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Day 186: Vapiano Pasta | Pizza | Bar

Vapiano Outdoor Seating

My daughter suggested we try Vapiano tonight located at 4900 Hampden Lane.  I had lunch here once before and I must admit that the European concept threw me off at first but tonight I think I grasped the idea much better.  Here’s the setup.  You arrive at the restaurant and you are given a plastic card from a friendly and helpful greeter at the front desk, much like a credit card, and then you take this card with you to one or more of several food stations located along the far wall of the restaurant.  The cleverly and well-appointed “fresh casual” restaurant features Italian decor.  Above the “chefs” are clever drawings and expressions, many in Italian and quite a few in English.  I liked the quote featured in the picture below so much I had to share it with you (click on the photo to read).  The restaurant is very warm and inviting with nice high ceiling and wide-plank wood floors.

Clever Sayings

Once you’ve figured out what you want to eat (which is a bit trial and error) your meal is then prepared fresh before your eyes by skilled chefs at one of several stations.  These include hand-tossed pizza and antipasti, fresh made pasta, and salads.  There is also a full service bar.  Vapiano is a world-wide success with 70 restaurants around the globe and another 100, that’s right 100, planned to open soon.

Tonight I ordered a specialty pizza just the way I like it and the crust was thin, crunchy and really quite good.  I paired the pizza with the Sauvignon Blanc I’ve talked about before called Fire Road from New Zealand (pleasantly surprised they had it at the well stocked bar).  My daughter ordered the Chicken Alfredo and shared just ONE bite because she was feeling quite territorial about it.  I understood why after I savored the delicious creamy sauce!

Our delicious meal

We really enjoyed ourselves tonight and Vapiano was just voted “BEST ITALIAN 2011” by Washington City Paper readers and it’s easy to understand why.  With an innovative serving format, including cool technologically savvy “chip cards”, reasonably priced menu, and great tasting food it’s no wonder they’ve become an international success story practically overnight.  Tonight, after seriously chowing down, my daughter complained about her proverbial “food baby.”  As for me, it’s a good thing this restaurant is located below my favorite gym Equinox because I could become a regular! ~Brian

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