Warsaw local visited Vapiano, Jerozolimskie 63, 00-697 on 21st February 2016.
Vapiano was recommended to us due to it’s unique sales approach of self-service with a payment card that you swipe when ordering something. It sounded like a new and interesting idea, so we thought we’d go check it out. Let’s see if it worked for us.
Finding the location
In all our reviews we use the Palace of Culture and Science as a point of reference. Vapiano is extremely easy to find from the palace. It is literally only one street away.
You have to go underground to cross the street and in total it took us about five minutes to get there.
Prices and Menu
We were not presented with a menu when we arrived. We climbed the stairs to the restaurant. There was a large menu printed on the wall in Polish. I was a little confused, but my guest noticed a pile of menus, some in English and some in Polish but it wasn’t very clear how you’d find them. An improvement would be if there was a table at the top of the stairs labelled ‘menus’.
The English menu was a completely dedicated menu and was two sided. There was a nice selection, without being too overwhelming.
– Plato Antipasta 22.90zl
– Crema Di Funghi 17.90zl
– Diavolo pizza 27.90zl
– Blueberry cheesecake 14.50zl
The total bill was: 83zl
The price of the pasta was extremely cheap! Our window seat was over looking an upscale hotel restaurant and I am sure they would have been paying 5x the price for the same quality ingredients. The pizza price was the standard price for the area. You’ll not find much cheaper within walking distance. The price of the starter was a little steep, but this is a dish you’d likely order to share, so it is pretty reasonable price for two people to split.
The prices of the drinks is nowhere to be seen. It is not on their menu, website or Facebook page. You just ask for a drink and find out the price at the end of the visit.
Our Personal Experience
Quality of food and Waiting time
We usually talk about the waiting time here, but the waiting time also is affected by the service, so we will discuss the waiting time in the service section below.
Pizza took about 12 minutes
Pasta took about 8 minutes
Plato Antipasta took about 6 minutes
Dessert was pre-made.
We first tried the Plato Antipasta
The starter was a great introduce to italian cuisine for those who have never tried it before. Grilled mushrooms, grilled vegetables, buffalo mozzarella, olives and parma ham.
This was a perfect dish to get your taste buds moving without being too heavy on the stomach. The olives had no stones, the mozzarella was of a beautiful texture and the ham almost melted in your mouth. I am personally not a big fan of mushrooms and I finished the whole plate!
If you have never been to Italy, or if you want to relive your travel moments, then this is the dish for you.
My guest ordered the Crema Di Funghi pasta dish
My guest really enjoyed this dish. The pasta was cooked to perfection, and with fresh mushrooms and oyster mushrooms, refined with white wine, cream and fresh parsley, it was fit enough to be served in an upscale restaurants over looking the Eiffel tower.
One thing to note, that is not written in the menu is that my guests dish had three peppers inside. My guest is not a fan of spice, so these were easily removed, but something to be aware of.
I ordered the Diavolo pizza
The base was great! Perfectly cooked, topped with the right amount of sauce and wasn’t too crispy.
I personally found the ingredients made the dish a bit too difficult to eat. The ingredients were great and of high quality, but they were also very lose on top of the pizza, so when I tried to pick up a slide (with two hands) everything would begin sliding off and falling on the plate. I resorted to eating with a knife and fork, but it became a gamble trying to get it in my mouth without things falling off the fork. I finally just gave up and folding the slice length ways solved my problem. Maybe not the best dish if you’re trying to impress someone on your first date.
Overall, the tastes were amazing! The vegetables used were fresh and crunchy and the meats were full of Italian flavours.
And we shared a Blueberry cheesecake dessert
We really enjoyed this dessert, it was light enough to enjoy after eating a whole pizza and was full of flavour. The size is quite big for one person, but it was perfect to share.
The unique service style of Vapiano is one the selling points, but it didn’t work to well for us. The idea is that you arrive at the front desk, you are handed a plastic card and you then use this card to ‘pay’ for your food at a buffet style desk and when you leave they scan your card and they tell you the total.
