Matt and Cat\'s Isle of Wight Eating Out Guide
Just when you thought that Dos Amigos had cornered the market in Ryde-based wild west-themed restaurants, the Alamo opened its saloon doors. Although superficially...

Just when you thought that Dos Amigos had cornered the market in Ryde-based wild west-themed restaurants, the Alamo opened its saloon doors.

The Alamo, Ryde

Although superficially similar, with their wood cladding, riding apparel and photos of long-dead cowboys, both restaurants have specialised in different aspects of this north American oeuvre. Dos Amigos has a distinctly Mexican feel while the Alamo is on the side of the cowboys. The food in each venue has a different emphasis too. Dos Amigos is a Tex Mex restaurant boasting Mexican, Texan and Cajun food whereas the Alamo is a steakhouse and grill. Matt and Cat saddled up and went pioneering.

Not so wild west salmon

Pushing their way through the venue’s tiny doors, Matt and Cat were greeted warmly by a tall chap in shirt sleeves wearing a brown apron, looking every bit the wild west bartender. He was very genial and, having established that M&C were there to eat, he invited them to take pre-dinner drinks in the cellar bar. Descending the steps, Matt and Cat were delighted to find a nicely-appointed lounge which, although the restaurant upstairs had appeared empty, was lively with other patrons. It felt like an exclusive private club. Giving their drinks order at the bar, M and C settled into some comfy chairs where they were offered a bowl of tortillas with hot salsa to share whilst browsing the menu.

Eating out can be like going to a disco – nobody likes to be the first one on the dance floor.
Jesse James grill

There weren’t really any surprises on the bill of fare – the Alamo had already proclaimed itself to be a steakhouse and grill – and there was plenty of meaty choice. The menu itself had an unusual effect on Cat – it sent her into one of her rare but notable proof-reading frenzies. She pompously drew Matt’s attention to the lack of punctuation; some of the items appearing like a breathless string of ingredients, eg “IDEAL FOR TWO SELECTION OF OLIVES SWEET RED PEPPERS INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED GOATS CHEESE FLAT BREAD TOM ONION MIX AND OUR ALAMO CHUTNEY 11.95”. Cat suspected that this listing-style could be blamed on the menu’s font – a SMALL CAPS choice which seemed not to have any glyphs other than a full stop and presumably no pound sign. She apologises for unleashing her inner font nerd and would like to point out that the appearance of the menu in no way detracted from the dining experience.

Having delivered their drinks, the amiable waiter took Matt and Cat’s order promising to summon them upstairs when their meals were ready. They liked this pre-meal drinks malarkey – although it meant that the upstairs restaurant had been completely devoid of customers when they first arrived. Sometimes M & C have rejected a place because it is empty; eating out can be like going to a disco – nobody likes to be the first one on the dance floor.

Before long, Matt and Cat were invited to ascend the stairs to their table. The other customers were also eating by this stage which meant that the restaurant was nice and lively. While Cat disappeared to wash her hands Matthew gawped at the silent TV which was airing an ancient western. The scene showed a woman being assaulted by banditos, which some might consider to be a bit of an appetite suppressor. To avoid such an effect Matt prudently looked away and his tummy rumbled expectantly.

The food arrived. Cat had ‘Not so wild west salmon’, grilled salmon topped with anchovy and lemon butter. It came with a decent-sized salad garnish and a bowl of fries. The salmon was superb. It was flaky and tender and the special sauce was an excellent complement. The salty anchovies and acid lemon gave a nice tangy kick to the fish. Also, as it came without skin, for once Cat left a very clean plate.

Matt and Cat’s bill
Grilled salmon £8.95
Jesse James grill £17.95
2 x Estrella lager £6.80
Total £33.70

Matt’s ‘Jesse James grill’ was a big pile of meat: 10oz sirloin, chargrilled chicken breast and breaded prawns with a sweet chilli sauce. It arrived on a sizzling cast iron platter which of course made an impressive entrance for the meat. However, it had a less positive effect on the steak. Matt had ordered his steak ‘medium rare’. But sat on the hot iron skillet it soon sizzled up the steak chart as he ate, until it was beyond ‘well done’. Matters were not helped by the fact that although the steak was good, tasty meat, it was very thinly cut – meaning that it really didn’t take long to take on a consistency approaching dry leather. Luckily the chicken provided an excellent contrast. A substantial fried breast soon soaked up the juice and BBQ-type sauce that coated the hot metal, and just got better and better the longer it cooked, ending up with a splendid caramelised crust of seasoning all around it.

