Nicli Antica Pizzeria

Restaurant: Nicli Antica Pizzeria
Cuisine: Italian/Pizza/Wine Bar
Last visited: July 16, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Gastown/Downtown)
Address: 62 E Cordova St
Transit: Stadium-Chinatown Skytrain
Phone: 604 669 6985
Price Range: $20-30

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 5
Service: 3
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 4
Additional comments:

  • Authentic Neapolitan Pizza
  • Fresh, high quality ingredients
  • Italian imported ingredients
  • Some local ingredients
  • Very busy/popular
  • Local favourite
  • Modern & energetic atmosphere
  • Moderately priced
  • Long waits/lines
  • 1+ hr dinner waits on weekends
  • Wood fired oven
  • Wine/cocktail bar
  • Dine in Only
  • No Reservations
  • 11:30am to Midnight Daily

**Recommendations: Margherita Pizza, Bianca Pizza

Oh Vancouver, how you manage to make everything into a “thing” never seizes to amaze me. Pizza. It’s such a a simple thing, but it does require much technique to perfect one. There is an art, culture and style to pizza making so I don’t want to give it less credit than it deserves. On the other hand I don’t want to make it more of “thing” than it already is. In fact, I’m kind of glad it’s a “thing” because the pizza available before wasn’t anything to brag about, until now.

Nicli Antica Pizzeria has helped escalate the pizza hype, but at least they’re doing it right by offering authentic Neapolitan pizza made with fresh high quality ingredients. Yes, the pizzas are lovely, but are they worth the wait?

I warn you that if you come on a Friday night or weekend, you can expect at least an hour line up unless you come at 5pm, senior time. Personally, I hate line ups. I mean really who likes them? You never go to a restaurant thinking “ohhh I’m so excited for the line up!”, but there’s something about line ups that makes you think you’re missing out if you don’t get into one.

Just make sure you don’t take a first date here unless you know he or she isn’t boring, or you’ll be staring at borderline grungy Gastown for longer than you want. The place is packed so you can’t even sit at the bar and have a drink as you wait for your table. I came prepared and I was lucky to be in the gorgeous company of Darcy and Randall, the gentlemen from Call the Kettle Black, so I was thoroughly entertained.

After trying the pizza here I will say that it’s worth a 30 minute wait, and I think that’s a pretty long time too. I hope that doesn’t come across as diva-ish because god knows I am willing to wait in line and wear pretty elbow pads if I need to fight my way for good food. So just a heads up, if you want to avoid the line, and you’re here just to try the food, then you might want to come for lunch or on a week night.

It’s an open kitchen and the pizzas are hand made and baked in a wood fired oven at the precise temperature of 900ºF. It only takes 90 seconds before these authentic Neapolitan pizzas come out with a blistering tan. Some of the ingredients are precooked and just slightly warmed in the baking process, while others are tossed on after these pizzas come out. Regardless the ingredients are simple, fresh, and good quality, although at times a bit scarce. No, I’m not expecting “to the edges toppings”, but I just don’t want to fight for the best section of the pizza either.

The characteristics of a Neapolitan pizzas include a soft, tender and almost soupy centre and a chewy and crisp crust (not crunchy). It should also have a lot of blackened spots, which is called leoparding, and it should appear on the underside as well. Although I was hoping for more leoparding, the pizza did not disappoint even coming in with high expectations. I do think it could get marginally better, but it is an excellent pizza and I preferred it compared to the ones at The BiBo. I guess some could consider it quite pricey, and it is, but you’re paying for the whole experience. I think it’s expected for the area and ambiance, and justified if you value an authentic Neapolitan pizza with great ingredients, which isn’t easy to find.

**Now here’s an insider tip. But the previous kitchen management consultant at Nicli Anticia Pizzeria has actually parted ways and is now at Verace Pizzeria Napoletana and Enoteca, which is literally a 3 minute drive and a 9 minute walk away from Nicli according to Google. It’s by T &T Supermarket near Tinseltown. There’s rarely a line up, it’s surprisingly a bit pricier, and the atmosphere is more family style, but the pizzas are very similar! Here’s the Follow Me Foodie low down!

