Monday, October 17, 2011


The other day I met my friend C for dinner in Ballston. She had heard about Vapiano and saw that they had a happy hour so we decided to give the place a try.
Being the hectic person that I am, I parked in the Ballston mall parking garage because I was not feeling like trying to find parking on the street. Looking like a tourist I brought the GPS out on my phone which of course was registering that I was in Clarendon so I basically wandered around until I found the restaurant. I got there just in time to hear the hostess explaining to C how the restaurant works.

They give you these little cards to keep track of everything you order and then when you are about to leave, you give the hostess back the card and then you pay for your meal/drinks.
The set up is a little confusing at first, but basically you have to decide if you want pizza, pasta or a salad/panini and go stand in the appropriate line. Naturally I opted for the pizza, which I must admit I was a little nervous about because there was no one in the pizza line. I picked the Bruschetta pizza 10.95 served with arugula, fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic, parmesan. After I ordered they gave me a buzzer so I could grab a seat or get a drink from the bar. The pizza was pretty tasty, not quite the style I prefer, but fresh ingredients.
Since I had ordered and received my buzzer I went up to C who was still in the forever long pasta line and asked if she wanted me to get her a drink. Well after waiting at the bar for 5 minutes and having no one help me (more about this later) I wondered back to C confused about what to do. At this point she had still not ordered and my buzzer went off so I got my pizza and picked a seat.

The restaurant was very aesthetically pleasing and has fresh herbs all over the place so I decided to sit near the wall with fresh basil and rosemary(?).
After picking a seat, C had finally ordered and then a couple of minutes later she joined me with her pasta. She chose the Carbonara $10.95 with cream sauce, parm, egg and bacon. She was not very thrilled with this at all, and I tried it as well and it was really bland and the pasta was to squishy.
Back to my bar fiasco. So after I ordered pizza I wandered to the bar to get C and I some wine. I waited for about 5 minutes. I figured the bar tender went to the bathroom or stepped away for a second. Well the hostess came over to drop some dirty glasses off and made eye contact with me (could see me drinkless just waiting) and then just went to go stand at the empty hostess stand. The busser came after she left, same situation, and then left. I finally decided to walk over and stand with C before my pizza was done. Since she was still waiting for her food I went back to the bar and checked to see if the bartender was back.

I decided to go to the hostess stand and ask about the bar situation "O you wanted to order a drink" "no...I was just standing up at the bar because I wanted to." <--don't worry...I didn't say that. She wandered off to find the bartender, which ended up being the guy who made my pizza...understaffed I guess?

By the time I was brought the wine, C had gotten our pasta and we ate our meal.

I can't imagine going here with more then one person, especially at a busy time. I don't know if they get more efficient if it gets busier, but it just doesn't make sense if you come here to eat with other people. You will not get your food anywhere near the same time. At least the guy that was making the pasta was cute, something to look at when you are waiting in a ridiculously long line.

Mediocre food, uninteresting happy hour, poor time-management skills...I will not be back here. And the restaurant was empty, something I haven't come across in the Ballston/Clarendon/Arlington area any night of the week, especially if they have a happy hour.

Grade: C- 

4401 Wilson Blvd
Arlington VA
Ballston metro
Vapiano (Ballston) on Urbanspoon

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