From the creator of the much-loved Piccola Italia Da Luigi comes Luigi Ristorante, which opened in the Russian Market neighbourhood earlier this year, serving up Italian specialties with an emphasis on southern regional cuisine.
Owner Luigi Savarino – who was born to Sicilian parents in Grenoble, France – first came to Cambodia in 2003 and has previously opened Le Duo, La Potenza, and Piccola Italia in Phnom Penh. Opening the new Luigi’s in mid-May is the latest evolution.
“His family runs a restaurant in Grenoble . . . so we can say he grew up in the restaurant [world],” said manager Lilo Seddaoui.
“We serve southern specialties and our wines are from the south with a few from Piedmont and the north as well,” Seddaoui said.
For the discerning customer, the difference between the new Luigi’s and the popular eatery on Street 308 is its emphasis on the hand-made pasta, as well as a wood-fired oven (as opposed to gas) for the pizzas.
“He wants to share his Sicilian heritage so we have casarecce, orecchiette – some pastas that are used more in Sicilia,” Seddaoui said.
Savarino and Seddaoui also took care in designing the restaurant, which took two years to complete. Featuring a veranda design with stucco-walled arches, it achieves a near caricature of Italian aesthetic down to the shaped metal chairs and tables and grapevine growing along the exterior rails.
After starting the meal with the satisfyingly crunchy Sicilian-style almond-fried calamari rings ($7) and misto sott’olio ($6.75) – a classic pan-Italian summer plating of marinated grilled veggies with ricotta cheese and pizza-bread – The Post sampled the hearty Paccheri al sugo di salsiccia ($9).
The oven-baked pasta dish with chunks of sausage together with smoked cheeses, egg and tomato sauce was amply filling.
Be warned, the pasta portions are large, so splitting is recommended if you’re also ordering a starter, especially if trying to make it to the dessert menu, which consists of Italian fare like a cannolo ($3) and tiramisu ($3.50), an ever-popular holdover at the Street 308 location.
Stuffed from the entrees, The Post opted for a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream ($2) and an espresso ($1) to end the meal, but will likely return to complete the experience.
Luigi Ristorante is located at #1D Street 167 and is open for lunch from 11:30am-2:30pm and dinner from 5:30pm-10:30pm every day except Mondays. Telephone: 092 986 832