Nicli Antica Pizzeria

>> Sunday, February 20, 2011

It's not hard to find good pizza in Vancouver, but if you want true Neapolitan pizza, until now you were pretty much out of luck. Thankfully, Nicli Antica Pizzeria opened a week and a half ago. With a wood-fired Acunto oven straight from Naples, authentic ingredients on hand, and certification by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association in the works, Vancouver's culinary scene will never be the same again.

When we arrived, no tables were available, but we were welcome to stand at the bar. Always a test of good bartenders is how creative and cheerful they are when asked to make a non-alcoholic drink. Our bartender passed with flying colours, happily presenting a tasty blend of orange juice, pineapple juice, pear purée, and soda water, with a super-cool orange twist garnish.

From the inventive cocktail menu, we ordered a Rosemary's Kiss, made with vodka, Cointreau, grapefruit juice, honey syrup, and rosemary. We were seated while our drinks were being made.

As we decided what to eat, we observed the action in the open preparation area.

We tried to order the large misto di antipasti, but with the guidance of our server, we settled on the regular size. It came with three kinds of salumi, figs, roasted garlic, two kinds of cheese, peperoncini, artichoke, mini pickles, and warm olives (!) drizzled with olive oil. We loved the accompanying bread, nicely sprinkled with fresh oregano.

The cocktail menu was so intriguing, we had to return to it and the Pear-fectionist, containing Sailor Jerry's spiced rum, Calvados, pear nectar, fresh lime juice, and cinnamon.

The bianca pizza, as the name suggests, has no tomatoes, only roasted garlic, roasted onions, fior di latte (cow's milk mozzarella) and goat cheese.

How could we not order the margherita pizza, with the colours of the Italian flag, green, white and red?

The pizzas were truly awesome, with a crisp chewy crust and delicious toppings. They were even better than some of the ones we ate in Rome and Siena.

In case you were curious, yes we did order a couple of glasses of red wine to go with our pizzas, Di Majo Norante terre degli Osci and Tenuta del Portale Starsa.

Not wanting the evening to end, we looked at the short dessert menu and ordered (only) two. The affogato, gelato dunked in espresso, brought back memories of my childhood when it was the only time I would be allowed to have coffee.

The tiramisu, the popular Italian layered dessert, also hit the spot and left us were craving more of the delicious sauce.

The decor was clean and simple, dominated by black, white and grey, with accents of red judiciously scattered throughout. The black painted ceiling with exposed duct work and beams, together with exposed brick along one wall, are great features.

If the crowd we saw when we left is any indication, Nicli Antica Pizzeria will be around for a long, long time.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria on Urbanspoon


David March 13, 2011 at 9:50 AM  

Sounds amazing. I'm just wondering how you figure it's not hard to find good pizza in Vancouver. Lots and lots of terrible pizza, but haven't found many good ones myself.

famished foodies March 14, 2011 at 3:09 PM  

We agree about the plethora of terrible pizza places, but we might disagree about "not hard."

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