Verace Pizzeria Napoletana and Enoteca VS Nicli Antica Pizzeria

Verace Pizzeria Napoletana and Enoteca

Nicli Antica Pizzeria

 Gas oven, 900ºF, 90 seconds  Wood fired oven, 900ºF, 90 seconds
 Higher grade tomato used for Pomodoro sauce  Pomodoro sauce is not as salty
 Generally pricier  Slightly more affordable
 Tougher, chewier, thinner crust (natural fermentation)  Better leoparding, dough ferments for longer (better)
 Larger menu, more options, brunch pizzas  More focused menu
 Italian imported and local ingredients  Italian imported and local ingredients
 More family style atmosphere  Energetic and trendier atmosphere
 More affordable all Italian wine list: Red, white, rose, sparkling  All Italian wine list – Better selection of whites, reds and sparkling wines, 1 rose, cocktails
 Accepts reservations, occasional line ups  No reservations, long line ups
 Not VPN (Vera/Real Pizza Napoletana) Certified  VPN (Vera/Real Pizza Napoletana) Certified

**I went to Verace the day after I had Nicli, just so I could make the comparison. Since I had them a day apart I could tell a difference, but otherwise I’m not so sure how sensitive I would have been given a wider gap.

On the table:

Strawberry Bellini Cocktail3.5/6

  • Strawberry puree, rosemary infused gin, Triple Sec and Prosecco $10
  • This was very refreshing and summery with bright flavours and the right amount of sweetness. It was quite “girly” though, but I like girly drinks.
  • I could have used more rosemary because I couldn’t taste it and wouldn’t know it was in there unless I was told.
  • The strawberry was rounded out with a hint of orangey Triple Sec, but it was stronger with strawberry.
  • It was more on the sweet side than the piney earthy side and I could have used more aromatics and gin.
  • The touch of Prosecco gave it bubbly character and slight zing that brightened up the flavours and opened the palate.

**Bella Donna4.5/6

  • Vodka, lychee liquer, grapefruit liquer, fresh squeezed grapefruit and lemon juice ad house made bitters $10
  • This is one of their most popular drinks, and it was dangerous. It was another “girly” drink, but not as sweet as the special above and better balanced.
  • This was almost like a grapefruit version of a mimosa without the bubbly.
  • I could barely taste any alcohol although the heat of my cheeks told me it was in there.
  • It’s refreshing, bright and summery with nice citrus flavours and fruity notes.
  • It was very strong with grapefruit flavour and as sweet as grapefruit juice is with a good tartness to balance it out.
  • It had the bitterness to it, which I personally enjoy and appreciate in cocktails. The bitterness was from the grapefruit peel and not from the alcohol which I personally prefer more.
  • The lychee was faint and it came at the very end. Usually I’d want more lychee flavour, but anymore lychee and it would be borderline too sweet and almost like a dessert.
  • It’s a solid drink which I enjoyed a lot, but it might not be particularly hard to replicate elsewhere.

**Margherita5/6 (Excellent)

  • Pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte, basil $12
  • The Margherita is the testament of how good a pizza place really is. It’s the most basic, and that’s also the reason why you order it.
  • It’s all about the fresh and high quality ingredients which shows the philosophy of the restaurant. It will speak for the rest of the pizzas, since all the others are essentially based on this one.
  • It’s served the authentic Neapolitan way, which is uncut so that the flavours stay in tact.
  • The flavour was great, but I just wanted more fior di latte.
  • I know the 3 basil leaves is authentic Neapolitan style, but I just want it to be good even if that means jeopardizing its “authenticity”. I love and hate that word.
  • The flavours of the basil didn’t spread throughout the pizza and in Italy it would even if it was simply placed in the centre like this one.
  • I loved the house made light and mild tomato sauce which was made from a good quality of tomatoes, but it’s not the highest quality San Marzano DOP tomato.
  • The pomodoro sauce is a bit sweeter in tomato flavour and not as acidic. *Hint* Verace Pizzeria uses one grade higher tomato quality than Nicli.
  • The tomatoes in the pomodoro sauce were roughly pureed and it’s quite a fluid sauce, but not runny or watery.
  • I feel like they drained a bit of the water content after the pureeing process, and tossed in some freshly chopped skinless roasted tomatoes at the end to keep the texture and intense flavour of the tomato.
  • I could taste the puree of seeds and fresh tomato juice that’s not powdery or pulpy, but clean in flavour.
  • The tomato sauce is pure and simple and not very salted at all, but naturally juicy and full flavoured.
  • I appreciated the fact that the basil was put on afterward, but again the flavours and aromas of it did not extend beyond the leaves alone.
  •  A couple more slices of fior di latte would be nice too, and I felt like there was barely any parmigiano and I didn’t get much of its salty, rich and nutty flavours.

