If you’re an Italian food fanatic like myself, then this place is for you.
For those who have been living under a rock and may not have come across Vapiano, allow me to give you the basics – Vapiano (or Vaps) is an upmarket, fast, authentic Italian restaurant with food ranging from pizzas (the thin crust kind), pastas and calzones, to salads and deserts.A reason why you may not have heard about it is that there are only three in London: in Southwark, Great Portland Street and Soho, which is a little sad but keeps the exclusivity about it.
For me, Vapiano’s definitely has the most unique experience concept I’ve come across.
Once you walk in, you’re greeted by a staff member that hands you over a card. This card acts like an ‘electronic-tab’. The card is swiped at the counter each time you order something.
I love the ease of use the card system provides as it perfectly avoids the awkwardness of splitting the bill.
There are no mix-ups on who’s paying what, as everybody receives there own card, so you pay for what you ordered.
Cue guys and girls going on dates who want to get out of the obligation or politeness of paying.
There are separate counters for pizzas/calzones, salads, and pasta, as well as a separate bar area that serves dessert too; which is a good idea because it avoids long queues.What makes Vapiano’s special is that the food can be tailor made for you; it’s all about personalised tastes – essentially, bespoke pizzas and pastas, without the price tag.
Everything is made right in front of you, allowing you to customise your dish to your particular taste.
You choose what you want and how much of it you want, so there are no nasty surprises. If you want to add something to your dish or remove something, just ask.
With the pizzas, you’re given a buzzer to let you know when it comes out of the oven.
As well as offering traditional Italian dishes, Vapiano also has internationally-inspired dishes, which is quite cool.
At the end of your meal, you go to the front of the restaurant, simply hand over your card to the front desk, and they will tell you your bill.
A bonus is that the Southwark branch offers 10 per cent student discount. Plus free gummy bears as you leave.
I had the special, a mind-blowingly cheap Salsicca Con Fichi – which has spicy Italian sausage, onions, fresh figs, and tomato sauce served with penne pasta and loads of cheese.
As you can see from the photo, at Vapiano the portions are very generous.
We went to the Southwark branch, located at:
90b Southwark Street, London SE1 0FD
Opening hours: Mon-Fri: 11am – Midnight; Sat: 12 noon – Midnight; Sun: 12 noon – 11pm
Nearest tube: Southwark
Featured image by Marie Syrimis