Piripi, the new Spanish restaurant from chef-owner Najat Kaanache and partners, is set to open Monday, March 30, at 320 San Lorenzo Ave. in Coral Gables’ Village of Merrick Park.
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Kaanache’s background is certainly unlike that of any other chef in South Florida. Born in Spain’s Basque country to Moroccan parents, Kaanache switched paths to culinary studies after being a television actress in Spain. She cooked her way through apprenticeships at some of the world’s best restaurants, including El Bulli, Noma, Per Se and Alinea, writing about her experiences as a “Pilgrim Chef.”
Kaanache landed in Dallas in 2013 as executive chef of P|S, where her whimsical, modernist dishes like crawfish doughnuts and “Edible Dali” garnered a one-star review from Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner; the restaurant closed less than six months after opening. Kaanache then opened Souk, serving Moroccan-inspired cuisine (she kept the crawfish doughnuts). Brenner gave Souk two stars last February, and Kaanache left less than two weeks later.
In Miami, she’s partnered with Teo Arranz and Gus Abalo to open the 200-seat Piripi, which is Spanish slang for “tipsy.”
The menu includes a mix of Spanish-style tapas with modern flourishes: marinated white anchovies with olive “sponge,” blood-sausage flatbread with honey-yuzu aioli, gazpacho with sweet-and-sour watermelon and spicy garlic (and there are shrimp-and-mussel doughnuts). Larger dishes like a 36-hour roasted lamb saddle and paella-like rice dishes are meant to be shared. Prices are under $12 for most tapas, mid-$20s and up for bigger plates.
Piripi will be open daily for dinner. 305-448-2423.