By Peter Covino

A&E Editor

So many noodles, so little time.

The menu at the recently opened Noodles & Company World Kitchen casual dining spot isn’t overwhelming, there are a basic dozen to start with, but since these noodle dishes (and pasta) pretty much have the world covered, even Marco Polo probably would have had to sit down a couple of minutes and think about it before ordering.

The company has been around since 1995, but this is the first location (at The Loop) in Osceola County.  There is a second area restaurant at Lake Buena Vista.

I can’t really give a good judgment call on just what’s cooking at this Noodles place with so many options, but it all looks pretty appetizing, and I was pleased with my recent luncheon order, Whole Grain Tuscan Fresca.

Yes, that’s pasta that is actually good for you. The Tuscan Fresca is very much as pictured in their description. It is a whole grain linguine with balsamic olive oil, white wine and roasted garlic, red onion, tomato, spinach, parmesan or feta and Italian parsley. The ingredients tasted fresh. You can choose between a regular sized bowl or small and on the advice on a friend who had dined here once previously, went with the small, and it was on the smallish size.

My lunch bill was just over $7 with a soft drink, but it was about as no frills as you can get at this restaurant. You can add a meat or tofu (chicken, parmesan-crusted chicken breast, grilled chicken breast, marinated steak, sautéed shrimp, oven-roasted meatballs or organic tofu) to any noodles or pasta dish, but that will add $2.39-$2.99 to the cost of an entrée. Small plates are $4.59 without any add on, $5.99 for the regular size.

But the $9 total or so seems reasonable for one of these plates. Other noodles & pasta options (all untried) include Penne  Rosa (with a spicy tomato cream sauce); Pesto Cavatappi (with a basil pesto); and Spaghetti and Meatballs (the five meatballs are not an add on to the price) from the Italian influence on the menu. The Asian-inspired dishes include Japanese Pan Noodles; Pad Thai; Bangkok Curry and Indonesian Peanut Saute.  Other options include Wisconsin Mac & Cheese; Steak Stroganoff;  and Buttered Noodles.

There also is a Thai Curry Soup and Tomato Basil Bisque among the soup options.

Other menu options include sandwiches (with your choice of a side) including BBQ Pork; The Med (a pita sandwich with chicken and vegetables, feta cheese); Wisconsin Cheesesteak and Spicy Chicken Caesar (another flatbread option).

Another nice touch at this restaurant, which boasts about its healthy options: The calorie content is listed for each item, both in the regular or small-sized bowls. The most calorie-laden plate you will find at Noodles & Company is the Alfredo MontAmore, which features spaghetti noodles and a four-cheese blend Alfredo  at 1,340 calories for the regular size. My whole grain Tuscan on the other hand, was on the low-end of things at only 350 calories for the small plate.

The restaurant recently announced it has removed artificial ingredients from its core menu (noodles, sauces, soups, condiments, breads and dressings).

Noodles & Company also features a kids menu  and you can order ahead online at The restaurant also offers catering.

For more information about the Kissimmee restaurant, call 407-944-0220.