Nicola’s is a tiny Italian place crammed into the South-West corner of the Old Market. The facade is so unassuming (and small) that it took me 3 years of living downtown before I finally noticed it. Even then it took a while to make the effort to try it out.
I seem to be the only one that didn’t know about this place. Every time I go it’s packed to the (admittedly small) gills. During winter, you’ll almost always need a reservation for a weekend dinner. If it’s a warm summer day the expansive and lovely patio is open and it’s easy to get seated straight away.
Nicola’s features home-style Italian food, including pasta, paninis, seafood dishes, and delicious hearty Italian food that pairs well with their selection of hard-to-find Italian beer and wine list. In particular I prefer the Scratalli Chianti and order it almost every time.
Niocla’s has great, friendly service. The owner usually greets you by the door, and the staff is of the Old School, where they run through the typical script every time: “Hello, my name is [x], the specials today are [x]”. I prefer more casual service, but I know a lot of people like the professional experience. The key to this place, I think, is that their prices are among the best in the Old Market considering the pro service, authentic but updated food, and cozy Old Market atmosphere and location. The Old Market is flush with excellent and professional restaurants, but few, if any can match Nicola’s for value.
Something else worth trying are Nicola’s desserts. It’s one of the few places in which I will save room for dessert. Their tiramsu is excellent, and they have cupcakes the size of real cakes, so I suppose you could just call them “cakes”.
521 So. 13th Street
Omaha, NE 68102
Monday-Friday :: 11am til 2pm
Tuesday – Thursday :: 5pm til 9pm
Friday :: 5pm til 10pm
Saturday :: 5pm til 10 pm
Sunday :: 5pm til 8pm