I can come back here...
The moment you walk into Vapiano you realize you're somewhere different. This isn't your normal restaurant - in fact, it's more like a restateria (my own little mix of a restaurant and a cafeteria). Now while that may not sound incredibly appealing, it actually provides a unique and quite tasty dining experience, and one that'll make you want to come back.
The decor is smooth and classy. High, long tables with plenty of dark colors and lots of natural lighting due to large windows make it an incredibly pleasant atmosphere to eat.
The proceedure in which you order your food is a large part of the unique nature of Vapiano. Once you enter you recieve a plastic card, akin to a credit card, that you'll then give to the person maning your station - be it pizza, pasta, or insalate.
When it comes to pizza and pasta, there are four groups to choose from, each one more progressively complex and expensive than the last - with prices ranging from $6.75 to $9.75.
For my first try I decided to try the pomodoro e mozzarella (part of group B) with penne pasta (you can choose from about 6 or so different types of fresh made pasta that they make on site).
It was here that Vapiano hooked me: fresh garlic was chopped up and put into a large pan with sauce - and not just some sauce out of a industrial sized can, but sauce that was tasted and seasoned - at one point to the extent that my individual chef told the head chef (or so it seemed) that the sauce needed more salt, and he proceeded to make adjustments to the batch he was making.
Pasta was cooked, sauce was added, and food was consumed. Enjoyed with a wonderful bruschetta, and with a glass bottle of diet coke (the only way that soda should be contained), I had a wonderful meal for less than $15.
Yet the restaurant isn't just unique and stocked with quality food, it's also playful - providing a bowl of gummy bears where mints would usually be as you leave the restaurant.
Vapiano, now open in Ballston and M St. and opening soon in Chinatown is a success through and through. As I left I thought to myself: I can come back here. Upon further reflection, "can" isn't an option - I must go back, and as soon as possible.
4401 Wilson Boulevard
Arlington, Virginia 22203
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