CLOSED: Cafe Viva Natural Pizza

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 20 reviews )



179 Second Ave (at 11th St, East Village, Manhattan), New York City, New York, USA, 10003

New York pizza restaurant. Counter service. Try the zen pizza and vegan desserts. Not associated with the other Cafe Viva that'a also in NYC. Reported closed to HappyCow.

Category: Vegan-friendly, Lacto, American, Pizza, Fast food, Take-out

Reviews (20)

First Review by michal

Pizza for vegans - Edit

It's hard to find vegan pizza, but this place is great. The pizza is really good and all the desserts are vegan too.

Pros: Vegan pizza, Vegan desserts

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Great pizza! - Edit

Cafe Viva (both of them) have plentiful options of toppings, cheese and crust type. They serve Daiya cheese and are one of the few places whose gluten-free crust is actually vegan; others often have egg, dairy, and/or some other animal product. This location has had one of the most friendly and helpful staff members, who brightened my day, which is a huge bonus to have delicious food and a smile.

Pros: delicious pizza, tons of choices, friendly staff

Cons: wish it was less expensive, worry about cross-contamination?

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Healthy pizza in an unappetizing setting - Edit

This counter-service pizza restaurant sounds really great on paper, but the actual experience was disappointing. The space is small, inadequately lit and kind of dirty seeming. They do have lots of interesting vegan pizza options, including unusual, healthy ingredients and a variety of different crust options.

I shared a slice of daiya cheese pizza and a slice of "seitan dream" with my husband. Viva's "slices" are enormous, so if you would normally eat 2, 1 will definitely suffice. The whole wheat crusts were hard and dense. That made the daiya slice less appealing than it might have been. The toppings on the seitan dream - artichoke, onion, etc. - all kind of blended together into an unfortunate mess of tomatoey blandness, but seasoned with something spicy. The onions were a little undercooked, too.

One of the really nice things about Viva is their house-made beverages. I enjoyed a watermelon coconut water, and they had other interesting options as well. The dessert fridge was filled with delicious-looking vegan treats, but it could have benefitted from being displayed nicer, instead of just a bunch of desserts in plastic boxes crammed into a gross looking fridge.

With so many vegan options in the East Village, I think it will be a while before I head over to Viva Natural again.

Pros: lots of vegan options, healthy pizza, dessert and beverage selection

Cons: hygiene, crusts are too dense

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Is the first thing that i crave when am not in NYC - Edit

I eat at viva whenever I am in the neighborhood (or not really i just have to go there every time am craving it) is good and fast a little bit overprice though

Pros: fast, good,

Cons: Small, pricey

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Veg and Vegan Pizza Joint! - Edit

Visited on 28/06/11. We got here pretty late after a gig and although it's a little scruffy we enjoyed our time there and enjoyed our food. Lots of choice of pizza, ours were both a bit bland but not bad. Friendly guy who served us. Great place for a late night snack or a quick lunch.

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Really disappointing - Edit

First of all, I have to state that I am what I call a reluctant vegan - I've cut out almost all egg and dairy product from my diet, but like so many others in my situation, cheese pizza is just so hard to give up. So after reading all the rave reviews, I was so exited to try this place, and boy was I in for a let-down.

The place itself is not very nice, shabby-looking and unappealing. The selection of pizzas were great however, and they all looked good. I bought three slices right away as I wanted to taste as many as possible, even if they were quite expensive (about $ 5-6/slice). Had I known a slice was like a quarter of a pizza, I wouldn't have, but the guy behind the counter did not give me a heads up about this (nor is he obliged to, I guess, but it still annoyed me).

The big problem was however the taste. And it had nothing to do with the lack of cheese (I didn't have the one with vegan cheese, because I simply overlooked it). The crusts were hard and unbendable, and the pizzas fell apart with a little tugging. The toppings were ok, but all in all I have to say this were one of the worst pizzas I have ever had (they were all more or less equally bad, the soy meatball one a tad better than the rest). I am so sorry to say this. The only reason I give this place two cows is that I want to give them kudos for effort, but in a place like New York with so much great vegan food and great pizzas, trying is just not enough.

Pros: Vegan pizza, Good selection

Cons: Bad taste, Shabby location, Not worth the price

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Best pizza ever! - Edit

I was amazed at the food here! I had the seitan pizza, which was good, and the Daiya cheese pizza - amazing!! But I was also really surprised by the deserts! All seemed to be vegan, and soooo delicious!! I had the oreo cake, creamy and delicious, and my boyfriend has the peanut butter cream cake - wow!!! We also had a Woopie Pie to go, as we wanted to try one: also great! So if you go, make sure to keep a little room for a slice of cake.

Pros: great pizza, amazing vegan cakes!, cheap

Cons: none: it's perfect!

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awesome vegan pizza! - Edit

i have been coming here for several years and this is the place you want to go for vegan pizza. they have many different pies from artichoke, pesto, soy sausage and other yummy toppings. i used to go here more but unfortuantly i am not in the east village as much as i used to be. this is the best vegan pizza i have had here in nyc.

