Girl in Florence

A Tuscan Texan immersed in Florentine life

Japanese/Thai Fusion and Tuscan innovation


fresh tortelli in Florence

Yet another wonderful weekend of friends, food and good fun. As per usual — I am always on the lookout for a new awesome restaurant and actually had the chance to try two new places that I have heard of but never been. As small as Florence, Italy is –  you could live here a lifetime and not discover everything, also because going somewhere new presents the risk of paying for food you may not really like.  Luckily, I liked both restaurants – both completely different from one another and presented a nice change of pace from my normal haunts around town.

The first place I tried with a friend was Niwa located near the porta al prato area of Florence. Japanese and Thai fusion, I was really excited since I have heard good things and Thai food in Florence is pretty much unheard of, I normally just make it at home with the help of Vivi Market. I knew it was a little pricey and walking in you definitely got the sense that this is a nice restaurant. When washing your hands in the bathroom includes illuminated faucets, I assume attention to detail ;). The menu is vast, I actually had a hard time deciding on what to order there was almost too much choice. We ended up starting with a few different platters of sushi, they give you edamame to start with which I love! The sushi was absolutely delicious (we went a salmon roll and spicy crispy shrimp version). I never used to like sushi but it is really growing on me lately.

I also ordered a Thai coconut curry soup which the waitress warned me was ‘very flavorful‘. This confused me a little because at the end of the day —  isn’t that what you want when you order a curry soup? Personally I wouldn’t want a ‘bland’ version! I am guessing some Italians weren’t really a fan of a lemongrass, coconut and chicken combination so I think she was just giving me a heads up? At the end of the day I really enjoyed the fragrant soup and thought it was absolutely perfect. Complimenti! 

We finished with sake which I don’t normally ever order but hey, why not?  Served warm in an earthenware container which probably cost an extra two euros for that detail alone ;). Price-wise that was the only pitfall. We ended up spending around 77 in two which is way more than I normally spend on a restaurant —  but this included a bottle of wine, water, two platters of sushi, two soups and sake. Lets just say if you are on a budget, save this place for a special occasion.

NiwaVia Ponte alle Mosse 16/r (porta al prato). Tel:  Tel 055 355736.

The second new place I visited was Trattoria Il Giova located on Borgo la Croce, Sant’Ambrogio zone of the city. I went for lunch (note the picture above of pasta is from here). I have passed by this place a million times without ever giving it a second glance. Tiny interior, the menu is pretty interesting and when I saw Tortelli maremmani al burro, salvia, arancia e zafferano (Toretelli with butter, sage, orange and saffron) on the menu — it called my name. My tortelli were fragrant, filling and delicious – a combination of flavors that I never imagined together but that just worked. I would absolutely order this again.

My friend went for a ‘carbonara with frutta di mare’ (thick pici pasta with fresh seafood) which was also really good, the quality of the shrimp itself was impressive. I was also spying hungrily at our ‘neighbors’ fried seafood platter which looked worth stealing. Apparently they are also known for their Coccoli (friend dough) so I might get that to share as an appetizer next time. Price is about 9-11 for an entrée and it won’t break the bank even with wine. I recommend going for lunch not dinner since I have heard their service can be a little slow and the interior is really small.

Photo taken from

Trattoria Il Giova,

Borgo La Croce, 73R
50121 – Firenze. Tel: Tel 055 2480639. Closed on Sunday.

Have you been to either of these places? If so what did you think? 

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0 Responses

  1. Yep – these are two of our favorite (but very different) places. You have to try that fritto misto di mare you saw at lunch on Friday at Il Giova – they usually sell out of it but you can reserve a table (and the dish) if you call ahead. Not sure if you know but at Il Giova they are a couple – the husband waits the tables at lunch and the wife cooks, and for dinner they reverse it! Very nice people, and a reasonable place to eat in the center for sure.

    Niwa has some of the best curry I have had in Florence – and my wife likes that place for her Pad Thai fix.

    1. Good to know someone else enjoyed these places :D. I did read about Il Giova and the story today, what a great one.. I will have to try that fritto misto, it looked amazing!!!! Niwa is the best (and only thai curry) I have had in Florence.

Georgette Jupe

Welcome to my personal blog by a curious American girl living and working between Zug, Switzerland and Florence, Italy with my husband Nico, our newborn Annabelle and Ginger the beagle. This space is primarily to share about my love for Italy (currently on a 13 year romance) with a fair amount of real talk, practical advice, travel suggestions and adjusting to a new culture (Switzerland). Find me on IG @girlinflorence @girlinzug

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