(Still) the best of Italy in Dubai? We’ll be the judge…

Luigia opened its doors at tourist hotspot the Rixos Premium JBR in 2018 with the promise of bringing ‘the best of Italy’ to Dubai, and almost immediately, it garnered fans across the city, gaining a reputation for its amazing pizza and use of authentic Italian ingredients across its rather extensive menu.

After a brief pandemic closure, it’s back and ready for action. We head inside to see if it’s still top of its game.

A warning to those who’ve not visited Luigia before – this isn’t your typically quaint Italian trattoria. The décor is bright and, dare we say, a little brash, with double-height ceilings, heavy red window drapes and theatrical light displays, all creating a loud and lively atmosphere.

Luigia Dubai

We’re there for a Wednesday date night and are looking forward to some down-to-earth Italian grub. Once we’ve settled in to a cosy booth in the large dining area with open pizza kitchen, our waiter Stefano recommends a couple of sharing antipasti dishes to get us started.

The burrata pugliese (Dhs130) is accompanied by large slices of juicy oxtail tomato and a basil garnish, plus a big basket of crusty bread to slather it on. It’s deliciously moreish and as creamy as it should be, but at a whopping 300 grams, this family-size slab of cheese is far too much for two of us to finish.

Our other sharing plate, the polpettine napoletane (Dhs70), is a dish of beautifully seasoned and non-greasy veal meatballs, covered in a simple tomato sauce topped with pecorino romano cheese. Bravissimo.

Luigia Dubai

When it comes to the mains, we go for the paccheri al ragu napoletano (Dhs90) and a Stromboli pizza (Dhs95). The pasta arrives first. Large tubes of al dente pasta are mixed with perfectly braised chunks of beef in a traditional ragout sauce. We’d have liked a little more of the melt-in-the-mouth beef but this dish is still a winner.

Choosing a pizza at Luigia isn’t easy. We count eight varieties of margherita pizza on the menu and over 30 other choices of topping. The Stromboli features homemade spicy Angus sausage, tomato sauce, fior di latte cheese, sweet roasted peppers and Granda Padano. This is one of the lightest pizzas we’ve ever had, apparently due to the 56-72 hour resting time for the dough.

Luigia Dubai dessert

We’re pretty stuffed by now, but it’s hard to say no to the Luigia tiramisu and profiterole desserts. And, oh, the tiramisu. Italian poems should be written about this delightful dish. Fluffy, rich sponge with just the right amount of coffee so it doesn’t overpower. The profiteroles don’t disappoint either, but by this point, we need a lie-down.

Luigia is a great place to reconnect with friends and family over seriously delicious Italian food. You might not get the feeling of sitting in nonna’s front room, but the service and the lively atmosphere will make you feel right at home.

Luigia, Rixos Premium JBR, Dubai, Sun to Thur 5.30pm to 12am and Fri to Sat 12.30pm to 12am. Tel: (04) 349 6950. luigia.ae

Words: Sarah Henson