Owner Bill McCaig, Chef Josh Gale and the crew at Nicli Antica Pizzeria are set to open their new location tonight (Nov. 30) in North Vancouver’s Edgemont Village.
Last night I visited the brand new restaurant at 3142 Highland Blvd to take some pictures as they were preparing for a dry-run with friends and family. It had come a very long way since I last saw it, which was when they took possession of the space a little over a year ago. I wrote the following…
Nicli owner Bill McCaig – now the BC Trustee for the VPN Association – secured the 2,000 sqft address about a week ago and invited me in for a look yesterday afternoon. I gotta say it was hard to imagine the tight-looking space as a restaurant because it’s carpeted and cluttered with drywalled-off offices. It’s all being removed, of course. The new building – some five years old – was built using a lot of reclaimed wood, especially (and artfully) in the high ceilings, so it will be interesting to see what the finished product will look like.
The full restaurant conversion will see a complete kitchen installation (including a wood-burning oven as per VPM specifications) and tables and chairs for 55-60 people. The plan is to have it ready for launch in March of 2018.
The new Nicli will have a slightly expanded menu than the one we’re used to at the Gastown original. In addition to all the excellent pizza we can expect to see a larger appetizer section, plus panzerotti, calzone and a daily pasta. They’ll also be doing take-out and delivery, which – I imagine – will be considerable cause for local rejoicing.
And now is the time for that rejoicing — Edgemont is a lucky neighbourhood. They were running with a limited menu last night and everything I tried was up to the standard set by the Gastown original. The place looked great and on-brand, even if there were still a few missing pieces (eg. the bar stools had yet to arrive). For the full effect of the transformation, take a look at these photos from the week they took possession in 2017.
If you’ve never been to Gastown’s Nicli Antica Pizzeria and are a stranger to Vera Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certified pies, they’re the real deal, meticulously following the strict rules governing the proper construction of Neapolitan-style pizzas. Wood burning oven? Check. ‘OO’ Caputo flour? Yup. San Marzano tomatoes? Of course. Fresh basil? Indeed. DOP mozzarella cheese? Naturally. They don’t slice the pizza, either. You cut it at the table with a special pair of scissors. There are arguments to be made for and against the constraints of certification, but if you want to taste what proper pizza is supposed to be like, this is it, and damn is it ever delicious!
Take a look inside…