62 East Cordova
T: 604 669 6985
Brief Description: This funky new addition to the Vancouver food scene brings us something we haven’t seen here before; authentic Neapolitan pizza. Yes, the real deal!
Although Vancouver has a great food scene (and one that I am even happier with after my recent trip to Seattle) there are a few things that Vancouver could do better. One of those things, along with better South East Asian food, is pizza. The topic of who makes Vancouver’s best pizza has been hotly debated for quite some time but I do believe we have finally found a genuine contender. (For the record, Nook has always gotten my vote for the best pizza).
If you’ve ever been fortunate enough to visit Italy and eat away from the tourist traps, then you may have already been welcomed into the wonderful world of authentic Neapolitan pizza. If you haven’t then you should make a visit to Vancouver’s newest pizzeria, Nicli Antica Pizzeria, and allow your cherry to be popped.
Don’t be mistaken – a pizza joint this is not! You will not find bits of chewed up crust on the floor, nor will you be given access to an all-you-can-eat pizza bar. This is a genuine pizzeria and it is classy. And don’t let the gritty location on East Cordova allow you to think otherwise. Exposed brick meets gleaming, crisp white features, such as the floor-to-ceiling oven, to create a stylish and modern restaurant.
The menu is simple – pizza. Oh, and a scattering of salads and antipasti. But, really, you come for the pizza and considering that it is the main event it is not surprising that a lot of care and skill has gone into making it. The dough is made from “00” flour and formed by hand. The tomatoes are San Marzano’s (reputed to be the best) and the oven is a traditional wood-fired “Acunto” made in Naples. This bad boy has an internal heat of 900F so it can churn out pizzas in 90 seconds flat. The result? Oh, it’s pretty amazing. Think of a light and fluffy base that comes complete with sporadic flame-kissed blisters. All of the pizzas start with a thin layer of delicate tomato sauce and rounds of fior di latte mozzarella cheese before other ingredients are added. Ama-ZING!
The classic Margherita is wonderfully uncomplicated and the simple ingredients (tomato sauce, mozzarella, and basil) speak for themselves. The menu offers a total of ten pizzas and choices include Napoletana (oregano, garlic and anchovies), Proscuitto Crudo (parmigiano, fior di latte, basil and prosciutto crudo), and the Diavola (parmigiano, fior di latte, hot sopressatta, basil, and chili oil), amongst others. Prices range from as low as $9 to $20. The affordable wine and beer menu pays homage to Italy and includes beers like Menabrea and Peroni.
It would seem that I was not alone waiting for the grand opening of Nicli, which was a painful seven months overdue. I was surprised to find that I had to wait 40 minutes for a table in their opening week. The bar was full of hip, young things all eagerly awaiting a table at the newest restaurant in town. As a foodie, this warmed my heart. People were not only willing to travel to the East side in search of good pizza, but they were willing to wait for it! *Happy sigh* If you don’t want to wait for a table, I suggest going in for lunch. I was seated immediately.
Final Thoughts: If this pizza is not the best pizza in Vancouver, it is very, VERY (!) close. For me, I still can’t turn my back on Nook. Thankfully, I don’t have to choose. I can continue to visit both. What I do know for sure is that I will be back at Nicli time and time again. Their pizza is a much welcomed addition to the Vancouver food scene.