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“The Quintessential Seattle Experience”

Matt's in the Market
Ranked #66 of 4,111 Restaurants in Seattle
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $21 - $120
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Romantic
Dining options: Dinner, Breakfast, Late Night, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Reservations
Dining style: Casual Elegant
Neighborhood: Downtown
Cross street: 1st. Ave.
Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
45 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 113 helpful votes
“The Quintessential Seattle Experience”
Reviewed March 6, 2014

I live in Seattle and have dined at Matt's occasionally over the years, but for some reason, I forgot how amazing this place really is. The hideaway location in Pike's Place Market, the lovely old half-moon windows looking out over the Market sign and the Puget Sound, the intimate yet casual space are all reasons to take your friends, your lover, your visitors (although maybe not all at once!) to this Seattle institution of culinary excellence.

Of course, many restaurants follow the "fresh, in-season, locally-sourced" philosophy, including other excellent 'Market' restaurants in the area, but somehow, looking down on the very vendors who've supplied a portion of your meal somehow brings it home how special it is to eat this way.

Our party started with fresh oysters, the bread-and-butter board, and a bowl of mixed olives. The oysters were served on the half-shell, nestled in a clever tray of ice-encased river rocks, and (according to my companions) were succulent and fresh in a tart mignonette sauce and, depending on the two varieties served, were "clean-tasting", "briny" and "sweet".

I'm not sure where the bread came from (forgot to ask), but there were 2 varieties, and the olive version was sublime. Smeared with fresh-tasting sweet cream butter that crunched with flakes of sea salt, I could have eaten the whole board by myself. The olives are mixed and brined in-house and were deliciously redolent in olive oil, citrus peels and spices. Our choices were simple appetizers--almost basic--but still managed to stand out as fresh and delicious.

Two of us had the seared duck breast special--and when I say it was perfectly seared, I mean it in the truest sense of the word. The skin was crisp and salty, the breast meat cooked to medium-rare succulence, and the generously sliced portion was served atop a bed of pureed parsnips, sauteed leeks and mushrooms, and drizzled with a berry reduction that added just a hint of tart and sweet to the richness of the duck and vegetables. Neither of us could recall having had such a perfectly executed rendition of duck breast.

Our other companion had the wild warm mushroom "salad" served with a fried duck egg and declared it "amazing", commenting on the variety of mushrooms sauteed to tenderness with shallots and served on a beautiful puree of bright green spinach.

The service was very good; warm and attentive without being intrusive, and even though the tiny restaurant was full on a Tuesday night, including a large-party table, there were no delays in service or between courses (except for the late arrival of a glass of wine), and the noise level (unlike so many restaurants these days) was comfortable, if not exactly quiet.

Matt's has a small bar that I believe serves from the full menu as well, and there were several solo diners taking advantage of the happy hour, it seemed.

The kitchen is an open concept, and while that's not always my favorite thing, it's interesting to watch the 'ballet' of food preparation going on. Obviously, this staff knows their business and their space, and while they worked quickly and efficiently, there was none of the frantic, sweaty, shouting chaos I've seen in other open kitchens that made me not so much a fan of this concept.

If you have one dinner in downtown Seattle, I can't think of many better alternatives to Matt's. The location, the ambiance, and the food quality are all very "Seattle". We did a "progession" thing where we had happy hour at RN74, dinner at Matt's, and dessert at Etta's (triple coconut cream pie, of course), and our visitor was happy to have had a taste of them all. But you can do drinks, dinner and dessert at Matt's if you are of a mind to relax and stay a while, and you won't be sorry.

Prices at Matt's are comparable to other restaurants in Seattle of this quality, but some may consider those prices expensive:

Oysters on half-shell (6) $18
Bread and butter $4
Olives $6
Duck entrees $34
Wild Mushroom Salad $15
Wine by glass from $10

I would argue, however, that the quality of ingredients, the preparation, service and the lovely locale make this a value for your money.

  • Visited March 2014
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
1 Thank Velvalee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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704 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
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English first
Merchantville NJ
Level Contributor
8 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Very good!”
Reviewed February 28, 2014

awesome meal....would like to go back, but so many other restaurants to choose from. Staff was gracious and pleasant. In the center of the tourist area, but seemed more like a local place.

Visited February 2014
Thank JWS_2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
202 reviews
131 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 53 helpful votes
“A victim of its success?”
Reviewed February 27, 2014

I have very fond memories of Matt's from when I lived in Seattle. A fabulous find tucked away on the 2nd floor of the Public Market that consisted of not much more then a lunch counter where the most fabulous fresh NW food was prepared. Not having been back in a few years I returned to find it had expanded into a large dining room (quite nice) and still boasted the open kitchen. However the food was lacking - not good, not bad. Just so so. It made me question what I liked about it so much in the first place. I won't return.

Visited February 2014
1 Thank JLATL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Girdwood, Alaska
Level Contributor
171 reviews
117 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
Reviewed February 18, 2014 via mobile

LOVED our meal here. Had the sourdough bread; mushroom salad; octopus (served with kimchee, surprisingly good combination) and scallops between us. Our waiter was fantastic. Great Grenache and surprisingly good Riesling for dessert (standard dessert wines are a little too sweet for me). We wandered into this place because it was close and could not have made a better choice. Make a reservation if you want to guarantee a table. I thought their cheese list was bleh, a little too over the top (don't do two soft cheeses, bleu and head cheese all in one menu) but I have no real complaints and I would absolutely go here again. Fantastic all around and I am a complete food snob.

Thank tyrannosauruswrx
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Seafood stew yumm!”
Reviewed February 12, 2014

Loved the atmosphere of this restaurant and the food was amazing. I ordered the seafood stew and it had so much seafood in it with a curry soup base, yumm

Visited January 2014
Thank Tiffbrentwoodca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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