Vapiano offers outstanding pizza in Kaiserslautern
By ANDREW YURKOVSKY | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 16, 2015
Average to awful: Until recently, that has basically summed up the range of pizza choices in Kaiserslautern.
Wagon Wheel, though often derided, produces a workmanlike pizza that’s pretty OK by K-Town standards. At the opposite spectrum are Milano and Il Mondo. The pizzas at the former are a cheesy, doughy mess; those at the latter contain so much salt they make potato chips seem like a sodium-free snack.
Now, with the arrival of Vapiano a few months ago, it’s possible to get pizza here that is not just good but truly outstanding.
The German chain has restaurants throughout much of the world. The Kaiserslautern branch is spacious and pleasantly decorated, with seating options to match any occasion: long, high tables and stools for the busy lunch crowd; low tables that seat three or four; and sofas and easy chairs in which you can fall asleep after finishing off your meal.
Besides pizza, Vapiano offers pasta made from fresh dough as well as the usual salads, soups and desserts you’d find at any Italian restaurant. Fresh is the operative word. The company claims that each outlet is responsible for “producing its own food” on a daily basis. I don’t know how that works in practice, but I can vouch for the results: The tomatoes on my bruschetta pizza were about the freshest I’ve ever tasted.
Also crucial to producing a good pizza is the crust — and Vapiano’s is nearly perfect. It’s thin and crunchy, the way I like it. My bruschetta pie — covered in greens, shaved cheese and the aforementioned tomatoes — was light but filling. At about 12 inches, it was big enough for two, but I ate mine without any help. Vapiano offers some 20 other types of pizza, including a margherita (your basic red pie) and an appropriately named Americana, with very spicy pepperoni.
I made a second visit to Vapiano a few weeks later to try the pasta. It didn’t disappoint. I had the Pomodoro with fusilli, which the chef whipped up in front of me quickly and with panache. The fusilli was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was spicy and flavorful.
On this occasion, I wanted to get the full-meal experience, so I also ordered a salad and dessert. The greens and tomatoes were tasty but were overwhelmed by a salty and bland balsamic dressing. The tiramisu I chose for dessert was also unimpressive. Vapiano serves its version in a big glass, topped with plenty of bitter cocoa powder. It was, I’m sorry to say, no better than pretty OK.
These lapses, however, do nothing to dim my enthusiasm for Vapiano. The pizza and pasta are simply too good to pass up. And the friendly and professional service suggests this is a restaurant that seeks to get things right. When I mentioned my disappointment with the salad, the cashier took it off my bill. You can’t beat that.
Where: Richard-Wagner-Strasse 1, Kaiserslautern, Germany
Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays to Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 11 p.m. Sundays and holidays
Menu: Pizza, pasta, antipasti, salads and soups, a wide selection of desserts and hot and cold drinks
Prices: Pizzas, 6.90-9.90 euros (about $7.50-$10.80); pasta dishes, 6.90-10.90 euros; salads, 2.50-9 euros; extras, 2-3 euros each; soups, 2.90 and 4.50 euros; desserts, 2.75-4.25 euros.
Information: Call (+49) (0) 631 4147-4748; vapiano.com; facebook.com/VapianoKaiserslauternFackelcenter