  • The middle of the pizza is soft and tender, but not wet or soggy. Authentic Neapolitan pizza is actually quite wet in the centre.
  • It was foldable, but only in the centre and the crust edge should have been foldable too.
  • The crust was nice, thin, and even, and although it could have used more charring and leoparding (spotting), it was great.
  • The crust was crisp, puffed, and very chewy, but not tough so it’s not tiresome to chew.
  • The chew was actually very enjoyable, but it was still a bit denser and drier than Neapolitan pizzas in Naples.
  • It had the perfect texture and almost a slight powderiness to it and I could have used a touch more salt because it didn’t have a particular flavour.
  • It was quite plain tasting but it was all in the texture, which I found excellent.

  • I expect the leoparding to come up more around the edges than the centre, even with the underside of the crust.
  • The leoparding on the bottom was a bit lacking on all of the pizzas, so it didn’t have that charred flavour throughout and I did miss that. It was so close to being perfect.
  • It’s a solid pizza, but a drizzle of olive oil which was at the table did the trick to enhance the flavours of everything.

Capricciosa 4/6 (Very good)

  • Pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte, prosciutto cotto, artichokes, funghi, black olives, basil $20
  • This had the most ingredients, but I actually liked it the least out of three. It didn’t taste bad at all, but it was almost more like an antipasto platter on pizza crust.
  • I do love toppings, but I found this one almost overwhelming with them and it was just a bit deconstructed.
  • I couldn’t taste any of the cheese or the acidity and sweetness of the tomato sauce and that was overwhelmed by the tanginess of the tender juicy quarters of artichoke hearts.
  • The olives were meaty and the mushrooms were Criminis and the prosciutto cotto was almost like ham and not that salty, although shaved paper thin so it had a melt in your mouth tendency.
  • The extra ingredients also caused the pizza to get a bit wet and soggy in the centre.
  • I find what Nicli is great at is the tomato sauce and crust, so when those components are overwhelmed, it almost loses its “special” factor.
  • I did love the freshness, and I probably could have used Kalamatas instead of black olives, just because I do like the salty sharp bite and I found the black olives quite meaty and they fought the prosciutto cotto and mushrooms for the spotlight.
  • The prosciutto cotto I was almost eating alone and that kind of defeated the purpose.
  • I really missed the flavour of cheese in this pizza.
  • Technically the pizza should be foldable if it was “authentic Neapolitan”, but it wasn’t although still very good.

**Bianca5/6 (Excellent)

  • Extra virgin olive oil, parmigiano, roasted garlic, roasted onion, oregano, gorgonzola $17
  • This was may favourite of the night. It had the most flavour built into the pizza and not just on top of the pizza. It was well layered with flavour and everything just flowed in perfect harmony.
  • This was creamy, melty, tender and rich, but not heavy or greasy, and I could just really taste the quality of each ingredient.
  • It was thin layer of a basic creamy white sauce which wasn’t particularly strong with garlic or herb flavours, but it was good and flavourful.
  • I think it was the combination of parmigiano and gorgonzola that did it. The cheese really gave it that punch of saltiness that was lacking from the other pizzas.
  • Since the crust is almost unsalted, I did find that the salt had to come from somewhere, which means it should be in the sauce, from the ingredients, or sprinkled on top. Salt is not bad, it enhances flavour.
  • I loved the roasted garlic and the roasted onions, but neither were sweet and I wish the garlic was a bit nuttier and saltier and the onions more caramelized and not just oily.
  • I actually would have liked some freshly baked and dried oregano on top, because I find oregano one of those herbs that’s better on pizza when it’s dried than fresh, unlike basil.
  • I get this is the style of Neapolitan pizza though. I just wanted that oregano flavour to linger longer and lend itself to the other ingredients too.
  • Authentically it should be rosemary, but I didn’t mind the oregano.
  • It certainly had the most flavour of the pizzas, but it’s also a white sauce pizza which is in a different category than a pomodoro sauce pizza.
  • Again, technically the pizza should be foldable if it was “authentic Neapolitan”, but it wasn’t although still very good.

