Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill
Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill

Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://vespanc.com/
  • Phone: 9199696600
  • Hours of Operation:
    Lunch: Noon - 3 pm
    Dinner: 4:00 pm -10:00 pm
    Late Night: 10:30 pm - 2:30 am


  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar Dining, Beer, Counter Seating, Full Bar, Gluten-free Menu, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Takeout, Wheelchair Access, Wine
  • Catering: Contact Management.
  • Private Party Facilities: Located on Franklin Street, Vespa is the neighborhood restaurant bringing beautiful, Italian cuisine to the heart of Chapel Hill. Fresh ingredients, fine wines, and one-of-a-kind ambiance make Vespa the perfect location for any event.
  • Private Party Contact: Seref Akbay 8778804391
  • Special Events: Every Sunday, all wines, both by the glass and bottle are half off! Feel free to review what we have to offer before you dine with us: http://vespanc.com/wine-and-beer-lists

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Malette
  • Parking: No
  • Parking Details:

A word from Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill
Ciao e benevenuti!

Here at Vespa Ristorante we pride ourselves in serving the best Italian and Mediterranean food in Chapel Hill. Our beautiful menu, easily accessible downtown location, charming atmosphere and friendly staff make us the ideal spot for a romantic dinner, a family celebration or a night on the town with friends.

Dishes like the Apricot Stuffed Pork Loin wrapped with Proscuitto and our perfectly cooked Lamb Shank served over Tumeric Risotto demonstrate that our Chef's creativity and love of experimentation are married perfectly to his knowledge of traditional Italian cooking. The Pasta at Vespa is delicious, made in-house and cooked to order, so substitutions are not a problem. Freshness is always guaranteed.

