I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am a tapas tyrant traditionalist. I’m willing to admit that I may take my love of tapas to the extreme sometimes, but after having lived in Spain and fallen in love with all things Spanish it’s just a guttural reaction at this point. I’m all for the “small plates” trend, but if you’re gonna call yourself a “tapas” restaurant, you better have your duende on point. Anyway enough with the therapy session, my point with all this is that when I heard this past March that the team behind the extremely popular and super innovative Eating House was going to open a tapas joint in MiMo my brain just about exploded with a plethora of mixed emotions.
I decided to face my fears and made a reservation to check Taperia Raca out literally two days after opening and to my great relief, the team (comprised of Eating House chef Giorgio Rapicavoli, business partner Alex Casanova, and their new chef de cuisine Ryan Harrison) stayed pretty true to the traditional tapas experience. The difference maker here is all in the approach. They’re not deconstructing dishes, they’re elevating them – intensifying flavors and enhancing plating while still sticking to the basics.
On that note, the menu is simple. Broken down into Platos Frios (Cold Dishes) and Platos Calientes (Hot Dishes), it features mostly classic dishes like Pan con Tomate, Pimientos del Padron, Chistorras, Patatas Bravas, Tortilla Española, and a beautiful Charcuterie and Cheese plate.
That said, it wouldn’t be an Eating House sister restaurant without a few playful dishes to choose from. For example, you’ll forget everything you ever knew about Bacon-wrapped Dates when you try the Albaricoques con Tocino (Bacon-wrapped Apricots). Furthermore, the Pulpo a la Vinagreta offers a nice, refreshing take on some of the more typical Spanish octopus dishes, and the Patatas Contentas are a great juxtaposition to their spicier and better-known counterpart with black truffle and manchego cheese. For dessert? The Arroz con Leche pays homage to the decadent and delicious Eating House Dirt Cup!
Before I wrap up, it’s important to note that since my first visit (and yes, I purposely said first because I’ve been back), Chef Ryan has worked to trim the fat (pun intended), leaving the most popular tapas on the regular menu and adding a specials board that allow him to be even more adventurous and test out new dishes based on current trends, seasonal fresh ingredients, and his own personal whims. Think Torchon de Foie Gras, Truffled Duck Rillette and rotating Croqueta and Empanada fillings. Not too shabby!
Mitch’s Recommendation: Go ahead, step out of your comfort zone! The great thing about the innovation at Taperia Raca is that it’s not in your face. They allow the real deal tapas to stay at the forefront of the dining experience and then subtly sprinkle in the new dishes as a bonus. If this is what it means to be a modern tapas restaurant in Miami, I’m all for it.
Standout Dishes (only from the regular, everyday menu): Albaricoques con Tocino, Patatas Bravas, Pulpo a la Vinagreta, Pan con Tomate, Croquetas (of any variety).