Viva Herbal Pizzeria

Manhattan, New York City


Image for conde.kedar

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Viva is a small pizza joint serving eight or nine different types of vegan pizza by the slice, as well as some traditional vegetarian options. It's a good place to get a quick bite in the East Village.

I had a slice of their vegan seitan-artichoke-sundried tomato pizza which came on a spelt crust ($6). The slice tasted okay, but wasn't great in my opinion. For one thing, none of the vegetables or the sauce seemed to have much flavor, and they also reheated the slice for too long, making the crust way to crispy (I like my crust to be softer or chewier, but definitely without "crunch" factor). Lastly, $6 is a lot to pay for a slice of pizza, vegan or otherwise (their cheapest option seemed to be a Daiya cheese slice for $3.25).

I also got a tiramisu-like thing for dessert ($4). I didn't realize Vegan Treats makes tiramisu, and damn was this good---easily the best I've ever had.

Viva has a few tables for two and some counter seating as well. It's a grimy place that always feel sticky (the front door is always slightly ajar as well), so it's not the type of place you want to have a sit-down meal per se.

While I love that Viva has whole wheat and spelt crusts, as well as a good array of vegan toppings (seitan, mock sausage, Daiya cheese), they need to keep their pizzas fresher somehow as they sit out all day and lose flavor. They also need to clean the place a bit better and make it a little more comfortable for an eat-in meal.

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This place is pretty good but there are, in my opinion, better vegan pizza options in NYC. The first time I came to this place was in 2002 and their vegan offerings have increased 10-fold since then. The spicy marinara is still there and I am pretty sure still at the 2001 price of $2.00 for a thick, square slice of delicious, spicy, saucy, doughy crust.

There are many other vegan options but they skimp on the veeg cheese and can get to be pretty expensive. I think theirs are definitely healthier pizza options compared to other places, so that is a plus if that's what you are going for.

This place also carries desserts from Vegan Treats at prices that are a bit cheaper than other places in town. They usually carry the peanut-butter bomb and a few other cakes.

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Great food but really expensive. We ordered a large Picante (tomato sauce, soy sausage, roasted red peppers) and added a delicious yeastfree spelt crust, cheese made from yucca that melted beautifully and onions. It was $41.75! With $5 for the delivery man, that was one expensive pizza night. But. It. Was. Delicious.

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I come here far more than necessary, but their vegan picante pizza is delicious. ditto the zen kind. but far too expensive.

Image for Cass Danger

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This place is great for a (somewhat) late night snack and is a really good hangout. They usually offer about 5 or 6 kids of vegan pizza but they tend to run out at the end of the night. My favorites are the Sicilian (spicy marinara on white crust) and the Picante (spicy vegan sausage and peppers). Unfortunately, the soy cheese they use isn't vegan and the "garlic knots" aren't very good--although they're really cheap.

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