Category Archives: Italian

Piccola Italia Da Luigi

Piccola Italia, view from outside.

Al fresco dining.

Okay, everyone likes pizza. Well almost everyone aside from a few oddballs… So when there’s a new entrant into the Phnom Penh pizza scene they’re going to face a fair bit of scrutiny given the already solid list of pizzerias in town. Luckily Luigi’s, or more properly, Piccola Italia Da Luigi, is making a strong opening both with their pizzas and their deli counter.

Selection of antipasti.

Antipasti? Yes please!

The antipasti we started with were all great in my opinion. The selection of marinated artichoke, marinated aubergine, olives and stuffed peppers were a great way to start the meal with friends and went perfectly with the fresh bread provided. You can choose what you want from the deli counter and the prices range from $2.20 – $4.00 per 100 grams. We didn’t have chance to try on this occasion but they also have a selection of cured meats, fresh ricotta cheese, pesto, further antipasti and arancini.

Pizza with sausage, tomatoes, cheese, olives

Sausage, tomatoes, cheese, olives

The pizzas were above average. Thin and crispy crust, quality toppings and of generous proportions, they ticked all the boxes for what a decent pizza should be. My favourite was the sausage pizza, the name of which now escapes me but I will probably order it again. The supposedly extra spicy pizza was tasty but the ‘spicy’ tomato sauce wasn’t very punchy. This was however, easily rectified by the addition of some of their excellent chili oil. Though I’m still not entirely convinced of the merits of a seafood pizza, this one was actually pretty good and I was happy to do my part in finishing it off.

All in all Luigi’s is a solid contender for best pizza place in Phnom Penh. The excellent food coupled with the al fresco experience in a quiet lane off Norodom make for a great choice.

Justin – 4/5 nyamies

The spicy one, olives, peppers, pepperoni?, chili..

The spicy one, olives, peppers, pepperoni?, chili, tomato sauce

There’s a new pizza joint in town: Piccola Italia da Luigi, or simply Luigi’s. Who is Luigi? This remains unclear, and while rumors circulate as to where his Mediterranean roots originate, the man serves up some tasty pizza pies.

My first encounter with Luigi’s was through some take-away pizzas, which while tasty, don’t really compare to eating one fresh from the oven. I enjoy Luigi’s pizza, but I think I am equally enamored with the ambiance. Located down a little alley, with light from the restaurant spilling onto the otherwise darkened street, and cozy small tables set up street-side, I can’t help but think of that infamous date scene in Lady and the Tramp. You know what I’m talking about.

Seafood pizza

Olives, tomato, squid, other stuff?

Ok, Disney paramours aside, I encourage you to visit Luigi’s for the food. This trip introduced me to the array of antipasti available. My favorites included the olives, hinted with fennel, and the tangy marinated artichokes. Order a loaf of fresh bread, a chilled glass of the house red, and dive in. Also on the menu are risotto balls, which while at a higher price point ($3 each), are intriguing. We missed trying them this trip, but this conveniently gives me an excuse to go back.

We split 3 pizzas: italian sausage with olives, seafood, and spicy pepperoni. The pizzas are large (we were four hungry folks and had leftovers) and the prices are comparatively reasonable ($7+ per pizza). With a list of over 15 styles of pizza, choosing was difficult, but we were not disappointed with our selections. The sausage and spicy pepperoni were both fantastic, but I was most taken with the seafood pizza. Both the shrimp and squid were tender, not chewy and perfectly seasoned. Though sauce-less, a generous drizzle of olive oil and sprinkle of chili perfectly matched the seafood.

Big pizzas

They’re big. And delicious. You should eat one.

Stuffing ourselves silly on antipasti and pizza, we skipped out on dessert. In contrast to their extensive pizza menu, Luigi only dishes up one post-dinner sweet: tiramisu. From a previous visit I know that, while not entirely traditional in presentation, the tiramisu is divine.

Compared to all the pizza options in Phnom Penh, I would place Luigi’s at the top of my list. The ingredients are superb, and the sauce is delicious. While the crust is wood-fired to perfection, I think there is something missing… It might be salt. However, pizza is a personal thing and so I respect the decisions Luigi made in his recipe. Overall, Luigi’s is a win in my books.

Alissa – 4/5 nyamies

Piccola Italia Da Luigi
Address: M36Eo Street 308 (small street next to Malis restaurant), Phnom Penh
Tel: 017 323 273
11.30am – 10pm (closed Mondays)


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Nyam Abroad: Pizza 4P

The entrance for Pizza 4P

The entrance for Pizza 4P

When I go to Vietnam, I tend to eat a lot of Vietnamese food. So much that sometimes, my wife has to call a stop to it and force me to eat something that doesn’t involve a noodle, grain of rice or fish sauce. When this happens, I usually complain, pout, and kick about. Basically, I turn into a 3 year old.

