Happy Mother’s Day to all the lovely mothers out there. This is a completely biased statement: I have the best mum ever. She’s smart, beautiful, fierce and strong. She’s got an Italian fashion sense and Cuban strength. Happy Mother’s Day mama!

My mom decided to dine at one of fav places, Brio Tuscan Grille in the Arboretum. It’s one of go-to spots for special occasions (i.e. 21st birthday, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, etc.) and Mother’s Day is no different.

I like to think of Brio as a chain that actually tries hard to be Italian and healthy. Sorry Olive Garden but as much as I love your chicken & gnocchi soup, your breadstick sandwiches have stripped your reputation of Italian to “Americanized Italian”. Anyway, most of the items are not all-day, every-day past. There’s also a heavy emphasis on lighter fare, dishes less than 695 calories.

The tables are much like Macaroni Grill, with the drawable paper cloth on top for kids to doodle on, but the alcohol selection makes you think of an more upscale restaurant.

I couldn’t get pictures of all the food as my family are anti-food pictures and were quite hungry to wait for me to snap a shot. Our experience began with a pair of berry lemonades, mango iced tea, and a glass of rosé. The appetizers came in: spinach artichoke dip with what I like to call crispies (Parmesan crisps) and a plate of calamari.

The entrées were as follows: pesto pasta; shrimp and lobster fettuccine; shrimp and lobster ravioli; and my plate, grilled salmon Fresca.

The pesto pasta was magnificent in my mum’s eyes. The pesto sauce was light, the chicken was cooked, the veggies were fresh.

The shrimp and lobster fettuccine was good. The mushroom didn’t overpower the plate and the seafood was super fresh.

The shrimp and lobster ravioli was 8/10. The cook went too heavy on the sauce, and it wasn’t pleasant seeing the oil separate from the sauce into puddles. The grilled shrimp had a nice spice kick though.

The grilled salmon Fresca was to die for. I love veggies and I love salmon, so a plate that has these things is an automatic love at first sight for me. The salmon was cooked perfectly and had a nice almost smokey flavor to it. The sweet potato when combined with the balsamic and spinach provided a fresh summer taste. The best past? The plate didn’t put me in a food coma. The spinach artichoke dip sure did but the salmon plate kept me balanced for the most part. 10/10 in my book.

Brio Tuscan Grille is located 10000 Research Blvd, Austin, TX 78759

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