Flying back to Orlando briefly for my sister’s graduation, I was looking forward to celebrating after the ceremony at Brio Tuscan Grill. Although I have reviewed many gluten-free friendly Italian restaurants in my years as a food blogger, I have not yet had a chance to dine at this chain.
In taking a preliminary glance of Brio’s gluten-free menu, I was excited to see several entree options (including gluten-free pasta). As much as I enjoy making pasta at home, I also enjoy the simple luxury of ordering at a restaurant, so I was eager to see how Brio’s ranked.
Brio’s gluten-free menu is short, but there are at least a few options under every category. Other allergens are not noted on the menu, but our waiter was knowledgable enough to steer me to dishes that could easily be made dairy-free. Of course Brio is not a dedicated gluten-free facility, so I emphasized to our waiter that I was an “allergy” order and he assured me that he would mark it as such for the kitchen. The gluten-free pasta Brio uses is Barilla’s fusilli (confirmed by Alexis from Alexis’ Gluten Free Adventures.
I decided to order the Pasta Primavera, which features mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, and garlic. I liked the generous portioning of the veggies featured, but the lack of a sauce gave the dish a lack of cohesiveness- it felt more like noodles with veggies instead of a comprehensive dish. The pasta was cooked a tad beyond al dente , and the fresh vegetables and garlic flavor just did not bring enough flavor to the dish to make it memorable. The portioning was good for the pasta, but I wish I was more impressed upon finishing it off.
Brio earns points for having several gluten-free options, but they just did not clear the bar enough to impress me, or even make my list of restaurants I would rush back to try again. Don’t get me wrong, my experience was okay, but I just think there are better options out there for gluten-free Italian eats from other chains such as Carrabba’s Italian Grill and Maggiano’s Little Italy. Maybe it was an off night, maybe I should have ordered something else, but at the end of the day I got a safe meal, so I can’t complain.