During my holiday break this past December, I visited Ann Arbor’s Bigalora for the first time, located in the Arbor Hills complex.

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The interior design is rather industrial with many posh, swanky features, including clear acrylic chairs atop an animal skin rug in the entrance. The dim lighting wasn’t ideal for food photography, but it did aid in creating a warm ambiance in the industrial space. I really liked the romantic vibe created by the strings of lights in the long, narrow restaurant.

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The bar area, with tall shelves filled with various libations (and a ladder for retrieving them!) is gorgeous. I also hear Bigalora has a fantastic happy hour that I must check out.

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I did try a couple craft cocktails during my visit, including one bourbon-based cocktail and one rye whiskey cocktail. I really enjoyed both, though they were quite pricy. A nice selection of unique craft cocktails is offered.

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  • Risotto Balls – saffron rice, mozzarella, peas, grass fed beef Bolognese

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The giant risotto balls were fantastic, featuring a crispy exterior, and rich, lusciously creamy risotto inside. I especially loved the beef Bolognese at the base of the dish – incredibly flavorful.

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Bigalora prides itself on its pizza crust. From their website:

“Our Biga, our yeast, is what makes our pizza Napoletana different.  It is the natural fermentation in our pizza dough that has numerous health and taste benefits…

And your pizza’s not burnt! One of the hallmarks of a perfectly cooked pizza Napoletana is the charring on the crust. We do this on purpose.  A Biga pizza is cooked in a wood burning oven without the use of gas and is fired at 900 degrees.” [source]

The crust was indeed very good, featuring a nice chew, and a mild sourdough tang. Though, as the pizza sat, the crust began to get a bit soggy for the last few bites.

  • Bacco Sausage Pizza – house made sausage, roasted onion, hot peppers, house blend mozzarella:

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Cooked in large wood-burning ovens, Bigalora’s pizza Napoletana definitely reminded me of the pies eaten on my visit to Italy.

To me, the real star of the night was the pasta! You’re going to want to order some pasta if you have a chance to visit Bigalora, or one of Chef Luciano Del Signore’s other restaurants in Southfield or Royal Oak.


  • Fontina Stuffed Gnocchi Marinara with tomato sauce.

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Pillowy pasta perfection. These warm little clouds of dough were oozing with melted fontina cheese and tossed in yet another fantastic tomato sauce. Absolutely great!

All in all, I really liked the food at Bigalora. As far as the service goes – it was quite slow, perhaps because the restaurant was so very busy the night we visited. Hopefully the kinks will work themselves out. The ambiance is warm and romantic, with industrial flair – though a bit noisy and obtrusive if desiring an intimate conversation. But overall, Bigalora served us well on our dinner-and-a-movie date night!

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Bigalora: Wood Fired Cucina on Urbanspoon

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