Austin’s Bacalar Celebrates the Fresh Flavors of the Yucatán
This sophisticated Mexican restaurant brings a Yucatán experience that’s new for Austin
Bacalar is a new Urbanspace concept that opened in September on 44 East Avenue, steps away from Lady Bird Lake in Austin’s Rainey Street Historic District. The restaurant is inspired by the Yucatán Peninsula region of Mexico and is named after the Pueblo Mágico Bacalar (also known as the Lake of Seven Colors) in Quintana Roo. The menu is inspired by Mexico’s milpa agriculture system, including the farmers and suppliers that make it all possible.
“It’s all about engaging with the community while bringing in a Yucatán experience that’s new for Austin,” says Urbanspace Founder and CEO Kevin Burns.
While Mexico’s Yucatán region is the main inspiration, dishes incorporate influences from Lebanese, Spanish, and Caribbean cuisines, resulting in bold, unique flavors. We got to dine there recently and were blown away by the drinks and food. Our recommendations include scallop and Bluefin Tuna, masa dumplings, cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork shoulder), and ciniza camote (candied sweet potatoes).
The whole team behind the opening took trips to Bacalar for inspiration for the space, which has an aesthetic as beautiful as the food. “I was actively trying to make it feel modern, but with a character that celebrates materiality, so at the same time, it feels like it could have been here for a long time,” says Merrill Alley, the distinguished Principal of Urbanspace Development + Interiors.
The mind-blowing cuisine is marked by bright flavors inspired by one of Mexico’s most prominent regions. Many dishes are cooked over a live fire or sous vide. The drinks focus on regional agave spirits and a variety of Mexican wines.
Soon, Bacalar will start lunch service out of their takeaway taqueria window facing the adjacent Hike-and-Bike trail off Lady Bird Lake as well as a weekend dine-in brunch. It’s a fresh, elevated take on Mexican food that adds variety to Austin’s current restaurant scene. Learn more or make your reservation at www.bacalaratx.com.