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The Early Word on Barton Springs Italian Juliet

Read on for the good and bad news on Italian fare, happy hour, and pretty staffers.

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Robert J. Lerma/EATX
Nadia Chaudhury is the editor of Eater Austin covering food and pop culture, as well as a photographer, writer, and frequent panel moderator and podcast guest.

Austin’s newest Italian entry to the scene is Juliet, which took over the revolving space on Barton Springs on July 1. The menu, created by executive chef Jacob Weaver, focuses on a modern approach to Italian with housemade pastas, wood-fired pizza, and more. Read on for the early word.

The food — The response to Juliet’s fare is entirely mixed. People either loved or hated what they ate. TheItalianRealtor on OpenTable described offerings as "Class A healthy dining — and it's not the traditional hole in the wall that serves over-salted fare." Chris R. on Foursquare thought "the bread is terrific, as was the salami plate and the fried chickpeas." For The Chronicle’s First Look, food critic Brandon Watson recommended the tuna conserva torchio and grilled corn on the cob. On the other hand, for Yelper JustOnce F., "The dishes are pretty and you find there’s very little substance once consumed." One of the more contested listings on the menu was the fritto di mare. Yelper Deji M. adored it and the "lush variety of delicately fried seafood and very tender calamari," whereas it was "pretty plain, generic, bland, fried calamari, really, and not much of it" for Yelper Craig C.

The drinks — The happy hour seemed to be the restaurant's biggest winner across the board. Yelper JustOnce F. said the drinks were "delicious and nearly reasonable during that time." Watson enjoyed the Negroni Tiki with pineapple juice and ginger beer.

The space — The completely redone multiple-room building works well. Kate on OpenTable explained that "having various dining rooms is a smart way to keep noise levels low. Great place to converse." Also on OpenTable, austinstephen added, "Each room has a different feel to it and, yet, is quite cohesive as an experience." Watson described the aesthetic as "a cinematic space somewhere between Fellini’s Juliet of the Spirits and the less bloody scenes of Suspiria."

The price — While most diners considered the happy hour to be fairly priced, the rest of the menu wasn’t. Chris R. on Foursquare thought that "most [of the] entrees [were] overpriced for the quantity." Yelper Amy B. avoided dinner "because the prices seem a little steep for a Barton Springs experience."

The staff — People were very taken by the staff at Juliet, who were "gorgeous," as Yelper Keri B. stated, "My head was on a swivel ya'll." Besides being attractive, they were helpful and friendly, and Yelper Rae G. described them as "attentive."

The location — Its location right on Barton Springs, near food truck parks, Thom’s Market, and Green Mesquite, offers a new choice for people in the area. Yelper Jenna W. is happy: "I'm glad to have a more upscale option in the neighborhood." Though, austinstephen on OpenTable is concerned. "It is one of those new restaurants in Austin that seems to be trying a bit too hard to cater to all the new foodies running around town," he wrote, "and therefore seems a bit out of place in this stretch."