Nice Nice Nice. Monday nights should always be about nice pizza pies and nice is definitely what you’ll find at Nicli Antica Pizzeria. Buzz has been circulating around Nicli for a few years now so I’m not entirely sure why it took me so long to finally find my way here but here I was on a Monday night foolishly expecting the restaurant to be quiet because really, what sort of deviant is too lazy to cook their own dinner on the first work night of the week?
Even with the plethora of alternative neapolitan pizza joints filling up Vancouver’s foodscape these days, Nicli manages to pack a full house on a Monday night. And from the moment I step through the doors, it’s no mystery why.
Nestled in a Gastown building practically as old as the Sistine Chapel and the former site of an RCMP jailhouse and horse stable, the high cavernous ceilings combined with the exposed brick walls make the interior feel spacious and cozy all at once.
Add to that the long bar and warm lighting, it’s a feeling that’s reminiscent of a trendy London eatery without the excessive pretension that can often be so elusive in Vancouver.
With a modest food menu of only antipasti, pizza, and dessert, it makes life a little easier for us tonight.
“Pizza or pizza you think?”
In the end, it’s the Pesto B.B.T. and the Specialty Pizza for us.
The Specialty is a white pizza with bacon, potatoes, mushrooms, and fontina cheese. My ears immediately perked up at the sound of white pizza because I had not so secretly been hoping to have my carb dinner further loaded down with calorie laden cream sauce. Instead of a creamy white sauce, the specialty just had a simple olive oil base which made the pie slightly blander than I would have liked.
The combination of bacon, potatoes, and mushrooms were tasty though and the amount of ingredients seemed adequate. It was a nice pizza.
The Pesto B.B.T. arrived within seconds of the Specialty and was the clear winner tonight. Rather than a tomato sauce, this pie came with a basil pesto base, fior de latte, grana pandano, fresh basil, tomatoes, and house smoked bacon. With all those fresh, delicious, and colourful ingredients, boy was this pie nice.
Any discussion of pizza not involving crust would be pure desecration so let’s get down to business. Nicli makes a nice crust. Thin, crispy, and chewy all at once, there’s definitely a sense of satisfaction you get from biting into a pizza crust like this. You know what I’m talking about. There’s a certain soft crunch accompanied by warmth that simultaneously fills your mouth, belly, and heart. It’s hard to put pizza crust satisfaction into words but when you know, you know. You know?
My only minor complaint would be the burnt bits which seemed excessive at times. I say this not just because of its taste but also because of the mammoth black stains I left on my napkin.
If you can’t already tell, these pizzas were really nice. So, would I return?
I sure would. On the pricey side at around $40 for two, it’s still comparable to what you’ll find at similar pizzerias. I can’t say these pizza pies blew my mind or rocked my socks, but you know what? They sure were nice.