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Spanish restaurant Barlata opens, adds to changing face of South Lamar

Matthew Odam
modam@statesman.com

Chef Daniel Olivella has been splitting his time between Austin and the San Francisco Bay Area for several years. The Spanish-born chef owns restaurants Barlata and B44 Catalan Bistro in the Bay Area, and his wife and children live in Austin. Now Olivella has a restaurant home to call his own in Austin.

Olivella opens his location of Barlata Monday nightat 1500 S. Lamar Blvd. in the ground floor of the Post South Lamar apartment complex. Barlata features a large menu of classic Spanish dishes similar to the chef’s Bay Area restaurants, with about two dozen hot tapas plates (seafood stuffed with octopus, grilled morcilla sausage); 10 paella (including seafood, chicken, rabbit and vegetarian versions); a variety of “latas,” dishes served inside small tin cans; and “platos” that include a beef and chorizo hamburger, tuna “a la plancha” and grilled baby lamb chops. Barlata, which will serve dinner nightly from 5 pm. to 11 p.m, will offer a full bar, including sangria and “calimochos” (a red wine and cola combination).

Barlata is the first in a handful of restaurant openings over the next several months that will continue the transformation of South Lamar. When the dust settles from the multiple construction projects, the north-south corridor will have a new culinary look. Barley Swine chef-owner Bryce Gilmore’s Odd Duck will be located on the street level of the Gibson Flats, a mixed-use development across the street from the new Lamar Union project (formerly Lamar Plaza). The restaurant, named after the trailer that got Gilmore his start on South Lamar, will feature farm-to-table dishes and a large outdoor patio. They hope for an opening this fall across the street from the Alamo Drafthouse.

When the Drafthouse South Lamar re-opens, it will be re-joined by sister establishment The Highball, which will do away with bowling but still offer dining, drinks and regular music and entertainment events along with a new patio. The Lamar Union will also be home to a new restaurant from Fino and Asti owners Emmett and Lisa Fox, who plan to open Cantine, an Italian restaurant with a full bar. Lisa Fox says diners can expect a large selection of antipasto, pasta, pizza and rotisserie porchetta and chicken.

Hot dog joint Man Bites Dog has shuttered its location at 3005 S. Lamar Blvd. The 5222 Burnet Rd. location remains open. No official word on what will be going into the space in the shopping center that is home to a Kerbey Lane Café and Torchy’s Tacos, but the rumors I’ve heard would likely make many Austin food lovers happy. As with the rest of South Lamar … stay tuned.

  • From the archives: The Statesman’s Addie Broyles chatted with Olivella in 2011 when he visited Central Market for their two-week Passport Spain celebration. Read notes from that conversation here.