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Opinions on Famous Luigi's?

Can't figure this place out. Haven't eaten there yet. Don't want to waste my time if it's awful. Anyone been there? It's on 19th between L and M NW.

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  1. It's not awful, but it's not a destination spot. Adequate pizza. If you're in the 'hood and you want a traditional red sauce Italian fix, it's perfectly reasonable. The front "garden room" is nice in nice weather.

    3 Replies
    1. re: dcandohio

      It certainly seems to be popular... something in the back of my head says they don't take reservations, but don't quote me on that... and if you want to eat there you've got to battle the crowds. I managed to get in there once a while back and thought it wasn't worth the battle. "Adequate" is a good word. I think there are plenty of threads in here about good pizza in the area that might leave you more satisfied...

      1. re: chinkleDC

        If you understand what Luigi's has been for at least forty years, you will have a good time with good food. The pizza is fine and I have been told that they make their own sausage and I have enjoyed some of their pasta dishes, particularly their gnocchi. But it is a mistake to compare it to designer pizza places and upscale restaurants like Tosca. It is a better than the Pines restaurants which cater to a similar audience. Considering the neighborhood that it is in, it is a local non-chain venue that is very good to have available.

      2. re: dcandohio

        Yup. Not great, not awful. It's been there forever (I think it's older than AV; certainly outlasted them) and they serve all the old red-check-tablecloth Italian American standards. There used to be a dozen places like it downtown back in the 1950s, but they're pretty much the last of a dying breed.

        If you go in expecting 2 Amys pizza or Bebo pastas, you're making a big mistake. But spaghetti and meatballs, an italian sub, or plain pizza are just fine.

      3. We weren't impressed with Luigi's, instead we were disappointed. It's very mediocre with spotty service. The DC Metro area is not known for having good Italian food but still you can do better than Luigi's.

        1 Reply
        1. re: MizYellowRose

          i remember (back in the day) when luigi's was just fine for the "italian red tablecloth" kind of food. nothing foodie., but tasty and well prepared.. one thing that was especially good was their fresh spinach with olive oil, garlic and pine nuts. try it out and place it in your hierarchy of local food places that are not "the best" but are "just fine" in many other circumstances.

        2. My fondness for Luigi's goes back 30 years. It was the only place to get decent pizza in this town. Two Amys is my current fave, but I still enjoy a pizza at Luigi's every now and then. I always enjoyed the sausage and mushroom and the eggplant pizzas. Their antipasta appetizer is also quite decent and enough for two to share. And you're craving spaghetti and meatballs or lasagna there are worse places. And I think they still have Bass on tap. I'd skip anything else.

          1. Go for pizza.

            I'm a former longtime DC resident who remembers when Luigi's was the only pizza in town. Nowadays I get it with pesto and Mediterranean olives, and it's still my favorite in the world (well, in the NEUS, anyway). If you're a meat eater, add their homemade sausage (ask if they're still making it first).

            The "regular" food quality has faded in and out, as the restaurant was bought and sold and bought and sold over the years.

            Keep not liking it, people. I hate a crowd.

            1. I just got back from Luigi's- it was a lunch from hell.

              To sum it up, service was God Awful (food for 3 took over an hour to come out). Lunch should never take over 2 hours in my opinion.

              I really wanted to like it because I like the Mom & Pop places, but the food was terrible. I had the chicken cacciatore which came out luke warm at most and was dripping with grease. Chicken also tasted awful.

              A co worker had a calzone in which the mozzerella was hard because it was cold. The pizza was dripping grease as well.

              I really hope they make some changes in their service and food preparation. This was just an awful experience.

              1 Reply
              1. re: xena1441

                If you like Mom & Pop, red-sauce-type places, try Pines of Florence up on Connecticut instead. It's sort of the same deal as Luigi's, with a MUCH more varied menu --- they serve italian street food appetizers such as fried zuccini, and their linguine options alone take up a page of the menu. also, it's much more of a quieter, neighborhood joint. i've had nice dinners there both with one other person and with 13 other people. trick is to order right; go for something that looks unusual.

              2. Trust me..."Famous" is self-proclaimed.

                1. I had the misfortune of eating dinner here the other day, and must say that I have no idea how this restaurant remains packed with patrons day after day. The service was horrible or should I say vastly understaffed. There was a 10 minute lapse between people at our table being served their entrees and water glasses were left dry for the entire meal. I ordered the grilled calamari, which came out cold and tasted like little pieces of tire (I'm using my imagination here) with two rounds of grilled zucchini (all for $17 or was it $19).

                  This is not the first time I've been here due to the fact that I have friends that come in from out of town and like that Luigi's has a large space to accommodate all of us when we get together. Other times we have ordered pizza and while it was nothing special, it didn't send me running for the door, so like dcandohio said, "it's not a destination spot." This city is full of much better options.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sporkandknife

                    It's good if you stick with Pizza - I don't really ever order anything else there because I know it's nothing special. Service is pretty bad, but it's a good spot for an earlyish post-work dinner if you're in the mood for pizza.

                  2. Luigi's is perfect for spaghetti and meatballs comfort food!

                    It's particularly good for take-out, and childhood flashbacks.

                    1. The pizza was tasteless, rather like cardboard. Worse than cafeteria food.

                      1. awww, i love this place...i'm a DC native but have since moved elsewhere, but when i'm in town, a Luigi's pizza w/ garlic&mediterranean black olives is one of my musts...i usually get a Luigi salad with it too...i agree service is sometimes spotty, but i've never had any real trouble...