Do you ever crave pasta? I’m talking about a giant bowl of pasta that could feed at least five people. Well, I recently had one of those days and decided to head to Italio in Winter Park. I’ve been to Italio twice in the past but never really paid attention to the food. The past few times were more “Get food in my stomach and head to wherever in a hurry” instances. However, I never left fully satisfied and wanted to know why.
If you’ve never been to Italio, it’s a visual sensation, showcasing bold red tones and Italian embellishments. The concept is fast casual like Chipotle, but feels slightly nicer. At Italio, you are able to choose a piada (wrap), noodles, or salad bowl. There are three main sauces, and an overwhelming amount of toppings.
If you’re not a control freak, there are prefixed “Chef Selections” to choose from.
I ended up making my own pasta bowl, because that’s the true meaning of happiness. The Italio employee asked me to pick between two types of noodles: whole wheat or regular. I obviously opted for the regular. Next, I was asked to pick something from the grill. My options were steak, chicken, chicken fritte (breaded), shrimp, italian sausage, meatball, and veggie. As someone who doesn’t like complicated options, I chose the chicken. Selecting the sauce was a challenge since I had to try all three of them. Here’s what I thought:
1) Basil Pomodoro: Tastes like Tostidos Salsa. Bland and boring.
2) Artisan Alfredo: Creamy but lacks flavor. The claimed “garlic” does not exist in flavor.
3) Spicy Prima Rosa: This sauce is neither spicy or creamy, so it completely failed the taste test.
I ended up going with the Artisan Alfredo since it stood out from the rest.
For the toppings, I ended up selecting mushroom, roasted red peppers, chickpeas, roasted garlic, and mozzarella.
Here’s the honest truth, and this is from eating here a total of three times:
- The food is NEVER hot; it’s always an awkward lukewarm. It would be great if my pasta was steaming!
-The Alfredo sauce is devastatingly boring. I tried using the roasted garlic and mozzarella to give it more flavor but it didn’t work. The sauce reminded me of my first time trying to make Alfredo when I was seven.
- The assortment of toppings is amazing. I’m going to try a salad next time. Maybe it’ll be dynamic.
- The bowl is huge, so you will get full but you won’t walk out extremely impressed. However, the concept is fast casual and not a fine Italian restaurant. Don’t set your expectations high.
- The staff makes me sad. When I asked to try the sauces, they acted like it was a huge burden.
On the bright side, Italio has one treasure I’ll keep coming back for.
CANNOLI. CHIPS. WOW. WOW. WOW.
I’m not a cannoli person by any means. but their take on filled cannolis is really amazing. They are in the form of chips and are served with a creamy cannoli dip. The combination is mind blowing. However, the dip was slightly powder sugary on my latest visit. Maybe it’s hit or miss? Either way, try the cannoli chips if anything!
Italio – Winter Park
276 S Orlando Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789