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Great pizza - Edit

I've been going to Cafe Viva a lot lately, and had been getting their [very popular] slice with Daiya cheese on it. They have a lot of customers seeking that out, since Daiya is a singular experience in vegan cheese; it stretches and tastes great! A couple of weeks ago, their Daiya delivery was late, and I saw a few people walk out when they found out it hadn't gotten there yet.

For vegetarians who are not yet vegan, there's a very good selection of pies with kosher mozzarella on them. This place has its Kashruth certification displayed on the wall. The top shelf of the display case is for the vegan pies, including the "Ganja" (with hempseed) and other variety pies. The slices may be a little pricey, but you get a very generous quarter-pie, with ample toppings.

As other reviewers have mentioned, they offer a good selection of Vegan Treats desserts, and they also have some sugar-free, wheat-free cookies and other healthy treats.

[A caveat: I honestly wasn't aware they've had health-code violations, and I'm going to pay attention to the place the next time I go. I thought "kosher" meant "clean."]

Pros: Daiya cheese, great selection, Vegan treats desserts

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Great food! - Edit

My non-veg [at the time ;)] friend brought me here because she liked it and knew they had vegan selections. I had the green pizza and the chocolate cake, and I loved them both. We went to a concert afterwards and I ate the leftovers in line because I couldn't save it...

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Best brownies ever! - Edit

First up, a confession - I never tried the pizza. I intended to, but never got a chance. I found myself wandering in here looking for dessert on a Monday after finding that Lula's Sweet Apothecary is closed on Monday's, and I bought a vegan brownie with white and dark vegan chocolate chips. It was perfection - crispy round the edges, rich and gooey in the middle, just right. It was more than I could eat in one go but still tasted great the next day. I should have gone back sooner, but popped back in on my last day to buy brownies for my family so they could see what the fuss was about. The brownies coped well with the long journey home and were still perfect two days after purchase. My family all claimed they were the best brownies they had ever had (including the non-vegans in the family). Their double choc-chip cookie was pretty great too. The pizza looked interesting, but whatever you order, don't leave without a brownie (if you're too full after pizza, eat it the day after, you won't regret it).

Pros: Best brownies ever

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So nice to be able to eat pizza! - Edit

I eat here whenever I am in the neighborhood......... I love the vegan pizza, which is so hard to find, even in Manhattan! It is simply delicious!

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be very careful, health code violations! - Edit

I found the restaurant closed a few weeks back, and I finally found the NYC Health Department report. Of hundreds of restaurants in their zip code, they clocked in at the 4th highest point level (and points are BAD). 28 points will shut you down; they had 55!
lowlights "7.) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas.
8.) Evidence of rats or live rats present in facility's food and/or non-food areas."
I will NEVER eat here again.

Cons: mice, rats, violations

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great pizza - Edit

my boyfriend and i were there, and unfortunately over-ordered - one slice of pizza would have been enough for both of us!
i loved the pizza (with tofu on top), but i wasn't too keen on the lasagna. it was a bit too raw and veggie-like.

we also ordered a piece of tofu-carob, but it was a bit too much. the orange dream smoothie-drink was ok.

i would go back for the pizza.

Pros: great pizza, huge portion

Cons: other food not as good, not as cheap as we though

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An amazing pizza for everyone - Edit

I eat pizza all the time, so a few years ago when my friend said he was ordering in, i was hardly excited. Then, when it got here and i tasted it I was amazed. Ever since then, if i'm in the village, Cafe VIva is the place I go. In terms of the pizza, it has a little something for everyone. The regular slices are the perfect combo of cheese, sauce, and a good crust (they have regular, whole wheat, spelt and corn meal crusts which are all good). My favorite pies that i would recommend are probably the Picante and the Santa Cruz which is packed with Broccoli, garlic and vege sausage. The santa rosa and the Bella are pretty darn good here as well. If you want to be extraordinarily adventurous with your Pizza the Zen is an antioxidant pizza with Miso tofu on it (personally, it was a little too eclectic for my tastebuds). The trick with going to viva, is first to look at all the different options they have( What kind of crusts? toppings? Cheese or tofu on top? etc.) and decide how adventurous you want to be with your pizza. Secondly not to over order. At an average Pizzeria I'll eat 2 or 3 slices, at viva the slices are enormous (particularly the ones with toppings) and at most i can generally eat a slice and a half. Lastly to enjoy some of the freshest healthiest and most delicious pieces of pizza you will ever have!

Pros: Inexpensive enormous slices, Fresh healthy toppings, Amazing variety and Kosher too!!!

Cons: Only a few tables

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Go here! - Edit

We loved the vegan pizza!
Plus if you're glutenfree, you'll still be able to eat pizza here!

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Since 2002: Loved it - Edit

Well, I know they had one in mid town across from the library on 34th and Park but now down to the one on upper west side and now east village on 2nd. I finally tried the one east 2nd and it remained, very delicious! I have to try their vegan pastas!

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Vegans don't have to miss pizza anymore! - Edit

Fantastic, authentic, New York vegan pizza. Even the non-vegan cheese is only made with vegetable enzymes so vegetarians and vegans alike can munch without worry. Make sure you specify "vegan" when ordering, though, a lot of their vegan options are also available with dairy cheese.

Pros: delicious, friendly staff, offers vegan desserts

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