3 stars for family-friendly Argentine eats at Miami's Fiorito restaurant

Photo by Marice Cohn Band
Photo by Marice Cohn Band

Named for the working-class province of Buenos Aires where soccer star Diego Maradona grew up, Fiorito takes its fútbol as seriously as its food. Brothers Maximiliano and Cristian Alvarez handle this intimate spot, with Cristian cooking and Maxi handling the front of the house. You’ll also find Cristian’s wife helping out at lunchtime. You can hear Italian, Spanish and English happily mixed in at all tables. The food however, is straight-up Argentine, with many classics done exceptionally well.

Ambience: A signed blue-and-white-striped team uniform, a mural of the great player and lots of other paraphernalia make up the bulk of the décor of this most unlikely and charming new eatery in Little Haiti. The gray-green concrete building is warmed by a busy wooden patio dotted with boxes of fresh growing rosemary, basil, thyme and mint. Inside are a single paddle fan, mismatched wooden tables, blackboard specials on the doors and walls and a soundtrack that includes tango music without seeming at all kitschy.

What Worked

  • Hand-rolled empanadas stuffed with lovely bits of well-seasoned hangar steak that are as flaky as the best French croissants
  • Lusciously grilled octopus tentacle dotted with roasted red pepper and a bright mint chimichurri
  • Creamy calabaza soup with a kick of hot chili oil that is made even richer with chunks of provolone that melt as stirred
  • Big portions
  • Refreshing ceviche with nice bits of shrimp, octopus and corvina soaked in a slightly spicy rocoto-flecked tiger’s milk
  • Simple Malbecs and other new world bottles that complement the rustic fare
  • Popular sandwiches
  • A hearty choripan sandwich made with slices of grilled organic pork sausage slathered with piquant chimichurri sauce and tangy threads of pickled red cabbage
  • A nice milanesa – pounded and breaded steak given a zesty hit of lemon aioli.
  • Irresistible hand-cut fries that are as thick as thumbs, perfectly golden on the outside and puffed on the inside
  • Tender, moist and flavorful braised short ribs served over mashed potatoes with a velvety beef broth dotted with strands of silken red peppers and tiny peas
  • Daily specials like the mushroom-stuffed ravioli
  • Deliciously sweet flan with a sidecar of stand-up-your-spoon-in-it dulce de leche
  • Cheap prices

What Didn’t Work

  • Pappardelle that lacked bite
  • Bland lamb ragu with Argentine reggianato cheese was a bit bland
  • Ccorvina that could have been fresher
  • Well grilled & generously portioned churrasco that was almost bereft of seasoning