Giorgio Rapicavoli to Open Taperia Raca in MiMo

MiMo's culinary scene will blow up with the addition of Taperia Raca later this month.

The restaurant, opening at the end of March, will be helmed by none other than Giorgio Rapicavoli and Alex Casanova, the adventuresome team behind Eating House in Coral Gables. In fact, the "Raca" in the moniker of the duo's new concept is derived from a melding of the first two letters of each of their last names.

About a year ago, Rapicavoli teased diners with the announcement that he wanted to open a second concept -- although at the time the talented young chef was thinking about a cocktail lounge or a doughnut shop.

See also: Eating House Tartare Bar Pops-Up at Cadillac Championship

Although Taperia Raca will not serve doughnuts, we think tapas and wine is a much better idea anyway. The small-plates concept lends itself to Rapicavoli's out-of-the-box takes on traditional foods. The restaurant, which will be open for lunch, dinner, and Sunday brunch, will serve the same sharable small plates throughout the day, with platos fritos (cold dishes) priced from $5 to $21, including aceitunas aliniadas (marinated Spanish olives with orange, lemon, and garlic); pâté de higado (chicken liver mousse, Pedro Ximenez, almonds, and fig preserves); pulpo a la vinagreta (poached octopus, lemon, onion, olive oil, and herbs); and boquerones (white anchovies, roasted lemon, Florida citrus, and herbs).

Platos calientes (hot dishes) are priced from $6 to $16 and include spicy patatas bravas (fried baked potatoes, garlic aioli, and smoked tomato); empanadas de bacalao (salt cod empanadas with pickled garlic, potato, lemon, and herbs); alitas de pato with sweet/sour fig and pimenton salt; and cachetes de cerdo with mushrooms, potatoes, and truffle.

Charcuterie and cheese plates, served with grilled bread, olive oil, daily preserves, and smoked honey, round out the menu. A good bet will be the off-the-menu chef's specials, available during lunch and dinner (so ask your server for what's good that day).

There will also be a curated list of beers, white and red wines by the bottle and glass, sangria, and beer-and-wine cocktails such as the Clara, a combination of draft beer and Sprite.

Sunday brunch ($5 to $19) gets creative with items such as torrejas café con leche (Cuban bread, Panther coffee, cream, and sugar); waffle con bananas (Belgian waffle with sherried bananas and vanilla whipped cream); and panqueques de maiz y durazno (cornmeal/peach pancakes and peach syrup).

The restaurant, which takes over the Metro Organic Bistro space at 7010 Biscayne Blvd., will seat 16 people inside and 40 in the garden. The space is decorated with brick-lined walls, cardboard bull heads, and a custom mural that celebrates Spanish reggae music.

Since Rapicavoli can't be in two places at once, chef de cuisine Ryan Harrison will head the kitchen at Taperia Raca, while Adriana Egozcue will take over as chef de cuisine at Eating House.

Rapicavoli says of the new project: "We're stoked about the location and even happier to have Ryan behind the line."

Follow Laine Doss on Twitter @LaineDoss and Facebook.

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