The pizzas are served with rosemary infused olive oil and chili infused olive oil. The rosemary olive oil was beautiful, rich, and woody and I was dipping my fingers in it. The chili oil took about 3 seconds before the spice really kicked in. It’s actually quite spicy and it lingers for a while. I did want the chili oil to be more well rounded and developed rather than just hot, but it did give spice to the pizzas.

Tiramisu3.5/6

  • Classic with Marscapone cream and frangelico syrup $9
  • A $9 tiramisu is pretty steep, so I was expecting either a lot of Marscapone, a lot of rum, or a combination of both. Or I was expecting “the best tiramisu” of my life. It wasn’t really any of the above, but it was good, just overpriced.
  • It was incredibly strong with espresso and frangelico syrup, but more so with the espresso. It was almost to the point of being a bit bitter it was so strong.
  • It was very soft and tender and the slice was quite shareable, but not huge.
  • I couldn’t really taste the frangelico (hazelnut infused liquer) and it was more espresso flavoured and a bit sweet than anything.
  • The layers were very moist and almost wet and I found the lady fingers a bit over soaked, so I couldn’t tell if it was lady fingers or just cake.
  • The Marscapone cheese layer was so thinly spread in between the layers of lady fingers that it was almost non-existent, except for the layer on top. I really like tasting that rich creamy Marscapone cheese and I find that’s one of the best parts to tiramisu and I missed that.
  • It had little bits of soft chocolate pieces which gave it a little texture, but I probably wouldn’t order it again, although good.

Frozen Callebault Chocolate Mousse 2.5/6

  • With warm Okanagan cherries and amaretti $8
  • I’m not usually a mousse fan, but when I saw the word “frozen” I was sold. It sounded interesting and unique.
  • When it came out I thought it was going to be like a semifreddo, but it wasn’t. It was almost like a “cheat” to a semifreddo.
  • It’s chilled, but not cold and it’s not icy either so it’s not as refreshing as something that’s frozen would usually be.
  • It was in fact just a block of frozen chocolate mousse and it wasn’t rich, but it would be a bit much for one person because I found it quite sweet.

  • It may look like the texture of ice cream, or even a popsicle, but it’s not.
  • It’s not dense or hard, but it’s stiff (wow that kind of sounds bad… ) and it’s made with Callebault milk chocolate rather than a dark bittersweet one, so I did miss that richer bittersweet flavour that I prefer.
  • The mousse did thaw, and when it thawed it just tasted like plain chocolate mousse.
  • It had amaretti crumbs sprinkled around and it added a wonderfully crispy and nutty texture.
  • I wish the entire slice of the mousse, or even just the top, was crusted with the amaretti crumbs as I find plain mousse can get a bit boring sometimes.
  • The Okanagan cherries were prepared quite naturally. They were juicy and plump, and although I appreciate the use of local ingredients and see the intended West Coast twist, I would have preferred the more sour Amarena cherries for more of a contrast and authentic Italian touch.
  • The cherries were cooked in a little bit of alcohol I think, which was cooked out. They were naturally sweet and delicious even alone and almost tasted like jumbo blueberries.
  • I just didn’t find this as exciting as the description and a semifreddo would have been more exciting and appropriate.

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Nicli Antica Pizzeria on Urbanspoon

41 Comments

  • KimHo says:

    I mean really who likes them?

    Sherman likes to line up! OK, joking aside, in Vancouver, that’s easily a lot of people who lines up outside of restaurants so they can be “seen and be seen”. After all, how can you explain long queues in restaurants where food is dubious at best but just happen to be location in a trendy place?

    In my opinion, pizza is one of those odd things. While I haven’t tasted a traditional Neopolitan pizza, I have had really close ones. How close? Rather than using some really specific ingredients (mozzarella from water buffalo somewhere in Italy, tomatoes grown in certain region of Italy, et al), they used local ingredients. The result was good but I won’t go bananas or overkill. And then, when you compare to other forms of pizza (NY style being at the front from this side of the world perspective)… Well, that would be odd because, similar to dumplings, where each culture has their own version, each is good in its own ways. So, to me, if you like it “your way”, hey, stick with it!

    Side note, there was actually a really good pizza place in Metro Vancouver, however, because it wasn’t in the “usual suspects” area (read: Downtown, Gastown, Yaletown or Kits), it didn’t generate too much buzz except with people like us. However, you never went because… Well, I tried to take you! That place is Ah-Beetz in Abbotsford. Since, Terry Deane (the owner) has sold it (have been told the new owner has maintained what was produced before) and will be opening a location in Vancouver soon. Check it here. Now, how “good” was it? How about he would make only X doughs a day and, if he was sold out, he will close shop for the day. Likewise, he cure his own cold meats and so on…

  • Giuseppe Cipriani says:

    Nice review, one thing. A Bellini should never be “slushy”. Only if you go to a chain restaurant in vancouver will you find this, the Bellini should be served in a flute with no ice. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellini_(cocktail)
    Love your pics and the review though.

  • Kyle says:

    Callebaut! Yay for Alberta chocolates ;p

  • Erin says:

    Great review as always 🙂 Seems like the place is overrated… and very expensive, holy moly! I think ppl in Vancouver are getting way to accustomed to paying through the nose for their food- and its a shame.
    That being said- I will go try for myself but won’t be spending $9 on mediocre (or any) tiramisu (my faaaave dessert- best one I’ve found is at the Epicurean on West. 1st)
    E

  • Mijune says:

    @KimHo – yes I know about Ah-beetz and hope they stay the same when they come to Vancouver.. I’m sure that will be different than these ones though. you’re right.. it’s simply what you prefer. It would be great if Nicli cured their own meats… and charged the same price.. then I think it would be very reasonable… or more reasonable at least.

    @Giuseppe Cipriano – You caught me. I’m not much of a cocktail drinker as to why I don’t write on them too often. But I think I just expected more fruit puree for a thicker textured bellini. Icy is nice for the summer I admit, but good to know the additional facts and info. Thanks Giuseppe!

    @Kyle – lol

    @Erin – Thank you Erin!! Yeah a lot of people complain about the price here. And yes I LOVE tiramisu too and that’s why I had to make a comment on how pricey it was. Okay I better go try Epicurean on West 1st!!! Thanks hun!

  • LotusRapper says:

    @Erin – thanks for the tip re: tiramisu 😀

    I’ll take a good tiramisu over a napoletana pizza pie any day 😀

  • Bow says:

    Nice review, I wouldn’t have cocktails with pizza, but that’s just me. I think you have to go to Lombardo’s to try their Margherita…it’s better. Don’t like waiting 1 hr. for dinner and over paying for drinks. Nice that infused oils where served with the pizzas.

  • munchkie says:

    That Tiramisu looks deathly delicious! Too bad it doesn’t seem to have measured up to its appearance 🙁

  • Mijune says:

    @LR – really?! Wow I didn’t know you had such a sweet tooth! I like it 🙂

    @Bow – I don’t prefer cocktails with pizza either so I enjoyed them separately. A little bubbly or white is ideal. They have a great wine list here though… but it’s a bit pricey. I wonder what you would think of it! So you’ve been to Nicli? or what makes Lobardo’s better?

    @munckie – I personally prefer more marscapone in my tiramisu 🙂 It’s a pricey little dessert here though.

  • Calvin says:

    Looks like they put way too much tomato sauce on their pies (we call ’em pies in NYC).

    Secondly, a traditional Pizza Bianca does not have any garlic. It is mainly just ricotta and mozzarella maybe with a drizzle of olive oil.

    The photos look good, and I still want to eat that pizza even though it doesn’t look very authentic.

  • Calvin says:

    I’m kind of a purist when it comes to pizza. That’s why the garlic on the pizza bianca kind of irked me. If you want to make a lazy pizza at home try the pizza bianca minus the garlic and you’ll know what I’m talking about, especially if you’re a turophile.

  • Bow says:

    Haven’t been, but trust your palate and you didn’t rate Nici’s or the Nook very highly and I’ve recently had pizza at Raggazzi’s(was underwhelmed)…my friends and I really like Lombardo’s…especially as the lunch special.

  • Mijune says:

    @Calvin – Really? I actually didn’t know about that Pizza Bianca no garlic thing… when you make the comparison are you comparing New York style pizzas to Neapolitan pizzas? I think sometimes the idea of “authenticity” can get tricky. Sometimes as long as it tastes good it doesn’t bother me… and also in the context of Vancouver I think this is the most “authentic” it will get without going to Naples 🙂 Thanks for the pizza tips and comments though. They’re useful.

