Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill
Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill

Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://vespanc.com/
  • Phone: (919) 969-6600
  • 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 WinnerNeigborhood Gem
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
  • Diners' Choice WinnerRomantic
Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill reviews from OpenTable diners
62 reviews since July 25, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.2
    Service4.3
  • Ambiance4.2
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
neighborhood gem (30)great for outdoor dining (28)fit for foodies (28)romantic (24)special occasion (23)good for groups (15)notable wine list (14)kid-friendly (9)late-night find (6)hot spot (6)scenic view (6)great for lunch (6)vibrant bar scene (1)Show More
  • Gem of an Italian restaurant!
    mvs57
    Dined on 11/15/2014
    This restaurant is a gem, with a casual, relaxed elegance and colorful, cozy vibe. The food was fresh, with generous portions artfully plated, and spot-on delicious authentic Italian/Mediterranean food. Our table shared a delightful antipasto plate and then moved onto fresh salads and our entrees ranging from the chicken parm to lamb shank to the veal. Everyone absolutely loved their dish. The prices are reasonable for such a lovely meal and experience. The service was impeccable and the staff warm and welcoming! Can't wait to dine here again!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • The Best!
    Salprimo
    Dined on 11/14/2014
    Vespa is an all time favorite. Experienced an amazing meal, delightful service and great wine! For my appetizer i ordered their special of the night, a spicy beef tortellini. HOLY COW! It was the best tortellini I've ever had in my life! For my entree I had the Veal Piccata, Amazing as well. The service was the best I've had in this area. The staff seems to be really knowledgeable about the food and the works of the restaurant. Our waitress was very kind to us, she helped tremendously with pairing wines with our meals and was just a wonderful welcoming young lady. The other employees were very nice as well, lots of team work! We had an amazing time!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Yum!!
    jillery
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    We had a great dinner here. We sat in the bar at the front window and enjoyed watching the folks walking by. Our waitress was attentive but not overly so. Our dinner consisted of a shared mediterranean appetizer (needed a bit more salt) and a fabulous Bluefish for our main course. Our dessert was a chocolate mousse. The dessert was the only disappointment-- it was more like a pudding and too sweet. However the rest of our meal was DELISH!! We ate here about 3 years ago but this most current experience will make us regulars!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Our go to!
    Salprimo
    Dined on 11/8/2014
    I've been to Vespa several times now and I'm never displeased. We had dinner there Saturday night, I had their special that night, it was while blue fish. Holy cow! Marinated and Grilled to perfection! As always the service is great. Christian is amazing and always keeps us smiling. Were really glad we found such a gem.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • WilkAustinVIP
    Dined on 10/28/2014
    We've been there a few times. Always a nice meal with friendly service. We appreciate the gluten free pasta too!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Love love love Vespa!
    Salprimo
    Dined on 10/27/2014
    My boyfriend and I went to Vespa on Sunday night and had an amazing time! We ordered a bottle of wine which was half priced cause all of their wine is half priced on Sunday's!! as an appetizer my boyfriend and I shared the clams. I'm a huge sucker for clams and I would have licked the bowl if that's was socially acceptable. The services was great as well our server was a huge highlight of our night she was so welcoming and attentive and great to talk to. We love going to Vespa and will continue to go there. I recommend vespa to everyone! You cannot go wrong dining there.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, kid-friendly, late-night find, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • we loved new decor in back room
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/26/2014
    Special Cod Cartochio was best fish dish ever i had.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    Delicious food. Excellent service from a new wait person. Can't believe I haven't be eh to Vespa before now.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Food
    Dolly
    Dined on 10/25/2014
    I have been to this restaurant a few times and I have never been disappointed in the food or the service. The lasagna is by far the best I have had in this area. We brought friends with us who had not eaten at Vespa's before. They said they would definitely come back. We all ordered something different and everyone enjoyed what they ordered. That is hard to say at most restaurants.
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Good first time dining experience
    becka
    Dined on 10/20/2014
    Tried Vespa on a whim and really enjoyed it. The restaurant was fairly quiet with only a few other diners while we were there. We tried the Tapas platter, which was very good, and the waiters were attentive and brought more warm pita bread when we ran out. The entrees were also very good. We ordered one vegetarian dish and one with meat and both were flavorful and well-prepared. Honestly, if there was a downside it was that the restaurant was so quiet that the waiters seemed like they didn't have enough to do and so we were checked on a little too often.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Top Notch!!!!
    Salprimo
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    My Husband and I had dinner at Vespa two nights ago and enjoyed every part of it. Starting with the wines, their wine list is super! Way better than Top Of The Hill! If you don't know what you're looking for exactly the bar tender and manager know A LOT about wines and they both are very welcoming people that make you feel like they are truly invested in helping you find a pairing with your meals. The food is out of this world!!! I had the special of that night which was a Blue Fish, it was cooked to perfection and exploding with flavor! My husband had the Lamb Shank, I wish he talked as much about my cooking like he did Vespas! Our waitress was very attentive even while rushing around helping other servers and running food! WE LOVE VESPA!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, romantic, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Lainie
    Dined on 10/15/2014
    As usual at this restaurant, our party had a very nice evening. Everyone enjoyed their entrees. I did find the profiteroles a little lacking in originality, though.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great place
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    food and service was great!! our server Q was best server ever we had.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, notable wine list, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • service was lacking
    LindaRVIP
    Dined on 10/10/2014
    We hadn't been here in years and were very disappointed in the service we received. Our waiter was very stretched and seemed to have memory problems as we kept having to repeat our requests. Will not be back for quite a while!!
    Special Features:
    neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Sloooooowwwwww service!
    SlowtrainVIP
    Dined on 10/4/2014
    Took over 2hours for dinner and they forgot/lost one of the tables entree. So 7 of us waited until my wife's pasta was cooked after the fact. We had to flag waiter down for anything and just gave up on getting more drinks. Food was decent but cool by then. Management seemed to be absent on a sat night as no one to even discuss issues with.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great twist on traditional Italian
    Jamie
    Dined on 9/27/2014
    The food was excellent and the service was great. I've never had the types of food that my wife and I ate there, but the dishes were nice twists on traditional Italian fare.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Good service - ok food
    JamesVIP
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    Everyone is really nice. It's unfortunate the food is uninspiring. It's not bad just nothing special. They offer a very nice discount on wednesdays.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Sept 2014
    LDKNC
    Dined on 9/17/2014
    A real deal. We had dinner after an evening meeting. The Wed special of 50% off all entrees made the bill look great: dinner for five, 2 appetizers and a bottle of wine for just over $100. Food was great as was service.
    Special Features:
    good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Wonderful place to dine.
    lisla
    Dined on 9/10/2014
    Wonderful place to dine. Always have a good time when dining at Vespa.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • 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
  • canzyVIP
    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
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 34 ratings-only reviews submitted since July 25, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.2
    • Food4.3
    • Ambiance4.2
    • Service4.3
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 172 reviews are from the Vespa Ristorante-Chapel Hill reviews archive.
  • 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.
  • 10nis
    Dined on 6/6/2014
    We were greatly disappointed with Vespa. The food we ordered was bland and the prices were high. The waitstaff put on the airs of a high-end restaurant, but the quality just wasn't there. Service was average.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet