The First Nibbles Of Neapolitan Pizza At “Nicli Antica Pizzeria”

Walking through Gastown yesterday, I took another look inside the Nicli Antica Pizzeria construction site and found it effectively complete. The staff were training on the POS and they’d lit a fire in the oven. All seemed set, even the tables (complete with silverware, candles and linen napkins). “Come back later and we’ll make you a pizza” said the owner, Bill McCaig. I’d been looking forward to trying Nicli since we broke the news last April that they’d be bringing authentic Neapolitan pizza to Vancouver, so after picking up my kids from school we ran back down, thrilled to have the chance to be the first Vancouverites to give it a shot (my boys know pizza). I even took along a camera, as you can see from the video above and the shots below.

It was the best pizza I’d ever had in Vancouver, which was exactly what I was expecting it to be. To most pizza nuts, that’s not saying much, as it’s the first local pizzeria (to my knowledge) that has actually tried to mimic Naples’ finest contribution to society since the six string guitar. The thin crust was slightly springy, eminently foldable and blistering around the edges. The peeled plum tomato sauce glistened with olive oil and tasted true. The torn globs of mozzarella had lost their firmness and the basil was fresh and decoratively arranged. The hardwood that they’re using in the Acunto oven is birch, and the temperature is so high that all my pie needed was a 60-70 second blast treatment. When it came out it exhaled zephyrs of smoke.

In short, it was a perfect margherita. It’s definitely on par with those sold at Prima Strada in Victoria and Pizzeria Libretto in Toronto, and better than the pies I remember at Terroni. To put that in a more local perspective, it makes Marcello’s look like Dominos. Take a look at the video of my pizza being made and try not to eat your computer monitor…

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They are doing a dry run for friends and family over the weekend and then easing into their opening next week.

EARLIER PHOTOS

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ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

  • Hungry Foodie

    But I’m hungry now….

  • Scout Magazine

    Tell me about it. I actually regret eating the pizza, because now I have to wait for another week to do it again.

  • Dennis

    So excited about this!

  • nato

    what are their hours of operation??

  • http://www.greedyguts.wordpress.com Greedy Guts

    Have really been looking forward to the opening, even more so now that you’ve given it the thumbs up!

  • Scout Magazine

    Don’t know the hours. Try their website, which is somewhere around here…

  • Peter V

    So hungry. Want neapolitan pizza…

  • AJ

    After years of bitching of the poor quality of pizza in this city, this place opens up across the street from me. Happy day, indeed.

  • http://nicli-antica-pizzeria.ca Bill McCaig

    Surreal. I once considered contacting Scout Magazine for a writing job, then I got sidetracked and decided to build a pizzeria.

    Hours of operation: 11:30am to midnight.

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  • http://www.dailyslif.com Daily Slif

    Okay that was hot.

  • Ben Ludwig

    If you haven’t been to Nicli yet you better go cause its the best Pizza in Canada Hands down…

  • http://www.vancouverhoods.com Peter

    Checked it out last night, while pricey – it was fantastic!! Beautiful room too.

  • Nestor

    “It was the best pizza I’d ever had in Vancouver, which was exactly what I was expecting it to be. To most pizza nuts, that’s not saying much, as it’s the first local pizzeria (to my knowledge) that has actually tried to mimic Naples’ finest contribution to society since the six string guitar.”

    I’ve yet to try out Nicli Antica (actually planning on it tonight), but from all I’ve read and heard, it actually is good Neapolitan-style pizza. And while that definitely still remains a rarity in Vancouver and while I do appreciate that there is now one more place to get ‘real’ pizza, I’m baffled by the amount of reviews (of which this is only one) claiming that (“to the best of their knowledge”) this is the first Neapolitan style pizza in town. Has nobody been to Campagnolo on Main? This is the second time I’ve asked myself this question in as many weeks, because I was already dumbfounded when they weren’t represented at all in the Italian section of this year’s Golden Plates. Not only do they not just try to mimic but suceed at recreating “Naples’ finest contribution to society since the six string guitar”; to me, they serve the most authentic (and tasty) Italian food I’ve had in Vancouver – period. Again, that really isn’t saying much in this Azurro-forsaken city, but all the more reason to celebrate the few places that we do have that do Italian cuisine proud.