El Raval Restaurant and Tapas Bar
El Raval Restaurant and Tapas Bar is the newest dining concept created by Chef Laila Bazahm. El Raval celebrates the diverse cultural influences of Barcelona's iconic El Raval neighborhood.
Grounded in Spanish cuisine, our menu incorporates the bold flavors and fragrant spices of North Africa, the Middle East and Asia, paired with an extensive selection of carefully curated wines by-the-glass, and world-class cocktails by our friends who created Two Schmucks bar in El Raval (No.7 "World's 50 Best Bars 2022").
Chef Laila fell in love with El Raval when she created, with her wife Laura Freedman, popular Barcelona Southeast Asian-Latin American foodie haunt Hawker 45, which was recognized by Conde Nast as one of Barcelona’s top-30 restaurants and featured in Lonely Planet. Avid global travelers, Philippines-born Chef Laila and German-born, French-educated Laura reveled in the neighborhood’s vibrant energy, rich history, and cultural heritage molded by the myriad contributions of generations of humble immigrants, with whom they identified. Finding pandan leaves, kaffir lime leaves, and fresh calamansi in Raval’s ethnic grocery shops let Chef Laila draw from the flavors of her childhood to create and refine her unique culinary fusion in Barcelona’s hyper-competitive global foodie market.
As successor to South Lamar’s Spanish tapas pioneer, Catalan Chef Daniel Olivella’s Barlata, Chef Laila is excited to bring her inventive and very personal fusion cuisine to Austin, Texas at El Raval.
Chef Laila Bazahm
Born and raised in the Philippines, Chef Laila Bazahm has always lived and breathed food. “In Filipino families, everyone hangs out in the kitchen, sharing stories while preparing food. Even small families cook large quantities of food for passing neighbors and friends. There’s no planning, either. We go to the market, buy what’s fresh and cook ‘free-style.’ Everything is cooked with love.”
Laila never imagined a culinary career. A cum laude economics graduate, she found success at J.P. Morgan and Deutsche Bank in Manila before she decided to follow her passion. In 2011, she quit her job in Dubai and traveled to San Sebastian (Spain) where legendary Basque Chef Andoni Luis Adúriz rewarded her honesty – her cover letter was devoid of experience but full of passion and eagerness to learn – with a four-month internship at Spanish avant-garde pioneers Mugaritz and Ni Neu. That experience confirmed she was willing to dedicate herself to this profession.
After 4 years’ training in Singapore, including stints at Chef Emmanuel Stroobant’s Saint Pierre and L’Atelier Joël Robuchon, and a 2-month program at San Sebastian’s Basque Culinary Center, she landed in Barcelona, where she launched Hawker 45, featuring her inventive fusion cuisine inspired by street foods from Korea, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Laos, in refined presentations. Chef Laila has an uncanny talent – a gustatory memory that, together with her creativity, allows her to replicate recipes as if she has cooked them since childhood, but in a playful style that riffs on the original dish.
“I’ve always been a big fan of travel. I try to eat where locals go, where I’ve had some of the most amazing meals of my life – sitting on a plastic stool sipping an incredible soup in Vietnam, eating an outrageous curry or grilled meat under a street umbrella in Bangkok, or savoring the most delicious crispy seared gyoza under a noisy train track in Tokyo.”
In April 2020, Chef Laila launched Hawker Beach Club Ibiza with Axel Group, the world’s leading LGBTQ hotel and resort chain. Moving to Houston in November 2021, she began attracting local acclaim with her Hawker Street Food Bar, which she launched at the Liu Family’s visionary Post Houston international food hall before selling the venture to loyal staff. She arrived on the Austin scene in 2022, briefly taking over the kitchen at Eberly. With the opening of El Raval, she now has an American platform in Texas as Chef-restaurateur, and a showcase for her original and very personal style of cuisine.
Chef Laila and her wife Laura, together with their Spanish Podenco Zelda, are excited to make their Texas home in Austin.
We look forward to welcoming you to El Raval!