Hordes of lively regulars and a festive, intimate setting make Luigis a worthwhile destination for Detroiters in search of a little dolce vita. Even the drive skirting Lake St. Clair feels like a vacation as boats bob in the distance and houses give way to rustic cottages. Luigis looks like a small residence with blue awnings and holiday lights that stay up year-round.
Count on waiting for a seat among the tiny booths, miniscule bar and small tables. The 60-year-old restaurant is known for its pizza, particularly the gourmet veggie variety ($12.95 for the small; $16.95 for a large) that’s been recognized by GQ magazine. It’s pretty to look at with fresh tomato sauce and loads of diced vegetables atop hand-grated mozzarella, but it needs some herbs or seasoning to make the flavors sing. More successful is the traditional sausage pizza ($8.95 small; $13.95 large) with hints of fennel and garlic on a sesame seed-coated crust.
Luigis also offers an extensive entree selection and an impressive wine list. Arancini—fried cheese-stuffed risotto balls with a tomato basil sauce ($6.95)—and lemony, garlicky fried artichoke hearts ($7.95) stand out among the starters.