Right on the heels of the launch of their summer lunch takeover with ILLEGAL Bakery,Taperia Raca owners Chef Giorgio Rapicavoli and General Manager Alex Casanova announce the official onset of their hot new Happy Hour and Tapas Tuesdays promotions, and welcome newcomer Chef de Cuisine Michelle Saavedra,formerly of Haven Gastro Lounge, to their team. Designed to help guests relax and unwind after a hard day’s work, Taperia Raca’s newHappy Hour offers 50% off select tapas and cocktails from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. onWednesdays – Fridays.
The not-to-miss Tapas Tuesdays provides the same half-off deals on the scrumptious creations ALL NIGHT long. Specially priced tapas include Taperia Raca favs such as aceitunas aliniadas – marinated olives, orange, lemon, garlic and herbs; pan con tomate – rustic local bread, grated tomato, Maldon salt and oil; charcuterie and cheese plates served with grilled bread, olive oil, daily preserves and smoked honey; albaricoques con tocino – bacon wrapped apricots, stuffed with Iberico cheese and smoked honey; their daily selection of to-die-for croquetas del dia; and patatas bravas, the ever-popular fried baked potatoes, topped with garlic aioli and smoked tomato.Newly at the helm to help Rapicavoli dish out these delights is the talented Michelle Saavedra (30) formerly of Haven Gastro Lounge. Born and raised in Miami, Florida to a Spanish and Cuban family, Saavedra grew up with food playing a major role in her life. Days were spent in the home kitchen at her grandmother Mami Yaya’s knee, helping her cook traditional Spanish and Cuban dishes; weekends were for the backyard, grilling and smoking meats with her father where she was donned his “BBQ helper”. The tight-knit family spent summers in the Florida Keys where she fished with her father in the afternoons and went home to cook the catch with her mother in the evening. As an adult, after years spent in the medical profession, Saavedra decided to pursue her life-long dream of becoming a chef and boldly opened a small catering company. After a year, she enrolled in Miami Culinary Institute where Chef Jose E. Casals, one of the founding chefs of Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, took her under his wing and mentored her for two years. Within a year’s time, she secured a sous chef position at Bryan in the Kitchen in downtown Miami.
Two years later, the eager young chef jumped at the chance to work under Chef Todd Erickson at South Beach’s Haven Gastro Lounge where she became lead line cook. Most recently, they competed and won the Miami News Times’ 2014 Iron Fork Competition. Saavedra describes her cooking style as “rustic nostalgia” and enjoys creating dishes that evoke a fond memory in people by taking the traditional and adding her own creative twist. As Taperia Raca’s new chef de cuisine, Saavedra will execute Rapicavoli’s modern Spanish tapas menu, and will eventually incorporate her own dishes and creative twists into the milieu.Taperia Raca, which recently received a three-star rating from The Miami Herald and an equally stellar dining review from Miami New Times, serves dinner and weekend brunch. Dinner ($5-21) boasts a soulful menu of shareable Platos Frios/Cold Dishessuch as zesty rich Pate de Higado- chicken liver mousse, Pedro Ximenez, almonds and fig preserves; Pulpo a la Vinagreta- poached octopus, lemon, onion, olive oil and herbs; Boquerones- white anchovies, roasted lemon, Florida citrus and herbs; and, as well as Platos Calientes/Hot Dishes including spicy Patatas Bravas- fried, baked potatoes, garlic aioli and smoked tomato; Empanadas de Bacalao- savory dough pastries stuffed with salt cod, pickled garlic and potato; Alitas de Pato – duck wings with sweet/sour fig and pimenton salt; and Cachetes de Cerdo – tender pork cheek with mushrooms, potatoes and truffle. Desserts ($6-9) include twists on classics such as Roasted Banana Crema Catalana; and Torrejas with Salted Caramel Ice Cream.The Saturday and Sunday Weekend Brunch ($5-19) builds upon the dinner menu and, as with Eating House, gets a little more nostalgic with items including Tortilla Chanchito with organic eggs, chorizo, Serrano ham, bacon and Manchego;Croquetas de Jamon- smoked and roasted ham, béchamel, and quince jam; Patatas Contentas – fried baked potatoes, black truffle and bacon; Huevos Rotos – fried eggs, aioli, charred tomato, potato and Serrano ham; Torrejas Café con Leche- Cuban bread French toast, Panther Coffee, cream and sugar; and Panqueques de Maiz y Durazno- cornmeal peach pancakes with peach syrup. A trip to laidback Spain, the cozy restaurant seats 16 inside and offers an expansive outdoor garden seating 40. Inspired by the laidback atmosphere of the Corridor, area vintage stores and quirky architectural motifs, Rapicavoli and Casanova put art and music at the center of the experience with brick lined walls, cardboard bullheads and a custom made mural to the tune of Spanish reggae music. Located at 7010 Biscayne Boulevard in the MiMo District, Taperia Raca serves Dinner Tuesday – Thursday, from 4:00PM – 10:00PM and Friday & Saturday, from4:00PM – 11:00PM. A popular Weekend Brunch is offered Saturday and Sunday from11:00AM – 4:00PM. Breakfast and Lunch service are provided by ILLEGAL Bakeryfrom now through the end of summer, from 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Mondays – Fridays. Plenty of metered street parking is available, and Karma carwash is available for parking after 8 p.m. Taperia Raca accepts reservations via CityEats. Telephone:305.751.8756. Website: www.taperiaraca.com. Twitter/Instagram: @Taperia_Raca.