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Restaurants Soho
3 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(9user reviews)

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

You can tell who’s new to Vapiano’s 'concept' by the way they clutch their menus and look around in confusion – getting a meal here is quite a palaver. Upon entering you’ll be hailed by the cheerful maître-cum-cashier, who will present you with a plastic charge card and menus; once you’ve chosen from the pastas, pizzas and salads or sides, you queue at a separate station to order each. Most of the food can be collected minutes later, apart from the pizzas, which take longer – then a hand-held buzzer alerts you when yours is ready. Settling up involves another queue, this time at the exit,  and this wait can be quite long.
Such oddball logistics haven’t stopped the German-born Italian chain from conquering the globe – at the last count it had hundreds of venues spread across five continents. And it’s easy to see what appeals: Italian food is a no-brainer the world over, the décor is attractive, the ambience carefree, and – crucially – ferrying your own food to your table instead of relying on staff to wait on you keeps costs low.
Dishes are a bit pot-luck: a tepid plate of ravioli, despite being freshly made on site, was on a par with tinned varieties, with tough, chewy pasta and an unappealing filling. We fared much better with a simple insalate caprese that boasted a whole ball of briskly fresh buffalo mozzarella and tangy cherry tomatoes; likewise, a wood-fired margherita was of good quality (although it didn’t hold a candle to the sterling efforts of some nearby Soho pizzerias). However, as a safe choice for a quick lunch, Vapiano has a solid fanbase.

By: Nicola Arencibia



Address: 84 Wardour Street

Opening hours: Open 11am-11pm Mon-Thur; 11am-midnight Fri-Sun.
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Users say (9)

4 out of 5 stars

Average User Rating

3.9 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:2
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:3
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:0
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I absolutely love this place! The fact that you can watch your food being prepared right in front of you and ask for more chilli or less garlic etc so it tastes exactly how you want it to is my most favourite thing! It's personalised just for you which makes it fantastic if you're going with a large group or even a small group with fussy eaters as everyone is catered for! All the food is so fresh and delicious, you can never really go too wrong with Italian food in my opinion, but this is definitely a nice change to the other chains like prezzo and pizza express! 

It's great for a casual lunch or dinner, catch up with friends or even a date! You get handed a contact less card as soon as you walk in and you just tap it at which ever station you order food from (kind of like an oyster card) and then you settle your personal bill when you leave at the end. This makes sharing the bill so simple and easy as you don't have to worry at all as you each have you own card and can eat to you hearts content! 

The portion sizes are great and very filling and I would say reasonably priced too! Highly recommend this place, definitely check it out!

Vapiano is an international fast casual restaurant chain that offers delicious Italian food cooked in front of you at self-service stations.

They use an unconventional payment method. A charge card is presented on entry and is swiped at various stations upon your order and payment is made when you leave.

As I entered the Soho branch, I was presented with many choices of foods including salads, soups, pastas, pizzas or a risotto. I opted for the pasta station.

Arriving before the dinner rush hour, I avoided the long queues. Pasta sauces could be combined with any choice of pasta. I opted for the Campanelle with Gamberetti which is prawns in tomato sauce.

I ate at a long wooden bench shared with other customers – a rather communal feeling like a school canteen. With fresh basil and rosemary pots at the table, I could add additional seasonings to my pasta.

The prawns were juicy. The sauce paired well with the al – dente pasta. The dash of lemon gave it the perfect lift. I had this with two complimentary slices of warm bread; nothing more rustic than dipping torn crusty pieces into leftover pasta sauce.

This is a brilliant casual place to visit with friends for a meal. With pastas ranging between £6.95-11.50, pizzas between £7.95 - 11.95 and risottos at £9.95 and £11.75, prices are a tad more than you’d expect for self – service. But I think there is perhaps something rather enjoyable in watching someone cook your food in front of you using top quality ingredients.


I absolutely love this place. This Italian operates a fairly unusual concept. Each person is given a card when they enter. You then walk around the various food and drink stations to order you food building up a tab on your card. The food is cooked freshly, usually in front of you, and can be completely bespoke. Don't like the look of all those chillies he's throwing in? No problem, just ask for less! Everyone pays off their own card when they leave so there's no hassle trying to split the bill. With a concept like this it would be easy to end up with a canteen-type environment but somehow they manage to make it a pleasant place to enjoy a meal with friends. Prices are very reasonable and the food is brilliant. Even the salads are a good option here!


This is my team's de facto lunch spot. My fav item here is the classic carbonara, I order it with campanelle or pappardelle, both are amazing to soak up the sauce. All of the pastas are fresh and the dishes are prepared in front of you. I ask for the bread as well (free) and there's olive oil and vinegar at the table for dipping. Great for large groups and when you haven't planned ahead for a meal in Soho.


An excellent concept. On arrival you are given a contactless-card which you will use to charge all of your food and drink too. We queued kind of like you would do if you were at school on either a pizza or pasta station, on this occasion we opted for pasta. Whilst waiting in line, you choose a pasta type followed by your choice of sauce and topping, which the chef then makes right in front of you! You are then free to go and choose your seat before tucking into your meal. I was very impressed with the taste meal itself. The pasta, which is actually made onsite, tasted delicious and is even available to purchase should you wish to take some home. Once you have finished and are ready to leave, you simple present you contact-less card to the host and pay, no need to wait for a bill and card machine. This is a great dinner option, especially if you are a stuck for time.


I want to like Vapiano. Really I do. The more relaxed canteen atmosphere combined with the promise of fast, tasty Italian food are all points that suggest that Vapiano is the perfect place for a cheap and quick meal. Whilst the food is great and on a par with other Italian chains such as Prezzo and Pizza Express, what fails is the ordering system. You are given a card to order with and you have to queue up at stations (there are different ones for pasta and risottos; pizzas; and salads) to place your order and wait whilst your food is cooked. The trouble with this system is that it has the potential to turn a social meal into an exercise in testing the British prelidiction for queueing. If you are looking for a quick solo meal, then this is the perfect place. If you're looking for somewhere to catch up with friends, then a restaurant with a more conventional service system might be better.

Imagine you get to an Italian food restaurant that looks like you're in Ikea, you're given a contact-less card and encouraged to got and check what's for food, order whatever you fancy and pay with that contact-less card. You'd say "WOOHOO! Free food!". Unfortunately, it's not free. On the way out, two charming ladies will pick your contact-less card, tell you how much you've spent and invite you to make use of your own contact-less bank card.

My first experience was nice and I will definitely give it a second go.

Staff Writer

An okay place if you want a quick dinner before going to a theatre or cinema; I find the quality slightly worse than similarly priced Italian places around but the place is quite relaxed and friendly.


I was introduced to Vapiano in Hamburg by a friend, so was incredibly excited when I found out London had some! The canteen style Italian is simple but effective. In principle you pick whether you want pasta or pizza, join the correct queue and they make it fresh for you there and then. Last week myself and a friend went for traditional spaghetti bolognese. The speed in which they made it was an amazing thing to see, but there were inconsistencies in both seasoning and the cooking of the pasta. Another friend ordered the calzone though (which took a while) but was brilliant. Definitely good value for money and worth a go. Toilets were a strong 7/10!

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