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Spanish Flavors Come to Merrick Park as Piripi Officially Opens

Executive chef is an el Bulli veteran


The much anticipated Piripi opens its doors tonight in Coral Gables. The restaurant helmed by Moroccan-Basque chef, Najat Kaanache, "promises to serve authentic Spanish and Basque dishes."

Piripi's menu is divided into several section and features a lot of the usual suspects you'd see on a Spanish restaurant menu like house-cured meats and cheeses, gazpacho and seafood, but it also features some other more unusual dishes like the "Hot Diggity Dog" made with a meringue 'bun' and chicken liver mouse and the "Cataplanas," a riceless, Portuguese seafood dish cooked in a copper "clam-shell-like" pressure cooker and served tableside.

As for the chef, she has quite the interesting background. Kaanache began as a television actress in Spain, before becoming an activist. She then took to the kitchen serving as an apprentice at some of the world's best restaurants like NomaFrench LaundryPer SeAlinea and El Bulli, before heading to South Florida.

The large, 200-seater, indoor and outdoor restaurant features a moving glass floor and ceiling doors that purposely blur the lines between inside and out. Which is appropriate considering Piripi is Spanish slang for "happy" or "tipsy."

Piripi is located on the first floor of Village of Merrick Park at 320 San Lorenzo in Coral Gables, Florida. It is open for dinner nightly from 5 to 11 p.m. with lunch beginning next Sunday. To make a reservation call 305-448-2423.