I’ve never had pizza in Naples. I’ve never even set foot in Italy. Well, not yet. Those who have been to Naples and have eaten its pizza say that Quebec City’s Nina Pizza Napolitaine is just like the one in Naples. I don’t know that for a fact. But, here is what I know for a fact about Nina Pizza Napolitaine.
Nina Pizza Napolitaine is owned and operated by Peneloppe Lachapelle and Lucie Nadeau, two friends who’ve worked their way around the restaurant industry in Quebec City for some time. They left their jobs as waitresses at the Lapin Sauté and jumped on the occasion to be Nouvo restaurateurs. They trained with pizza gourmets, reached out to some of Quebec City’ industry connoisseurs (including the experienced people behind the Groupe Restos Plaisir) and found a niche: a 900-degree wood-burning niche that cooks pizza in 90 seconds. It was delivered straight from Naples.
Nina is located in the heart of Saint-Roch on Saint-Anselme Street on the corner of Notre-Dame-des-Anges. The most important information you need to know about this restaurant, despite its location, is that it is closed on Tuesdays. I learned it the hard way. I was locked out of heaven, Bruno. Yup, at least my kind of pizza haven. Once you’ve tasted Nina’s pizza, you will cry a river of bonheur Justin, yes you will.
Nina’s pizzas are simple, refined and incredibly tasty. The focus is on quality of ingredients rather than quantity. The simplest of their pizza is the Margherita: tomato, fior di latte cheese, fresh basil and olive oil. The tomato sauce is light, neither too salty nor sweet and balances perfectly with the fior di latte. A perfect amount of sauce that doesn’t drench the dough, but rather N-Syncs with the scattered touches of burnt bread from the colossal oven’s incredible 900-degree heat.
What is the greatest of Nina’s ingredients you ask? The pizza dough! I’ve tasted almost all the pizza doughs in town. And so far, Quebec City’s best pizza dough is at Nina Pizza’s. period. Even if blindfolded I could recognize its elegance and sponginess. Almost everything on the menu includes traditional Italian ingredients, but with an ever-so-beautiful Nina touch. A mildly noisy ambiance with a great menu, and an awesome soundtrack. Limone, Campari, The XX and basilico. Their homemade deserts are also a great example of the owners’ attention to detail.
And in a city where restaurants NEED to stand out to exist, Nina does just that. Nina stands out.