spoonful, with plenty of fresh cilantro, roasted chilis, garlic, and deliciousness. The braised grape salad was food, but the Romaine salad was outstanding – one of the best Caesars I have ever had, with fresh lemon juice balanced by plenty of anchovy and fresh garlic. The greens and tomatoes were organic and flavourful. The optional chicken we ordered on the salads was not your typical bland, dry, roasted breast, but tender, juicy, marinated and tasty lean breast. We chose the chocolate decadence cake from the list of tempting desserts. It was richly dense and moist, topped with ice cream and a house-made pineapple-jalapeno sauce that nicely balanced the sweetness with a slight piquantness. Their Happy Hour selections and prices are also very reasonable.
Margaritas at the Matador are ranked among the best in Portland, and I can understand why. They are all large and generously poured (ie, plenty of liquor!) and delicious. We tried the house, Top Shelf (with Patron Citronage) and Cadillac (with Grand Marnier float) margaritas – all were excellent! They have an impressive selection of fine tequilas, including some of my favorites (Don Julio Anejo and Herradura Anejo).
Greeting was absent, and we were ignored for seating for a while, but - once seated - service by our waitress was friendly and prompt. Be sure to ask for Emily if you are there for lunch! She was knowledgeable and helpful about both menu items and drink venues.

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Thank Barbara S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2014

A group of six of us went to Casa del Matador last night for Happy Hour. Friday the 13th, a great friend's birthday and a nice summer evening - Ole!

As usual, the entrance to the restaurant is impressive. I love the way this venue looks!

RIght off the bat, the service was a little bit weak. A server came over and said another server would be over soon. Someone brought us water but didn't ask if we wanted drinks. After a few minutes, a server did come and ask if we wanted food. We said we wanted to order appetizers and also drinks to celebrate our friend's birthday. With 6 of us at the table, only 4 were asked for a beverage order. When the server came back, we said we had an additional drink order. Finally, everyone had drinks and we could do our birthday toast!

The food was good. We had nachos which had great black beans. We had calamari which had little flavor until you used the sauce served on the side. We also had garlic prawns which were tasty. All appetizers were $5.00 until 6pm.

A couple of times, the server walked off while we were still asking questions. My friends ordered a family flight of tequila and wanted to know what they were drinking. We had to call the server back to find out.

I noted our receipt said there were 2 guests at our table. If I managed the restaurant, I would flag the ticket for over service of alcohol. We had far too many drinks for only 2 guests.

We decided to move on to the St. Jack to continue our celebration. The normally great Casa del Matador had a weak service night. Hopefully, it will be back on top when I return to the hot 23rd Street area for Happy Hour!

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Thank nkwins
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 23, 2014

What a difference a year makes! We used to eat at Matador several times per month. Food was good tex mex. Service was friendly and efficient. Setting was nice. Prices were decent.

Over the last year, the bottom has fallen out. The fajitas, which used to be really good, are now horribly disappointing. The staff has completely changed. Folks remain friendly but today's service was a disaster. Service was so slow that we had filled up on chips and salsa and two margaritas before our food arrived. Four other tables that arrived after us received their food before us. Oooph. Our server apologized for the slow service before we said anything. Then we lost patience and complained. Then, after 45 minutes, we asked to cancel our order just as our food arrived. They offered to comp us and prepare a to-go box but we were just (un)fed up at that point.

Back story is that we gave up on Matador a month ago. We had two bad experiences in a row and we said to ourselves that we wouldn't go back. However, we broke down and decided to give it one more chance for old time's sake. We left shaking our heads. How could things go so wrong? Our theory is that they are cutting corners to pad profits. They have figured out that their crowd is getting younger and less discriminating and they just need to pump out beers and margaritas. Food and service doesn't need to be great. It shows.

Hopefully, St Jack just down the street can pick up the slack. Que lastima.

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Thank KonaNimmer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 24, 2014

Went during the weekend and ended up eating at the bar so cannot comment too much on service.
Some of the better Tex Mex in town and margaritas were also good.
They do not allow kids in this restaurant so keep that in mind.

Thank EricL97332
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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