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Apr 5, 2011 09:49 AM

Nicli vs Bibo

Three pizzas in one weekend, yes, mildly obsessed. So many options now, so trying to find my favorite.

Nicli on Friday night: we were there at 6 pm, and it was already full! Seeing as how there is nothing but pizza on the menu, the turnover was quick, and service was good. We ordered a marinara, and a diavolo. The roasted garlic on the marinara was a nice touch. The fior di latte was really flavorful.

My issue was this: the whole time I was eating it, I was thinking "naan"! I felt like I was eating naan with italian flavors scattered on top. The crust had a nice char on the bottom, like naan, was pillowy with a slight pull, like naan, and no yeasty flavor with chew, like naan.

I did love the chili oil they bring you on the side, and I dipped the naan into it happily, as was everyone else around me.

Bibo on Sunday at lunch: we were there early, the only ones there, and oddly, service was slow. I guess the waitress had a lot to catch up on from her previous night with the co-workers. That was fine. Much more impressed with the pizza dough flavor, but it was decidedly soggy in the middle one bite into the proscuitto pie. Garlic was sliced and scattered (all in the middle) on the margherita, and it was nicely cooked.

the pastas were really well-received by fellow diners.

Campagnolo remains the one to beat for me.

1020 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A, CA

8316 Main St, Osoyoos, BC V0H1V2, CA

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  1. That pretty well sums up the general consensus of the two places and styles. Both are in theory Napoletana style (with Nicli being an "official" version).
    The two elements that turn off many serious North American pizza lovers are soft centers and soft crust. Although both of these are part of the accepted spectrum of this style I have to agree that as these versions stand they don't ring my bell.

    The Campagnolo style (crispy outer crust and chewy interior) is much more to my personal taste as well. Still waiting for a third outing to confirm that they've dialed in their consistency.

    Barbarella up next......once they open.

    1020 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A, CA

    1 Reply
    1. re: eatrustic

      The soggy center doesn't turn me off so much, in most cases. But when the dough becomes, for lack of a better word, slimy-ish under the ham, it's a little off-putting. But I am no pro... is it supposed to be like that? I just want to be able to chew my pizza, middle included :)

    2. I too prefer Campagnolo.

      I know they don't have a wood fired oven, but they have the skills where it really counts - in the flavour category. My other fav is Nook.

      For some reason, I find myself TRYING to really like Nicli because I appreciate what they are trying to do, but their product just doesn't sing to me.

      Ah Beetz was the best pizza I've had in BC...really knee weakening. Can't wait for Barberella.

      1020 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A, CA

      3 Replies
      1. re: kroekerj

        Heading to Nicli tomorrow night to try their naan ;-). A few years ago I was lucky enough to go to Italy and we spent a few nights in Naples, so I guess I've had the real thing. I must say it didn't do much for me so I'm not sure if I'll like Nicli. I'm excited for Barbarella to open too.

        1. re: grayelf

          well let me know if I am just giving naan a bad name :) For the record, i love naan. I would just rather eat it with makhni than mozzarella

        2. re: kroekerj

          I will be signing the lease on Wednesday so it should be soon!

        3. My 2 lira's worth ----after trying both places and eating hundreds of pizza's in Italy you have to realize that a pizza crust is somewhat concave and with the ingredients liquifying under the intense heat pooling in the center is a natural occurance and most Italians will quarter the pizza and fold their piece in acceptance of the soft center! Always a plus when washed down with a cold Nastro Azzuro!!! Both places are doing a fine job of raising the bar on authentic pizza. Don't be so critical have a glass and share a pie!!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: cucinelle

            Ok, thanks for that...unfortunately the guys who get it right wouldn't be recognized with that philosophy.
            There is nothing wrong with criticizing the inability of a restaurant to dial in their product. I have had many, many pizzas in Italy as well and soggy, wet centers don't get any more recognition there than they do here. Soft yes, mushy no. The same goes with underseasoned ingredients.

            Excellence is often a matter of a couple of degrees vs a quantum leap and both Nicli and Bibo can look forward to long runs if they address these relatively minor technical issues - but if we don't bring them up....

            8316 Main St, Osoyoos, BC V0H1V2, CA

            1. re: eatrustic

              I think as subjective as pizza tastes may be, nobody enjoys a soggy pizza. Bibo's pizza is as soggy as their service.