NACOGDOCHES — Auntie Pasta’s Italian Kitchen in Nacogdoches is famous for fine dining and the best bread, oil and garlic appetizer.

The Auntie Pasta’s atmosphere works for a number of situations from birthday parties to family outings to first dates. Sometimes it can be a little loud, but the food is worth it.

I visited recently with my mother and sister. I chose that week’s special — Parmesan Crusted Salmon. My sister chose the Chicken Guadalupe, and my mom wanted to try the create-your-own pizza with gluten-free crust.

The pizza was astonishing. She chose a combination of toppings I probably wouldn’t have — artichokes, mushrooms, pepperoni and Italian sausage — but they were great in tandem with the sauce and cheese and crust.

My mom is gluten intolerant, and I have had my fair share of underwhelming gluten-free variations of wheat-filled favorites. However, Auntie Pasta’s gluten-free crust based on cauliflower tasted great. It beat out some of the gluten-filled crusts I have tried. It was crisp but not dry, and the flavor worked well with the tomato sauce. I was also happy with the price on the dish and the level of variety.

My sister chose the Chicken Guadalupe, and it was a hit, as well. The first time around, she didn’t realize it came with some of her allergens, but the staff was quick to offer to remake it. When it came out, it was delicious.

The chicken was well cooked and moist. Topped with avocado, bacon, cheese and pico de gallo salsa, it was nestled on a bed of mashed potatoes. The salsa had a lovely flavor with an almost barbecue theme, and it was creamier than traditional pico with a nice spice. I highly recommend this dish, even if it was on the expensive side.

The Parmesan Crusted Salmon special was great. The salmon was a crisp, flat experience — well cooked with a surprising bit of spice. The size of the salmon was agreeable, as well.

I thought it could have used another spice to give it a little more kick, but that is where the bed of angel hair pasta pesto came in. The broccoli, green onion, bell pepper and spinach mixed well with the light creamy spice of the pesto. The whole mix was a good combination.

Overall, Auntie Pasta’s is still cooking up some great recipes, both new and old, and though the price tag can fall pretty hefty, it’s usually worth the experience.

Auntie Pasta’s is at 211 Old Tyler Road in Nacogdoches. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Olive Waldorf is a pseudonym for the food critic of The Lufkin Daily News. Her email is