After dining with us, it won't be hard to see why so many of our customers return again and again to savor the dining experience and become members of our Chapel Hill family.
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeigborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill reviews from OpenTable diners
45 reviews since May 26, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4.1
    Service4
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
82% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (25)fit for foodies (19)special occasion (18)romantic (17)neighborhood gem (15)good for groups (9)notable wine list (8)kid-friendly (4)hot spot (4)scenic view (3)late-night find (3)great for lunch (2)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • We'd go back
    Coxster
    Dined on 4/20/2014
    Everything was absolutely great. Can't recall the name of the appetizer, which was one of the many things on the menu that I could not pronounce, but I wasn't there to talk about it, I was there to eat it and it was outstanding. I had some fancy-named egg plant, my wife had veal by another name, but again, it was all in the taste buds. If we were locals, we'd be regulars.
    Special Features:
    Romantic, special occasion, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Awesome
    Hchan77659VIP
    Dined on 4/4/2014
    Great food and service. Outsideings were seating was a plus. All food was prepared well
    Special Features:
    Great for Outdoor Dining, Scenic View, Neighborhood Gem, Notable Wine List
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Pleased in General
    Richmonder
    Dined on 2/22/2014
    We were seated promptly. The food was very good and in good sized portions. Our only complaint was that our server had too many tables and focused on the larger groups, so the person who seated us kept having fill in and take our orders. They were very apologetic about it, but they knew it as a problem and it never improved. We waited longer for our food than I like (probably 45 minutes).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice early bird prix fixe
    Alison
    Dined on 2/17/2014
    Nice early bird prix fixe menu with great selections and a good price. They were accommodating with requests and the server was great. Food was very good, ragu slightly salty and salad slightly underseasoned, but really good food.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful again
    Barbara
    Dined on 2/15/2014
    Thanks for a wonderful dinner Saturday night. Always outstanding dinner. I had the special Mahi Mahi which was outstanding. I really thought it had a special and unique flavor. Paired with the wine was a winner. I just LOVE VESPA..........what else can I say?
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list, kid-friendly, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Horrible Food and Service
    Opentabler
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    I have been multiple times before and had a very pleasant experience. Food and derive has been phenomenal in the past. But this past visit, for valentines day, was atrocious. The service was horrible; he was slow and forgetful and turned the pepper grinder the wrong way so nothing came out (but said "it's just really fine so it's hard to see"). The food was near inedible. The lamb was fine. But the crab ravioli tasted like plastic. Poor quality ingredients and bad presentation. I will not be back for a long time. And not to mention vastly overpriced for the amount and quality of food
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Enjoyable Valentine's
    musseluvr
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    This was our first time at Vespa Ristorante. It was Valentine's evening, parking was a bit difficult, though not impossible. The restaurant was full of (mostly young) couples, which helped set a romantic atmosphere. The Velentine prix fixe menu offered a good range of choices and the paired wines were just right and reasonably priced. The waitperson was outstanding. I would highly recommend to anyone looking for a sophisticated, reasonably priced night out at a very pleasant restaurant.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Valentine's Day to Remember!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    For Valentine's Day, Vespa wasn't my first choice, but it should have been. Seating was immediate in a lovely dining room. Our beverage order was served quickly. I had insalata festiva, agnello (lamb shank with risotto) and profiteroles. My date had polenta and funghi, grilled mahi and special dessert. Salad was crisp, fresh and delicious. Polenta was wonderful with mushrooms and sauce that were sopping good. Lamb shank was tender, juicy and flavorful like osso bucco. Risotto was al dente, creamy and delicious. Mahi was perfectly prepared and flaky with asparagus and mixed vegetables. Special dessert was light and creamy while the profiteroles were flaky and delish. An outstanding dining experience for $37/each without wine! I'm a real fan!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Delicious no fuss italian
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 2/14/2014
    While it may not be the most authentic italian restaurant, it is delicious. The ambiance is OK and the service is always great.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A Bit Disappointing
    CuriousDinerVIP
    Dined on 2/7/2014
    We went for 6:00PM dinner, pre-theater; the restaurant was almost empty. The small place is attractive but we were surprised by the bare plate glass windows overlooking the parking lot; some simple sheer panels would add warmth without blocking daylight. Server was pleasant, not familiar with the wines but we appreciated the offer of a taste; the ones we selected were good. Salads were very good with nice dressings. In the pasta dishes the pasta itself and the rich "pink sauce" were excellent but the crab filling in the ravioli was soft and pasty in one and there didn't seem to be much smoked salmon in the other. The tab seemed high for the meal we had.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • One of my 2 favorites in area
    Pickyeater
    Dined on 2/3/2014
    In the heart of everything on Franklin Street, Vespa's has great dining and a wonderful hard working owner who keeps everything going together. No, I'm not a relative or close friend but I am made to feel as if I were. Six of my gal friends go to lunch on each other's birthdays to celebrate. Every time so far, the birthday girl has selected Vespa's. In the beginning, only two of us has ever been there. But this is now a fav of all. Food comes out steaming. Seasoning is perfect. Soups are to die for. In fact, everything is wonderful. Decor is casual although there are white tablecloths and a silver setting at each table.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • On the spot mods! Loved it!
