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.
Continued
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerNeighborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill reviews from OpenTable diners
54 reviews since May 6, 2014
Overall Rating4
  • Food4.1
    Service3.9
  • Ambiance4
    Noise LevelModerate
84% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (33)fit for foodies (24)romantic (23)special occasion (23)neighborhood gem (22)notable wine list (12)good for groups (11)hot spot (6)late-night find (5)kid-friendly (5)vibrant bar scene (3)great for lunch (3)scenic view (3)great for brunch (1)Show More
  • Yumgirl
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    Excellent food, great service, and reasonable prices. This was our first time dining here, and the food was very fresh and flavorful. I am Italian myself, so I'm quite picky about my Italian food (ESPECIALLY tomato sauces)-- this was fresh tasting and very flavorful. Our waitress was attentive (although, we went early on a Saturday, so there were only a few other tables there at the time). We'll definitely go back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • lisla
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Love dining at Vespa. Great Italian food. Love 1/2 price Wednesdays. Great place to dine with friends.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • canzy
    Dined on 8/27/2014
    Service and food were terrific . We did not realize that entrees are half price on Wednesdays which made us very happy . But I think the half price special attracts a lot of families with small kids . We had booked an early table but next time I will book at 7 PM after the kids have been fed and have gone home. I ordered the lamb shank and it was outstanding . Delightful friendly service.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Good Italian - high prices
    kpmoore
    Dined on 8/25/2014
    I love the ambience here, they've got an adorable Italian theme with bright colors -- especially Carolina Blue -- and really cute patio dining with a dedicated lot! (Unheard of on Franklin St). The service also is exemplary. I've been here with a large group and just as a couple, both times the service was incredibly attentive, professional, and helpful. However, the food here is very good, classic, and well-presented Italian food--but I just can't see why it costs $15 - $30. It wasn't outstanding, the flavors didn't knock me over and nothing was incredibly original. I will probably come back here for fun outdoor dining with the girls on Half-Price Wednesday nights, but otherwise get my Italian fix elsewhere.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Nice restaurant
    RvdG
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Very nice location and menu just more than a normal Italian restaurant. Parking can be a issue if you come from outside Chapel Hill
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Love Vespa!
    EHallDesigns
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    My husband and I went to Vespa for our very first date 12 years ago. Still love it to this day. Food remains one of the best in the area -- authentic Italian flavors, amazing choices, and all reasonably priced.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Disappointing visit
    rvadinerVIP
    Dined on 8/17/2014
    Our recent meal at Vespa was for lunch on a Sunday. There were 4 other diners in the restaurant, in addition to our party of 5. Despite the low patronage that day, the waiter reported that they had no lasagna (1 of about 8 entrees on the lunch menu). Because the restaurant had only 1 shaker of red pepper flakes, the waiter said he needed it (which we were using) to give to another table. The espresso/cappuccino machine was broken. After 3 desserts were ordered by our party, the waiter returned with only 2. He was asked about the 3rd dessert and finally served it 10 minutes later. The poor service might have been somewhat excusable if the restaurant had been full, but with so few people dining, our experience was very disappointing.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good but overpriced
    chapelhillthrill
    Dined on 8/11/2014
    We went to Vespa on a quiet Monday evening and there were only a few other tables seated when we arrived. Atmosphere was quaint but the bright blue was lovely. Upon arriving our hostess, instead of leading us to a table, stepped aside and told us to pick a table - something I've never encountered before but since the restaurant was close to empty, it wasn't a big deal. Our server was quiet spoken, nervous, unsure of herself, and awkward even though she was training another server. My pasta seemed like an over glorified spaghetti that I could have made at home and my boyfriend's gnocchi was pretty overcooked. The tiramisu was not outstanding but good enough. Overall, I would not eat here full price but only if I have a Groupon/etc.
    Special Features:
    romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Viva Vespa!
    Janischewitz
    Dined on 8/4/2014
    It's a getaway, it's a minicay. Delicious food with the subtlety of tastes popping up gently without subsuming the overall flavor. The waitstaff were attentive and knowledgeable. The atmosphere was chiaroscura - gently welcoming dark woods offering light and breathability. Since it was a work night, I didn't have wine. I really should go back on, for me, a "wine night"! ;)
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Upscale flavors
    ddhdurhamVIP
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    Vespa provides an enticing menu with fresh ingredients. For anyone looking for Italian cuisine that goes beyond basic, Vespa will not disappoint. The carpaccio appetizer with arugula was outstanding, with original and delicious seasonings. We also enjoyed pasta with shellfish and a lamb entree. Both of these were creatively and expertly seasoned. Service was impeccable and the bar drinks were perfect.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • So so
    WineGuy
    Dined on 7/20/2014
    A nightly special under $20, 3 courses. Chicken breast was bland with viscous gravy Good glass of red wine.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Nice dinner
    OpenTable Diner Since 2010
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Ask to sit outside to watch the happenings on Franklin Street. Food was good and so was service.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • What was up w/ the bread?
