Hats off to Spoleto Italian Kitchen for bringing their healthy Italian restaurant to California. With five locations in Florida, Spoleto opened its first west coast location at the University Town Center near UC Irvine. It is a welcome addition to the concept of "eating-out-without-sacrificing-healthy-food” (or in this case, without hurting your budget). They call it Fresh-Casual.
Spoleto offers a casual dining format similar to the Chipotle model. Walk into Spoleto and you’ll see the variety of choices available: salads, focaccias (flatbread) and house-made pastas and sauces to top them. It’s a seasonal menu that ensures your produce choices are fresh and come from nearby farms.
They offer regular, whole-wheat and gluten-free pastas that you can use as a base to create your own pasta masterpiece. There is even the choice of gnocchi or ravioli. If that’s too much to think about, they have a selection of combinations you can choose from instead. The same principle applies to their abundant salads and delicious focaccia, which is cooked in a stone-fired, 1500-degree oven. All of their sauces are gluten-free and a few are vegan. Each selection has a $10 starting point.
What sets Spoleto apart from most fast-serve, Italian restaurants is the quality of ingredients. The topping choices include an abundance of vegetables, which are locally sourced and organic as often as possible.
Our favorites from our visit were the Margherita Burrata focaccia which paired nicely with our make-your-own-salad of spinach, arugula, zucchini, oven-roasted tomatoes, truffle roasted mushrooms, broccoli and artichoke hearts. The Ravioli di Brodo is a unique offering of ravioli, spinach, kale, carrots, peas, broccoli and chicken in a light chicken broth.
Spoleto has kids meals for $7 and a few dessert items to choose from if you feel the need for something sweet. They have a partnership with FreshPoint family of produce that comes from local farms, including Uncle Matt’s Organics.