The Alamo is in a small sidestreet just off Union Street, and so clearly it needs to draw punters away from the beaten track. This it sets out to do by showing a striking level of customer care in a themed venue that actually adds to the experience. The food, although pretty standard grill chow, was nicely presented and, in the case of Cat’s salmon, imaginatively dressed. The Alamo was fun, and friendly, and provides a novelty act that just might have what it takes in Ryde’s already busy restaurant offering. Recommended.

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  • Graham L

    1st September 2014 #1 Author

    We returned to The Alamo after some months (mainly because it is difficult to know when the opening hours are) We have normally had a satisfying evening at the venue.

    However, our last visit a week or so back was VERY disappointing.

    My steak was more gristle than meat and despite telling the waitress she didn’t seem too bothered. And as for the potato wedges….. These were more like very small (and expensive)chips – not the wedges that we used to have here (or anywhere else come to that)

    Until we get to hear that small things such as the above have improved, we shall not be returning. A pity as it is so local. However, the wonderful Ryde Thai is around the corner, so that will be a regular port-of-call.

    Reply

  • Lisa

    26th February 2014 #2 Author

    I can vouch that the restaurant is still open – I telephoned to make a reservation on 21st of Feb for a table on 8th March….. glad I did as the only available time slot left was for 6pm! Obviously still popular 🙂

    I’ve eaten there several times and find the food and service wonderful, and very good vale for money. Looking forward to the 8th!

    Reply

  • JD

    9th April 2013 #3 Author

    Is this place still going? I’ve been calling for two days now as it’s my birthday today and we really want to book a table here tonight, but just keep getting the answer machine, (and my dad’s funny about leaving our phone number to restaurants, and basically anyone). Thanks!

    Matt and Cat respond: we know they close on Mondays in the winter so all we can suggest is keep trying – it will be worth it!

    Reply

  • Paul

    16th December 2012 #4 Author

    WOW Ten of us decended on the Alamo for a birthday meal last night and all I can say is a big thank you once again.
    Some of the people that came with us had never been before and were already sorting out when they could return as the meal and service was as fantastic as always.
    The meals everyone had were varied from Greenlip muscles BBQ Chicken , Burgers Ribs and of course Steak to Die for.
    Everyone left full to the brim and smiling

    Thanks to Russell and his hard working team for making a birthday very special

    Happy Christmas and see you very very soon

    Paul

    Reply

  • eric – ryde

    16th October 2012 #5 Author

    I’m glad they are doing well.
    Right about calling in without a booking – the last 3 or 4 times we decided to go at the last minute, we were unlucky.

    For M & C – can you add ‘phone numbers to any reviews? Or is this not the “done thing”?
    Lazy on our part really as we could possibly check through websites, etc., but just a thought.

    Matt and Cat respond: Thanks for your comment, eric. Yes, we love the Alamo; it’s a popular venue. And, guess what, their phone number is in a comment following the review. (It’s 562593).

    Reply

  • Paul

    13th October 2012 #6 Author

    Popped in last night and had a cracking meal , Starters were great and the steak was to die for service as always was impeccable.
    Always a pleasure to visit

    Reply

  • Looby

    1st July 2012 #7 Author

    We have been a few times now and have NEVER had a bad meal. Steak has been consistently good and cooked exactly as requested. Another superb steak supper last night with just the right mix of politeness and attentiveness from the front of house team.Excellent stuff.

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  • chris willett

    17th December 2011 #8 Author

    first time I went was in September my girl friends has bin before and wanted to go for her birthday meal and i must say the food was awesome not the cheapest but you get what you pay for and could barely walk after we had eaten so much and will be going back asap . anyone who wants to go phone and book they don’t cram people in and only have a few sittings a night and often cant take walk-ins as there so popular def a must for island foodies

    Reply

  • Lisa

    16th December 2011 #9 Author

    First visit to the Alamo as a family meal to celebrate my 40th, and what a superb choice it was. Fabulous decor, food and service was impeccable – altogether a perfect dining experience. All other restaurants in Ryde have no become a swear word! Definitely coming back!

