CHEF IGNACIO MATTOS TALKS DOWNTOWN FAVORITES, GUILTY-PLEASURE FOODS & MORE

Grandlife interviews

CHEF IGNACIO MATTOS TALKS DOWNTOWN FAVORITES, GUILTY-PLEASURE FOODS & MORE

back to list

A lot has been written about Ignacio Mattos over the past few years. And with good reason. The Uruguayan-born, New York-based chef and restaurateur has more than proven his standing as a mainstay of New York’s ever-changing culinary scene. A quick Google search will turn up multitudes of articles singing Mattos’s praises for his “honest food,” “originality,” and “precise technical execution.” Yet despite the hype surrounding both his deceptively simple food and the buzzy-yet-relaxed dining environments he has cultivated together with restaurateur Thomas Carter, Mattos has far from lost his appreciation for the simple pleasures in life.

Here, Mattos talks to GrandLife about some of his favorite downtown spots for a casual night out, the merits of the humble French fry, the formula for a memorable dining experience, and more.

What makes a memorable dining experience for you?

Ignacio Mattos: It’s a combination of things. The right company in a casual, delicious spot always makes for an interesting and fun experience. Also, a gracious and engaged staff makes for a great night. When you have that, you don’t need to be dining with anyone.

Is there something you’ve tasted recently that really blew your mind?

IM: I had a pretty delicious chocolate dessert at Ko. I’m not usually a chocolate guy, but it was surprisingly comforting and refreshing.

What are some of your favorite downtown spots to go for a casual night out? What do you like about them, and what do you order?

IM: Hasaki, because I like that it’s a New York institution. I go for the omakase and the grilled banana with ice cream.

Los Tacos Numeros Uno in Chelsea Market, because it feels as genuine as it could be. I get the tacos adobada.

Superiority Burger, because you can just pop in and get a delicious combination of well-crafted ice cream in a very casual environment.

Ops pizza in Bushwick, because we all love pizza!

Abraço is a good neighborhood coffee shop with quite delicious baked goods and sandwiches.

Do you have a guilty-pleasure food? If so, what is it, and where do you get your fix?

IM: French fries. Luckily enough, I have two restaurants where I can go eat them whenever I want. The Café Altro Paradiso and Flora Bar fries are quite different, but both are delicious. Otherwise, my go-to is Shake Shack.

Any secret NYC menu items you can let us in on?

IM: The Bistecca Fiorentina at my own Café Altro Paradiso. Very few people know about it, and it’s incredibly delicious.

In your opinion, which NYC restaurant has the best people-watching?  

IM: Balthazar, where everyone people-watches and at the same time minds their own business.

If you could sit down to a meal with one person, who would it be, and where would you take them?

IM: Louise Bourgeois, and I would take her to Prime Meats to eat the hot dog.

Words Edwina Hagon

Photography Marcus Nilsson

You May Also Like

The Future is Fierce: Christian Siriano Tells us Why

The Future is Fierce: Christian Siriano Tells us Why

fashion
stories
Jack James Busa talks to the design powerhouse about his latest collection, building a global brand from his studio in New York, his favourite local hangouts and more.
Fashion and Style—What’s It All About?

Fashion and Style—What’s It All About?

fashion
stories
Richard Boch’s fashion week chat with Marc Jacobs, makeup artist Sandy Linter, Debi Mazar and hair stylist Harry King.
Talking new music and New York moments with Alison Mosshart

Talking new music and New York moments with Alison Mosshart

bars & nightlife
food & drink
music
stories
The Kills' frontwoman talks to Jack James Busa about her band's latest album, living in the Chelsea Hotel, and her favorite New York hangouts.
Midnight Musings

Midnight Musings

art & design
music
stories
Jack James Busa talks to DJ and curator Daniel Walters about their collaborative project, The Muses, milestone moments, and the best places to party this holiday season. 
Everything you need to Know about Daniel Corpuz's Filipino-inspired Chocolates

Everything you need to Know about Daniel Corpuz's Filipino-inspired Chocolates

food & drink
stories
Plus: A choc chip cookie recipe perfect for the holiday season.
Taking It Eazy with BriAnne Wills

Taking It Eazy with BriAnne Wills

art & design
fashion
stories
We sat down with the photographer and magazine editor to talk all things Eazy Tiger and get her take on the hottest spots in town this holiday season.
On The Line: An Interview with Jennifer Jones

On The Line: An Interview with Jennifer Jones

art & design
entertainment
stories
From studying dance to making history as the first Black Rockette and beyond, the Broadway star shares her story.
Beauty in the City: An Interview with Brad Ogbonna

Beauty in the City: An Interview with Brad Ogbonna

art & design
stories
When he's not photographing Zendaya, Barack Obama or collaborating with Kehinde Wiley, Brad Ogbonna finds beauty in these local spots...
Choose Your Stay
logo-sg
The Hotel That Made Soho Grand
Meet Me At The Roxy
Book Now