Matthew's Bistro

Matthew's Bistro

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+44 15394 31234+ Add website
Hours
Tue
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Wed
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Thu
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Fri
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Sat
5:30 PM - 9:00 PM
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What is Travelers’ Choice?
Tripadvisor gives a Travelers’ Choice award to accommodations, attractions and restaurants that consistently earn great reviews from travelers and are ranked within the top 10% of properties on Tripadvisor.
Ratings and reviews
4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles
Travelers' Choice 2023

RATINGS
Food
4.6 of 5 bubbles
Service
4.6 of 5 bubbles
Value
4.4 of 5 bubbles
Atmosphere
4.1 of 5 bubbles
Details
Someone from this business manages this listing.
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CUISINES
British
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Dinner
features
About
We’re a small & friendly family-run bistro where you can be sure of good food and a warm welcome. Born and bred in Windermere, the owner and award-winning classically trained chef Matthew first opened the doors of the Bistro in 2001 with a vision to serve hearty home cooked food to locals and visitors alike. Together with his wife Dominika they pride themselves in working closely with local suppliers to bring you the best of what The Lake District has to offer. Whether it’s traditional British or classic French and Mediterranean, we have something for everyone and our hand-picked selection of delicious wines and craft beers is carefully designed to create an enjoyable dining experience for all.
CUISINES
British
Special Diets
Vegetarian Friendly, Gluten Free Options
Meals
Dinner
FEATURES
Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Full Bar, Table Service, Non-smoking restaurants
4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles1,573 reviews
Excellent
1,112
Very good
313
Average
93
Poor
24
Terrible
31
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.

Lee W
Leeds4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 family
We called Matthews at 6:30pm on the last night of our holiday on the off chance they had availability (this is following us being rejected from the shambles that is the Ambleside Inn). Well, I wish we had visited sooner. We’re a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 teens, 15,14,11) and we love our food and we were not disappointed by Matthew’s. They were accommodating by booking us in last minute, to our surprise there was an early bird menu until 7pm which we qualified for and the food was fantastic! Good, honest, home cooked food and the portions were really good. Would highly recommend if you’re looking for good, honest and well priced food in a relaxed atmosphere. Would definitely go again!
Written August 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
D0minikaC
Hi Lee, thank you so much for taking time to leave us such a wonderful review, we’re really glad you’ve enjoyed dining with us and hope to see you again soon!
Written August 19, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Steph R
Durham480 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 couples
Called in for dinner without a reservation and it wasn’t busy so we were seated immediately. There was an early menu deal and also a later menu deal as well as the regular menu. We ate french onion soup and liver pate for starters - both delicious. I chose smoked haddock and pea risotto for main course which was a huge portion. The steak was also fantastic and perfectly cooked. Staff were lovely and the bill was very reasonable £55 in total for two starters, main courses and drinks. One tiny point - no need for the Lurpak butter portions - bad for the environment and just as nice to use butter in a dish. Would certainly recommend and will return.
Written February 29, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Steph
Kingston-upon-Hull15 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 couples
This bistro is a great little find after visiting Ambleside. The food is gorgeous and a lovely friendly atmosphere. They do set menu’s before 7pm and after 7pm both great choice and very good value for money. I couldn’t fault at all. Would definitely return and recommend to others.
Written February 28, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

John L
Widnes148 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020 none
We ate here on Thursday, 9th October for the 8pm sitting. The food and table service were fine, however the experience was totally spoiled by the group of four men on the table next to ours who arrived already intoxicated and spent the entirety of the meal conversing loudly with each other using foul and abusive language, which was audible to everyone else in the restaurant. In the end we decided to leave and asked for the bill, having been seated for less than an hour (other diners who had arrived after us had already left at this point). After paying I mentioned politely to one of the two waitresses that had been serving that the ambience had been unacceptable. She agreed with me so I asked if the manager hadn't been present to deal with it. She said that they were "in the back" (by which I understood to mean the kitchen) so I asked if I could speak with them about it. She disappeared only to return several minutes later to relay that the manager "wouldn't be coming out to speak with me as they were too busy", but that the offensive table had been asked to be quieter. Usually most establishments are extremely keen that customers raise any issues they may have there and then, rather than complaining after the fact, in the form of a negative review for example. Clearly this isn't the case at Mathew's Bistro. It is probably the most astonishing example of unprofessionalism and poor customer service and that I've ever come across. Needless to say, we won't be returning.
Written October 9, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
D0minikaC
Dear John L, Firstly, let me apologise for your substandard experience of our bistro. I completely agree with you that the behaviour of some of our guests on Thursday evening was unacceptable but I can assure you that this is certainly not the norm in our restaurant. The girls have done their best to mitigate the situation and asked the table in question to behave more appropriately. I wasn’t made aware of the fact that there was a problem until you have requested to speak to management, by which time, as you pointed out, you were leaving. I’m sure you can appreciate that it is impossible for a chef to instantly drop everything during busy service hence why our waiting on team are expected to deal with any complaints or problems that may arise during the course of the evening. I was lead to believe you have spoken to both of them to raise your concerns. Once again, I can only apologise for the fact that they haven’t managed to resolve the situation in this instance, certainly not for lack of trying. I can clearly see how strongly you feel about your experience as you shared your opinion on various online platforms to ensure your voice is heard. Thank you so much for choosing Matthew’s Bistro and I’m sorry you didn’t get to experience the true ambience. All the best!
Written October 10, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Lynton B
3 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 none
My wife and I went to Matthews Bistro for an evening meal. From entering to leaving we both felt rushed. We had no sooner sat down then we were asked for our order. We asked for a few moments longer but the waitress was back in no time at all. This was the theme throughout the time we were in this restaurant. We had two courses each (starter and main) and a bottle of wine. When we declined a suite course the bill arrived without being asked for despite the fact we were still drinking our wine. Then within a few minutes we were asked if we needed the card machine, talk about you've eaten, we want your table! About ten minutes before we left another couple took a table next to us. They also were asked for their order within just a few moments of sitting down and had to ask for extra time to look at the menu. I would describe the quality of the food as ok but nothing special. Perhaps had I not felt rushed I may have enjoyed the food more. Mathews Bistro seemed to have mainly tables for four people but most only had couples sat at them. Perhaps if the restaurant had more tables for two that could be put together when required for foursomes then they would be able to give their customers more time to enjoy their meals. Overall not an enjoyable evening. I could only see ourselves using Matthews again if we can't get a table somewhere else.
Written February 10, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Resort667968
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2020 none
We stayed in Ambleside for 2 nights and had dinner at Matthews Bistro Very reasonable price for evening meal. Very friendly staff and a great atmosphere. Good wholesome food Great pace of service not rushed but not too slow . We will visit Matthews again
Written October 1, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
D0minikaC
Hi Resort667968, Thank you so much for taking time to leave us a lovely review. We’re delighted you’ve enjoyed your dining experience with and hope to see you again soon. Best wishes!
Written October 2, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Degsy T
Preston85 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 couples
Came to Ambleside for my birthday and booked a table. I'd read reviews about the restaurant not being happy about people turning up early so we arrived 2 mins prior to our slot to try and not be too early or too late! We were shown to our table. Bearing in mind, this is not a large restaurant and it was only 70% occupied at that time, it took nigh on 10 minutes to take our drinks order and a good while longer for them to arrive. On a couple of occasions when other people came in, one waitress said "sorry I'm really behind" as their table wasn't ready. So they don't like early, late or on time customers it seems! I think it's fair to say one of the two waiting staff wasn't as experienced as the other and was painfully slow. Our food orders were taken a while later. For starters we had french onion soup and moules marinière both advertised with crusty bread. The onion soup was more like a salty gravy and not like any French onion soup we'd had before. The mussels, advertised as 'juicy' were overcooked and extremely small. What surprised me was the number of broken shells and unopened mussels (probably 15%) which shows a lack of detail in the kitchen in disgarding potentially bad mussels if they're broken and possibly dead. Surely you wouldn't risk that? I certainly don't if I'm cooking them. The crusty bread was a shop bought ciabatta cut diagonally which is springy rather than crusty I'd say? The sauce was quite bland and tasted mostly of wine and the couple of thyme twigs thrown in for good luck. For main we both had the lamb. The lamb was tender but extremely dry which the gravy (that appeared to be from the same jug as the onion soup) couldn't make it very palatable. The mash was ok but could have done with some butter. To that end we didn't order desserts. All in all, quite disappointing. Matthew doesn't seem to like poor reviews. I think he thinks he's substantially better than he really is. Average pub food at best.
Written October 4, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
DC01234
Hi DegsyT1, I’m not sure whether people just forgot how to talk to each other during lockdown but I’m positive that if I’d gone out for a meal and it was as monumentally disastrous as you described in your review I would certainly be saying something. The whole team works incredibly hard to make sure everyone leaves happy so why you haven’t raised any of your issues with us during your visit is beyond me. Hiding behind the keyboard to slate someone’s livelihood is a bit out of order, given that at no point during your meal did you voice your concerns. Somehow your review feels more like a personal attack on me and my team rather than a genuine review. The waitress you slated was working her very first shift and has done admirably, I wonder how how amazing you would be on your first day in a new job? I accept that we don’t all like the same things so I’m sorry you haven’t enjoyed your evening with us but as I said on many occasions previously, if you don’t like something, tell us so we can fix it. I feel I can’t say fairer than that.
Written October 6, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

RamblerDad
Lindfield14 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 couples
Both the food and the service here are both first rate. We chose from the early dinner menu which requires ordering before 7pm and comes at a lower price than the post 7pm menu. We had the chicken liver pate, flavoured with juniper berries, herbs and cognac and served with onion marmalade, and prawn cocktail to start, both delicious. Our mains were smoked haddock and pea risotto, cooked in white wine, and pollo marsala, both excellent and full of flavour. Our desserts were creme brûlée and rum soaked raisins on vanilla ice cream, again big hits. The chef blends flavours like a maestro and even though we were both delighted with every one of our choices they required us to put aside many other enticing options. This is our new favourite eating spot in Ambleside and we hope to be back.
Written July 31, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
DC01234
Hello Simon W, Thank you so much for leaving us such a brilliant review, what a fantastic way to describe your experience! We’re delighted you’ve both enjoyed your evening at our Bistro and look forward to welcoming you back in the future. All the best!
Written August 1, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Alison W
Manchester7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 friends
Staying in Ambleside so we’re looking for a place to eat that could deal with my dietary needs . Matthews did . They accommodated 6 of us in fri & 10 on sat - we returned as it was so good. The service was great & the food was amazing . Portion sizes were large you certainly didn’t leave feeling hungry . Had a great experience, will definitely return when next in Ambleside. 😊
Written February 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nicola h
Chorley20 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 family
We visited the restaurant as a party of 5 including a child (4 year old). From the minute we entered we were given a warm welcome and settled straight in. We all had a 3 course meal and the food was faultless. The fillet steaks were some of the best we’ve had and the portion sizes are very generous. We weren’t rushed at all and thoroughly enjoyed our evening. The waitresses Annie and Hannah are a credit to the place. Our son lucas adored Annie and was chatting away to her most of the night. Thanks for a great night, we’ll definitely be back.
Written February 23, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Michael
Lancashire180 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 couples
Had dinner in a completely full restaurant earlier this week. The service was efficient and the food was excellent, really had the home made taste to the sauces in the classic dishes. Lovely honeycomb cheesecake for dessert too. Only reason i give four and not five stars is there are two menus (early evening and late evening). The mains on the late evening sound a bit better but as we were early I didn’t enquire about ordering from the later menu (from 7pm only). After ordering however i heard the table next to us order from the later menu and therefore think the two separate menus is confusing if there isn’t actually a requirement to stick to what the times say.
Written August 26, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
D0minikaC
Hi Michael, thank you so much for taking time to leave us lovely review! We're delighted you've enjoyed your dining experience with us. I'm terribly sorry about the confusion with the menu, the early evening menu has been designed to accommodate families (who would rather dine earlier due to children's nap times and bed times) but is not exclusively served before 7pm. You can always choose dishes from either menu, the only difference is the pricing. This should have been explained to you by a member of our team and I can only apologize for the fact that it did not happen on this occasion. I sincerely hope we will see you again!
Written August 27, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Jeanette
9 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2021 family
My husband, sister inlaw and myself came here to eat for the first time tonight. We were looking forward to our meal as it has good reviews. I have never been so disappointed. We ordered the chicken with vegetables and roast potatoes. The chicken was cold, the so called vegetables were in the sauce (tiny) which was bland and the roast potatoes,im convinced was Aunt Bessie's . We informed the waitress that the chicken was cold and we couldn't eat any of it. She was apologetic. When we asked for the bill. The manager came over and we had to pay in full for two meals that we never ate. I find that this was a terrible service as we should have at least had the meal taken off the bill. We were so shocked that they never offered any explanation or a good will gesture,. That we just paid and left. We will never come here again.
Written August 3, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
DC01234
Dear Jeanette, I think “terrible” is a little harsh. Your Tripadvisor description of your experience seems to have changed significantly from the original complaint. Between the three of you, you ordered olives and bread, 3 starters, 3 mains and a side of garlic bread with cheese. I believe your starters were enjoyed as was the beef bourguignon. The waitress received a complaint from you halfway through the meal and you stated that the chicken was warm?! which is impossible as these are cooked to order and go straight out the pan onto a plate. Nevertheless you were given the benefit of the doubt and offered to choose something else from the menu which you refused. The “chicken with vegetables” as you called it is actually Pollo Marsala (chicken breast sautéed with shallots, peppers and mushrooms, flamed with Italian Marsala wine and finished with cream) and is one of the most popular dishes on our menu and has been for the last 20 years. We understand that not everyone likes the same thing and this perhaps wasn’t to your taste but to make up a reason to complain just so you don’t have to pay for your meal is out of order. I’m not even going to respond to your remark about the “Aunt Bessie’s potatoes” as you were clearly just thinking of others random things to try and validate your 1star review. Best wishes!
Written August 4, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Sarah D
Macclesfield21 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2020 family
Had a lovely meal here today. Managed to book a table day before, so glad we did as very busy and turning people away, left feeling full and happy. Had the early evening menu, good choices and can have either 2 courses or 3 for set price. Food came quickly and was piping hot and all served on hot plates. Lasagne was very tasty and served with lovely salad and garlic bread. Pasta Arrabiata dish was huge and very filling not very spicy but had good flavours. Cumberland sausage tasty and lovely touch being served with black pudding. One of our party had a starter for main, chicken tenders, home made and very tasty. Desserts lovely but we were absolutely stuffed. Well worth a visit, booking advisable.
Written August 18, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
D0minikaC
Hi Sarah, we’re delighted you’ve enjoyed your dining experience with us and hope to see you again! Thank you so much for taking time to leave us a lovely review.
Written August 19, 2020
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

jupiter1Merseyside
Merseyside96 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2021 none
Matthews Bistro is always our first choice for evening meal in Ambleside. We stay at the Old Vicerage b&b and they initially recommended it to us and we’ve never been disappointed. We usually go for the 2 course early doors menu as we love the lasagne there, but decided this time to go for the later sitting and broaden our menu choices. We both opted for the french onion soup which is almost a meal in itself, rich and thick with lovely cheesy croutons on top, yummy with a big chunk of crunchy ciabatta on the side. Well, what a fab starter, but that turned out to be the second act as we moved on to our main - the braised lamb shoulder. But nervous as hubby not had lamb shoulder before, but needn’t have worried as it turned out to be one of the tastiest meals we had anywhere. Both our lamb portions were so tender it just fell off the bone, in my case 2 tiny bones and hubby with a little shoulder bone, which the meal just fell clean off. Accompanied by the creamiest of mash and lashings of gravy ( I am a gravy monster but even I had plenty to keep me happy). We ordered veg ( lovely) and triple cooked chips (chip heaven). With 2 pints of cider each our bill came to £69, money very well spent and excellent value for money. We enjoyed the banter with the staff and our waitress was lovely ( sorry didn’t get her name) but seemed genuinely interested in our experience and said she would pass on our praise to the chef, which we feel is important as although out of sight they have produced the food, in this case amazing. Re previous review re booking. Yes I agree, ring up during the day to book, its not hard to do and yes most guests would agree that we like the hard working staff to concentrate on the customers there rather than answer phones. I find it hard to believe in this day and age that people don’t pre book, yes take a chance on turning up just in case of cancellations, but expect to be disappointed if you get turned away as Matthews has been full to brim every time we have dined there. One thing I can guarantee though is you won’t be disappointed if you are lucky enough to dine here, with either the food or service. Highlight of our weekend yet again. Thank you
Written October 23, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
DC01234
Hello jupiter1Merseyside, Thank you so much for taking time to leave us such an amazing review! We’re delighted you’ve enjoyed your dining experience with us again, it’s always wonderful to see familiar faces returning to us year on year. We have had a lot more visitors in the Lakes this season, largely, we suspect, due to many choosing not to travel abroad in the current climate which is understandable. We had to find a way to ensure we can still maintain the same standard of guest experience so we had no choice but to change our reservations process. We’re really pleased to hear you can appreciate the reasons behind this and were able to enjoy your evening meal with us. We look forward to seeing you on your next visit to Ambleside, plenty more on the menu for you to try if you’re feeling adventurous again 😊 Best wishes from all of us!
Written October 27, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

Debbie W
Holmfirth91 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2021 couples
Had a really lovely meal at Matthews Bistro. Really couldn’t fault it. We felt very safe with staff wearing masks, the tables at a good distance from each other. The food really was delicious and very good value. We had liver pâté -absolutely gorgeous. I nicked some of my husbands! I had the creamy mushrooms which were also beautiful with some warm artisan bread. Main course was beef bourguignon for us both Beautifully dome, tender meat and delish! We were too full for desert! The waitress was lovely. We shared a bottle of wine and my husband had a lovely IPA The bill came in under £70 Would definitely recommend this lovely restaurant Booking advisable!
Written July 5, 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
DC01234
Hello RedDebHolmfirth, Thank you so much for taking time to leave us a wonderful review. We’re delighted you’ve enjoyed your dining experience with us and felt safe during your visit. Hope to see you again soon. Best wishes!
Written July 7, 2021
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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Matthew's Bistro, Ambleside - Menu, Prices & Restaurant Reviews - Tripadvisor

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