Located on a hidden corner street on the inside of Mar Mikhael street, Fiore Cucina stands, serving delicious Mediterranean cuisine.
After publishing my Top 10 favorite Italian restaurants in Beirut, a friend of mine insisted I try Fiore in Mar Mikhael to experience what in his opinion is the best. Fiore is a hidden place on 39, Patriache Aarida Street just behind Spoiler Center, an old house decorating the corner of this quiet neighborhood: White walls, wooden flaps covering the artistic metallic windows, flower pots and a cozy lighting make it feel like your going to have dinner in Sicily.
The interior is simple yet very pleasant: White walls, decorative tiles covering the floor, inspirational chandeliers, relaxing tissue chairs and round tables, all in a colorful but very dimmed candle lid small space where enjoying a meal makes you feel at home. Fiore is owned and managed by an Italian chef and his brother who came directly from Italy to invest in a country they believe in.
What I loved:
- A blue leather menu translated into French and English with an ingrained flower on it since Fiore is a flower in Italian.
- A simple menu covering all tastes, including 11 choices of "Entrees", 5 choices of "Salades", 8 choices of "Pates et Risottos", 9 choices of "Les Viandes et Poissons" and 6 choices of "Desserts"
- Water served in glass bottles
- Plates sizes and shapes served depending on the dish ordered to emphasize the decoration and presentation.
The dishes I've tasted accompanied by the Falanghina Feudi Di San Gregorio 2010 wine:
- Homemade ravioli stuffed with goat ricotta cheese, tossed in tomato sauce - A very Yummy dish, cooked to perfection
- Beef Carpaccio topped with rocket and Parmesan shavings served with truffle oil - I am not a truffle oil fan since it smells exactly like garlic but this dish was different
- Red tuna tartar, mixed with shallots, seasoned with mint and olive oil - Delicious plate specially the crispy basil leaves added on top
- Grilled calamari with mixed greens and a lemon dressing - The Calamari pieces are so big, amazingly cooked and seasoned that I think is the best I've ever had
- Tagliatelle with duck a la Bolognese, with mushroom, rosemary and Parmesan - Their signature out of this world plate
- Risotto with lemon zest, shrimp and smoked Scamorza cheese - It's a complicated plate and hard to prepare, some might not like it as the cheese has a very strong smoky taste, but the Fiore guys succeed in making it a unique mixture of flavors
- Linguine with lobster cooked in its bisque, white wine, cherry tomato and parsley - This is the best indeed, having the exact same taste that I usually enjoy at Da Giovanni
What I didn't like:
- The wine glasses
- The over dimmed ambiance (The quality of the pictures taken shows it)
- Bizarrely empty place where you eat alone and I can assure you that this is very disturbing
- The kitchen door opens directly into the restaurant facing three of the tables and that is very annoying
What should have been the best part, but it was not as good as I expected:
- Creme Brûlée Catlana
- Fondant au Chocolat
I honestly think they ought to improve their desserts. Now I understand what my friend meant,
Yes, it is indeed a very nice place, serving very nice food prepared with passion using the finest and freshest ingredients. It will be part of my next Top 10 for sure.
Some improvements should be done with the architecture and setup of the place to make it feel more pleasant to encourage visiting it more often.