6 Must-Try Tapas Restaurants in Austin

By Megan Giller  |  September 17, 2013

We live in the age of the small plate, but today we’re talking about the old-school way to share a meal: tapas. Yes, you’ll find small bites at restaurants around town from Barley Swine to Uchiko, but Austin also hosts a fair number of Spanish-inspired tapas locales. Some are as classic Austin as they get, some are new and others aren’t even open yet - but we still anticipate them to become must-try tapas options. Take a closer look at Austin's fast-evolving tapas scene.

  • Barlata

    Chef Daniel Olivella’s South Lamar outpost of his San Fran restaurant Barlata has been wowing the neighborhood with its tapas and paella. The extensive menu is divided into latas, cold plates, hot plates, entrees and paellas. Great finds so far include the octopus-and-potato lata; Swiss chard “Catalana” with pine nuts and raisins; and stunning black squid-ink paella. The cocktails and wine list also impress. The Michael Hsu-designed interior still feels brand-new but will soon acquire more character.

    1500 S. Lamar Blvd.; 512-473-2211

  • Winebelly

    South Austin is already abuzz about the new restaurant from the owners of Hai Ky. The restaurant brings new life to the old Green Muse space on Oltorf, and the classy interior, with a copper bar and vintage picture frames and mirrors, sets the mood. The menu is divided into bar snacks, charcuterie and cheese, and tapas. Be sure to delve into the excellent wine list as well.

    519 W. Oltorf; 512-487-1569

  • Tapas Bravas

    This trailer reminds us why we still love food trucks so much. The authentic tapas here include the traditional patatas bravas, piquillos rellenos and albóndigas, as well as sandwiches and paella marinera. Tapas Bravas previously had two locations, one on Rainey Street and one behind Weather Up on E. Cesar Chavez, but the Weather Up location is currently on the move to East Sixth Street and will be situated by the end of the month. On Oct. 1, they’re also opening a third truck at Midway Food Park, with tapas, a “kids’ menu” and baked goods. For now check out the trailer on Rainey.

    75 Rainey St.; 512-658-6498

  • Malaga

    West Second Street also does tapas well, as this restaurant proves. Think an extensive traditional menu with items like gazpacho, empanadas and lomo a la plancha. The casual but chic ambiance and great happy-hour specials make it a destination spot after that long day at work.

    440 W. Second St.; 512-236-8020

  • Fino

    Owners Emmett and Lisa Fox know modern Mediterranean food. Their campus-area restaurant, tucked away near Lamar and 29th Street, has been serving Austinites excellent tapas and paella for years now. Think white tablecloths, relaxed service, and traditional and modern small plates like muhummara dip, pork belly and octopus, and pork pinchitos.

    2905 San Gabriel St.; 512-474-2905

  • Tapasitas

    In early October, chef and owner Parind Vora is reconceptualizing his Bar Mirabeau on West Sixth Street into a global tapas bar. The menu will be divided into raw bar, seafood, vegetarian and meat sections, featuring plates like tortilla España, Brussels sprouts vindaloo and veal sweatbreads tikka masala. The locale is the front-facing side of the building that also houses Vora’s upscale Restaurant Jezebel, and we are eager to see how the chef will incorporate some of that style into the new concept. 

    800 W. Sixth St.; 512-436-9633