It’s just a tiny little cottage built in 1931, but for the past 19 years the old Matterson house has served up some of the best food in the village of Ucluelet. Husband and wife team Sandy and Jennifer Clark have created a warm and welcoming eatery that is evocative of the history of the quiet fishing community perched on the western edge of North America.
Our first experience at Matterson House came after a cold and windy boat tour of Ucluelet harbour on a winter’s day. Searching for a spot to enjoy a warm beverage we tripped up the stairs and into the peaceful environment, where we were greeted by hostess (and server, and owner….) Jennifer. We spent half an hour chatting with her, imbibing in hot drinks and discussing the issues of the day. Although we were the only ones in the restaurant on this late Friday afternoon and we weren’t spending much money we were made to feel most welcome.
The next night four of us descended on the little yellow cottage for dinner. With only a few indoor tables and the outdoor verandah obviously not in use, we had made early dinner reservations. We were the first in the door that evening, but as the night wore on more patrons arrived to enjoy the plentiful food and warm ambiance.
We began our meal with a shared order of mouth-watering mushrooms stuffed with plump prawns and topped with the most yummy cheese concoction. The sauce was so flavourful that we felt compelled to mop up every single drop of it with the excellent bread that had arrived early on.
The main course for three of us was the special, a flavourful and generous serving of penne pasta napped with a tasty sauce and brimming with seafood. The fourth member of our party opted for the oysters, which he deemed ‘perfectly wonderful’. Five plump gems arrived on a plate crammed with vegetables and rice. There was no chance that any of us were going to leave Matterson House hungry.
We finished our meal with a shared order of a large and very filling piece of mixed berry pie – again, more than ample serving size, packed full of fruit.
I think one of the miracles of this little gem is that it has been successful despite the complete lack of an internet presence, other than reviews that have appeared on the likes of Urban Spoon, Fodor’s and Trip Advisor. Matterson House does not have a web site; nor does it have any social media profile. You can’t look at their menu on-line, you won’t see many foodie photos of what gets put on the table. What it does have though, is good word-of-mouth advertising in the community – ask almost anyone in Ucluelet about good places to eat and Matterson House invariably crops up. Word is that they do some of the best breakfasts in the village, so that is on our agenda for the next trip to the west coast.
Matterson House is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Wednesday to Sunday, closed Monday and Tuesday. Reservations (for dinner at least) are a good idea – you can phone Matterson House at (250) 726-2200
Matterson House is located at 1628 Peninsula Road in Ucluelet.
GPS co-ordinates are:
Lat. 48.94255362591963 Long. -125.5486269110429
N 48 56.553 W 125 32.918
Price rating: $ – $$