When I think of pasta my immediate thought is that, that option is out for me. But lately I have been happily surprised by the gluten-free pasta menu options. A few months ago, I wrote about enjoying gluten-free options at Noodles & Company. I love having this option available because Noodles & Company is located nationwide, so I know wherever I am, if I run into one, I know I can have a safe, quick, cheap and delicious meal. Many, but not all of their pasta items can be made with rice noodles.
In Atlanta, I recently discovered another noodle place, FIGO Pasta, and not only do they offer gluten-free pasta, but all of their sauces are gluten-free! The best part about their menu is that they clearly mark the gluten-free options with a ‘gf’ next to the item. In addition to all of their sauces being gluten-free, they also offer baked eggplant, several hearty salads, and special soup, salad and risotto of the month that are usually gluten-free, but be sure to ask when ordering to confirm.
Like Noodles & Company, and so many other restaurants these days, FIGO is the type of place you order at the counter and then they bring you your meal. Personally, I like this set-up, because you can order as soon as you like and sit where you want. There are so many options for sauces, I wasn’t prepared for that, so it was a bit overwhelming on my first visit. For the gluten-able eaters, it is even more difficult, because they have over 10 styles of pasta from which to choose. For us gluten-free eaters, we have one pasta choice, a gluten-free fusilli. The pasta they use is by Cornito, which happens to already be my favorite gluten-free pasta, which made this experience even better.
Once you select the pasta you have 18 choices of sauces. They all sound delicious, and make me want to keep returning to try more. On my first visit I tried the Amatriciana, a spicy pancetta and tomato sauce. It was just the right amount of spiciness. I am usually a spice wimp, but this was just enough without being overbearing and leaving me drinking the entire water carafe in order to cool down. I enjoyed this dish so much I ate it during my second visit as well. I started my meal with the arugula salad (Insalata di Arugula con Parmigiano), which is served with a lemon vinaigrette, and a perfect refreshing way to start a summer meal. On another visit to FIGO, I ordered the Primavera pasta, which is served with broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, peas, garlic and basil in a white wine sauce, and was equally as delicious as the Amatriciana.
Unfortunately, there are currently no gluten-free desserts, bread or beer, but there is a decent wine selection. The salad is such a nice way to start the meal that I am almost not disappointed by missing out on the bread and olive oil served to the table beforehand…except I am still a little disappointed. And the bread is free, the salad is not. Thankfully, the service was pretty quick the times I was there, so I didn’t have to watch in envy for very long as my gluten-able friends dipped their bread in parmesan laden olive oil.
The gluten-free pasta costs $1 more than the gluten-filled pasta and with the sauce adds up to $9 a person. I am such a huge fan of FIGO I feel it is easily worth it. Not only is the food fabulous, but you can eat knowing that the people who are preparing your meal are knowledgeable about the gluten-free issue. As always there is a risk of cross-contamination, but in my personal opinion I feel very comfortable here, especially since all of their sauces are safe. This doesn’t mean there is no risk, because there is bread and gluten pasta prepared in the same area, but my personal opinion is that I feel safe.
FIGO has several locations in the Atlanta area and has definitely become one of my favorite places, and I have already become a regular.