Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brio Tuscan Grille - Winter Park

When we lived in Pittsburgh, in my gluten-eating days, my husband and I ate at a restaurant called Bravo two or three times a month. Brio and Bravo are part of the same restaurant group and have very similar menus.  My initial experience at the Brio in The Mall at Millenia was not good.  Years ago, they did not have a gluten free menu and seemed very reluctant to serve me anything but plain chicken on a salad with oil and vinegar.  After spending about 20 minutes going round and round with the server and having a mediocre meal, I did not go back for several years. 

Imagine my surprise when I visited the Brio in Winter Park last year and learned that they had a gluten free menu and were serving gluten free pasta!  The best part, one of my favorite pasta dishes was on that menu. 

Pasta Brio is Schar gluten free penne with chicken, seared mushrooms, and a red pepper sauce.  I absolutely love this dish!  The red pepper sauce is so flavorful that I rarely have to ask for extra Parmesan cheese.  Their gluten free pasta is always cooked consistently well at the Brio location in Winter Park.  If you live near a Bravo instead of a Brio, this dish is also on their gluten free menu and is called Pasta Bravo.  You can find their locations here

Another favorite of mine at Brio is the Pasta Primavera with gluten free penne, mushrooms, spinach, Roma tomatoes, garlic, and feta cheese.  This is a much lighter dish than the Pasta Brio, but I always have to ask my server to grate Parmesan cheese on top to give it a little more flavor.  With the Parmesan on top, it is just perfect! 

If you go to Brio, make sure to get a MyBrio rewards card or the myBrio Rewards App.  It's free, and when you register for the MyBrio Loyalty Program, a complimentary appetizer will be loaded onto your card.  You will also receive a special birthday reward and random rewards throughout the year.  I recently received a buy one entree, get one half off reward.  You can check out all the perks here

As far as the rest of the gluten free menu goes, I have tried the Pasta Pomodoro, the Chicken Griglia, the Brio Chopped Salad, and the Salmon Griglia Salad.  They are all great choices too.  My entire extended family has always loved Bravo and Brio because they have consistently excellent food.

I have been back to the Brio at The Mall at Millenia and had great meals.  I appreciate that Brio and Bravo have made the effort to create such a great Gluten Free Menu.

Hopefully, at some point in the future, they will offer gluten free bread and a gluten free dessert choice.  A girl can dream.  :-)

November 26, 2013 Update

I was very surprised when my pasta primavera arrived tonight.  Every time I have eaten at Brio, I have been served penne, not fusilli.  Our waitress brought over the chef who explained to me that they are now using Barilla gluten free pasta.  The pasta was not al dente, and I didn't enjoy the consistency.  Barilla makes excellent gluten free pasta, so my fusilli must have been cooked way too long.  My pasta was also quite tasteless, even with the addition of a large amount of Parmesan cheese.  Previously, I have enjoyed every meal I have had at Brio since they added a gluten free menu.  Tonight, I was disappointed in both the long, long wait for our food in a nearly empty restaurant, and the quality of my meal.

April 17, 2014 Update - Today, my daughters turned nine!  It's also the day we got back from our 5th cruise on the Disney Dream.  My husband and I were tired and didn't feel like cooking, and the girls wanted pasta, so we decided to go to Brio.  After four days of heavy eating, I decided to order the Salmon Griglia Salad, which is described as mixed greens with Roma tomatoes, asparagus, feta, and a lemon vinaigrette.  I substituted cucumbers and olives for the asparagus tonight.  I loved everything about this salad.  It was a nice light meal, the salmon was fresh tasting and perfectly cooked, and I enjoyed the feta, dressing & vegetables.  

April 10, 2015 Update

Tonight, we had dinner at the Brio in Winter Park.  I was in the mood for fish, so I ordered the grilled salmon with lemon caper butter sauce, roasted vegetables, and mashed potatoes.  The vegetables and fish were seasoned and cooked well, and the mashed potatoes were good. 

The gluten free menu at Brio includes the following dishes:

Salads - Brio chopped salad, Caesar salad, Salmon griglia salad

Pasta - Pasta Pomodoro, Pasta Brio, Pasta Primavera

From the Grille - chicken griglia, grilled salmon, 5 oz filet

When I came home tonight, I saw the following warning on their menu, which I had taken a picture of:  Brio foods that are labeled Gluten Free are prepared in a common kitchen with the risk of gluten exposure.  Therefore, Brio DOES NOT recommend these items for guests with celiac disease.  Guests with gluten sensitivities should exercise judgment in consuming those foods.

I understand that restaurants are trying to protect themselves from legal action by putting statements like this on their menus, but I don't like seeing them, and I tend to avoid restaurants that say they are not safe for celiacs.  Even Disney has disclaimers about their food being prepared in shared kitchens on their gluten free menus, but they don't warn celiacs away.

What are your favorite gluten free dishes at Brio?  


  1. Thanks for your review! We have a gift card for Brio and are planning to go with our celiac daughter. I don't like that warning either-- hopefully we won't regret taking the chance. She usually likes to get steak when we go out, so I'm hoping that's hard to mess up.