Even though I’ve posted several Italian-heavy reviews lately, I don’t eat Italian food that often. While I think fresh pasta can be phenomenal, I rarely find myself craving it, nor do I need to eat pizza every day to feel fulfilled. I like Italian food, especially risotto and arancine, but I just feel as if I need breaks from it since Italian restaurants are everywhere. One place of which I was especially wary was Vapiano, a spot described as “a German fresh-casual restaurant chain offering Italian food” on its website. I still don’t even know what to do with the hot mess that is that description.
I walked in on a freezing day in D.C. for lunch, and my group had to take a second to figure out how Vapiano worked. We were given plastic cards with chips in them, so everyone was able to order on their own. As someone who has friends that want to split a bill down to the penny, I appreciated this simple way to have separate checks. We each walked up to a chef behind a plastic separator, ordered our pastas, scanned our cards, and waited as the fresh ingredients were put together. I opted for the Crema di Funghi which I modified with some added chicken. Anything with mushrooms in it is a win for me, so I appreciated all of the oyster and button mushrooms littering the pappardelle. The chef was even kind enough to pile an extra helping or two of Parmesan onto my choice. Each bite was a bit rustic, a bit creamy, and a bit yummy. I wanted some more seasoning or punchy flavor, but I left fairly satisfied and pleased with the quality of the elements of the dish.
When we were all done, we each presented our card at the front stand to pay and scooped up some rock-hard gummy bears out of the nearby bowl before heading back out into the chill. This restaurant decorated with light wood and large community tables wasn’t something for which I’d go out of my way, but I enjoyed it well enough. For a longer, heavier lunch, it was a nice choice that didn’t hurt my wallet too much. Since it is a chain, you may have a Vapiano near you and might want to check it out for a business lunch or a quick meeting!