Date: January 29, 2008
Times Visited: 2
Dove Vivi does pizza differently.
Upon seeing the heart shaped sign, and heart-shaped logo on the menu, I almost expected the pizza itself to be shaped accordingly. It’s not, but there’s still something heartwarming about this independent pizza shop. I was taken with it before I even ordered. The tables are a bare, light wood, and most are for 2 or 4 diners. The atmosphere is somewhat dark, and intimate, with a candle on each table and a chilled mason jar of water – definitely a date spot. It’s more of a quiet restaurant than a pizza parlor, though pizza does count for most of the menu. They also have two vegan friendly salads: the broccoli and black bean, and the mixed greens with Italian vinaigrette. Though I was intrigued by the broccoli and black bean salad, I was forewarned of its oddity.
Whether that salad is odd or not, I was there for pizza. As someone who is not a fan of deep dish pizza, the somewhat thick and sturdy cornmeal crusted really impressed me. The unique crust is not only tasty; it’s imperative to the loaded toppings. On a normal non-deep dish slice from say, Hot Lips or Bella Facia, it wouldn’t be possible. The sauce and the toppings would not be able to stand tall. My previous experiences with cornmeal crusts have been thick, dry, and bland, so it was almost comforting to take my first bite and really appreciate the combination.
The vegan slice on the menu ($3.75 by the slice, $20 by the pie) features a hoopla of roasted eggplant, mushrooms, sautéed onions, peppers and an herby tomato sauce. It’s comforting that prices are similar across the board, and we’re not paying extra for loading on the veggies and taking off the dairy. Dove Vive offers pizza by the slice, half pie and pie. Pies feed 2-3 people, and are sliced into 6 small slices. After my first dinner of one slice, I was adequately full, also partaking in a glass of cider as well. On my second visit, three dining companions and I split a pie, and for $5 a person we each had two slices. The slices of the full pie were somewhat smaller than when ordered individually. A new vegan slice is also in the works, set to include roasted red pepper sauce and chives. Something about eating crispy, cornmeal pizza is much more substantial and less heavy, than eating a normal wheat slice.
The tofu ‘ricotta’ cheeze, which can often be added to any vegan slice, is a creamy, sticky, homemade bonus on the slice. It’s not quite like anything on the market, and I mean that in a positive way. It’s really a thick tofu cheeze sauce. A shaker of nutritional yeast, and spice-lover’s crushed red pepper are both available for the sprinkling. My fellow diners and I agree that some nutritional yeast gave the slice something extra. I can see some people thinking the cheeze might be too creamy, but I like how it combined with the veggies.
I was told by one waitress that vegan slices are always made to order, so it is possible to swap ingredients. On my first dinner there, a different waitress wouldn’t let my dining companion swap an ingredient on the vegan slice, stating that it was already made. Either way, it’s a rustic and intimate dining experience. You don’t feel like you’re in Italy, or even an Italian restaurant, but you do feel like you’re in a nice Portland restaurant.
I wish they delivered, because even though I’m enamored with the food and setting, I don’t know if it’s destination dining. I would certainly partake in a slice before hanging out at nearby Laurelthirst Pub in the evening, as their vegan dinner options are not as plentiful as their breakfast ones. They sure do pizza differently, and for that I am grateful.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Address: 2727 NE Glisan St., Portland OR. 97232