Coral Gables gets buzzy over new Spanish restaurant Piripi

The Who: Chef Najat Kaanache draws on her Basque-Moroccan background at this San Sebastian-inspired restaurant in Village of Merrick Park. Piripi is Spanish slang for tipsy or buzzed.

The Space: An open-layout, 200-seater that offers both indoor and al fresco options. Rosewood paneling and slatted ceilings give the place a polished feel while a 20-foot blown-glass chandelier lends a whimsical touch. The private dining space, “Lola’s Room,” is named after an icon of Andalusian folklore music, Lola Flores.

The Dishes: Spanish-influenced, mostly traditional dishes with artful plating full of edible flowers on rustic earthenware. Prices are reasonable given the posh setting with starters $8-$16 and mains $26-$39.

Classics include a selection of Spanish cheese and charcuterie, Andalusian gazpacho made with sweet and sour watermelon and spicy garlic, and a tortilla omelet “grandma-style.” Padrones fritos are charred peppers doused with idiazabal cheese, and house-cured salmon is plated with cherry tomatoes, house-made cream cheese, and pea shoots. Salads like “Hobbit on the Shire” are a visual feast of petite vegetable ribbons and tips, avocado mousse, cherry tomatoes, roasted beet medallions, baby carrots and a limoncello-ginger granite.

Larger mains include a choice of five paellas, from calamari and squid ink to wild rabbit and lamb and chicken. Desserts like the choco planeta, which translates to a “planet of chocolate,” are a series of creams, crumbles, gels and swirls of multihued emulsions.

The Bottom Line: An exuberant chef’s colorful imagination informs much of the menu at this Merrick Park newcomer.

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