Italian sensation, Vapiano, opened in Melbourne on foodie paradise Flinders Lane in early 2013.
Vapiano started in Europe in 2002 and there are now more than 135 Vapiano restaurants in 26 countries in four continents.
When you go to Vapiano for a meal, it is quite an unusual experience. You don’t simply walk in and order a pizza or pasta off the menu, you front right up to the chef that will be cooking your meal and instruct him on how you want your meal to taste, while they cook it in front of you.
When you first arrive you’ll be given a chip card that you charge all your food and drink to when you order from the bar or from the individual fresh pizza, pasta or salad stations and then you just pay at the end.
There are a whole variety of chefs working at once to cater for the hoards of hungry corporates that flock to the restaurant every night. All the chefs have one thing in common- they love to cook!
Amanda Lopes from Vapiano spoke to Trading Plates about the unique style of dining they champion and most importantly- the food!
Lopes says that at Vapiano their style is like “a hairy chest sporting a gold medallion – smart, yet casual”.
“If anything we like to call ourselves ‘fresh casual’ because we pride ourselves on serving only the best made-to-order pizzas, house-made pasta, hand-tossed gourmet salads and delicious dolci in a fun, relaxing atmosphere filled with warm lighting, cool furniture and fresh features such as an olive tree and herb garden growing in the restaurant,” explains Lopes.
“Here in Australia, we reckon Vapiano’s motto ‘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’) suits us Aussies to a tee, which is why we’ve taken this great global concept and made it local with locations now in Brisbane, Garden City, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney and Garden City with more planned for the future.”
Despite the wide range of menu options, it is not surprising that the classics like carbonara, bolognese and pesto rosso are the most popular things on the menu.
All the produce used at Vapiano is locally sourced, from 150km of each restaurant wherever possible.
“Wherever we can, our fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs are sourced locally in each market, ensuring you get the very best in fresh local food. Similarly, our house wine wines are also ‘local’, sourced from regional wine makers Clovely Estate in Queensland and Innocent Bystander in Victoria,” says Lopes.
“Our olive oil comes from the groves of South Burnett for Queensland and from Mt Zero for Victoria and our cheeses are produced by Italian migrant cheese makers at Vanella Cheese who use century old recipes to create world-class products.
“And our incredible smallgoods are hand-picked by the amazing people at Fino Fine Foods in Brisbane.
“We then take all of these fantastic ingredients and use them to create our pasta sauces, pizzas, salads and desserts daily. And of course we make new pasta and pizza dough every day in our manifattura within each restaurant, while our herbs grow fresh at every table.”
If you haven’t eaten at Vapiano before and want to try something just a bit different, Lopes recommends you try the Pasta Salami e Ricotta con Rucola or Pollo/Gamberi e Spinaci or a delicious Crudo or Caprese Pizza.
“If you’re vegan or vegetarian we have options too! Pasta Ratatouille is your best friend (vegan and vegetarians), Pasta Crema di Fungi for the Gluten Free, or Pizza Verdure for the vegans. And of course, you can choose from a number of different types of pasta (plain or spelt), and have an antipasti or salad to go with your dish.”
Lopes says that Vapiano’s point of difference is that they pride themselves on fresh flavoursome food that matches their cheeky and fresh attitude.
So what are you waiting for?
347 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9620 3335