    @Bow – nicli’s I rated quite highly… anything 4+ is good!! 🙂 Even a 3 is still “good”, but maybe not somewhere I’m really eager to go back too. The Nook I wasn’t so impressed with, but I might have had an off day. I guess I should try Lombardo’s!

  • LotusRapper says:

    @ …. anyone:

    Subjectively, between Lombardo’s and Marcello (related family operation but with a bit of sour family politics), I like Marcello’s better overall. Maybe I’m influenced by that big mouthy oven at Marcello !

    http://www.canada.com/vancouversun/news/westcoastnews/story.html?id=d1683f36-177c-4ed4-a4d5-4d22c50d83c6

  • LotusRapper says:

    Wow I didn’t know there was such passion and fervor between Lombardo’s and Marcello’s diners:

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/617705

  • Mijune says:

    @LR – I haven’t been to either yet, but now I want to try them! I think there’s drama in every industry… that’s why we have HR 😉

  • Matthew Morgenstern says:

    Hello Mijune,

    Thanks for taking time to visit Nicli Antica Pizzeria! Just thought I would let everyone know that we do have an extensive red wine list as well. I’m sorry, someone must have taken home a souvenier from your drinks menu… My bad. Our wine list is almost all Italian, with a large selection from the southern region, including many from the Naples area! Keep up the great work!

    Matthew Morgenstern
    Wine Director
    Nicli Antica Pizzeria

  • TimeToChow says:

    The line up and wait time here and Bibo are to be expected. As are the prices. Sorry but businesses have to turn or profit at some point. Nicli took a really long time to open for many reasons. As is, T. Deane’s Barbarealla( i read a possible sept opening). New restaurants rarely open on schedule. But with Nicli the owner had purchased the property and had to wait almost a year before they finally opened. Which prob cost some $$.

    I believe Nicli tried to promote itself as the first in Metro Vancouver to be an aunthentic vendor specified Neopolitan Pizza. And also tried to secure and source ingredients from Italy. While the effort they made shows in the final product, which is a good piece of pizza pie. Seems like they are not the only game in town. Even off granville strip(where they love $1 slice pizza’s) there is place that advertises Neopolitan pizza. Sigh! It is this bastardization of what pizza is perceived as, that makes the association of pizza unfavourable. I was shocked recently to see how many guest(mostly younger) that were asking for ranch sauce for their pizza at a semi upscale joint.

    IMHO, Nicli pizza are good. Although you are right that the toppings are possible better at Verace and also i add, at Bibo. But the dough and oven here is very good. I was not pleased with the direction of where they were headed with in the FOH and kitchen. Seems the owners were looking at a semi casual chain restaurant concept of managing.

    Food is often NOT the primarily reason people gather and eat, if you can believe it. At least that is what I’ve learned. 😀 Thank goodness for people like the bloggers that try to share and educate the masses with making better educated decisions.

    As for curing your own meat, that neither guarantees a better product nor better prices. Most likely it’s the other way around. A fermentation unit is well over $2000 to purchase. Curing your own meat is its own science in itself with very little to do with being a chef or pizza maker.

    Fwiw, ‘AUTHENTIC’ is so 2010. Lol! Let’s get it straight, Food does not need to be authentic to be good. And food is near impossible to replicate cost effectively and consistently over 1000 miles away. The biggest challenge is that you can’t replicate the emotional connection with food associated memories. i.e. F Dunlop’s memoir’s are a great read that had to be sensationalized to make it more appealing to read. Also the food is better possibly because it was an adventurous time with new experiences. As is our own childhood memories, or vacation memories that are food associated. Anyways, it is unfair to dismiss something simply because it isn’t authentic. Majority of the food people eat are not authentic. Provided they don’t advertise authentic when it isnt, who would do that?

  • Kyle says:

    Vancouverites don’t pay through the nose for their food. It’s way worse in Edmonton for a much lower standard of food.

    That being said, in E-town we’ve got some excellent Neopolitan pizza places at reasonable prices :p

  • Mijune says:

    @Matthew Morgenstern – Thanks for the clarification Matthew! Yes, I think that red wine list disappeared, but I will edit my post appropriately. Thanks for the comment and read, I appreciate it. Nicli does have a very impressive wine list.