When we arrived, we were handed a plastic card:
Nothing about the card was explained to us. At first (we had never been here before and did not know of the self service style) we thought it was a business card, until we walked to the top of the stairs and seen the food counters.
I didn’t know what I wanted, but I seen a large menu printed on the wall. I began to read it, but quickly seen it was in Polish and I couldn’t see an English option. It didn’t say anywhere that an English option was available. My guest had to ask in Polish, and the waiter pointed us to a loose pile of menus at the food counter.
We seated ourselves and began to read the menu. My guest knew they wanted a pasta dish and I wanted a pizza. We decided to share a starter too. My guest went off to the ‘pasta bar’ and I went to the ‘pizza bar’. For me it wasn’t clear what I was meant to do. My guest found it easier, but I was stood under a sign that said ‘pizza’ with a menu in my hand, but no one asked me what I wanted. It was only when I watched three other people order their pizzas I worked it out.
It was not very clear to me, with no English or Polish signs explaining how it all worked. By the time I had worked it out and ordered, my guest had been sat for about four minutes. When place your order, you are given small device that buzzes when your order is completed. I received my ‘buzzer’ and returned to my seat. My guest reminded me I forgot to order the starter, so I return but this time to the correct counter. There were three people in front of me being served, so I kindly waited. As I was waiting, someone had pushed around the group of three people and then was served before me! The service system is like that of a nightclub on a Saturday night. I didn’t care too much, until the person ordered a complex salad that wasn’t on the menu and they didn’t speak Polish, so there was some language barriers and confusion which left me just standing there and watching. The lady who took my pizza order, seen I had been standing there for a long time, so she came to my rescue and asked me for my order. I placed my order and see told me it would take only two minutes. I wasn’t given a ‘buzzer’ for this dish.
Within this time my guest had been left looking at their pasta for the last four minutes and they had collected my pizza. We didn’t want to start our main dishes, so we waited for the starter. There seemed to have been an issue with some of the indigents, as there was a lot of rushing around and the dish took about six minutes in total to create. Because there was no ‘buzzer’ for this item, I had to go back and forwards to the counter to check if it was ready or not. It would have made life easier for me, if they could have given me a ‘buzzer’ for this dish too.
We received the dish, ate the starter, but luckily our main dishes were not cold and were still enjoyable. The whole process felt a little messy and stressful.
It was not clear where to order the dessert. The food bars had signs over them that said ‘Pasta, starters and pizza’, but nothing said desserts? I had to ask a member of staff that pointed me to a door way. I had to cross a small bridge to what looked like a coffee shop style bar. All the desserts were clearly labelled and easy to select.
Decor and Atmosphere
From the outside Vapiano looks like your standard central restaurant, and even when you enter that opinion doesn’t change much, but when you walk up the stairs, the venue completely transforms itself! We were extremely impressed. The whole venue has a very upscale feel to it. You can easily relax with a glass of wine here, or just quickly grab some cheap pasta before you take a flight.
The atmosphere was what you’d expect from a self-service style restaurant. Lots of movement, people coming and going and some light background music. When I went to collect my dessert, I felt like stepping in to a completely different atmosphere, it was quite and relaxed. Everyone was quietly sat and only the slight hum of conversations filled the air. There was even a tree in the middle! I was a shock, but it a nice way.
Vapiano is worth a visit just to see what they have done with the place, really impressive!
Vapiano seemed like a very international hang out. It is opposite the entrance of a major hotel, and all of the clients in front of me were speaking English.
All of the staff I spoke to (about six different members) all spoke a high level of English. The menus were also available in English.
Room for Improvement and things to note
I was not a fan of the ordering system. Maybe it was my fault, but my guest was sat with a dish for while I was struggling to order a starter. It was a new experience, but as a first time comer, it was a little stressful.
There are a few things to note. There are two menus. One for Pasta and one for pizzas. It does not say on either menu that another menu is available.
The drinks behind the counter prices are not on the menu or publicly visible until you have ordered them.
Overall, we enjoyed our visit to Vapiano. It was a new experience with the card, but we wished we’d done a bit of research first to make our visit smoother. Vapiano provide great food at a great price! We really recommend you check it out for yourself!
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