If you are looking for a good, reasonably priced meal in our nations capital with a decided Italian flair then Famous Luigi’s might be your kind of place. Located in the Foggy Bottom section of the city, Famous Luigi’s is an easy walk from the Metro Orange Line’s Farragut West station. The menu offers a wide variety of Antipasti Caldi or Antipasti Freddi…simulcast translation: hot or cold appetizers starting at $2.75 for an Insalata Verde ( green leafy lettuce, tomato, peppers and carrots). The cold Melanzane Marinate equates to cold grilled marinated eggplant in a garlic vinaigrette at $4.95. All in all there are 12 cold appetizers. For those who want something warm to ward off the night time chill you also have 12 delectable choices. Eco…perhaps you will enjoy Zuppa di Cozze which this side of the boot is fresh mussels in a spicy tomato sauce at $5.75. All hot and cold appetizers are thoughtfully accompanied by bread and butter.
Let you eyes take in the numerous other items include 4 Zuppe’s….of which the Tortellini in brodo ( pasta in chicken broth) remains the reviewers favorite. The tortellini soup is usually “ steaming” and floating inside are rather substantial tortellini’s…almost the size of dumplings. Cups or bowls are available. If you want to go native you might consider enhancing a Zuppe with a Panini. These Italian sandwiches include homemade meatballs at $5.75, chicken parmigiana at $7.95 and 7 additional selections. The choice of Paste at last count was 39. Plenty of good old Italian-American classics like Rigatoni with meat sauce, Gnocchi al Pesto, Penne al salmone vie for your attention and affection. Entrées in this category begin at $7.75 and range upwards to $14.95. During one dinner, your reviewer chose the Lasagna all Luigi….lots of “ L’s” but what was delivered was love. A generous portion of soft lasagna noodles with a hearty beef ragout made the rain outside fade from memory.
Oh…if you want the best pizza in town Luigi’s offers this as well-starting at $7.50 for a plain pizza for 1.…upwards to $25 for pizza for 4 with up to 4 combinations. Another visit resulted in a choice from the Pollo or chicken side of the menu. With nearly a dozen items to consider, the was the Pollo Parmigiana….which probably doesn’t need any sub-titles. A liberal size portion included the breaded chicken cutlet, string beans and carrots and sliced potatoes. Got Veal? Sure, Vitelo has 10 entree’s including Milanese style, Piccata, Fiorentina ( you know it as spinach) and of course a la Romana! The price ranges from $11.95 to $15.25. Seafood lovers aren’t disappointed with the Pesce as there are usually 7 entrees available including Salmon, Monkfish, Calamari and “combinations” including shrimp, scallops, and squid. You can expect to pay from $11.25 to $14.95 depending on your selection.
The grand finale of course are the Dolci…funny you know that word too! Starting at $4.00 for a yummy Cannoli, to $5.00 for the Tiramisu, you will probably find something you can’t pass up. Other choices include Tartufo, Spumoni, Tortoni, chocolate mouse or layer cake and several cheesecakes. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic are available.
The ambiance is nice, with a glassed in portico section up front or the main section just a few steps away. You will enjoy courteous, attentive service and your dining companions could be just about anybody. Senate pages, or an overworked financial analyst mingle with students, first time dates and aunts from Bethesda. If you liked the movie Moonstruck you will like Famous Luigi’s. A relaxing atmosphere that doesn’t tax the budget. Cash, credit cards and wow….company checks are accepted. Free delivery to area hotels is also available with a $15 minimum order. Call to confirm hours of operation. Buon Appetito and Chin-Chin!
Pop Pop’s Score: 4.0 Chews
Subjective Rating: Worth the visit.
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