When the Lineup is Worth It || Ask For Luigi

It's just like having dinner in nonno's basement; there is a steady hum of intimate conversations and a friendly, welcoming energy, as if you were at an Italian family dinner.

As you approach Ask for Luigi, the white, shingled exterior and the dark, forest green door with white gates, gives you the feeling that you are heading into someone's home for an intimate dinner. Open the door and you are greeted by the sound of friendly conversation and the scent of home-style Italian food. 

You can say that the space feels 'lived in'. With its comfortable chairs, cozy dining spaces that spark conversations between dining parties, and faded photographs on the wall, you simply feel like you are part of a big dinner party. Who wouldn't love that?

The name Ask for Luigi originated from the mindsets of people who always want to send you to their latest recommends, "you can go to this place to ask for so and so..." 

If you want to experience the best handmade pasta in town, our latest recommend would be to send you to Ask for Luigi.

As we waited for our dishes, we saw the kitchen staff prepare trays of handmade pasta for the evening. Even before we were served our plates we knew we would be able to taste the difference.

The Saffron Mafaldine, a lamb and guanciale ragu, is a dish that will make you wish you had a bigger appetite and more space to devour seconds. The pasta is cooked perfectly al dente, and large chunks of buttery soft lamb meat along with flavourful mint as an accent makes this a pasta lover's dream. You will think about this pasta dish every time you visit an Italian restaurant, since this will become your new standard for great pasta. 

Saffron Mafaldine- with a lamb and guanciale ragu, mint and pecorino.

When you eat at an Italian restaurant, you expect to have a hearty meal, and Luigi's Meatballs, a staple on the menu from day one, is the signature dish of the restaurant. The Sicilian-style meatballs use just beef, unlike the typical blend of beef and pork, and the pine nuts and raisins give it a next level texture; the zesty tomato sauce opens up your appetite so you can consume more pasta(!) and hopefully even have room for dessert!

Luigi’s Meatballs- beef meatballs with pine nuts, golden raisins and zesty tomato sauce.

The Raviolo is for the pasta heavy-weights. 

Stuffed inside of this large pasta is creamy egg yolk and ricotta, set atop a bed of flavourful porchetta and caramelized leeks. Brown butter crumbs sit atop the pasta like a crowning jewel.  If you love cheese, heavy carbs, and decadent flavour, you will love this dish. Since we already had to make room for several other dishes, we shared this dish so we could still stand up after the meal. 

Raviolo - stuffed with egg yolk and ricotta on a bed of porchetta and leeks, brown butter crumb.

Now for the menu item that always puts an (even bigger) smile on my face - dessert. How can I describe this Panna Cotta? The airy, fluffy yet creamy texture is like devouring a dense...cloud? The Panna Cotta is only slightly sweet, and the large, red wine prunes add a tangy-taste to the dessert. To give you a sense of how fantastic this dessert was, I did not share the dessert even though I was already full from the pasta dishes and the appetizers. 

Panna Cotta- vanilla bean panna cotta with red wine poached prunes and almond biscotti.

Panna Cotta- vanilla bean panna cotta with red wine poached prunes and almond biscotti.

Would we go again you ask? 


As we state clearly in the title for this article, the creations coming out of this kitchen in this bustling, cozy restaurant are definitely worth the wait. 


305 Alexander St, Vancouver, BC


(604) 428-2544

Photos: Florence Leung