    Reply

  • Toad

    5th September 2011 #10 Author

    First time at the Alamo on Saturday. We were showed to the bar down stairs where we had pre dinner drinkies and our order taken. When ready we were taken back upstairs to our table. Big combo starter for two which I thought was delicious. BBQ chicken for main also delicious. This type of steak house is my ideal place and we will be back real soon with friends. Loved the decor, I recommend everyone try it at least once.

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  • Tink

    4th September 2011 #11 Author

    Had a good meal here over the weekend, starters mixed platter affair pretty standard, but main course extremely good, steak cooked very well and chicken course tasty. Dessert slightly frozen and a little bland which was disappointing, but atmospehere and service relaxing. We will definately go back.

    Reply

  • Gem Barrett

    16th July 2011 #12 Author

    Had a fantastic dinner at The Alamo last night; best meal out I’ve had in my life, in fact.

    Awesome decor, great choice of food, speedy and attentive service (I even chose to leave a tip for the first time ever) – a truly unique place that I will highly recommend to everyone.

    They also do the best mash potato, garlic prawns and sangria that I’ve ever tasted!

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  • elishia leggett

    6th June 2011 #13 Author

    this is my husband a i’s fave place to go, great atmosphere, great food(huge steaks)which pleases my husband, would recommend to anyone you wont be dissapointed and you will be treated well by all members of staff, russell the owner very attentive -highly recomended.

    Reply

  • Jason Mark Harris

    2nd June 2011 #14 Author

    Went on Monday for my 2 year anniversary. Great guys running it, one being the previous owner of Dos Amigos, food was bound to be Great…. will be back..

    Matt and Cat respond: We really love The Alamo. So much so that we invited them to be a Matt and Cat’s Dining Club venue. Our Dining Club members get 10% off two steak dinners per couple, and an optional bottle of house wine at £8.50 per bottle, Monday to Thursday.

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  • KATHY

    3rd May 2011 #15 Author

    We went to Ryde for a night away (29/04/2011) and was looking for a place to eat. We luckily saw the sign for the Almao and as my boyfriend loves steak we went in. As someone else commented it was empty in the restaurant but as we led downstairs to the bar area for drinks we were surprised to see quite a few people already drinking waiting for their meals. The tall man!! and the lady that were serving that evening were so very polite and nothing was too much trouble for them. My boyfriends steak was nearly the size of his plate, something he was not used to having before. The bourbon cream sauce and the peppercorn sauce were the best we have ever tasted, my chicked was cooked lovely. We were so impressed with this lovely place, the service, staff and of course the food that we are planning to take a day over from Portsmouth just to have another meal. It is worth the extra hover craft fare to eat at the Almao. Keep it up!!

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  • Helen

    28th April 2011 #16 Author

    Agree with all the comments. We were ‘refugees’ from W’spoons Thursday curry night as it was like a mad house in there. This was much much better. Lovely atmosphere, loved the downstairs bar for pre-dinner drinks – very relaxing. Simply delicious steaks – had small fillet which was a ‘special’. Not usually a fan of fillet but this was melt-in-the-mouth. Huge bowl of chips. Just sorry we didn’t have room for pud; thank goodness didn’t have a starter. A fab evening – lovely people, really friendly; a pleasure. We will be back

    Reply

  • Pam

    8th April 2011 #17 Author

    Had a fantastic meal the other evening. My 14 year old son, and 12 year old daughter absolutely adored it; said it was the best restaurant…ever! Love the cowboy theme, the friendly service and the food was excellent. Will go again the next time we are visiting the island.

    Reply

  • Jody

    20th January 2011 #18 Author

    I’m a big fan of The Alamo as our the rest of my Bunch, and we will be heading down there for my birthday end of feb/start of march. The ONLY gripe I have is that the Alamo needs a website where you can quickly check out the menu and find a phone number for reservations!! Other than that, easily one of my top two restaurants in Ryde!

    Reply

  • Sam

    19th January 2011 #19 Author

    Do you have a menu online?

    Matt and Cat respond: we took this pic of the menu in June 2010. It may have changed a bit by now but you get the idea.

