Review: Vapiano Italian Restaurant, Surfers Paradise (Gold Coast, Australia)

I absolutely looove Italian food so I couldn’t wait to dine here at Vapiano, which is located right in the heart of Surfers Paradise. They use a system where each customer is given a card to record all their transactions on. Customers can walk around to peruse and order what they want from the different stations, then tap their cards on station-specific machines to record those transactions. Actual payment is made when customers return their cards to the front counter.

The entire area is free seating – you can choose to sit indoors or sit at the al fresco dining area overlooking the main boulevard. There was also a lovely herb display in the centre of the space and on each individual table indoors, highlighting the restaurant’s focus on the use of fresh ingredients.

Vapiano Italian Restaurant queue line and ordering area

Vapiano Italian Restaurant's indoor seating area

Vapiano Italian Restaurant's outdoor seating area

Deciding what to eat was the hard part, there were so many of my favourites on the menu even though it wasn’t an extensive one. Quintessential Italian fare like pastas, pizzas, salads, risottos and desserts were available at the different stations. The best part is, just about everything they serve here is locally sourced and freshly made in-house (think FRESH PASTA). After eating here, my husband became a total convert – store-bought dry pasta just doesn’t cut it anymore. So it’s true what they say, that after you’ve eaten good fresh pasta, there’s really no going back. I, on the other hand, wasn’t as blown away as my husband was, but that’s because I generally prefer my pastas softer than the usual al dente style they do here.

Prices were very reasonable, and every pasta or risotto came with two slices of complimentary bread and an incredible portion of grated cheese. I loved the simple, straightforward flavours in all their dishes (we visited three times and tried different dishes each time). The chefs are really big on customization, so they’ll ask you various questions on what you’d like included and excluded, and then cook your order right in front of you! One downside is that the queues can get rather long during peak hours, but that’s to be expected for a restaurant with great food and wonderfully affordable prices.

Vapiano Italian Restaurant's chef cooking and preparing our pasta order

My overall rating of the experience: 5 out of 5 stars. I think the food being Italian already gives this place a huge plus in my books. Not only were the chefs professional in individualizing and executing our orders, they also delivered nicely on flavour – simple, honest and well-balanced. But what really sealed the deal for me was the fact that they used fresh ingredients, from the hand-made pasta to the finishing touches of herbs and garnishes, which likely contributed to their food’s great taste. All of this for superbly reasonable prices, now that’s value right there. My husband just couldn’t get enough so we dined at this branch in Gold Coast twice, and once more at the branch in Brisbane, it was just that good (:

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