Capacious pizzeria in Rixos Premium Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Residence is ideal for working lunches, family brunches and convivial get-togethers
Can you have too many pizzerias? Is that a complaint that has ever been aired anywhere? And, importantly, who would ever think to air it?
The essential and undeniable appeal of a traditional trattoria – from the smell of the dough rising in the fire-illuminated ovens to the informal hum of conversation – has meant that any new one is to be welcomed, however crowded the field. Even Jamie Oliver, whose restaurant chain has been labouring under management issues and a dimming of his personal brand, has decided to pivot to the pizzeria, which proves just how bountiful this sector can be.
One of the recent arrivals on the Dubai scene is Luigia, a capacious, dining-hall venue located on the thrumming, high-street-like lobby of the Rixos Premium Dubai in Jumeirah Breach Residences. It certainly manages to satisfy the basic requirements of the type; a long, exposed kitchen, a sea of tables, booths and stools to accommodate the busiest of lunch hours, and plenty of neon decoration on burnt orange walls to soften the slight impersonality of the high ceilings.
The menu is nicely balanced, too. Enough choices to warrant repeated exploration, limited enough to offer confidence that each dish will be given the same due care and attention. From the Insalata section, we opted for the Pugilese (AED85), whose mesclun leaves, burrata, slivers of bresaola, black olives, cherry tomatoes and celery came unmixed, which was actually a rather helpful way to deliver it considering the variety of taste preferences around the table. From the Sfizi or “whims” section, we added Polpettine Napoletane (AED70), which were entirely serviceable veal meatballs in a classic garlic and basil tomato sauce. Certainly a decent start.
It was, though, the pizza we were here for. Slipping past the well-stocked antipasti, pasta and secondi sections – although we were briefly tempted by the boneless chicken in a spicy sauce with olive oil baked potatoes and the Sardinian pasta with clams and peppers – we headed straight for the two entire pages filled with pizza options. With sections for different tomato types, as well as variants such as calzones, cheeseless marinares and specialties from the south – and all made with flour milled in the Rachello Oasis in north-east Italy – we changed our minds repeatedly until settling on a Margherite with homemade spicy Angus sausage (AED90) and a Linosa (AED90), made with Fior Di Latte, aubergines, salted ricotta and basil.
The oven-fresh crusts of both billowed and blistered at the table, while the cheese diffused across the tangy tomato sauce. They’re big, too, possibly too big for one, and even getting close to an empty plate required a number of tactical pauses. But the crowd-pleasing, tried-and-tested combination of sweet, tart tomato, creamy mozarella and fragrant basil, all on a blissfully light base, ensured the finish line was reached eventually. They were as good as any pizza we've eaten in Dubai – and the sample size is happily extensive.
Dessert? Not a chance. This is place where the savory selection, and the carb-loading that it comprises, renders anything more than a lemon sorbet an impossibilty. And that’s as large a compliment as we can pay it.