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Vapiano Restaurants

We never heard of these before encountering one in Vienna in September. We walked by, noticed it looked inviting, and stopped in for lunch. It took a minute to understand the concept but once we did it was fast and efficient. They hand you a chip card when you walk in. You stand in the pizza, pasta, or salad line and when you get to the front they make it to order while you stand there (the pasta they use is fresh so only takes a minute). The cook hand it to you and you tap your card on a pert on the counter, which enters the item and the cost onto your card. You can add other things as you wish, or go find a place to sit. The seating is at longish shared tables in a bright, modern setting.

The two men ordered the pasta, and my sister and I had soup and salad. My husband liked his pasta carbonara so much he now altered his own recipe for this dish to make it the way they did.

It was all very nice, and inexpensive. When ready to leave, we each handed our card to the cashier and paid the amount indicated.

This one was inside the ring near St. Stephens and the main pedestrian street, but we subsequently noticed another closer to our apartment in the 3d District. It never occurred to me that it might be a chain until I noticed one in Basel. Turns out they are in over 100 countries on 5 continents ( but very few in the US or Canada). The original was started in Hamburg in 2002.

This page from their U.K. and website shows an accurate picture of the interior, and explains the concept and the history.

http://uk.vapiano.com/en/about-us/about-vapiano/

I doubt we would go for dinner, which we like in a more relaxed and quiet setting. But we would happily go for lunch. Which we just did, vicariously, as my husband made carbonara yet again.

Posted by
6872 posts

This chain has been here in the DC area for a while and has locations worldwide. It's a fun place for happy hour with co-workers, and I think the "tech" component and modern, clean look of the restaurants appeal to young professionals. My coworkers and I enjoyed it.

Posted by
4933 posts

I visited the one in Berlin. Yeah, decent place for sure, very casual.

Posted by
7611 posts

I see where they get their name (from looking at the link you provided), but in these days of "vaping," it has an unfortunate connotation for me!! I know that's not what it means at all, but I can't help it!!

Posted by
5476 posts

There was one in Antwerp for a few years, but it closed. I had the feeling that it had too many (well-enough behaved) local teenagers hanging around and they couldn't make enough money for the prime Groenplaats location. I presume that the one in Manhattan (!) is supported by NYU students and young professionals who can't afford independent restaurants.

If you read way down in this article, you will find a connection to the Berlin Wall and .... McDonalds, that doesn't appear in the About page history linked in the OP.

Posted by
13093 posts

Kim, that is indeed an unfortunate association! But I know what you mean; when one reads an unfamiliar word in a certain way, it is hard to break away from that. There is a Scotsman who posts here as "unclegus" and although I finally figured out he is Uncle Gus, I still read it as "un-clee-gus" with the accent on the middle syllable. I have no idea what an un-clee-gus is, but it sounds like a Dr. Seuss character.

As for Vapiano, fortunately I read and pronounced it in Italian, "va piano" which is a pleasant association.

Posted by
7611 posts

Indeed, I need to re-focus my brain. It actually looks like a fun place and good for a quick meal, so thank you for sharing it!

Posted by
8117 posts

We have at least 2 of Vapianos in Frankfurt and though the food is ok, I just do not enjoy this experience. It is too much work just to have a meal.
Would much rather go to a local Italian restaurant (of which there are 100's of them in Frankfurt) and sit at a table and be waited on. For me it is important to support the small business's rather than a big chain.

Posted by
12898 posts

About two or three years ago, Vipiano showed up at Berlin Hbf

Posted by
3030 posts

I ate at one in Vienna mar the Opera House a couple of years ago that was good. I ate at one in West Berlin this year. It was very average.

Posted by
14917 posts

Va piano - go slow. I was introduced to it by a friend in Berlin, best pasta ever. And they use a clean skillet for every individual order. There's one in Chicago, in the heart of the Loop, about 2 blocks from the Art Institute.

Posted by
27749 posts

I usually use the Italian word piano as quiet in English rather than slow.

Posted by
4690 posts

I like Vapiano, but why go to a restaurant in Europe that you can find in the US?

Posted by
14917 posts

It's a German chain, just beginning to appear in a few US cities. It's a good option in Europe for good quality fast food in a pleasant atmosphere, if you want lunch or don't feel like lingering over dinner.

Posted by
8985 posts

It's a German chain, just beginning to appear in a few US cities.

Vapiano has had locations in the US going on ten years now. Patronized them on Four continents; as someone who often travels solo it’s a godsend.