We were certainly not intending to do Italian any time on this trip but did find ourselves in a wonderful pizza place one evening. There is a place that I must talk about. It blew us away.
We were invited to join a group of ex pat Australians here in Basel at a place they like to frequent. This was so good we just had to go back to be sure. It is Italian and it is just excellent.
As you enter the place you are handed a swipe card. This is credit card sized plastic card. Any time you purchase something, you swipe your card. At the end of the night you hand in the card and the bill is ready for you right away.
How fantastic is this for young people wanting to watch their own spending while hanging out with a group. What ever they choose goes on their card and splitting the bill is done as you order not when the bill arrives. Guard your card and you are in total control all night. No splitting the bill after you nursed a single mineral water all night and left the bubbles to your mates. This is the best billing innovation I have seen in years.
Then the there is ordering process. We have been eating Italian in Australia for ever and Italian food places are everywhere. It is difficult to be different. At Vapiano you wander up to the cook and discuss your culinary ideas with reference to the menu. The cook prepares it there while you wait.
The cooks we worked with - we went twice - were happy and chatty and did a great job of quickly preparing everything.
From a business perspective they were fantastic doing a perfect upsell all the time.
They cooked on large woks, 2 at a time, using fresh vegetables and herbs all the way. The herbs are all grown on the property. There are even herbs on your table to add more if you choose. In no time at all we had a wonderfully prepared and presented meal to take back to the table.
The clientele is great. We could recognise first dates, business meetings, families, couples, travellers, birthdays, mates, any kind of grouping you could consider seemed to find this place well worth checking out.
The atmosphere was good. It was clean and well maintained. There were many different groupings of seats from high tables to long benches and small lounge areas. The food was demonstrably fresh. No canned sauces here at all. You meal was cooked on the spot.
I loved the background behind the food. The way a used wok was dropped in a pile to be cleaned after a dish was prepared and new woks were dragged from the clean pile at the start of each preparation.
So we thought Basel had a big hit with this place. I had forgotten the details. I did a quick search for the place on the internet and discovered they are all over the world.
Take a look if you are travelling - this seems like a great Franchise, a cut above all the other Italian family places you may consider.