A Fun Restaurant With Yummy Food.
No trip to Los Olivos wine country is complete without dinner at Mattei's. If there's one thing I've learned, it's BOOK EARLY! If you don't, you'll be stuck with a 5pm or 9pm reservation.
The restaurant is pretty large but it's broken up into smaller rooms. The last two times I've been there we were seated in a high-ceilinged red room with plenty of charm. The drinks are good (strong!) and the food is good.
When bread is served, expect a nice variety. In the past we've had jalapeno cornbread along with other tasty morsels. I'll be at Mattei's in a couple of weeks and my taste buds are already looking forward to dinner there.
As a side note, so much of the charm of this area has been obliterated since the movie Sideways came out. Restaurants and wineries alike tout the fact they were featured in the film and the drunken tourists have ruined much of the experience. Mattei's has been spared that fate.
Cozy Atmosphere. The restaurant had a totally cozy atmosphere when we walked in. Sure, the food was great...but what defined it was the service. The food was fabulous. My friends had the prime filet which turned out to be OK, but the Buffalo Rib-Eye was stupendous! I (after being totally wined out from the wine-tastings of the day) decided on the quail with wild mushroom risotto. OMG...can you say fab? The risotto was excellent as were the sweet potato fries that my husband ordered! We also ordered dessert....apple crisp a la mode and creme brulee. Delish!
The Brother's Restaurant at Mattei's Tavern is not the overall best restaurant you may ever eat at, but it's certainly the best in the Santa Ynez Valley, and more importantly, the Prime Fillet is one of the best pieces of meat you'll ever eat (It really is that good). The setting is nice (a very old Inn-type establishment), the wine-list is excellent as expected in Los Olivos, and the service is friendly and good, but all of these positives pale in comparison to the Prime Fillet.
Now, with that said, the rest of the food at Mattei's is excellent, just not worth raving about to quite the same degree. If you take a trip to the Santa Ynez Valley, please eat here, as everyone I've taken agrees that the restaurant is at least excellent, if not one of the best meals they've had in a very long time.
Best Food in the Wine-Tasting Area.
I don't agree with the first poster. The food here is constistently magnificent. I've been here 5 times, each time with different people... they all LOVED it! The 8.2 rating is too low in my opinion. And the ambience is great! I like feeling like I was eating in someone's home. We've had different cuts of steak (all great), the shrimp tempura appetizer is delicious. And the creme brulee is some of the best I've tried. They also have a great wine list. Los Olivos Cafe is right down the street from here (it's also really good), but I would only go there for lunch.
Mattei's is THE dinner spot.
The food is just Ok............. The service was just Ok and the food was Ok. The food was served cold and the mash potatoes tasted like they came out of a can. People who had the pork chops and prime rib said it was good, but not the best they ever had. Don't order the trout! It was the worst of all the dinners. Lacked flavor and was served luke warm. The waiter never refilled our drinks or asked if we needed anything. We had to wave him down to get missing knives and refills. I had not dined here in about 15 years, I was hoping to have a great experience to share. The only thing I could rave about is the ambiance, wine and the weather in the area was perfect.