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.

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 my partner 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. My partner'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 we can't resist cherries ... and creamy 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.


Find more information about Luigi's Olivedale here.