    AvocadoAbogado
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    We had a very nice dinner, mostly. We sat outside in perfect weather. Watching the Chapel Hill street scene is kind of like dinner theater. I had the clams appetizer which was very nice. The beef carpaccio however was over dressed and had the arugula basically dumped on top. Still tasty though. My wife had the lamb shank which she said was very good. But what was up with the bread basket? There were several bread sticks, which were burnt and tasted like sawdust. Three pieces of what were trying real hard to be garlic toast but were dried out and stale and two rolls that tasted like they were bought at a supermarket and Cici's Pizza would have been slightly embarrassed to serve. I ordered clams to sop up the sauce but had to use a spoon.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Excellent food at reasonable price
    rodneyms
    Dined on 6/27/2014
    The homemade pasta dishes were excellent and not to heavy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • A GEM
    SpoiledDinersVIP
    Dined on 6/22/2014
    We moved here from NYC three years ago and discovered Vespa. Its location is central to downtown, its atmosphere is casual but--you can certainly go dressed up, or asthe nomenclature would have it--CASUAL ELEGANT-- its no "burger joint" AND its family friendly. The food and service are "spot on" equal (if not better than) to most of the "neighborhood Italian restaurants" in NYC--seriously. If you want good Italain fare, at a reasonable cost, in a comfortable atmosphere (suitable for a date night or a family night) then you will want to hit Vespa.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Poor service
    EZ2pleaseNY
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Was excited to try this restaurant but was quickly disappointed with service. Whole we were greeted promptly there were many delays. The level of attentiveness was poor. We had a small bistro table and had to sit with empty plates throughout meal as they were never cleared promptly. Second drink never arrived until a second request after meal was complete. Food was ok. Lasagna and crab ravioli better than a chain but less than authentic. Would not recommend or return. Sorry to say. It seemed that there was no supervision or direction. Sorry Vespa.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful Again!
    AltaGirlVIP
    Dined on 6/16/2014
    Each time I have gone to Vespa I am delighted with the food and the overall experience. The sidewalk dining is wonderful and reminds me of dining in a Rome cafe. The food is outstanding each and every time. The menu has a wonderful selection of traditional Italian choices and also some dishes with flair. During my last visit I ordered a salad from the nightly specials that was seriously amazing. I will be back again and again! Thank you Sharif!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2012
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    I order the sea bass special came with head, skin & bones the head on the skin on the bones in and was frankly poor
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Restaurant Week
    Scott
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    One of the best things about a fixed menu is that you are unlikely to order items you normally would (although we could have ordered off of the menu). Both appetizers were delicious especially the eggplant cavier. The lamb shank and the salmon were wonderful. Only four stars as the deserts were average. Have been a fan for years and will continue to go back. Never had a bad meal.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Quiet
    Dined on 6/7/2014
    We had not been to your restaurant in years, and we had a lovely dinner with friends. It pleased us that it was not noisy which is important to us. However, there were not many diners there at the time. We do leave noisy restaurants. We know that so many restaurants think the louder the better, but we often have friends asking us to suggest quiet ones. Our waiter was delightful!!!
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful
    KellyKellsQVIP
    Dined on 6/3/2014
    Enjoyed an amazing early dinner with my family. Service was OUTSTANDING. Very accomodating of a three year old dinner companion. The gnocci is out of this world delicious. My mother joined us for dinner and she's travelled in Italy and definitely thinks this fresh made pasta holds up on its own. I think there's been some recent changes and it's all for the best :) Beautifully orchestrated meal. Keep up the great attentive service and fresh yummy food.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Just lovely.
    jacnrhVIP
    Dined on 5/23/2014
    I went on a date with my boyfriend to Vespa and had a great time. The staff was very attentive and the food was delicious. Service was fast, but we were not rushed, and people watching on Franklin is always fun. It was a beautiful night and they offered outdoor seating. Overall no complaints.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Wonderful Anniversary Dinner
    CEG2
    Dined on 5/21/2014
    My fiancee and I went here for our 5 year anniversary. We'd been once before and enjoyed it. This time was even better. Food was perfect: succulent meats, bold, bright flavors. I'm not always a marinara sauce fan, but this was incredible. My glass of Pinot Grigio was the most refreshing I've had in a long time. Outdoor dining was perfect on a warm May evening. As a bonus, the Wednesday special is half off entree prices. So my fiancee, the prodigious overeater, could get his fill with 2 entrees. Highly recommend!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good food...not sure about service
    Carolinagirls
    Dined on 5/20/2014
    We dined at Vespa on a Tuesday night. The outdoor tables were full;however we sat indoors with one other couple. The food was wonderful, from salad to dessert. The martinis that we had before dinner--not so much. Although ordered straight up, the drinks had ice in them. Then we were charged extra for ordering them straight up! Our waiter had to leave prior to us being served for an emergencyso the manager took over. He obviously had much to do other than serving.We had to track him down for water and the check and then someone else took our dessert order. So the service was not super considering how much we paid--quite pricey. This may have been an exception since the waiter left, but it should have been better since they were not busy.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Always good at Vespa
    Barbara
    Dined on 5/15/2014
    We had a nice group of 5 for a dinner outing at Vespa. The restaurant was clean, vibrant and delicious. Really enjoy Vespa's - always a treasure and always the same quality, on every aspect.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, romantic, neighborhood gem, hot spot, notable wine list
