“Like a big pizza pie – That’s Amore!”

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie – That’s Amore!

It was Friday night and in typical Vancouver style it was pouring. Armed with my umbrella I hailed a cab with the final destination of Nicli Antica Pizzeria.

I had been following the launch of Vancouver’s newest pizza joint for a while now on Twitter.  From my foodie followers I heard that they make authentic wood fired Neapolitan pizza and the reviews were all positive except for one. The negative one was something about how long you had to wait to get in. To me – that’s positive.

I get excited about trying new things and tonight I had set myself up with a double whammy. I was actually on a blind date, so not only was I about to meet a stranger, I was also going to potentially fall in love with a new pizza place.  The thought of both made my heart skip a little.

I’m a pizza connoisseur. You know when people ask you what your last meal would be…for me, hands down, it’s pizza.  I know what I like, and if it disappoints I feel royally ripped off.

I met my date at the bar, and considering it was still early on a Friday night, the place was, as predicted, jammed. Every table was full and every place on the bar was too. It was standing room only.

The Capricciosa

My date and I enjoyed a drink, got acquainted, and I stole glances at my new love. The space at Nicli is gorgeous. Not typical of rustic pizza places, the interior instead is stark, with white and chrome; minimal yet effective. Plates of pizzas arrived and became like little paintings displayed against the backdrop of the white table top.

When our table was ready we had the sincere pleasure of being served by Nicli’s Wine Director Matthew Morgenstern.  Under his passion and direction we started with the Misto Olives.  These were a selection of warm green olives in a shallot herb marinade. Morgenstern suggested an appropriate wine pairing and soon a white Argolias Vermintino arrived at our table. It was delicious, crisp, and cut through the salty fennel flavour of the olives.

Damn, this wine guy knew his stuff. He then suggested we share two pizzas the Capricciosa, and the Proscuitto Crudo.

The Capricciosa is definitely a “man” pie. It was loaded, yet impeccably balanced, with pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte (mozza), proscuitto cotto, artichokes, funghi, black olives, and then finished with a beautiful basil leaf drizzled with olive oil.

The Proscuitto Crudo

I truly enjoyed the Proscuitto Crudo.  I’m fascinated with dishes that use only simple ingredients yet seem to burst with flavour. This wood fired pizza had pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte, basil, and prosciutto crudo. Five ingredients of perfection!

Now a pizzeria review would not be complete without spending a little time on the crust.  The joint uses only ‘00’ Italian flour and the dough is made and left to “hang out” for 24 hours before it is hand rolled.  Now, according to pizza experts the sign of a bubbly crust is when it has been hand tossed. Not so at Nicli. There is no hand tossing yet the crust is doughy, bubbly and, well, perfect. They get an A.

In the end neither my date nor the pizza disappointed. Both were exceptional. And I did fall in love. I fell in love with Nicli Antica Pizzeria.

And the guy? I’m betting there will be more Nicli in our future.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria is located at 62 E Cordova St in Gastown.

Twitter @NicliPizzeria


9 Responses to ““Like a big pizza pie – That’s Amore!””

  1. Posted on March 13th, 2011

    I ate there too, and I enjoyed the pizza immensely! Although, I did not enjoy the bill at the end, it was worth it for great service and the company I shared it with. :)

  2. Posted on March 13th, 2011

    I also really liked my experience at Nicli. Next time, you have to leave room for the dessert pizza with the figs, gorgonzola, honey and icing sugar. For someone who claims she isn’t really a dessert person, I wasn’t giving up my share.

  3. Posted on March 13th, 2011

    Looks amazing!
    Coincidentally, last night a dessert on the menu at the Lucky Charms St. Paddy’s Feast was listed as “fior di latte gelato”. My Italian Friend said it means “Flower of Milk”. Google translates it as “Mozzarella” too. I guess that could be mozza as well as gelato? I’m pretty sure there was no mozza in my gelato but perhaps I should ask Robin from Swallow Tail…

  4. Posted on March 14th, 2011

    I am so proud of myself for living a block away from Nicli and not going every day. Neither my bank account nor my pants would be able to afford it but man, I’d be happy! that is the best pizza I’ve had since Italy.

    @Miles fior de latte is mozza made with cow’s milk (instead of buffalo). Maybe mozza flavoured gelato? Or maybe just gelato with cow’s milk. Where was the Lucky Charms feast? sounds interesting.

  5. Posted on March 15th, 2011

    Not sold on the vibe in the room – lacking the boisterous excitement evident in the best pizzerias. Very smooth and reserved is how I’d describe my visits. The pizza is certainly good but not great. Too many “if only” comments while eating the pizzas for them to truly rank among the best I’ve eaten (comparison: Delfina in San Fran and Libretto in TO). In Vancouver, it’s a great choice. Campagnolo’s pies are worthy adversaries and win out for me due to their crust. With JC just leaving as chef though, it will be interesting to see if/how that changes what they are doing.

  6. Posted on March 16th, 2011

    Great write up Erin. You’ve only succeeded in adding further stress to the personal urgency which I feel to get there. I’ve been waiting for this place to open for a while. I have a deep pizza nebbiolo craving.

  7. Posted on August 22nd, 2011

    Randomly ran into the owners of Nicli Antica Pizzeria this past weekend and am happy to report that Bill and Alison McCaig are lovely people and passionate foodies with an unwavering commitment to quality. Keep your eyes on them, they have big plans ahead!

  8. Posted on April 25th, 2013

    Dessert is the usually sweet course that concludes a meal. The food that composes the dessert course includes but is not limited to sweet foods. There is a wide variety of desserts in western cultures now including cakes, cookies, biscuits, gelatins, pastries, ice creams, pies, pudding, and candies. Fruit is also commonly found in dessert courses because of its natural sweetness.:;

    Enjoy your day
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  9. Posted on May 1st, 2013

    Sugar also contributes to the moistness of desserts and their tenderness. The flour or starch component in most desserts serves as a protein and gives the dessert structure. Different flours such as All-Purpose Flour or Pastry Flour provide a less rigid gluten network and therefore a different texture. Along with flour desserts may contain a dairy product.’^

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