Italy. Each city seems to have its own specialty food. Naples has pizza, Amalfi has lemons, Parma has prosciutto and of course, Parmesan cheese. Florence has lampredotto but neither Bradley nor I are big fans of tripe. However, the Airbnb we stayed at in Florence boasted of a wonderful Japanese restaurant in the area and we both love Japanese food so we had to check it out.
Italy is one of the most traveled to countries in the world, and it’s no wonder with all the movies it shows up in! From A Good Woman (Amalfi Coast), Only You (Amalfi Coast), Under the Tuscan Sun (Positano and Tuscany), The Italian Job (Northwestern Italy), The Godfather (Northeast Sicily), The Talented Mr Ripley, A Room With A View, Tea With Mussolini, Much Ado About Nothing, the 1950’s hit Roman Holiday, Letters to Juliet, the James Bond film Quantum of Solace, and of course the first stop in Eat, Pray, Love.
You can even grab a travel guide for Italy, such as Fodor's The Amalfi Coast, Capri & Naples, Rick Steves Snapshot Naples & the Amalfi Coast: Including Pompeii, or Lonely Planet Naples, Pompeii & the Amalfi Coast (Travel Guide). Learning more about the culture of Italy using the Italy - Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture book is also recommended!
But, they don’t always tell you about the food specialties in the area!
Our host advised that there were actually several good Japanese restaurants in the neighborhood with varying price points. We chose to go to the mid-range one, Hoseki Ristorante Giapponese.
Reservations are recommended if you're planning to go at the busy dinner hour around 8pm. We got there at 7pm and they were just opening for the night. The atmosphere is relaxing and the staff were friendly.
We ordered the unagi-don (grilled eel rice bowl) and the chirashi (sashimi over rice bowl). The sashimi in the chirashi was pretty good for the price, but the portion was rather small.
The unagi-don was a decent sized portion. The taste of the sauce was similar to canned unagi, which is not necessarily a bad thing, just not expected at a restaurant. The texture of the unagi was very soft, even softer than anago.
Overall, we enjoyed our night out. Was it good Japanese food? No, not really. But it was a nice break from pasta, pizza, and salami sandwiches.
The unagi-don was 13€, and the chirashi was 10€. They had sashimi plates for around 22-30€ and sushi rolls ranging from about 13-16€. If you're really craving Japanese food in Florence and have money to spare, our host recommended Niwa but advised it could probably cost around 70€ per person.
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Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore