If you’ve been to St Andrew Square recently, you’ll have noticed it looks pretty different from a couple of years ago. It has been nicknamed Edinburgh’s “culinary quarter”, and lots of big-name restaurants have been opening there. The latest of these to open is Vapiano, a European chain specialising in fresh, fast Italian food.
You might remember I went to Stockholm a few months ago with Vapiano to get a sneak preview of what we could expect from the new restaurant. Well, the Edinburgh Vapiano restaurant is now open so I thought it was high time for a review. Did it live up to expectations?
What to Eat at Vapiano Edinburgh
If you haven’t heard of Vapiano before, here’s what you need to know before visiting. As you arrive, you’re given a swipe card to pay for your meal. Peruse the menu, order your food, add in extras, drinks and desserts as you go – then as you leave just hand over your swipe card and pay the bill.
Vapiano also differs from a lot of restaurants because your food is cooked fresh in front of you. Once you know what you want to order, head to the counter and one of the chefs will start whipping up your meal for you. Choose from pasta, pizza, antipasti, risotto or salads, all completely customisable.
As your food is cooked to order, it’s really easy to take away any elements you don’t like or add in extras. Remove salami from a pizza to make it veggie, or add extra prawns to your pasta dish – simple!
I’ve eaten quite a few dishes off the menu by now, and they’ve all been really tasty. There are plenty of classics (like spaghetti carbonara, arrabbiata pasta and margherita pizzas) as well as slightly more unusual dishes. I loved the Cognac pasta dish with chicken, bacon, peas, garlic, cream, tomato sauce, onions and cognac.
You can even choose the type of pasta you want – there are 11 kinds to choose from, all of which are made in-house daily. Don’t forget to add extra cheese and a sprinkle of fresh chilli!
Although the pizzas and pastas are the stars of the show, don’t forget about the antipasti. You can’t go wrong with some bruschetta as a starter, and Vapiano’s is delicious. Look at the size of those mozzarella slices! The portions are big, so I’d recommend sharing some bruschetta or an antipasti platter so you’ve got plenty of room for mains and dessert.
The Atmosphere at Vapiano Edinburgh
As the Vapiano Edinburgh restaurant is brand new, it feels very swish and modern. It’s split over three levels, with a bright and airy counter and seating area on ground level, the bar on the next level down, and then a large seating area in the basement. I’m pretty sure it must be the biggest restaurant in Edinburgh – it’s huge!
As I had been to other Vapiano restaurants in Stockholm, I kind of knew what to expect. All Vapianos across the world have a similar look and feel, but they each have individual quirks. For example, above the counter you’ll notice little quotes and illustrations specific to Edinburgh and Scotland. Nice wee touches like this stop it from feeling too “chain-y” and give the restaurant some personality.
Worth a Visit?
If you’re looking for somewhere to enjoy a quick, tasty meal in the centre of town, I don’t think you can go wrong with Vapiano. It’s in the perfect location for after-work drinks, a speedy lunch hour treat or somewhere to refuel during a shopping trip. Everything is cooked in front of you, so can see that it’s fresh and cooked exactly to your liking.
If you like Italian food and are looking for somewhere with a casual atmosphere, definitely give Vapiano a try. It’s also very affordable, with most main dishes around a tenner (and huge portions too!).
Have you been to Vapiano Edinburgh yet?