We recently had the opportunity to check out Mati, a relatively new Greek/Italian restaurant on Preston Street replacing the previous Black Cat Bistro.
The location is excellent, right in the middle of the busy Preston Street. Parking can be found along the main or side streets. The ambience is very modern and chic. There is a huge bar area and the restaurant is apparently open till late, so the atmosphere becomes like an upscale bar later in the evening.
In keeping with their bar-like vibe, they have an extensive drinks menu including many cocktails, wines, beer and spirits for your drinking pleasure.
Since it was for a special occasion, we wanted to try the most special items they had on the menu. We started with the seafood tower. We had chosen the “triple” size, because we wanted to try other menu items as well. This was not only impressive to look at with its three layers full of seafood; the items were also very tasty. We were told to start with the hot items including a lobster tail, fried calamari, charred scallops, and grilled shrimp on a bed of arugula. It came with 2 dipping sauces which complimented the seafood very well. The lobster was very sweet and the calamari was perfectly fried and tender. I’m a huge fan of scallop and that definitely did not disappoint as well. For the cold dishes, they had cocktail shrimp, lobster tacos, tuna crudo and scallop crudo. Mati is known for their crudos (or raw fish) so I was very excited to try them. The tuna crudo was delicious. It’s like sashimi on steroids with delicate, tasty fish topped with flavourful yuzu dressing, miso mayo, serrano pepper, crispy taro and garlic chips. I did not enjoy the scallop crudo as much as it was a bit too acidic for me. We were also super impressed by their lobster taco with a nice mix of flavours. On the bottom level of this tower was a whole layer of PEI oysters with usual accompaniment including lime, lemon, horseradish, various dipping sauces and hot sauce. The only thing is I wish there were different types of oysters to try instead of just one! When eating oysters, I like to compare the various tastes from different parts of Canada.
For appetizers, we tried the gnocchi with toasted pistachios, pesto, tomato, topped with lemon and parmesan. It was a beautifully presented dish with good flavours and textures. We also had the fired roasted beets with heat from the charred jalapeño, as well as creaminess from the goat cheese, ricotta, feta and pine nuts.
For our mains, we again chose the most special item on the menu to share – the 46 oz Tomahawk steak. It was a beautiful plate of meat along with fingerling potatoes. The meat itself was perfectly cooked to medium with nice fatty parts to indulge in if you so please. We also shared the seafood pasta, which I was very impressed with. It was the most buttery pasta I have ever had covered with smoked lobster butter. The PEI mussels and shrimp were also a very nice addition along with the tasty spaghetti.
The service here was amazing! Our server was very friendly and was very engaged throughout the evening. He even helped me take pictures while I was away for a bathroom break. We were given a complimentary dessert to share in celebration of the birthday boy. It was delicious! The owner is also super friendly and came out to talk to us a couple times. He also owns the nearby Evoo Greek Kitchen, which I have been years ago, and he has reminded me that I will need to return soon to refresh my memory.
We had an excellent experience here at Mati. Everything from the ambience, food and service was incredible here. I would definitely recommend trying this restaurant in the heart of Little Italy either for a lovely night out with friends/your partner or to celebrate a special occasion with a group.