“It’s all in the details.”
If asked why I think Vapiano Charlotte has succeeded in introducing to the State of North Carolina a
dining concept it’s never seen before, that would be my exact response. From California-imported olive trees and hand-painted murals to daily batches of freshly-made pasta in-house, it’s more than obvious that the folks at Vapiano Charlotte pride themselves in offering an all-around quality dining experience.
I had the pleasure of visiting Vapiano Charlotte this past Friday evening and upon arrival, I was greeted by Angele, a pleasant hostess eager to explain the Vapiano dining culture,and a soulful serenade of live singers and guitarists over a low, but lively hum of social chatter from restaurant guests. Needless to say, the first impression was a very positive one.
The atmosphere of Vapiano Charlotte is very modern and very comfortable. As Lars, one of the very welcoming managers, explained, it is set up to be “your living room away from home.” From the lounge area in front to the communal seating arrangements which encourage socializing, I definitely felt a level of comfort that I have never felt in a restaurant before.
Not only does Vapiano Charlotte provide an atmosphere worthy of date night, girls night out or a business lunch, but they’ve built a wallet-friendly menu (no dish over $9.95!) full of Italian dishes, all made with fresh ingredients that are grown right there in-house. You’re given a chip card upon arrival and you simply visit the station of your choosing (pasta, pizza, salad and what have you) and everything is charged to your card – just like running a tab. At the end of your visit, you settle your bill with the hostess.
The first item I charged to my handy dandy chip card was the Bruschetta Trio and I think I made the best possible decision! As the name suggests, there were three variations – a classic bruschetta mix, a basil pesto mix and a Toscana mix, all three served atop roasted ciabatta bread. The classic bruschetta and the basil pesto were by far my favorite part of the dish and both had a big punch of garlic and fresh basil that left me wanting more. The Toscana mix was dull in comparison to the other two; however, together they all provided for a balanced, flavorful experience.
For my main course, I delighted in the Signature Diavolo pizza, which was topped with spicy Sicilian pepperoni and bell peppers. This pizza took me back to summers in New York and my favorite corner pizza shop and I loved it! I will say, that if you’re not a fan of a little grease, then this may not be a menu pick for you, but if you love New York style pizza then you’d definitely enjoy. My boyfriend (who was glad he’d come with me on my visit) had the penne pasta with chicken (mind you, he was given a full list of pasta types to choose from). The house-made tomato sauce was the perfect, robust combination of fresh ingredients and, when combined with the fresh pasta cooked al dente, really took the pasta to a different level.
Vapiano Charlotte knows how to give you more bang for your buck. Its wow factor lies in the all the fine details that have been pulled together into one modern, sophisticated yet uber casual package that boasts value, freshness and an over refreshing break away from the ordinary dining experience. Vapiano Charlotte has not seen the last of me!