    @TimeToChow – omg I think you just won an award for the longest comment on here! it matches my posts 🙂 I can see your very passionate in your opinions. Thanks for sharing them.

    – I understand the need to turn to profit, but I still think it has to be within reasonable limits. Most businesses don’t even make money in the first year. To keep food costs at 1/3 or a 1/4 is fine… but any more than that… I think it’s not very fair.

    – I see your frustration with ppl claiming to be “authentic”… lots of places do this, but not everyone is a “food enthusiast”.. hopefully they’re find out sooner than later though! I’m hoping my posts may help 🙂

    – I know at nicli they have to premake the doughs because everything is at such high volume that they somewhat have to “mass produce”.

    – Yup, I’m willing to pay for atmosphere as well, but the food has got to be there too. I’m hoping to do my “blogger duties” 🙂

    – Personally I see value in house cured meats.. assuming it’s done well. I appreciate the time and effort it takes to make even if the result may not be as rewarding. It definitely might mean higher costs.. but I’d pay for it. Campagnolo cures their own meat for their pizzas.

    – okay but then you just said the Granville street stuff isn’t “authentic”… so if Ranch dressing tastes good on pizza.. so let it be right? sure they claim to be authentic, but if no place is really “authentic” then aren’t they all false advertising? Basically, the way I see it, food is very personal. Nobody has to agree on everything or everything would be 100% on Urbanspoon.

    I do love the discussion and you brought up fair points. Thank you!

  • LotusRapper says:

    Was that Ranch sauce certified by Associazione Vera Pizza Napoletana ???

    😉

  • Mijune says:

    @Kyle – I wonder how the Edmonton places compare to places in Vancouver… for Neapolitan pizza. Will have to get you out here to see!

  • KimHo says:

    Kyle, are you referring to Famoso? I went there earlier this year (as in winter!!!) and it was OK (read: could have been worst). From a person who have visited Edmonton a couple of times, I am not sure if it is that much the sense of lower standards of food as much as Vancouverites being a bit snobbish about our options. I mean, Edmonton’s Ukrainian and Vietnamese are way better than Vancouver’s! Either that or it is the population distribution…

    @TTC, it is funny that you blast younger generations for asking ranch sauce in their pizza (made from a place that advertises itself as Neapolitan pizza, hence, related to “the association of pizza”), yet down below, you say that “authentic is so 2010”! So, what if I want some of that sauce on my pizza? 🙂 On the same lines, in Japanese restaurants, have you seen people put huge chunks of wasabi and mix it with soy sauce and then soak their sushi pieces (specially rolls) before eating it? What is your reaction?

    I do agree that trying to make things “authentic” or labelling things “authentic” is sort of a faux pas: you can’t simply because there are things in addition to the ingredients that you can’t easily duplicate. That’s why I prefer the term “traditional”, as the way it is made in the source/original place/region but adjusted as necessary to the new circumstances. Now, as for curing your own meats, yes and no. If you source it, you are depending on a third party they will be consistent. What if they can’t? Remember, consistency is one of the key factors in restaurants!

    In the end, I do agree with you: after having a run with a friend on this topic, I was convinced that, unless you are on a mission to eat the restaurant food a certain specific way, when I go to a restaurant with others, it is to enjoy the company. The restaurant is just providing the setting, ambiance and service to facilitate that.

    Now, just to throw a random question: which type of pizza do you like. No, I am not referring to the toppings but variants. That is, Neapolitan style, Lazio style, NY style, St. Louis style, Chicago style (technically a pie but overlooking that detail), California style, Greek style and so on?

  • Calvin says:

    If you’re ever in NYC you should go to Grimaldi’s http://www.grimaldis.com/

    I’ve had a few Italian claim that it is just as good as going to Naples.

    I could be wrong about the garlic on pizza bianca as I’ve only had the NYC version.

  • Mijune says:

    @CalviN _ I’ll be in NYC come September! Yeah I know a few Italians who claim Nicli is like the kind in Naples too.. I bet the differences are marginal. On the other hand some people PF Chang’s as authentic… it depends who you ask really. Yup the garlic thing could be NYC.. but regardless, it’s good with it… probably without it too.. but I’m a fan of garlic.