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Grateoutdoordin
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Enjoyed being out on Mother's Day, enjoyed having Italian food and end it was an availble restaurant on a busy day which was great!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem, vibrant bar scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great experience
    OpenTable Diner Since 2013
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Food is creative, plentiful and fresh, locally sourced. Absolutely delicious. They are happy to accommodate special requests. This place is great. Wine is always nicely chilled. Wish they had beer on draft. Sundays half price wine and half price entrees on Wed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, special occasion, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Pleasant Experience, Great Food
    NCmomVIP
    Dined on 5/11/2014
    Our daughter chose this restaurant for our Mother's Day dinner because we had had a late dinner there with guests and had found the food and ambiance very good. That the menu for this particular evening was prix fixee was not disclosed at the time of the booking, so budget-conscious diners may wish to inquire about that when making reservations; however, generous appetizers and desserts were included, and limiting the menu to a reasonable number of choices probably served to expedite the preparation of our meals on a very busy night, as UNC graduation also took place that weekend. Drinks other than 'flat' water were not included, but the modestly-priced Malbec that we chose was quite good. We dined al fresco, and the service was excellent!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic, special occasion, late-night find, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OK Italian
    Beachpanther
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Graduation weekend. Greeted warmly. Added additional person on without problem. Prix fix menu for weekend. Apps good, entree a little bland. Marinara sauce un impressive. Nice dessert selection. Wine way overpriced, limited selection.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Tiger
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    Very nice. Will come back. People very friendly.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wish we could have tried the food!
    chiattorneyVIP
    Dined on 5/10/2014
    This review is based solely on the way Vespa handled my reservation. I made a reservation 7-8 weeks early. At some point Vespa changed that evening's menu to prix fixe. I spoke with the restaurant twice in the week before my reservation but this wasn't mentioned. No big deal. There was one vegetarian item on the menu and 4 of the 6 in my group were veggie. They refused to let us order a la carte. Still ok. But refused to make any accommodations (as simple as NOT PUTTING CHICKEN ON THE PASTA) and said if we left we would be charged a $10 per person cancellation though my group couldn't eat. After asking 3x to speak to a manager, we finally were allowed to go. Beyond disappointed in how it was handled and will never open my pockets there.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 23 ratings-only reviews submitted since May 6, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance4.1
    • Service4
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 149 reviews are from the Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill reviews archive.
  • Italy on Franklin Street
    KittyVIP
    Dined on 5/4/2014
    This is the second time we've been to Vespa. The food is very good with a nice wine selection. Sunday is half-price bottles of wine. Service was attentive and patient with our group of six. We arrived early and the kitchen wasn't open yet, but they were happy to seat us and get us settled.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • juppeats3star
    juppeatsVIP
    Dined on 4/29/2014
    Enjoyed a nice dinner at Vespa. I ordered my usual veal picatta. Always a nice choice. Get it with sauteed spinach and pasta with marinara sauce. My guest got scrimp with pasta. Another very reliable dish at Vespa. Restaurant has well priced list of Italian wines.
    Special Features:
    Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 4/29/2014
    They have a great luch special - two courses for $10.99. I had salad and lasagna. Both were very good. I was very surprised that the restaurant wasn't more crowded.
    Special Features:
    Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Vespa in Chapel Hill
    ParticularVIP
    Dined on 4/27/2014
    Many Italian restaurants are either chains or quite pricey, but Vespa offers good food for reasonable prices. I had a delicious pasta dish which was served the right way-hot! Service was excellent!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • First time visit
    love2cook404
    Dined on 4/25/2014
    Vespa was discovered by my house guest for the weekend at lunch time. We dined therelater for dinner and both enjoyed the total experience. The ingredients were fresh; the seasonings, on the mark; the wine list, varied and reasonable. He chose the Caprese Salad and Lamb Shank; I, the Carpaccio and Pork Loin. With these items we shared a bottle of the Montepulciano d"Abruzzo. The service was both helpful and unobtrusive, knowing not to whip away my finished plate while my guest still was enjoying his meal. Both entrees were under $20.00. This is a great find in a college town where dining ranges from multi-pizza shops to ***** ratings and $$$$$ prices.
    Special Features:
    Great for Outdoor Dining, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem, Vibrant Bar Scene
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great
    ZimZam
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    this is the only Italian restaurant we frequent and we love it
    Special Features:
    Great for Brunch, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • A wonderful birthday party
    Pickyeater
    Dined on 4/23/2014
    I introduced my 5 friends to this place on my birthday and each one has requested Vespa's for theirs ever since. The food is always pretty outstanding and oh those soups>>>Mmh...Mmh! No one hurries us and we have a wonderful time tasting the delicious food. This time there were quite a few diners outside on Franklin St. If we didn't have so many allergies, we would have been right there with them. Restaurant was a little more crowded also and yet service was impeccable.
    Special Features:
    Kid-Friendly, Fit For Foodies, Good for Groups, Great for Outdoor Dining, Great for Lunch, Neighborhood Gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 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