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  • Mike Cook

    17th January 2011 #20 Author

    I have visited the allamo five times now, and each time i have found the staff to be chatty and welcoming and all around lovely people. i know i have spent far to much money in there my largest bill being £225 for a table of five but i cant help myself , the atmosphere and the welcoming staff make me just keep on going back. i honestly do not have enough praise for this place. i feel like im in love.

    Reply

  • ALAMO MANAGEMENT

    3rd January 2011 #21 Author

    Wishing you all a happy new year and to let you know we are closing untill the 18th of january, thank you for all the support and comments we have recieved for 2010.We are looking forward to 2011 and hope to welcome new faces along to the Alamo…you can still leave any bookings you wish to make on 562593 and we will get back to you to confirm.

    Reply

  • jason and laura

    1st January 2011 #22 Author

    me and my girlfriend spent new years eve on the island ,and had the good fortune of finding the alamo for some much needed food befor we got on the sauce, we was greeted by russell who is one of the managers but was involved in lookin after s for most of our visit,we both ordered steak cooked to perfection and tiger prawns with cajun fries , in our oppinion we think this place is a foodie heaven and will most definately be goin back well done alamo

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  • Maureen

    13th December 2010 #23 Author

    What a delight. I was visiting from Florida where steaks are of a high standard. I have to say that these were equally as good if not better and not only was the service good, the atmosphere was unique. It felt like an American Hacienda. Well done and good luck to the owner.

    Reply

  • Dan

    11th November 2010 #24 Author

    All i can say for this place is wow. My partner suffers with extreme anxiety and can rarely goto a nice restaurant to sit and enjoy a proper cooked meal. Being that we live next door, they let us take our meal back home to enjoy so he could relax and enjoy the food. I cant believe they took the time and effort to do this for us and understand the problem we faced.

    The food itself was amazing. Delicious, cooked just how we wanted it, and the deserts were fantastic. I really hope more and more people discover this little gem of a restaurant down this little side street.

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  • Alex

    8th November 2010 #25 Author

    Went to The Alamo on Saturday night, were directed downstairs for drinks and to research the menu!!! It was a real treat, I have to say and its not easy to get a decent steak in a restaurant. The service was top notch, very friendly staff. Steaks were delicious and cooked brilliantly. Lovely atmosphere too, will definately go back with the meat eating members of my family!!! Give it a try, well worth it and good luck to the owners.

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  • coradora the explorer

    7th November 2010 #26 Author

    For service, food and value I recommend this place wholeheartedly.

    My partner and I went to The Alamo last night – what a superb experience. We did try our luck, as we couldn’t find a phone number to make a booking, and just turned up, at around 8pm. We were asked to return at 9pm. Although we were both REALLY hungry, and for a moment thought we might go elsewhere, because of the friendly way we were spoken to, we were happy to go and have a drink in the Kasbah before hand.

    Good hearty tasty food – the ribs my partner had ordered for starters were rather plentiful – which had him struggling to eat his Geronimo! (Steak, buffalo wings, mushrooms, etc!!)I had the Ranch Hand steak which was cooked to perfection.

    For service, food and value I recommend this place wholeheartedly.

    Reply

  • Dodge

    30th September 2010 #27 Author

    A short hop across The Solent from Portsmouth will take you to The Alamo in Ryde, a refreshing alternative from the chain-type eateries in Gunwharf. Our party of four was welcomed into the ‘VIP lounge’ to browse the menu over a pint of Estrella (hometown Barcelona) whilst the tall and amiable barman recounted in a few minutes the demise of the James-Younger Brother outlaws, prompted by the pictoral displays of Wild West history. This set the scene for the demolition of four huge steaks, garnished with ample supplies of salad and potatoes of choice in the upstairs restaurant. After pudding, we were invited to head south again to the VIP area for a digestif before the return trip across the water. Something diferent and a pleasant change – highly recommended!

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  • polly

    29th September 2010 #28 Author

    Had a very nice meal on Saturday night, but when we asked to go down stairs I did think where are we going. But had a nice glass of house red, very nice. Then about 1/2 hour later went to are table. I would of been happy to just go to our table. Food was good and I would go back.

    Reply

  • Sean

    20th September 2010 #29 Author

    Been wanting to try this place after reading your review and went on Saturday night. Liked the bar downstairs and they asked us to wait for another drink as a large party was upstairs, and we could hear them clearly. When we were shown to our table the large party were still there and even noisier, I know sometimes this can’t be helped but 4 of us dining could not hear each other over all the noise, once the staff had got the large party downstairs we did enjoy the food and evening, I would return but hope in such an intimate environment it would be a bit less like a footy match!

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  • Loren and Jim

    16th September 2010 #30 Author

    Had a lovely meal here last night.
    We loved everything about the evening, from the relaxed atmosphere to the warm welcome from the waiter. We will return soon to try one of the steaks, although I would urge to book…it was a wednesday night when we went and it was full, a very good sign!

    Reply

  • Rosettaroo

    8th September 2010 #31 Author

    Ate here a couple of weeks ago, whitebait was excellent followed by lots of ribs. Other half had the alamo steak, which was huge. Try and have a drink downstairs before dinner as lovely lounge area, we also went down to the lounge for coffee afterwards. Also tried estrella beer for the first time here, hope I can get it back in my home town.

    Can totally recommend this place and will return once I get back to the island.

    Reply

  • Caroline and Richard

    8th September 2010 #32 Author

    Found the Alomo by mistake last night, what a lovely friendly place to eat, food was amazing and the atmosphere was so relaxing. We will be returning very soon.

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  • Shirley Valentine

    3rd September 2010 #33 Author

    Great meal for four tonight. Pretty busy for a Thursday night.
    Steaks done just as we liked them, and very juicy to boot. (Tip:only ask for HOT chilli if you think you can take it!)
    Loved the downstairs bar; such a pleasure to relax before and after a meal (not many restaurants offer this space these days) and very reasonably priced too.
    We WILL be back!

    Reply

  • ALAMO MANAGEMENT

    23rd August 2010 #34 Author

    Hi Greg the telephone number is 562593…..Would advise to book especially at the weekends.

    Reply

  • Greg Paton-Kerr

    21st August 2010 #35 Author

    I really want to go here, but i cant find their telephone number ot booka table can anyone help..

    Thanks Greg

    Matt and Cat respond: Hi Greg, we can’t find the phone number either but, unless you’re planning to take a big party, why don’t you just try your luck and turn up. We got a table without pre-booking. If you find their phone number, perhaps you could add it in a comment to our website. Cheers, M&C

    Reply

  • Sharon

    30th July 2010 #36 Author

    One of the best places i’ve been to in a long time on the island!
    Food was brilliant full of flavor and very good quality, i’d reccommend any meat lovers to give this place ago,
    The service and friendly staff were fab, they even kept the place open past last orders, how many places do that?! (we didn’t arrive till 10pm)no fuss!…. have to go back as i never got round to dessert!!! …have to say better than the Dos amegos

    Reply

  • Katie

    23rd July 2010 #37 Author

    I couldn’t agree more with the above comments! At the recommendation of a colleague, my friend and i ate here a couple of weeks ago, we had a lovely evening. Totally different to anywhere that i know of on the island. There was a great atmosphere, the service was prompt and friendly, and the food was delicous! We will certainly be eating here again and spreading the word!

    Reply

  • Karolina

    18th July 2010 #38 Author

    Me and my husband went there last week as he loves steaks. What we found there was great service(tall chap), nice bar downstairs, and delicious food. Even though we were one of 2 tables in we enjoed it very much and will be surely going back there for a meal and drink.

    Reply

  • tom

    11th July 2010 #39 Author

    wow! what a place, ate there the other night, loved the food, the service was superb, the decor made me feel i was’nt in Ryde!!! which was nice. small cosy bar dowmstairs was great, so much detail and effort has been put into this place. Makes a nice change from the usual food establishments in Ryde, both me and my wife agreed, this is our new fav restaurant, cant wait to go back and take some friends with us, highly recommended, if you hav’nt been…..go!

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  • Emma

    5th July 2010 #40 Author

    Ate out at the Alamo last week with some friends, found it to have friendly, cosy atmosphere and we were very impressed with the service. Liked the drinks lounge thought was great idea for pre-dinner. We all had steak which was cooked just how we liked it and came with generous garnish and chips. Overall a good night out, have already recommended it to others and will return.

    Reply