    Martin
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    I couldn't decide between two seafood dishes, and they accommodated me by combining them: squid inked linguini (which I love!) from the shrimp diabolo dish, with the (all) seafood dish (forgot the name). And my spouses farfale with asparagus was exquisite also! Wonderful colors and flavors! I'm shocked that in 10+ years in Chapel Hill, this was our first time to Vespa. We'll go there again for sure...
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very attractive locale and
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 2/1/2014
    Very attractive locale and interior. The food was very good. But very puzzling was the fact that on a basketball game day with time for brunch or lunch before the game our group of 4 were the only diners in the restaurant.
    Special Features:
    great for brunch, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Wonderful free parking on
    Pickyeater
    Dined on 1/23/2014
    Wonderful free parking on Franklin St in the parking lot right next to the restaurant. I have brought countless friends to this restaurant and it immediately becomes one of their favorites. I've never heard a bad comment about this place. The food is delicious. The owner is very involved in his restaurant (cooking) and is the hardest working and nicest man. Everyone I've brought there can't find any complaints. Give this place a try! It is my go-to place. (No, I'm not related to the owner. It is just that good.)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We are regulars
    Barbara
    Dined on 1/17/2014
    We dine there often, we are regulars without fail. When something works, why change? We rarely go elsewhere in CH. What else can I say other than we go again and again and again - the best recommendation there is.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Sunday night dining - fantastic
    Barbara
    Dined on 1/12/2014
    My husband said it was the best Veal dinner ever - so very fresh. The restaurant was pretty busy but the service was "spot on" and while we are regulars - Vespa's never fails to satisfy - often exceeding expectations. I am so proud of this little restaurant - quality, service and value - outstanding. Consistent quality and service. It is our favorite in CH and the Triangle - why change when you have something you can count on!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Vespa on Franklin - Chapel Hill
    WilkAustin
    Dined on 1/9/2014
    What a gem! We went for a dinner and then a lunch -- both excellent. They accommodated all needs, including food allergies. Wonderful, friendly service too. We were surprised it wasn't bursting at the seams with people!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • ignored
    ignored
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    It took nearly 20 minutes to seat us, which was understandable because we did arrive early for our reservation. However, it was really that it took 20 minutes to be noticed standing at the hostess stand. After a brief sit a the bar that offered no service to us or even a glance at a drink menu, we were seated in the corner surrounded by floor to ceiling windows exposed to the street on a night that was dipping into freezing temperatures. We were given one regular menu and two New Year's Eve special menus, but no drink or wine menu. Our waitress came and introduced herself and then quickly went to servicing surrounding tables. Nearly 30 minutes passed with her ignoring us while she continued to serve other tables. We eventually walked out.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • New Years Eve 2013
    TriangleTasteBudVIP
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    Wife & I celebrated our anniversary by visiting a very busy Vespa in Chapel Hill...the restaurant was packed on NYE 2013 & the staff hustled, yet some tables were missed as we visibly saw. It came to my attention that as busy as the staff was, the "HANDS ON" owner was 4 times as busy & THAT is what this experience one that caused me to write...Lets say Vespa is a HIDDEN GEM...great food, wonderful ambiance, owner who jumped in when it got slammed and didn't stop..makes us want to support this type of business..Was our dinner PERFECT..no..have we ever had a PERECT dinner..WE WISH ;) In short, reviews here are based opinion of visit...ours on a BUSY New Years Eve was to make this a stop in the near future..Thanks Vespa
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • VERY POOR SERVICE, the waiter
    JJMUNC
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    VERY POOR SERVICE, the waiter basically ignored us most of the night, Some items we ordered never arrived. We evern asked another waiter about some of the items and we did not get them. I would not recomment this to anyone, unless they just need a place to hang out for awhile with no one to bother you.. The food was OK but the extremely poor service made the experience the worst I have ever had.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Italian Food
    NeuroMitchVIP
    Dined on 12/31/2013
    My wife and I have been to Vespa about a half dozen times and it never fails to be excellent. We had an early (pre-Hockey game) New Year's Eve dinner that was wonderful. The special dessert was a poached quince with pomegranate seeds. Probably one of the best desserts I have ever had. PERIOD. Healthy, unusual, delicious, inventive. The portions are always generous and the price reasonable. The wine list is small but good. There are always specials that are not on the menu. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Disapointing
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 12/24/2013
    The ambiance was terrible,the service was bad. We waited an hour and a half to eat, with no apology or acknowledgment from the server or manager...and then the food was so average foe $50 a person I expect more.. We will not return nor will we recommend it.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • great Italian
    goodeats
    Dined on 12/20/2013
    So far it has been hard to find truly good Italian food in the triangle. However, Vespa delivered on the goods. The prosciutto wrapped mozzarella with red peppers and red sauce was superb. Both of our entrees were equally great. The only negative, and it was minor, we ordered a bottle of wine but a slightly more expensive bottle was delivered. We didn't notice until we were already enjoying it. We did not tell our server since the wine was good and we failed to notice during the presentation/tasting.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 12/17/2013
    Best mussels I have ever had! The service was wonderful. I cannot wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Girls' Night Out
