"I never would have guessed this was a chain" was a thought my guest said out loud at the new Brio Tuscan Grille at the Irvine Spectrum. I really couldn't blame him. Brio doesn't conjure thoughts of the biggest Italian chain in the US at all (cough cough Olive Garden) with its sweeping high ceilings and fire pit seating area. The food however is the real star here.
Yes this is a chain restaurant I would make the drive out to Irvine for. There were no real faults found. The calamari was my favorite thing the entire night. Fried with pepperoncinis it had a great bite. Add to it the garlic aioli and marinara dipping sauces and it was one of the best calamari dishes I have ever had. A great thing I found about Brio is their use of spices. Things may actually be hot for some people but I found the spice levels on everything I tried to be on point (note while the lasagna doesn't say its spicy it has spicy sausage in it.) Dishes like the eggplant with shrimp and the Pasta Alla Vodka balance their creaminess with heat extremely well. I am getting hungry thinking about it. I already have plans to take someone here for their birthday.
618 Spectrum Ctr Dr Irvine, CA 92618
|Spicy Shrimp & Eggplant|
|Pasta Alla Vodka|