  • TimeToChow says:

    A new resto turning profit in the first year would be optimistic. And I have not seen a resto with a 25% food cost. But I know what you are saying.

    I like all good food regardless of genre or origin. So I like all pizza varieties provided it is done well. And I have added ranch to my pizza the time I ended my nights in the DT bar crawl. But my preferences are for thinner crust with premium toppings. Have you tried the ‘Turkish pizza’ at Anatolia’s.

    I think there are some people who are more traditional than others. The chef might get offended if you ask for ranch for the pizza. In the same way, a sushi chef would cringe when you soak soy sauce rice side down. I do prefer the flavoured oil at Nicli’s better. Never been to Champognolo’s but have heard some good things about it.

    As for consistency, I have seen it both ways. Unless you have a very specific product or recipe, finding a good proven source can be a better long term solution esp for smaller enterprises. If you are in Calgary, Charcut has their own house cure meats. If you do see Connie(Top Chef) ask her for a tour of her kitchen. IMHO, this is a specialized skill set and takes years to do well. Agree with you Mijune, home made is normally best. If there is one ingredient that makes good food -> great food is the labor of love. Sounds corny, but the little details do add to a better product.

  • Mijune says:

    @TimeToChow – 25% food cost = Cactus Club

    – I tried a type of Turkish pizza at Anatolia’s, but not the actual pizza they serve… check my post on it! It just went up last week 🙂 http://www.followmefoodie.com/2011/07/anatolias-gate-turkish-restaurant/

    – Campagnolo’s pizza is great, but again different style. I wrote about that too http://www.followmefoodie.com/2010/10/campagnolo/

    – Not corny… great food if a labour of love… and passion. when a chef is pissed and making food… it affects the food IMO.

  • Kyle says:

    KimHo, I was referring to DaCapo. If I were to make a comparison to what I’ve had in Italy, DaCapo’s pizzas are pretty much the same. I do enjoy Famoso as well, as I like their creativity in some of the ‘new world’ pizzas, and even though it’s all imported ingredients, I find their crust isn’t quite up-to-snuff. That being said, I do order take-out from Famoso a lot.. it’s down the street from me and it takes them only 5 minutes to get me my food!

  • Linda says:

    @calvin and @mijune – i’ll be in nyc in may next year so i’ll definitely check out grimaldi’s too! 🙂

    the pizza here looks so beautiful – definitely something worth photographing 🙂 i still need to check this place out and i totally need to try this amazing tiramisu.. i’m usually not a dessert person, but the picture of it looks too good to pass up!

    i like all your leoparding pictures and all the pictures with the middle of the underside of crust – really really helpful 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – I’m in NYC this September so I’ll do research for you 😉

  • I came here last weekend hoping to be blown away by the quality of Nicli’s pizza, but I wasn’t. I think it might have been due to the way it was cooked. The pizza was much thicker and chewier then I would’ve anticipated. After sawing and sawing at it with my knife, I finally just had to pull the thing apart.
    I have to say, my hubby and I enjoyed Pizzeria Farina more. Flavours were a little different, but the texture and mouth feel of the pizza was a lot more enjoyable at p. farina.

  • Mijune says:

    @Tara @mindful Nourishment – hi Tara! Oh…hmmm.. I’m not sure how chewy your pizza was, but authentic Neapolitan style pizza is meant to be pulled and teared apart. It should actually have that quality and texture .. that’s why I’m wondering how chewy it was… did it look thicker than the one I had?

    Farina is a bit more crisp, which I do like, but it’s not necessarily as “authentic” due to the oven they use. Either way I still like Farina and Nicli, but the type of oven that should be used is the one at Nicli. Pizza can get really technical, but as long as you enjoyed it, that’s all that matters 🙂 Wish you had a better experience at Nicli!

  • Hi Mijune 🙂 It’s hard to tell from the pictures, but it was almost raw doughy. We got the two you recommended and one was thinner and better than the other. I wish I pulled it apart, but everyone was using a knife and fork and I felt like a barbarian just using my hands. haha

  • Mijune says:

    @Tara – aww yikes! I hope it was only a bad day… hmm maybe I should go retry them myself! lol it is very barbarian like to rip and tear the pizzas, but in Italy do as Italians.. however we’re in Vancouver.. so I guess knife and fork is popular 🙂 Thanks for leaving your comments though! I really appreciate it!

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