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November 28, 2017
Vapiano in Edinburgh: pick your own herb gardens on every table.

Part of a multinational chain of Italian restaurants, Vapiano has opened its doors in Edinburgh.

Billed as offering ‘fresh casual dining’, the 8,770sq ft. space is on South St David Street. It is part of the St Andrew Square development.

First impressions are that it is huge. The ground floor dining area drops down a floor to the bar and then down a further floor to another dining area.

Despite descending deep into the ground, it is all very light, bright and spacious.

Vapiano dishes cooked to order

The Vapiano concept (every new opening must have one these days) is that customers have their food made to order in front of them by chefs at cooking stations.

As guests pick up their different items, the cost is noted on a smart card. The total bill is paid at a central pay station as diners exit.

Diners are invited to customise their pizza, pasta and salads with the herbs growing in the mini herb garden on each of the tables.

Fans of Vapiano will love the way that guests can pick and choose and customise their orders.

More seasoned commentators might remark that the Vapiano system does away with much of the need for waiting staff. Customers queue for their own dishes, transport them to the table and do most of the billing.

While that may stick in the craw of more traditional diners, Vapiano has plus points which differentiate it from many other large chains.

For example, Vapiano does not have a central production facility.

The pasta and dolci are made fresh each day. The pizza dough, sauces and dressings, and pesto are all prepared in-house.

Popular formula

Where ever you stand on the Vapiano formula, it is popular.

The first Vapiano restaurant opened in Hamburg, Germany in 2002. Since then, the business has developed a portfolio of 186 Vapianos in 31 countries on five continents.

Phil Sermon, Managing Director at Vapiano, said: ‘We’re very excited to be opening our doors and introducing our unique take to Italian food to not only Edinburgh but to Scotland.

‘Vapiano’s great central location is ideal for post-work and weekend entertaining, celebrations and those simply wanting to jump out of the office for a quick lunch. We’re passionate about our fresh, made to order food and look forward to welcoming the city through our doors to experience what we’re all about.’

The new opening in Edinburgh is the first in Scotland and the fifth in the UK, following London and Manchester.

A Glasgow restaurant will be opening at the beginning of 2018.