It was one of these times again last week where she put her foot down and told me to find a non-Vietnamese place for us to try out. So I opened the excellent Word magazine and unenthusiastically started down the list of international restaurants until I saw a listing that piqued my interest.

Italian tradition meets Japanese ingenuity

Nuff said.

Pizza 4P interior

Pizza 4P interior

It took a while to find the place, mainly due to the fact that it is down an alley. Best advice is to look for the Domino’s and then walk past it, then make a left when the road ends. We arrived on a very busy Saturday night and were told it was going to be a 30 minute wait for a table but were free to sit at the bar. I suggest anyone eating here to sit at the bar to watch the awesomeness happen.

Chef Yoshikawa in his element

Chef Yoshikawa in his element

All the pizza’s are made by the man in the red rimmed glasses. And he is very good at what he does.

The menu is quite extensive with appetizers, soups, salads, one-dish meals and of course pizza. With over 14 different pizzas, it was hard to choose. Luckily, Pizza 4P’s offers combination pizzas by offering half orders on each pie. This time, we ordered a full margherita and a half salmon sashimi/quattro flowers pies.

Pizza dough ready to go

Pizza dough ready to go

From the first minute of watching from the bar, I was completely enthralled by the quick work by Chef Yoshikawa and his crew making the pies. The speed at which pizzas were getting placed in the wood-fired oven was astounding after seeing some of the complex affairs that were being assembled. I asked the chef’s assistants to let me know when he was going to start our pizzas so I could document the process. So after a half hour of beers, conversation with our fellow bar mates and a fantastic caprese cocktail appetizer, the assistant indicated that ours was next.

No shredded mozzarella here

No shredded mozzarella here

Once the dough gets rolled out, the toppings get piled on. I love a place that doesn’t shred their mozzarella and seeing Chef Yoshikawa grabbing whole chunks of cheesy goodness made me extremely happy.

A margherita gets a dash of salt before going in the oven

A margherita gets a dash of salt

Once all the ingredients are on the pie, it gets moved to a waiting pizza peel for baking. .

Pizza waiting to be placed in the oven

Pizza waiting to be placed in the oven

Once Thuy, the pizza baker gets a hold of the pizza, it is placed inside the oven for about a minute, then it is slowly rotated and constantly checked for the prerequisite char marks to appear. When Thuy decides the pizza is done, it is placed on an awaiting dish to be garnished. It only took 2:27 from the time Thuy put the margharita pizza in the oven to the time the plate was placed in front of us.

A finished margherita pizza

A margherita pizza

A simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and basil finished off with some extra-virgin olive oil is all that is on this margherita pizza. My wife commented that the tomato sauce was the best she had ever had on a pizza. Sometimes simple is all you need.

Half Quattro Flowers and Salmon Sashimi Pizza

Half Quattro Flowers and Salmon Sashimi Pizza

The other pie that came out was the complete opposite of simple but the crew still managed to get it out to us at 3:47. The Quattro Flowers pizza had pumpkin, leek, telosma cordata, sesbania, grandiflora and daylily flowers accompanied on a sweet mozzarella cheese mayo and parmesan cheese. The medley of flora in the Quattro Flowers brought a fresh, crisp texture to the pizza and would have made it a light meal if it wasn’t for the other side of my plate.

Fully dressed and ready to eat

Fully dressed and ready to eat

The other half was the Salmon Sashimi which had house-made ricotta, capers, onions and parmesan cheese cooked onto the pizza. It was finished off with some raw salmon and fresh dill on the side. The Salmon Sashimi side of the pizza was a playful Japanese spin on traditional italian ingredients by adding the raw salmon and dill.

The last slice

The last slice

As we were leaving, I had a chance to chat with the owner, Yosuke Masuko about his restaurant. Chef Yoshikawa and him have been friends for over 20 years and actually built a wood fired a few years ago in his garden. When I asked about the quality and care they took in each pie that came out, the former venture capitalist cum restauranteur simply replied, “I really like pizza”.

Nuff said

Pizza 4P’s
8/15 Le Thanh Ton Street District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Tel: 0120-789-4444

We came back 2 more times and tried the Okonomiyaki, Chicken Teriyaki, Quattro Fromaggio, Proscuitto and the Salmon Miso pizzas. All were great and we will definitely come back when we are back in Ho Chi Minh City!


Filed under Italian, Japanese