South Lamar outpost of Barlata marks the spot. The restaurant officially opened on July 1, and over the weekend we taste-tested some tapas to bring you the early word.Paella and tapas? Yes, please. Austin has been waiting for an authentic Spanish restaurant, and chef Daniel Olivella’s
The Space: Situated on the first floor of a new mixed-use development, the designed interior has that brand new feel to it. Brightly colored tiles and tasteful knickknacks liven up the place, as do murals and industrial-style chandeliers. The room is open and bright, and as with any hot spot these days, there’s a big communal table, situated in the bar area. But there are plenty of other tables for private conversation too, and the vibe is more neighborhood than upscale uptight.
The Food: Don’t be overwhelmed by the menu. Tapas naturally necessitate a lot of choices, and Barlata doesn’t make any exceptions. The menu is divided into latas (food served in a tin can), cold plates, hot plates, entrees and paellas. We liked the charred and tender octopus lata, with fingerling potatoes and a rich adobo sauce. The shrimp with avocado, gazpacho vinaigrette and microgreens provided a refreshing lightness to the meal, and the Swiss chard “Catalana” with pine nuts and raisins was a nice green addition. We were less fond of the gazpacho trio and the pigs’ feet terrine, but the impressively black squid-ink paella with mortar aïoli and bright green peas won us over.
The Drinks: Think a multipage, carefully-curated wine list as well as beer and interesting craft cocktails. There’s also a whole section devoted to sherry. We went with a cocktail topped with Tempranillo, a refreshing sip before moving on to red wine.
The Crowd: The neighborhood has invaded, to be sure. South Austinites are putting on their best wears and heading to the new hot spot. Be sure to make a reservation.
The Cost: On the pricier side; a drink, several tapas and a paella will run you about $50.
The Details: 1500 S. Lamar Blvd.; 512-473-2211