Barlata founder and chef Daniel Olivella has sold his South Lamar Spanish tapas restaurant to a new owner this spring. Taking over the Zilker neighborhood restaurant will be former Eberly executive chef Laila Bazahm. Barlata’s last day of service under Olivella at 1500 South Lamar Boulevard was on Saturday, April 29, with Bazahm’s tenure beginning on Friday, May 12, with a new menu and name.
Bazahm is changing the name to El Raval, in honor of her favorite neighborhood in Barcelona. She describes the menu as “modern Spanish tapas, but taking cues from the different immigrant groups in Raval,” she writes to Eater, referring to the Spain city’s diverse neighborhood. The bar menu will be developed by her friend, Moe Aljaff, who is the founder of the famous Barcelona dive bar Two Schmucks.
Olivella decided to sell Barlata because he is retiring and he and his family is moving back to Spain. Olivella and Bazahm knew of each other because of overlapping friend groups. He asked her if she wanted to purchase the business since she had lived and worked in Barcelona for seven years, she tells Eater, where she was the co-owner and chef of Southeast Asian-Latin American restaurant Hawker 45 in Barcelona from 2017 to 2021. 2021. The two chefs co-hosted a Spanish Christmas Eve dinner in December 2022. She also cooked a tapas dinner at the luxury camping space Walden Retreat in March.
Just before taking over Barlata/El Raval, the FIlipno-Brazilian chef worked at New American restaurant Eberly, which she left a couple of months ago ahead of the new venture. She also opened two other similar-to-Hawker-45 spots, food hall restaurant Hawker Street Food Bar in Houston in November 2021, and also Hawker Beach Club inside of the AxelBeach Ibizba hotel from 2020 to 2021. She also worked at restaurants like the now-closed New York restaurant L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon, the also-closed Spain restaurant Ni Neu, and others.
Olivella, who is from Barcelona, originally opened Barlata in Oakland in 2009. He relocated the restaurant to Austin in 2013. And before that, he opened a similarly pegged San Francisco restaurant B44 in 1994. He also published a cookbook, Catalan Food, in 2018.
El Raval’s hours will be from 4 to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 4 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Update, May 8, 10:10 a.m.: This article, originally published on April 28, has been updated to include El Raval’s actual opening date.