Let me start by saying that Luigi’s is not my idea of a fancy or romantic restaurant. Rather, it is something in between a classic Italian restaurant and your local cosy coffee shop. Sure, romantic restaurants may offer patrons five plates of burnt leaves with a drizzle of butternut puree, with subtle hints of french banana peel that only grows in a volcanic region of wherever. But Luigi’s serves real food. Real food in real portions with real flavour that really hits the spot.
My family are a bunch of pizza lovers, but only good pizza. Not the overly greasy stuff with soggy bases and sinewed cuts of meat. So, we always order Luigi’s when in the mood for some take-aways. It works perfectly for my family as each order comes with a little bowl of garlic, chilli and Parmesan. My dad always heads straight for those hot green morsels, my Mom all but devours the cheese and well, let’s just say garlic is my favourite vegetable. Despite having their food on many occasions, I had never actually gone there before.
Walking into Luigi’s for the first time, I was confronted by red face brick walls, terracotta tiles, fawn tables and trees in huge earthy pots, all creating a warm and inviting feeling. On the walls hang the portraits of the owners and their forefathers with the story of Luigi’s. This embodies the feeling of family, family cooking and family hospitality.
We were welcomed by a cheerful host and were asked where we would like to be seated. Luigi’s has several seating arrangements — one upstairs, one interior and one exterior. We chose to sit in the picturesque outside area, surrounded by their potted trees, in the warm November breeze, looking at the stars. A lovelier setting for a date night would be hard to come by. A waiter arrived and handed us menus. This is where the date became difficult. Do we chose to have starters or dessert? Pizza or pasta? How do we choose between their 28 pizza options? Or do we just build our own? After ordering drinks (flawless Americanos for these caffeine addicts!), we decided on dessert instead of a starter. I ordered the Cannelloni pasta and Josh got the Alla Eva pizza with extra halloumi.
By the time our food arrived, which was not a long wait, we were glad we had chosen a real Italian restaurant, rather than some luxury five-star establishment. My Cannelloni, pasta tubes stuffed with spinach and ricotta in a superb tomato sauce, was divine. Let me tell you, I have had a lot of Cannelloni in my time. It can be tricky to find a yummy vegetarian dish at most restaurants, but the Cannelloni here was, without doubt, the best I have ever had. Josh’s Alla Eva looked so good, I was tempted to steal a piece — vegetarian or not. The Alla Eva pizza is a paper-thin crispy pizza base smeared with scarlet goodness, tangy mozzarella and sweet pork ribs. It was made extra decadent with the huge golden nuggets of halloumi.
When we were done with our mains, we were simply too stuffed to eat dessert after all. But judging on how delicious the rest of the food was, we knew we could not give it a miss. So we got a dessert doggy bag, or rather, a dessert human bag. We chose the black cherry cheese cake because Josh can’t resist cherries … and I love a creamy cheesecake. Also, according to Josh, no one makes a better tiramisu than me. I guess we will have to test that theory the next time we visit Luigi’s. Back to the all important cheesecake. When we gobbled it up hours later — in sweat pants, in bed — we did not feel at all guilty. That slice was so luscious and creamy with a tart sweetness and a flavourful burst of cherries, we simply could not feel guilty about those extra calories. Thinking about it, I think we won’t try their tiramisu, after all. I cannot resist another slice of this cheesecake.
Find more information about Luigi’s Olivedale here.