Photo: Robbie Caponetto
What to Order: Huevo Diablo. At this Spanish-inspired cantina, in the heart of downtown Durham’s revival, Matt Kelly masterfully blends the flavors of the South and Spain. His Huevo Diablo (deviled egg) arrives neatly halved, wrapped in chorizo, and piled high with a satiny egg filling, the seeming culinary offspring of a demure Southern mama and a swarthy Spanish father. But don’t stop there. Put simply, Matt’s food is mind-blowingly good. Bowls of Manila clams and boiled peanuts surrender to a sherry-laced, garlicky broth. Meaty pork ribs, lacquered in Espellette pepper jelly, seem just the thing you’d eat at a barbecue joint in Basque Country. Luckily, his tapas-style menu encourages sharing.
109 West Chapel Hill Street; mateotapas.com