With plenty of competition in Dubai – and one of the city’s longest-established Italian dining establishments a short walk away – this place occupies a large and prominent unit inside the 2017-opened Rixos Premium Dubai.
Rich red walls and possibly thousands of tiny lights – including a sign baring the venue’s name – give the place an unlikely intimate feel in a fairly cavernous space.
The menu is also a sizeable affair, but with many favourites and the authentic ingredients spelled out to make decision-making either easy or a challenge.
Or, more impressively polpettine alla Napoletana – moist veal meatballs that are flavoursome before the vibrant garlic-infused tomato sauce they are bathed in comes into play. It’s tempting to double the dish, mop up the sauce with focaccia and forget mains.
You can have Luigia or Luigina (smaller) Petali, one of Luigia’s specialities as either an appetizer, sharing platter or main. Looking a little like savoury swirled buns, these pizza ‘petals’ pack subtle flavour and – filled with buffalo mozzarella, smoked scamorza, mushrooms, truffle cream and flakes of fresh truffle and, in our case, bresaola - are truly moreish.
But with the flames roaring inside the Neapolitan pizza oven on the other side of the restaurant, it seemed woeful not to delve into another Luigia signature dish.
Of the many pizza choices, the Stromboli beckoned and fulfilled its promise. A rustic, delightfully chewy crust gave way to a lighter base and delicately balanced components; tomato sauce made from the revered San Marzano Pomodori, roasted peppers, homemade spicy Angus sausage. basil and Grana Padano for one of the finest pizzas these jaws have chomped through in a while.
Simple vanilla ice cream was less about heavy cream and more about the vanilla, and a reliable pannacotta was nicely lit by an eye-catching fruity sauce.
Regular restaurant Italian food sometimes gets labelled as uninspiring, but Luigia – which follows four successful venues in Europe - ups the game and wins by offering many staples made better by great ingredients harvested from the brand’s homeland.
And that – with a selection of pasta and calzone yet to try - surely warrants another visit.
RECOGNISED by Gambero Rosso as one of the top 10 pizzerias in the world, Luigia was founded by Luigi Guarnaccia and Enrico Coppola, and takes the first name of the founder’s grandmothers.
LUIGIA is at Rixos Premium Dubai, JBR and open daily, 5.30pm-1am (12pm-1am at weekends)
FOR more information and to book, visit http://www.luigia.ae
YOU'LL also find Luigia on the current Entertainer, app which means 2-4-1 on main meals