50.3 F

Davis, California

Monday, April 15, 2024

Dining in Davis: Luigi’s

In Review: Luigi’s
213 E St.
Hours: Monday through Thursday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 2:30 a.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Food: *
Ambiance: ****
Cost: $

Food and ambiance quality
**** I’m dining here every day
*** Almost like eating at home
** Better than my roommate’s cooking
* Only if I’m starving

$$$$ chancellor $20+
$$$ professor $15-20
$$ graduate student/alum $10-15
$ undergraduate $5-10

Luigi’s is gradually establishing itself as a convenient Italian restaurant in Davis, though the food doesn’t quite live up to other local Italian offerings.

Located next to de Vere’s Irish Pub at 213 E St., the restaurant has a wide selection of pizzas, pastas, salads and sandwiches. There are two other Luigi’s locations in Sacramento.

My friend and I went to Luigi’s on a Saturday afternoon. Although it seemed like a hole in the wall at first, we were incredibly surprised by its large layout, as well as by the unexpected dining area downstairs. Upon entering we could not help but notice that there weren’t any booths and all of the pizzas, pasta sauces and soups were situated behind a glass partition. This gave my friend the impression of a hipper version of a cafeteria.

Luigi’s has a trendy atmosphere that doesn’t capitalize on typical Italian clichés. The restaurant’s industrially spacious inside is lined with white-tile walls, black floors, and a high ceiling displaying conduit, ventilation and cooling ducts. There is another large dining area beneath the main floor that has a stage set up for live music, and the space is also being set up to provide arcade entertainment in the near future.

It wasn’t very crowded for the Saturday lunch hour as there were only two people finishing their meals and getting ready to leave. This made us question the quality of service as well as the effective use of a two-story layout.

The restaurant also seems to be figuring out the logistics of ringing up their food for customers. There are two cash registers in completely separate areas. One of them is for ordering and the other is for paying, but there are no signs that indicate how each one operates. This was not only confusing for us, but for two other customers that came in later.

After we ordered our food and got our drink cups, we were a little upset to find that the sodas were flat. There were five people working in the afternoon and, besides the cook, most of them were hanging out and not being very receptive to the restaurant or the customers. It took about 20 minutes to get a slice of pizza and spaghetti.

However, the portions were great for the price. The daily slice — which was one of my favorites, pepperoni and mushroom — only cost $3.45 and a large bowl of spaghetti with a fresh sweet roll was $5.45.

The quality, unfortunately, did not match up with the food’s filling quantity. The pizza was overloaded with pepperoni and was more than crisp, close to being burned. The spaghetti was very simply done, tasting like something straight out of the pantry at home.

However, Luigi’s is the perfect place to get the most for your buck. We spent less than $10 for two very large servings. There are also cookies and brownies for $1.25 each. Although the cookies are not on the menu, they are nicely put on display and provide a very delicious dessert option.

What makes Luigi’s unique is the fact that it does not incorporate a bar, but still serves beer on tap, as well as big portions of classic Italian food throughout the day and late into the night.

Overall, Luigi’s industrial atmosphere is very spacious, offering a wide variety of music that is great to listen to while dining. The downstairs section is a great place for live bands to play and it will be exciting to see how the space develops further.

On a somewhat sour note, Luigi’s does not serve up the most delicious Italian food in Davis. However, it certainly has the most affordable and offers a diverse selection from pizzas to sandwiches. It serves very filling portions and may become the most accessible place to get a late-night bite in downtown Davis.

DOMINICK COSTABILE can be reached at features@theaggie.org.


  1. Hi Dominick,

    I’m sorry you’re first experience at Luigi’s wasn’t to your expectations. I wanted to clarify a couple of comments in your article though….

    1) We are going through a “soft-opening” right now and will be advertising in the next week or so which explains the slow lunch you attended.

    2) Like in Sacramento, we have an “Order Here” sign that should make it clear to customers where to start. Maybe it wasn’t up when you came?

    3) The following are made from scratch by my father for the last 50+ years: Sausage, Meatballs, Bolognese and Marinara Sauce and all salad dressings. I assure you nothing comes “out of the pantry”.

    Like any new business, there are bumps along the way, but we believe in our menu and business of offering low cost and high quality food for students, families and live music fans. I hope your next visit will be a much better experience.


    Greg (Luigi)
    UCD ‘91


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