Lunch at Ask for Luigi – Vancouver Restaurant of the Year

Ask for Luigi is a casual and intimate Italian-inspired restaurant, specializing in fresh hand made pasta. It is also the winner of the Best New Restaurant, Best Casual Restaurant, and Restaurant of the Year by Vancouver magazine.


Giving its size and location, you would not expect a multi-award winning restaurant to be located smack in the middle of the Downtown Eastside. Yet, here we were. Lining up for lunch just like the homeless were doing two blocks away for the free lunch at Oppenheimer Park.


I’m always fascinated by restaurants like Ask for Luigi. The buildings across and adjacent are abandoned or condemned. As you can see from the above photo, the cars driving by aren’t exactly the newest models. Therefore, I concluded that the food at Ask for Luigi must be amazing for it to still win Restaurant of the Year. I was not disappointed.


Dinner service is family-style. All the dishes are meant for sharing and food arrives to the middle of the table. The antipasti usually arrive first, with pasta dishes close behind. Lunch is more traditional. Portions are smaller and not meant for sharing. Because the restaurant is so small, all menu items are available for take-out.

Banana Bread and Whipped Butter


Tagliatelle Alla Carbonara and Poached Egg


Pork Belly with a Fried Egg, Salsa Verde and Creamy Polenta


What’s In A Name?

The first question I had at Ask for Luigi was, “Is there really a Luigi here?” Turns out the answer was no. Paulie explains it this way.

“Ask for Luigi” is the idea that we are always more inclined to have a better experience when we go where we know somebody, or when a friend sends us to see someone they know. We hope to create an atmosphere where each guest feels like they were sent over by a mutual friend.

So go to the little Italian joint at the corner of Alexander and Gore and ask for Luigi. Tell them Paulie sent you. They’ll take good care-a-ya!

You hear the man! If you have a hankering for some really fine Italian pasta, Ask for Luigi is the best in the City of Vancouver.


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