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 Under the Tuscan Sun (Positano and Tuscany), 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 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.
Best Places to Stay in Florence (Firenze)
A famous investor named Warren Buffet once said, “Price is what you pay, Value is what you get.” It would make sense that he is the type of investor that is always looking for the best value for his money, and when it comes to a luxury hotel in Florence, Villa La Vedetta is the one he would pick. It is definitely luxury and in a great location, but the price you’ll pay here compared to other similar hotels is significantly less. Here’s the hotel that you’re looking for, Mr. Buffet!
Sometimes we prefer to stay in a villa, instead of a hotel, especially while traveling through Florence. After all, part of the appeal are the Tuscan Villas in all those movies, right? Well, we found some Amazing Tuscan Villas that we want to share with everyone as well. Plus, some of them are as cheap as $79 USD per night! What a bargain!
Our favorite regular hotel in the area is Hotel Cosmopolitan. When it comes to hotels at an affordable price, this is the best quality for value that we could find for a standard hotel. Plus, it’s within walking distance to most of the best sights in Florence.
Hostels can get pretty cheap, but you may be slumming it unless you do your homework. Our pick for the best quality hostel is the L'Aranceto Guest House. It is a bit pricier for a hostel, but the alternatives in this area require a certain ability to be comfortable anywhere you go that most people simply aren’t suited for.
When it comes to affordability, however, it might make more sense to try one of these amazing Airbnb places in Florence. The ones we recommend always give you the full place to yourself and include Air Conditioning, Washer, Dryer, a Kitchen, and WiFi. How could you go wrong with one of those?
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Jenny & Bradley of EatWanderExplore