at ATT4FunNo. 12 SongShou Rd, 10F 台北市松壽路12號10樓
MRT: Taipei City Hall
website: Vapiano Taipei's FB page
hours: 11AM - 1PM; Friday/Saturdays 11AM- 2AM
Kid friendliness: high chairs available. everything is self-serve
Visit reviewed: 4/17/2012
Vapiano is a German chain of Italian restaurants with pizza and pasta bars, and has almost 100 restaurants around the world. Located at the top of ATT4Fun, be sure to check out the view of Taipei 101 or grab a seat outside on the balcony. I had heard about it for awhile, but with so many Italian eateries around, I didn't get a chance to try it right away.
The first thing that happens when you enter the restaurant, the hostess gives you some cards to use swipe when ordering food at the different stations, and to return to the cashier to "check out" when paying the bill. It's perfect for those who are dining with co-workers and always have trouble splitting the tab. This makes it clear- whatever you swiped, you ordered. Some might even visit Vapiano just for this novelty factor.
The modern space with wood floors and panels has higher bar stool type seating and tables, as well as some tables and lounge bar type sofas in the back.
Colorful drawings decorate the chalkboards above various stations while the details are on menus on the counter, with occasional special menu items offered.
Essentially, it's like a dressed up Italian food court. You find your own seats, you walk around the different pizza and pasta and dessert stations and order, swipe the card at the counter register, take the buzzers back to your seat, come back to get the food when it's ready, and fetch your own utensils, water, napkins and extra plates.
It's a bit of a scavenger hunt to locate everything for a first timer. I also had saved seats for the rest of my party and had tell at least 3 different people trying to sit down at the table that the seats were taken while I was waiting for them and my food. A bit awkward.
Luckily there are buzzers for the pastas and pizzas, so you don't have to stand there waiting in line and can multitask. Get all the stuff ready for the meal while the food is cooking up.
If you're in a group, it would be easy to split up the tasks, but since I was by myself, I ended up getting all the food and utensils first, making multiple trips from the pasta/pizza counters to the table. I can imagine that this could be a bit troublesome for diners with a kid or two- do you leave the kids by themselves at the table when you get the food, and the forks and the extra napkins and the water, or do you take them with you?
Pizzas range from NT$280-420 and are made to order. I enjoyed the rucola pizza (NT$360) since I don't often find fresh arugula/rocket in Taipei, and I added mushrooms to the pizza.
This was my friend's pizza with prawns and peppers and pesto sauce, I think it was a special of the day menu pizza.
I found the pastas that night to be a bit gummy and starchy, not al dente like I typically prefer. Even the bites of the other pastas I tried from my friends were the same. The pasta prosciutto tartufato sounded better than it tasted with the prosciutto being cubes of ham (not silky prosciutto like I thought), truffle oil, gorgonzola and baby spinach (NT$420). If I had known that it was ham, and not parma ham, I would have ordered a different pasta. I thought the sauce was just okay and the texture of the pasta kept me from really enjoying it. There are about 10 different types of pasta to choose from, and you can mix and match them with the sauces and toppings.
Chicken and bacon carbonara with fusilli pasta
My friends added some starters- a caesar salad, beef carpaccio and soup.
|The premade desserts at the dessert bar.|
I'd stick to the pizzas at Vapiano and the space is nice enough to relax and enjoy a few slices with a glass of wine, especially on a nice night out with the glittering view of Taipei.