Pizzeria Luigi opened in 2004 in the Golden Hill neighborhood. The place became famous when Guy Fieri featured them on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives in 2008. Fieri went on to claim it as the best pizza in all of California. There are now three Pizzeria Luigi’s in the San Diego area. We have tried them all and are huge fans.
Pizzeria Luigi definitely falls into the thin crust/NY style of our pizza taxonomy. Owner Luigi Agostini moved to California from Italy at the age of 23. His first pizza place was in north San Diego near us in Poway. However, because he lived in Golden Hill, he relocated to that neighborhood.
The two other locations of Pizzeria Luigi include one a short distance away in North Park (near the San Diego Zoo) and one further afield in Imperial beach. Having visited all three I can say consistency is solid across all places. Based on ambience my new favorite is the Imperial Beach location which has a large outdoor patio right across the street from the beach.
I will say upfront that the pizza at Pizzeria Luigi is right near the top, close to, if not necessarily better than, Bronx Pizza. Unlike Bronx, Pizzeria Luigi serves much more than just pizza. There is pasta, wings, salads and subs. My daughter is a big fan of their Italian sub. They also do calzones and Stromboli.
Pizza comes in one 18-inch size starting at $17 for cheese. Fruit and veggie toppings are an extra $1.50 while meat and cheese toppings cost $1.75. They have a wide variety of specialty pies available from around $19 to $25.
Pizza slices are a big feature at Pizzeria Luigi. However, several times we have been encouraged to order a whole pie because they claim it is much better than pizza slices (that will always be the case at a pizza place). Nevertheless, I can say the slices at Pizzeria Luigi are excellent.
At any given time, there are likely to be 12 different slices you can pick from. Some of these get quite exotic like the Frenchie with ham, pear, caramelized onion and blue cheese or the Sports Bar with potato, bacon, cheddar cheese, sour cream and green onion. They also do quite a few pizzas with Ricotta cheese and sauce on the top.
Slices are $3 each ($2.75 for cheese) or the standard 2 slice and soda combo for $7. Unlike Bronx Pizza they serve beer and wine and now take credit cards. It is hard to say which pizza is better, but Pizzeria Luigi definitely wins on ambience, especially with the new Imperial Beach location.
One pizza I have yet to try at Pizzeria Luigi is the El Diablo created for Guy Fieri and featured on his show. This $24.50 pizza has pepperoni, sausage, meatball, onion, red pepper flakes, jalapeno, sriracha and hot sauce. It sounds killer (in multiple ways), but they never have had it by the slice when I have visited. I doubt I could find anyone to share a whole pizza with me.
Overall Pizzeria Luigi is right at the top of NY style pizza places in San Diego. Before making a final call I am going to bring a group of people around to help judge the top places. Right now Pizzeria Luigi is definitely in the top 5.
To see our full list of top pizza places go here.