Middle of the week, what better craving than pizza to get over the hump? Craving for some nice Neapolitan pizza, someone in the group suggested Nicli Antica Pizzeria after hearing some good reviews from coworkers. We had driven past the establishment a few times as there was not much signage on the exterior, after what seemed like forever looking for parking we were relived to find that, though was full house, the wait wasn’t too long as we were beginning to get hungry.
The interior was nice and chic with glossy white furniture, and red accents in bar stools and candle holders, yet still radiating that Gastown vintage with the visible brick wall on one side.
We started off with a salad, I had already forgotten what the name was as it is no longer listed on their menu. It was mixed greens with tomato, a balsamic dressing and shaved parmesan. I can’t comment on the taste as no one on the table had a bite of it. When our server had placed the dish in the middle to share, one of my friend started staring intently into it, and told me not to touch it as I started readying the utensils to share the dish. She used a fork and lifted a piece of green, claiming that she saw a bug. We all stared at the lettuce intently, but no one saw anything. Then all of a sudden, a whitish transparent worm, no bigger than the size of a regular thread started wiggling upwards. We had called the server over, it too her a while to see the bug as well. She promptly took away the dish and apologized sincerely, asking if we wanted another salad, or maybe opt for a different appetizer.
Antipasto Misto Per Due; selection of locally cured meats & Italian cheeses, house made peperonata & pickled accompaniments
Still having a bit of goosebumps from the worm-like creature, we decided to stick with our second choice, the antipasto platter. It was rather small for a group of 4, as I had expected the portions to be a little bit more given the trauma that we had experienced earlier. We had to crossexamin whether or not there would be anything crawling on this dish, but nonetheless the platter was good. It consisted of pickled beets, roasted artichokes, poached pear, and pepertonata. Cheese wise there was a soft and creamy fior di latte and a grainy grana padano. For meats there was a sopressata, spicy salami a melt-in-your-mouth-oh-so-delish speck.
House-Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil; chili & rosemary
After our antipasto board was removed, our server brought over and explained the oils to us as our pizzas were coming up. I personally enjoyed the rosemary one more even though I love my spice, the flavour of rosemary was infused nicely, giving off a well rounded herb taste, where the chili oil was just chili oil.
Daily Feature; EVOO, garlic confit, slow roasted artichoke, artichoke sausage, fior di latte & fresh basil
Margherita; pomodoro, grana padano, mozzarella di bufala, fresh basil
Our server had mentioned the daily special to us, seeing how we already had a “red” pizza already, we decided to give it a try. Not what we expected, there was no ‘white’ sauce on the pizza, instead all you get are the crisp burnt flavours of the crust, washed with a hint of garlic and the creamy cheese.The margherita was nice and simple too, it was orignally served with fior di latte as well, but we decided to spurge and upgrade it to the buffalo mozzarella. It really said a lot, how well this staple dish was executed.
Panna Cotta; served with strawberry raspberry compote & shortbread
We decided to end off with a dessert to share between the four of us. After glancing off the menu, only the panna cotta caught our interests. Panna Cotta is an Italian cream-based pudding of shorts, the one at Nicli was smooth yet not too heavy. With the berry compote being just the right amount of tartness to cut through the cream, balancing the whole dessert. As for the shortbread, no one really had a thing for it.
Overall it was an enjoyable meal, everything was fresh, to the point that there were still things crawling! (jokes aside) Service was fast and nice, I would definitely like to come back and give them a retry.