Fast-Casual Dining at it’s best
Since the Italian fast-casual restaurant chain opened in November of last year, we have been intrigued by Vapiano’s take on modern counter culture. The concept has emerged in a big way in recent years. It’s perfect for relaxed, informal lunches and dinners with friends, families, loved ones; the communal dining even encourages chatting with strangers (something hard to come by at times in Edinburgh?!)
“Chi va piano, va sano e va lontano”
“If you have an easy-going and relaxed approach to life, you’ll live more healthily and longer”. Their mantra, which can be found dotted around the restaurant and on the smart-cards each diner uses to order food and drinks.
Upon arrival we were given an introduction to how the restaurant works. In following with their mantra, there is no assigned seating system which means diners can choose where to sit, which was quite nice. We were then presented with two smart-cards, which handily logs all our food and drinks that were ordered at the various stations. With separate bars for drinks, pizza and lasagne, salad and pasta all scattered over 3 levels, this certainly came in handy!
Each part of the restaurant has been thought out with it’s diners in mind. Every single table has its own herb garden, ours had fresh pots of basil and rosemary which was just lovely. Of course, there was also a variety of oils as well as salt and pepper, for the perfect seasoning. We loved the way in which the whole experience was completely customisable and so easy going. There are no set rules to follow– you can eat at a leisurely pace and always order more of something if you get that dreaded food envy. The freshness and quality of the ingredients used were second to none, with pasta being made in the restaurants kitchen every morning for the day ahead. As complete foodies, being able to watch the Chefs prepare our meals as well was the cherry on top.
The drinks list was surprisingly extensive, so we opted for a couple of cocktails to accompany our meal. We went for the Strawberry Mojito and Gin Bramble, which were both delicious.
We Shared: Piatto Antipasti
To begin, we went for the Piatto Antipasti to share, complete with prosciutto, salami, chorizo, roasted vegetables, grana padano, buffalo mozzarella and bruschetta. This was a very generous starter and great value for money at £12.99- if we were having lunch I would be happy with this alone!
His: Toscana Pizza
Spicy Italian sausage, pesto marinated olives, tomatoes, fresh herbs, tomato sauce, mozzarella.
Unfortunately, the Chefs were experiencing problems with the dough that had been prepared on our visit which resulted in them having to remake the dough from scratch! We thought our pizza was a bit on the pale/soggy side and could’ve done with a few more minutes cooking, however the difficulties in the kitchen meant we had a significant wait and we we’re just glad to have something in the end.
Hers: Ravioli Con Carne
Ravioli with bolognese filling, white and spring onions, tomato sauce.
My pasta was cooked perfectly and completely delicious. It was seasoned beautifully and just the right amount after our mammoth antipasti starter!
Dessert: Cioccolata Foresta Nera /Cioccolata Bianca
CIOCCOLATA FORESTA NERA
Layers of white, milk and dark chocolate with nutella, Italian sponge fingers topped with vanilla cream
A blend of white chocolate and cream on a biscuit base, topped with salted caramel sauce and honeycomb
We did our usual and chose two desserts that we both liked the sound of, and then had half and half. For me, the white chocolate dessert was the winner, even if it was missing the honeycomb!
Despite the long wait time for the Pizza, overall we had an enjoyable experience at Vapiano. We loved the freshness of the food, friendly staff and chilled out atmosphere, and the smart-card system is nothing short of innovative. The only other thing we think would’ve improved our experience was the clearing of our plates when we were finished. A small detail I know, but when you have several courses it’s a bit of a faux-pas to have plates and glasses left piling up in front of you. It seemed to me like this role had been forgotten about, but luckily the restaurant was fairly quiet and we managed to catch a waiter who was heading down to the basement with a trolley full of dirty plates.
Food – 7/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Service – 8/10
Value – 9/10
Ambience – Relaxed music (think George Ezra), plenty of clever lighting which almost make you forget you’re underground, plenty of greenery and lovely long oak tables. Perfect for informal dining with friends/family.
7 S St David St, Edinburgh, EH2 2BD
Phone: 0131 285 6123
Opening times: Monday – Sunday 11AM – 11PM
*disclaimer: I was invited to dine free of charge but as ever all my words and thoughts are entirely my own.