    Hungry
    Dined on 12/7/2013
    My girlfriends and I had dinner at Vespa and it was delicious! Service was great, and we had plenty of time to just relax and enjoy each other's company both before and after the meal. I will be going to Vespa again!!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Football week-end handled with yum
    andapanda
    Dined on 11/9/2013
    Great dinner. I made a quick reservation on Open Table for six people, and they were ready for us when we arrived. Great caprese salad and the crab ravioli was outstanding. I split it with my friend, and wished I hadn't!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • A very nice evening in town
    WolfPackVIP
    Dined on 10/26/2013
    We always liked being on or around Franklin St. and our Vespa discovery the other night was just spectacular. The good, the service and overall ambience just outstanding. Will go there again, and again, and again...
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Very nice restaurant and food
    zap1k
    Dined on 10/20/2013
    Very nice restaurant and food is very good but portions quite limited as was menu is limited. Food was beautifully presented Prices were high for the portions
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Enjoyed It....Will Return
    NCmomVIP
    Dined on 10/19/2013
    Everyone in our party of three enjoyed different entrees at this restaurant. The chef incorporated both Alfredo and Marinara sauces into the lasagne for a unique flavor, the crab ravioli was excellent, and the deliciously creamy sauce smothering the gnocchi was subtly flavored with prosciutto. The bread was fresh, the house salad was very good, and the sauteed spinach was seasoned to perfection. The atmosphere was nice, and the staff were friendly without being overly solicitous. Would recommend.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • this is one of our favorite places
    ak55
    Dined on 10/19/2013
    when we have guests visiting from out of town or just want a relaxed, pampered evening. Great food. Great service.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Definitely will try again.
    2EnjoyLife
    Dined on 10/9/2013
    Before enjoying a performance in Chapel Hill, we made reservations at Vespa. We had never eaten there before, but we were not disappointed. My hubby had the chicken parm, and he thoroughly enjoyed it. I had the eggplant parm, which was yummy. We had the tapas platter and it was okay. The spinach tarator was quite delicious, but the other items did not stand out. If you know anything at all about wine, the list will not impress. With that said, I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone, and we would go there again.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • juppeats3.5star
    juppeatsVIP
    Dined on 10/2/2013
    We've been to Vespa many times and this was our best experience yet. Seemed like everyone was eating outside, so we joined them. Very attentive service, including service from the manager. The Malbec on the wine list was delicious and full bodied. Two of us shared the Vespa salad that came nicely dressed and more than enough for the two of us. One of my guests had the special, a roasted whole bluefish. It came properly deboned, and had wonderful flavors. Another guest had a spicy pasta dish that she really enjoyed. Another guest loved the swordfish dish and I had my usual veal picatta, which comes well thinned with a tangy butter caper sauce. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Even the nearby usual Franklin St. panhandler wasn't a bother.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • change of character
    skeptical1
    Dined on 9/28/2013
    Vespa used to be a quiet unassuming place with surprisingly good food where one could have a civilized dinner with friends.It is now a cliche - diners packed in, dishes clattering, waiters rushed, and the most pedestrian of food - "mashed potatoes" (!) served in a "scoop"? The only cliche missing was the friendly host (ours was surly), the only bright spot the pleasant wait person.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Food was good, although choices
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 9/28/2013
    Food was good, although choices were a bit more limited than I expected. It was Parents' Weekend in a college town and they were running hard to keep up.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Just "OK" but deserves a 2nd try
    travelpro
    Dined on 9/28/2013
    We dined on a very busy weekend night; UNC's parent weekend so the menu was very limited and service very disorganized. Fish was fair, portions small. Even with the very limited menu they ran out out of many entrees. Sat out doors and street scene was nice. Waitstaff was nice and courteous. Maybe just a bad night.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Always good
    ksgirl
    Dined on 9/26/2013
    We enjoy our meal at Vespa's when we are in town. Excellent menu, wine selection, etc. Service was slow. One waiter and a trainee for a lot of tables - even though it was not busy this night. Pasta is excellent - ravioli always good.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • a surprise
    undercover
    Dined on 9/20/2013
    We were looking for a moderately priced Italian downtown and it exceeded expectations on all fronts. the veal was fresh and more than enough as was the Tuna. Well priced wine list with the Italian choices by region.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for brunch, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Bland food
    Peter
    Dined on 9/20/2013
    We had the lasagna and the Fettuccini Nere (shrimp Fra Diavolo). both were prepared OK but without much flavor. The atmosphere was very nice and quiet. There are Italian places in the area with more flavorful food.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great Lunch Spot
    MEvisitor
    Dined on 9/17/2013
    A group of us from work went to Vespa for lunch recently. We had a wonderful meal--great food, attentive service, and very affordable. Highly recommend! Excellent hummus and fresh bread.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • This is my go-to place for
    Pickyeater
    Dined on 9/4/2013
    This is my go-to place for lunch. It is generally fairly quiet and the food is out of this world. My friend and I split a chicken piccata and a chicken parmesan this time and both were soooooooooooo good. I had the profiterales and she had the ice cream for lunch. She loved the chocolate over the hazelnut which was too mild to really get the taste of hazelnuts. I always get a really good meal here and everyone knocks themselves out to give you the best dining experience they can.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate