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 WinnerOutdoor Dining
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
  • Diners' Choice WinnerSpecial Occasion
Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill reviews from OpenTable diners
49 reviews since June 23, 2014
Overall Rating3.9
  • Food4.1
    Service4.1
  • Ambiance4.1
    Noise LevelModerate
93% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (27)fit for foodies (22)special occasion (20)romantic (17)neighborhood gem (17)notable wine list (9)good for groups (8)hot spot (5)scenic view (4)late-night find (4)kid-friendly (3)great for lunch (3)Show More
  • 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
  • Nice Italian in Chapel Hill
    UKFoodiesVIP
    Dined on 8/31/2013
    Ate here on the second night of our weekend break in the Raleigh-Durham area. The restaurant is conveniently located on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. When we arrived, the place wasn't busy. Service was attentive and friendly. The tricolore salad was very good although drenched in a bit too much olive oil. My husband ordered the rib tips over risotto and really liked them (he also really liked the warm bread that was brought out and ate both the rolls). I also ordered the steamed mussels and asked that they and the tricolore salad be brought out together. However, the manager strongly insisted that I have the salad first, to which I reluctantly agreed. The mussels were a tad overcooked but OK. We'd probably return and sample pasta here.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, notable wine list, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Perfect Evening
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 8/15/2013
    Our meal was wonderful; the evening perfect. What a nice memory.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • This is my go-to restaurant.
    Pickyeater
    Dined on 8/14/2013
    This is my go-to restaurant. Yesterday, I celebrated the birthday of a friend with 5 gals besides myself. Many had not been to this restaurant but all were crazy about the food and so surprised when a shareable birthday dessert came out that was to die for. I have never had a bad meal here and have never had any complaints from friends I take there. Everyone is impressed with the food and service and all love the owner. It is becoming a favorite restaurant for all that I take there. You must try this place. The owner wants so badly to please you and give you a good meal and a good time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Management and staff attentive
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/9/2013
    Management and staff attentive but not intrusive. The food was excellently prepared and presented. The Gnocchi were as good as I have had in Italy. Ralph in SC
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Another excellent meal at Vespa
    cateler
    Dined on 8/9/2013
    Once again, the food was fabulous. The Scottata appetizer is unique and delicious, the house-made marinara is delicate and has the right balance of sweet and tart. Veal picatta and the risotto were both very good. But it is the attentiveness of the staff is what really makes Vespa special. We will return again and again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, late-night find
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • perfect
    birthdaygirl64
    Dined on 8/4/2013
    perfect in every way. Top quality ingredients make for top quality food..presented with eye-appeal. Wait staff work as a team to make sure your time spent there is a memorable fine dining event.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Dessert
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 7/23/2013
    Outstanding tiramisu and profiteroles. Espresso was good. Couldn't find moscato d'asti on the extensive Italian wines list.e
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Spot!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 6/26/2013
    Went to lunch with two girlfriends - and had the best experience! The owner and all of the staff were so attentive - but, left the three of us to talk without hurrying us. Our food was all delicious - two of us had the caprese sandwich, which came with a nice little green salad with delicious dressing and a small cup of the soup of the day. I've been thinking about that sandwich and can't wait to go back!!! He also gave us a "punch card" for a free lunch after we dine there 4 times ( I think). Judging from the small lunch crowd, they are trying to get the lunch business goinig.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • My favorite place
    Pickyeater
    Dined on 6/26/2013
    This is the only menu that I could eat nearly everything served. I have introduced it to others and they are all crazy about this place after they try it. The owner bends over backwards to please his guests and is a really sweet man. And the meals and the prices are always outstanding. No one make soups, sandwiches or even main courses like this. Desserts are all made in house also. Try this place. You will love it!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, great for lunch, special occasion, kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Fine for decent N Italian Chapel H
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 6/22/2013
    We went with a party of 4 including one in a wheelchair for a 7 PM dinner. Service was quick, food (scallopine, shrimp diavlo, carpaccio) quality decent and portion size appropriate. Other reviewers were put off by the odor of grease which I will admit was detectable but not offensive unless you are an aromaphobe. Light level and sound level were fine for conversing with two 90+ year old companions. i would not recommend it for romantic candlelight dining for two .
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great value!
    Rhoda
    Dined on 6/19/2013
    Excellent all around dinner and a great value with half price entrees on Wednesday night. Free parking right along side off Franklin can't be beat!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Exceptional!
    Halz
    Dined on 6/9/2013
    Food & service was great. I love the half price wine on Sundays--made for a great treat! Great portion size and terrific taste.
    Special Features:
    romantic, notable wine list, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • My visit to Vespa Ristorante-Chapel
    visit2NC
    Dined on 6/9/2013
    My visit to Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill was a very nice one, indeed. I would not hesitate to book a reservation there again were I to be in town. The staff was very professional and the food was delicious.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Glad I found it
    BobJVIP
    Dined on 6/6/2013
    My wife and I dined at Vespa during Triangle Restaurant Week and we are glad we did. Every one of the 3 courses, salads, lamb shanks and dessert were plentiful and very good. The prices for both food and drink were reasonable, the quality and volume of the background music were perfect for both listening and conversation, the service was good and the management aimed to please. We wil definitely return.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Our Teacher Team
    dcuben
    Dined on 6/6/2013
    1) Easy parking. Free parking in Chapel Hill? 2) We were expected (as per our reservation) and well received. Our host/waiter was polite, prompt, and unobtrusive (yet readily available to answer any questions). 3) The wine menu was reasonable, and the Chianti was very nice. 4) The Early Bird menu was reasonable, and we each found it difficult to narrow our choices - all of them looked good, and everyone was! 5) The conversation was lively at our table. That said, we were never interrupted. The staff was attentive but never overbearing. Glasses were refilled as needed, but there was never any "hovering." 6) The desserts were excellent! Between the five of us, we got all of the options - and they were all great!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • We have been to Vespa several
    NeuroMitchVIP
    Dined on 5/25/2013
    We have been to Vespa several times in the last year. Consistently excellent food with very attentive service. Authentically prepared meals. Highly recommended.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • The restaurant had decent
    RobertVIP
    Dined on 5/24/2013
    The restaurant had decent food, but there was a pervasive and pungent smell of old frying oil that was quite unpleasant. It smelled like a Popeye's or similar fast food establishment that does a lot of deep frying and doesn't change out its frying oil very often. That smell alone is enough to deter me from returning to the restaurant.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointed Diner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005
    Dined on 5/22/2013
    Had dinner there yesterday evening. While my husband said his pasta was good, I can only say that my meal was unappealing and a disappointment. I ordered the apricot stuffed pork loin with fig/port sauce. The pork was dry, very overcooked and unseasoned. The fig port sauce was too much and too sweet. They do offer 1/2 priced entree's on certain nights. Even at 1/2 price off it still was a mess. Maybe I should have ordered the pasta instead?
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Best lunch ever!
    Pickyeater
    Dined on 5/22/2013
    The parking at Vespa's is really easy to get in and out. But, my friend and I both agreed that we always have a great lunch there and our lunch on May 21 was the best so far. I ordered the carrot soup. I've had it before. It never would be my first choice anywhere but Vespa's. Their soups are the best. I also had chicken parmesan with spaghetti. My friend had the special, crab raviolis. The sauce was to die for according to her and she loved every last bite. I am happy to see that people are finally finding this gem as I want them to stay in business as they are a favorite of mine and most of my friends. Try it and you'll agree.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • If you want Italian in Chapel Hill
    SpoiledDinersVIP
    Dined on 5/19/2013
    Then you want to eat at Vespa restaurant.. The owner runs a top notch establishment...fine food, very well prepared, with courteous and professional service. This is simply a winner. We have eaten in downtown Chapel Hill many many times, and we have eaten at many Italian restaurants, and coming from New York, our expectations were high--and Vespa delivers.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, romantic, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent service
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/14/2013
    We went there to celebrate a co-worker graduation. The service was amazing and the restaurant provided desert for free!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, notable wine list, romantic, great for lunch, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Not great
    OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    The food was mediocre; service poor and a "set menu" for UNC graduation. Our first course salads were brought BEFORE we received our cocktails, which were syrupy sweet. And, the restaurant smelled of smoke. Not a good experience.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice place to meet the parents...
    eateninbetterplaces
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    We ate here after the UNC graduation last week, it was a "meet the parents" of my son's adorable new girlfriend. It was a perfect place and we all had a great meal and a great time. My only problem was... they ran out of our favorite wine and we only had 1 bottle for 8 people. Advice: stock up for Graduation/Mother's Day weekend!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Mother's Day / graduation men
    OpenTable Diner Since 2011
    Dined on 5/12/2013
    Given busy and full tables of celebration of graduation and mother's day, we were delighted with service and food quality of fixed menu offerings. Appetizers were generous and well prepared, main course was delicious ( seafood ravioli and lamb shank entrees), with yummy dessert. Staff very attentive. Ate outside and although near busy street, found the scene delightful. Lovely attentive touches of blue and white balloons honoring grads and a red rose given to all moms.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Reataurant
    Jimbo
    Dined on 5/10/2013
    We have enjoyed this restaurant thoroughly during our son's four years at UNC. Very good food in relaxed atmosphere, great owner and wonderful location
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food. Good service.
    OpenTable Diner Since 2008
    Dined on 5/4/2013
    Great food. Good service. Everything we have had there is great.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, romantic, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Food was pretty good, not
    OpenTable Diner Since 2005VIP
    Dined on 4/27/2013
    Food was pretty good, not exceptional. The worse part about it was the fact that we were seated in the back room, which was quiet and bright - completely different from the front room which was more happening, with lower lights and better atmosphere.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Reliable for basic pasta dishes,
    longaregular
    Dined on 4/27/2013
    Reliable for basic pasta dishes, Vespa often excels in its specials and its salads. A fish special -- treated gently with light batter and very fresh oil and seasonings -- was as good as can be found in Italy itself. Portions can be large, and for some tastes there can be too much reliance on starches (potatoes, pasta) resulting in heaviness, which some may welcome as heartiness. But the ingredients are fresh and ripe, making the salads outstanding (a tricolore with tomato, mozzarella, fresh basil and avocado was memorable). The wine list is knowledgeable and reasonably priced (love those Italian reds!).
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Really treated well especially
    OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 4/19/2013
    Really treated well especially since it was a birthday event!
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Very nice ambiance, outdoor
    manyhappyreturns
    Dined on 4/12/2013
    Very nice ambiance, outdoor seating, although it is on Franklin Street so it is a little noisy. Unfortunately, our food just wasn't very good, at least not for the price we paid for it. My daughter didn't finish her salmon and didn't even want to take the remaining half home with her. I only finished mine because I was very hungry. The service was OK, but slow--which may be good or not depending on how much time you want to linger. It was our first time there, and I expected much better, based both the cost and the reviews I read.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The restaurant was surprisingly
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 4/12/2013
    The restaurant was surprisingly slow for 7pm on a beautiful and bustling Friday night in downtown Chapel Hill. Unfortunately, I think this was a reflection of the mediocre kitchen. My wife and I both ordered a glass of wine, and they were both very good, but they were also the highlight of the meal as the entrees were very average.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • staff accommodated our group
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 4/12/2013
    staff accommodated our group of 5 outdoors by re-arranging tables, and also by bringing some items (e.g. a sauce from one dish brought for another diner). Food was great and we had a really good time.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet