Fiorito, a venerable Argentine restaurant in Little Haiti, welcomes diners with an unmistakable entryway: a towering portrait of soccer favorite — and newly arrived Miami player — Lionel Messi.
Affectionately named after the birthplace of soccer icon Diego Maradona, Fiorito opened in 2012. It's a vibrant locale where culture and cuisine converge, and the space blends soccer-themed décor with an easygoing ambiance. The theme was crafted by the owners, brothers Maximiliano and Cristian Alvarez, who together bring years of restaurant industry experience from Miami and New York.
While Cristian wields his expertise in the kitchen, Maximiliano manages service and sommelier duties. Drawing inspiration from Argentina's bodegones — humble, family-style restaurants known for affordability and generous portions — the restaurant offers a welcome departure from Miami's more upscale steakhouse options.
"With all the fancy Argentine steakhouses around, we wanted something more laid-back and wallet-friendly," Maximiliano tells New Times. "We came up with the idea to jazz up the classic bodegón vibe."
No question about it: The Magic City's burgeoning fascination with soccer — specifically Argentina's 2022 World Cup win and Messi's more recent arrival — has helped to fuel Fiorito's popularity.
"The day Argentina won the World Cup was our best-selling day in our ten-year history," says Maximiliano. "Our success hasn't waned since. We've been featured in over 30 news outlets from across the globe in the past few months alone, and Messi's presence in Miami has been a game-changer for us."
In the kitchen, Cristian does the due diligence of bringing Argentine flavors to the table. He infuses every dish with home-cooked comfort derived from the memories of his mother's kitchen.
Don't overlook the succulent empanadas, a tribute to their father's cherished recipe. The beef rendition features cuts of ribeye, churrasco, and flank steak, all fine-chopped by hand before being stuffed into a house-made dough. Equally compelling, the corn empanadas arrive brimming with a blend of corn and creamy mozzarella cheese.
For a sweet finish, it is assumed you'll indulge in one of Fiorito's homemade dulce de leche-centric desserts. The flan and panqueques (crepes) are done well, embodying the essence of Argentina's culinary heritage.
"Our mission was to represent Argentina — our culture, values, and passion for soccer," sums up Maximiliano. "The restaurant stands as a testament to our journey as immigrants, creating a space that evokes the warmth and camaraderie of home that every Miamian can enjoy."
Fiorito. 5555 NE Second Ave., Miami; 786-321-5514; fioritomiami.com. Sunday through Thursday noon to 10 p.m.; Friday through Saturday noon to 11 p.m.