I thought we’ve written about Vapiano a long time ago but I was browsing through our food section and I couldn’t find it. I thought the restaurant closed a long time ago too but I’m happy to see that the lights are still on at Vapiano. I stepped foot on this casual restaurant chain again one sandstormy night and it didn’t change a bit. The interiors are still the same and even the ambiance. It was quiet and empty; we stood on top of the stairs for a good three minutes before someone noticed us. We picked an area with sofa chairs near their glass walls even though there were only two of us.
Vapiano is an Italian restaurant that originated in Germany. It was founded by Kent Hahne, Klaus Rader, and Mark Korzilius in 2002. It combines both the fast food and the luxury dining experience. You might ask how can that happen? Simple, with the use of an RFID chip card! The process is to go over their menu in your seats then walk to the cooking station where you surrender your card and order. You can see how your pasta is cooked in front of you. While this process of ordering is unique and a bit quirky, I can also see why it doesn’t work much in the Riyadh eating landscape. We’re too lazy to get up once we already sat down in our seats. Some might even think that we’re in a restaurant so we shouldn’t do any task except to eat. Haha!
Anyway, my friend and I find their menu limited. Just starters, salad, pasta, and pizza. That’s it. No main courses, no desserts. Not sure if that’s to make things easier for us or what. The last time we went to Vapiano, we had the same dilemma but since we were a group of friends then, the pizzas were good for us. Now, we’re not sure if ordering a pizza is worth it. We ended up choosing two pasta dishes and 1 pizza with 2 flavors. Hey don’t judge, we’re hungry from walking Tahlia Street! Haha!
I first wanted Ravioli Con Carne but they were out of it so I settled for Ravioli Ricotta E Spinaci. My friend wanted the Quattro Formaggi but the cashier insisted to try something else because that’s just pasta with cheese. Well that’s the point right? He went as far as saying it’s not worth our money so my friend had to give in and go for Frutti Di Mare instead. We also had a pizza that has half BBQ Chicken and Frutti De Mare.
Filled with ricotta cheese and spinach, the ravioli is creamy enough and it’s my favorite among the dishes we ordered. The pasta sheets are al dente and the cream sauce with it has the right consistency to bring this dish up a notch. The Frutti de Mare which arrived late but we couldn’t ignore the vibrant color of the pesto mixed with red cream and the robust shrimps peeking through the oodles of pasta. A bite is enough to know that the ingredients were cooked well; but a bite is also enough to know how overpowering this savory dish is. The pastas are screaming to be shared.
For an Italian restaurant, Vapiano has a lackluster pizza. Their crust is just okay and the it’s the toppings that make it worthy if we’re ordering another round. The BBQ Chicken has strips of chicken breast, smoked cheese, mozarella cheese, and onions. A zingy, smoky barbecue sauce keeps this pizza interesting (remember that I like BBQ sauce in my meats). In fairness, Vapiano didn’t scrimp on their seafood toppings in the Frutti De Mare pizza. Every slice has a piece of shrimp and crab stick. They don’t taste fresh though; just commercial.
If you’re looking for a quiet restaurant which pretty much does Italian food, then Vapiano is the place for you. If you’re celebrating with a large group of people, then their couches and pizzas can help satiate your guests’ appetites. Prices are affordable and service is well, a bit slow. Vapiano needs to improve everything in their restaurant if they want to keep up the pace with other Italian restaurants in town.
Localizer Mall, Tahlia Street,
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
T: +966 56 977 6330