For Jenkins’ birthday this year, he wanted to keep things low key. Since it happened to fall on a week day, that kept things easy for me and I suggested that we check out Nicli Antica Pizzeria in Gastown. I had been there a few weeks earlier and was really impressed with the quality of their pizza and I thought that even picky Jenkins would like Nicli Antica’s pizza.
We decided to start by sharing the antipasto misto platter. We had a choice of ordering the platter for one person or two. Since I knew the pizzas were actually quite filling, we decided to order the platter for one to share. When it arrived at our table, there was so much food that we actually thought they had given us the platter for two by accident! I thought that this was a great deal and was definitely one of the best antipasto platters I’ve had on this side of the Atlantic.
I had so many items that I really enjoyed on the platter but I would say that my favourites included the cheese (I should have asked them what type of cheese it was) and the cured salami and prociutto. Accompanying the platter was some pizza bianca that was fresh out of the oven and topped with some sea salt and olive oil. It was simply made but tasted great and its chewy yet crispy texture made it a great serving vessel for the antipasto.
After a short wait, our pizzas came. As usual, we decided to order two pizzas but we split them so we could have some variety. The pizzas came at pretty much the same time but the first one to arrive was the funghi, which came with some parmigiano, fior di latte, mushrooms, and basil. The pizza dough was light and crispy with just the right amount of chewiness. In my opinion, this was comparable to some of my favourite pizza joints in Rome and other parts of Italy. The toppings were scant but complemented the dough nicely, rather than overloading it with too many ingredients. I was eating pretty slowly so my pizza got a little soggy towards the end but overall, it tasted great.
The other pizza that we shared was the Diavola, which came with parmigiano, fior di latte, hot sopressatta, basil, and chili oil. Jenkins liked this pizza more than the funghi, but I think it’s just because he’s not a huge fan of mushrooms. The chilli oil and soppressatta added just a hint of heat and I added to that by generously dipping my slices of pizza in the chilli oil dipping sauce at our table. It probably wasn’t great for my waistline but it was really tasty nonetheless.
I was tempted to try the desserts but since we had birthday cake waiting for us at home, I decided to pass. In any case, that gives me a good reason to come back again so I can sample their desserts in addition to having the pizza again! Note that Nicli Antica doesn’t take reservations so you will either need to come early or be prepared to wait a bit before you are seated. Oh, and Jenkins’ verdict on Nicli Antica? He was quite pleased as well and agreed with my assessment that it was some of the best pizza he’s had outside of Italy.
62 E Cordova Street, Vancouver
Food: [rating: 4.5]