Old Town restaurant re-opens after major extension

By Barrie Hudson - 13 February 2023

Food & Drink

More than100 diners and 60 VIP guests packed newly refurbished Old Town restaurant Los Gatos for its launch following expansion into premises next door.

The restaurant was created in 2006 at a smaller site on Wood Street by couple Phil Saunter and Shareen Campbell, and was immediately at capacity on most nights. 

Over the past 16 years the restaurant has built a loyal following of tapas-loving customers and after Phil and Shareen retired in lockdown it was taken on by two local entrepreneurs who vowed to continue its legacy. 

In early January 2022, The Core juice bar next door agreed a deal with the new owners of Los Gatos to move the juice bar and cafe upstairs before a move to a new Old Town location.  

Over the last 12 months, a new vision for Los Gatos was developed to modernise the bar, while keeping its Spanish roots and significantly extending the dining space into next door. 

The new extension doubles the capacity of the restaurant to over 120 seats in a bid to keep up with the huge weekend demand from customers.   The expansion also allows for larger groups of up to 60, and private functions using one side of the restaurant.  

The new owners have also promised to keep the new wrap-around bar for walk-in customers only, so as well as table bookings, people making last minute plans can take one of the 20 seats looking at the new feature bar.  

The now famous menu is still prepared by original Head Chef Christopher Ventura, who was there when Los Gatos was on Wood Street. 

The popular dishes cater for all food types and are typical of traditional tapas from Spanish cities such as Malaga and Barcelona.  

Christopher said: “When Los Gatos opened in Swindon it was quite a bold move as not many places were doing tapas. Phil, Shareen and the team created a menu of classic Spanish tapas favourites that have become really popular with our regular customers, like Berenjenas (our aubergene chips) and Albondigas (our classic meatballs).  

"We put on specials every weekend too, and also have a large range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.” 

The name Los Gatos, meaning The Cats, was taken from a tapas bar in Malaga which the previous owners found while exploring Spain.  Over the years, customers have brought in cat-based collectables which are on display in the old side of the restaurant.   

Kris Talikowski, who owns The Core and is Vice-Chair of the Old Town Business Association, said: “It was great to have found a solution that allowed such a popular restaurant in Old Town to expand its space and revamp its interior.  

"I’ve been a big supporter of Los Gatos since the beginning, and I’m sure customers will love the new design and feature bar.  It’s fantastic to see businesses in Old town thrive and continue to grow, and long may that continue for the area.” 

The restaurant's website is www.losgatos.uk 

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