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Palm Beach Illustrated Article

Capture Life article

CitySmart Magazine

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By Rachel Galvin

The distinctive and majestic land of Spain is alluring, exotic and passionate. Within the searing heat of La Mancha's central plains to the bustling capital of Madrid, its very landscape stirs with ardent fervor. For the Spaniards, everything is a labor of love— from the sensual spin of the flamenco dancers to the delicate fingering of the Spanish guitar. Every precious moment is a time to celebrate, and they often do so through their cuisine, folding together the most flavorful ingredients to make the heart of their lover sizzle with passion.

Whether it's saffron infused paella, a spicy chorizo sausage, a zesty gazpacho or fresh mariscos (seafood) seasoned with onion and garlic to perfection, the Spanish palate includes something for everyone, prepared in a way that is one-of-a-kind. Like many other countries that speak the language of love, Spain uses seafood as a staple. They also include hearty potatoes, juicy tomatoes, spicy peppers and traditional beans to accent mouthwatering Spanish dishes.


Those not wanting to puddle-jump over to Europe to take a bite of the luscious mix need not fret. A bit of Spain has cropped up in our own backyard. Nestled in an unassuming shopping plaza in Lighthouse Point, a hidden gem called Anita's Restaurant awaits. The owners, Luis and Jose Pria, are so welcoming that you will want to stay for hours and hear their history.

The ambience comes naturally to the Prias. Born in Mexico, this pair became enchanted with the homeland of their parents, Spain, and decided to bring many of their recipes into the restaurant. Naming the restaurant after their mother is just one example of the brothers' generous spirit and humble heart, which extends to every customer that enters Anita's, the establishment they call a second home.

The culinary genius behind the intimate hideaway is Luis, who graduated from the Culinary Institute of New York. He recently met with some of the top chefs in Spain at the Culinary Institute of Madrid when he and Jose visited the family's homeland.

Luis employs many of the specialty techniques he learned but still utilizes many of his mother's favorite dishes.
“We use some of our mother's special recipes,” said Jose. “When we were young, our father owned a restaurant in Mexico using many of my mama’s recipes, and this is where Luis got his first taste of food.”

Dining a là Spanish style means indulging in a multi-course meal, spending hours relishing in every delicious morsel. Appetizers, or tapas, are often the first taste to touch the lips at the beginning of every Mexican and Spanish feast. Luis brings international flair to this, and every menu combination. His unique flavors come from International lands, and this culinary mastermind can easily adjust to accommodate the guest.

For Luis, food is his passion and each item is treated with care. His Chile Relleno, baked in a creamy ancho chile sauce, is made by adding fire roasted Poblano pepper filled with pasilla chile and spiced Northern Atlantic Salmon mousse.

For another popular appetizer, Nopal, he enhances the flavor of the cactus with a mix of sharp cheeses and Panela—a soft, white melting cheese. This delight is placed tenderly within a warm homemade flour tortilla


Every delectable combination is multi-layered with flavor. The cilantro-flavored Crepas filled with cutilachoche (corn “truffles”) are sprinkled with chopped Serrano onion in a tasty ancho chile sauce. He also whips together a moist and juicy Ensenada, a Sashimi grilled yellow fin tuna steak delicately topped with caramelized Bermuda onions spiked with a Guajillo chili aioli. His Pato, Long Island duck, falls off the bone and is flavored with a rich morita chile spiced raspberry Cabernet sauce. They know how to spice up a grilled chicken breast by brushing on Mexican herbs and serving it in a traditional Mole sauce, topping it with sesame seeds and flanking the specialty sliced avocado.

Dessert is just as scandalously sweet. The mango crème brulee is a sensation, but the chocolate ganache is melt-in-your mouth sinful as is the incredible chocolate sponge cake—filled with chocolate mousse on a crumbly crust of toasted walnuts with a kick of cayenne pepper.

This incredible experience demands a cool-down period. Relax and have a glass of wine, take time to visit again with Jose and walk back to the immaculate kitchen to see the master in his element. From start to finish, this restaurant is a complete package best summed up by Jose, who said, “We want our customers to feel comfortable, like they are at home. We create an inviting ambiance for them from the time they walk in until the time they walk out.”

Anita's Restaurant is located at 2476 N. Federal Highway in Lighthouse
Point. Hours are 5:30-10:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Call for reservations. 954.788.0202.