If you’ve ever looked for solid vegan pizza, you might have felt like a famous loser of Greek myth, Tantalus. Condemned to Hades for stealing ambrosia from the gods, his absurdist punishment — reaching for an unreachable fruit for all eternity — has since become a parable for wanting what you can’t get. Like Poor Old Tanty, your continued hankering for steaming, greasy pizza just won’t be sated by typical cheese-free pies. While you merely want a successful vegan version of this Italian staple, you routinely get hot bread with a runny layer of unseasoned tomato paste instead.
Luckily, New Yorkers hungry for a delectable, dairy-free version of this dish don’t have to get stuck between temptation and dissatisfaction. Behold five picks for scrumptious vegan slices that stick to your ribs — just like their milky brethren.
Viva Herbal Pizzeria
What’s promised is healthy pizza, but, thankfully, Viva Herbal’s slices don’t taste like it. At this Lower East Side café, shiitake mushrooms, tomatoes, and onions top the $5.75-per-slice “Magic Mushroom” variety. The pick has a robust, forest flavor, but could use a pinch of salt. The whole-wheat crust “Santa Rosa,” at $4 a portion, features chunks of roasted garlic that round out sun-dried tomatoes’ and olive slices’ boldness. 179 Second Avenue, 212-420-8801
What surprises about Vinny’s vegan teriyaki chicken pick: the quality of the faux meat. At this Williamsburg eatery, smoky and sweet “poultry,” broccoli, and tomato sauce sit atop a golden-brown crust. The pseudo-ham on the pineapple-covered Hawaiian has a pleasant honey-roasted vibe. The only rub with the $4 slices: They could use more dairy-free cheese. 148 Bedford Avenue, 718-782-7078
A thin herb crust packs crunch, and the toppings bring punch, on Slice’s eggplant (“Skilled”) pizza. At $6 per portion, aubergine, sun-dried tomatoes, and olives combine impressively with a hearty helping of vegan mozzarella. This West Village offering differs from most other animal-product-free pizzas in an important — and most welcome — respect: the presence of visible grease. 535 Hudson Street, 212-929-2920
Very much the springtime garden, zucchini, broccoli, tomato, onion, green bell pepper, and mushrooms abound on Pizza Plus’s primavera selection. This Park Slope restaurant offers a veggie lover’s dream, and you can put vegan cheese on this $16 pie. Plus’s plate has so many vegetables, though, that it can come across as a bit too watery. This could be easily be solved by adding more “cheese,” which would bring a savory vibe to the green-and-red toppings. 359 Seventh Avenue, 718-768-5328
If you can get around the perplexing placement of an accent on Palà’s logo, a pizza treat awaits you. At this Lower East Side bistro, a personal-size asparigi plate brings together asparagus, cherry tomatoes, meatless sausage, and veg-friendly cheese. Each individual ingredient contributes to an overall bubbling and bold item. The sausage is sweet and peppery, the asparagus remains crisp and crunchy, and the cherry tomatoes retain their warmth and juices. Eat Palà’s $17, thin-crust dish with a fork and knife. 198 Allen Street, 212-614-7252
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