Arizona is home to a fantastic chain of gluten-free casual Italian restaurants known as Picazzo's. In terms of gluten-free and vegan Italian, it doesn't get much better than this. In Northern Arizona you will find a convenient location in Flagstaff, not too far from hotels and other attractions in town.
The menu at Picazzo's is very impressive. Everything is gluten-free including breadsticks, pizza, ravioli, pasta dishes, desserts, and appetizers. They also offer whole wheat pizza for guests who enjoy the traditional pizza crust.
In addition to several pages of gluten-free comfort treats, the majority of the menu is customizable to be vegan as well. From a sweet potato ravioli topped with a luscious vegan Alfredo sauce to tasty cheesy Daiya breadsticks and a Daiya cheese based pizza, Picazzo's has vegans covered. It would be difficult to find an Italian place offering more vegan options.
Another benefit of visiting Picazzo's is that they are one of the few 100% GMO free, organic restaurants in town.
The menu itself is clearly impressive, but just how does the food stack up? Let me tell you that everything I have tested has been absolutely delicious.
The homemade gluten-free/vegan foccacia bread dipped in olive oil is a great starter as are the cheesy breadsticks served with marinara. For Happy Hours, I always get the spinach artichoke dip and the hummus plate. The hummus plate served with gluten-free flatbread, azuki bean chips, and sliced veggies is a filling & delicious option. And the creamy spinach artichoke dip is by far the top in town!
In terms of entrees, the make your own pizza menu is pretty impressive. You will have your choice amongst 4 different crusts, almost every veggie imaginable, and premium toppings like shrimp and vegan Daiya cheese. The gluten-free crust with Daiya cheese, mushrooms, and olives was simply delicious.
Another great entree which you are unlikely to ever come across in an Italian restaurant is a gluten-free sweet potato ravioli topped with a creamy vegan Alfredo sauce (a delicious roasted cauliflower sauce sauteed with Brussels sprouts, carrots, and garlic).
There are many different sauces to choose amongst and several different types of pasta including butternut squash ravioli, gnocchi, and a brown rice penne. It's hard to believe that all the food is gluten-free with the perfect texture and taste.
Aside from pasta dishes, you have entree sized salads, quinoa bowls, chicken and pulled pork dishes, lasagna, and much more.
Because everything on the menu is gluten-free and many items can be made dairy-free, both vegans and gluten-free guests will be very pleased with the large, impressive selection.
As expected for any restaurant offering specialty foods, the prices are a bit marked up. However, if you visit between 3-6 for "Healthy Hours", you will receive half off any appetizers and $1 off all drinks.
Service is always fantastic with staff being attentive, professional, and always willing to assist with any questions you might have over ingredients.
The setting is casual, more appropriate for a laid-back lunch date rather than a romantic night out on the town. The interior is clean with a full bar and pleasing decor. Compared to other restaurants in town, it is much less cramped and congested, and never overcrowded with tourists. While everyone else head for the overpriced bars downtown, you can enjoy a healthy meal in a cozier setting!
Besides the indoor seating, they also have an outdoor patio which is just perfect for Flagstaff's mild summer nights.
Overall, Picazzo's is a very good option for vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diners who have been missing out on hearty Italian comfort favorites like ravioli and breadsticks. Even if you have no specific food allergies or intolerances, you will surely enjoy the delicious food. The shear number of creative options and flavorful quality of the dishes at Picazzo's Flagstaff will more than satisfy everyone.