The Coral Gables dining scene is going to get a lot more interesting come October/November 2014 with the opening of Piripi, at 320 San Lorenzo Avenue at the Village of Merrick Park. Piripi , Spanish slang for “happy”, “tipsy” or “feeling a little bit buzzed” according to restaurant owner Gus Abalo, will bring Spanish-Basque chef Najat Kaanache to Miami. Of Moroccan descent, Chef Najat was born and raised in San Sebastian and enjoyed a career as a Spanish television actress and activist, before deciding to attend culinary school and follow her passion to the world of gastronomy. She honed her skills at Michelin 3 stars Noma, French Laundry, Per Se and Alinea alongside Rene Redzepi, Thomas Keller, Grant Achatz, Heston Blumenthal and Martin Berasetegui, spending the final two years at El Bulli working directly with Ferran Adria until the restaurant closed.
At Piripi, Chef Najat will moderate the molecular, presenting homespun, authentic Spanish cuisine in a spectacular setting that will seat 200 inside and out, with a marriage of rustic accents and sleek contemporary design from Candela & Partners. The menu will include Chef Najat’s take on the standards – with heavy emphasis on seafood, as well as a selection of “lively” tapas and paellas. The prominent central bar will feature fabulous Spanish wines by the glass as well as a great selection of “gin tonics.” Standout design elements include a beautiful wine wall and a spectacular 20 foot blown glass chandelier hanging in the bar/lounge area that is currently being produced in Seattle by master glass blower Ryan Blythe, a disciple of internationally renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Piripi will also feature an intimate semi-private Chef’s dining room, delivering “fanciful” and “immersive” dining experiences for 10-12 special guests.
To help her make culinary magic in Miami, Chef Najat is calling upon her vast network of colleagues from the world’s finest restaurants, with a wine list created by Spanish sommelier Ferran Centelles, who spent thirteen years at El Bulli. Says Chef Najat, “You are only as talented as those with whom you surround yourself. In hospitality it is all about the team.”