Food Daily Dish

Where to get ice cream and gelato in and around Los Angeles

It's pretty much always ice cream weather in Los Angeles. That said, it's safe to say that the summer is peak ice cream time, given how hot it can get around here. Which is why we've updated our ice cream and gelato list, just in time for Memorial Day weekend. Do you really need an excuse to get a salted caramel cone and head to the beach? Probably not. 

A la Minute — More fun with liquid nitrogen ice cream, this time not in the trendy city, but in the neighborhoods of Redlands, Claremont and Orange. They freeze organic ice cream in small batches with the stuff, as you watch. Orange-honey, chocolate-lavender, strawberry-balsamic. Also ice cream sandwiches. 19 E. Citrus Ave., Redlands, (909) 307-3751; 536 W. 1st St., Claremont; 117 N. Glassell St., Orange, (714) 363-3470, alaminuteicecream.com.

Al Gelato — Members of the Lisuzzo family, originally from Calabria, Italy, have been making old-school Italian-style gelato here since 1978, as well as pastas and soups, outstanding spaghetti and meatballs, and apple pies the size of hat boxes. Pistachio and chestnut ice cream. Also candy cane and passion fruit. 806 S. Robertson Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 659-8069, algelatobeverlyhills.com.

Amorino — Founded in Paris in 2002 by two gelato-loving childhood friends, Amorino now has shops all over the world, including one in Beverly Hills, where you can find scoops of mango, passion fruit, strawberry and other flavors. Amorino also does more than just scoop your gelato — they make flowers out of the stuff, forming petals with various flavors on top of your waffle cone. 9605 S. Santa Monica Blvd., Beverly Hills, (424) 335-0317, amorino.com.

Bennett's Ice Cream — Scott Bennett's family has owned this old-school ice cream shop inside the Original Farmers Market since 1963, when his uncle bought the place. (Bennett's grandfather was the market manager from the '40s to the '60s; Bennett inherited the shop in 1992.) The shop has a decidedly retro feel, with folks in old-time uniforms, classic ice cream flavors and banana splits. But look closer and you'll see some modern touches too — such as the cabernet sauvignon sorbet, which is one of 24 rotating flavors made on-site. 6333 W. 3rd St., Ste. 548, Los Angeles, (323) 939-6786. 

Bulgarini Gelato — Leo Bulgarini's gelato shop is way up in the San Gabriel foothills in Altadena, at the back of a giant Rite Aid parking lot. It's worth the trek for his gelato, and folks have been known to show up with coolers for the pistachio or goat's milk with cacao nibs. And during the summer, Bulgarini shows old movies (yes, mostly Italian ones) projected onto the wall outside the shop — a great excuse for a second round of salted chocolate gelato. 749 E. Altadena Drive, Altadena, (626) 627-7640, bulgarinigelato.com.

Carmela Ice Cream Co. — Jessica Mortarotti started Carmela by selling her ice cream at local farmers markets. She now has three shops in L.A.: the original in northern Pasadena, a second near the Grove and a third in Woodland Hills, all selling her market-driven ice creams and sorbets. 2495 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena, (626) 797-1405, carmelaicecream.com

Three ice cream sandwiches — pick your flavor, pick your cookie — at Coolhaus in Culver City.
Three ice cream sandwiches — pick your flavor, pick your cookie — at Coolhaus in Culver City. (Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

Coolhaus — If you prefer your ice cream in sandwich form, Coolhaus — the company formed by Natasha Case and Freya Estreller to get us all to think about architecture while we eat ice cream — is where you want to go. The shop makes all kinds of experimental flavors, including (this is true) fried chicken and waffle ice cream. 8588 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (310) 838-5559; 59 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena., (310) 424-5559, and trucks too, eatcoolhaus.com.

CottonHi — If you like your soft-serve ice cream topped with cotton candy, this Koreatown shop is for you. The cotton candy is tinted with lemonade, strawberry, coffee and mint, among other things, and the ice cream is flavored with chocolate or green tea. You also can get your concoction sprinkled with Lucky Charms or Pop Rocks — or both. Be sure to Instagram, as everybody else will be. 3825 West 6th St., Los Angeles, (213)-263-1905, www.cottonhi.com.

Cream — Originally a shop in Berkeley operated by the Shamieh family, Cream opened in downtown Los Angeles near USC, where the shop is now a student favorite. Cream has cookie and ice cream sandwiches, waffle cones, sundaes, milkshakes — and an ice cream taco, which is made by forming a waffle cookie into a kind of hard taco shell and loading it with ice cream. Flavors include: chocoholic, banana walnut fudge, soy vanilla and green tea. There are also shops in Irvine, Northridge, Aliso Viejo and San Diego. 3335 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, (213) 742-9090, creamnation.com.

Creamistry — Another liquid-nitrogen ice cream shop, this one in Beverly Hills, Creamistry makes yours to order in flavors such as Nutella, matcha, cotton candy blue raspberry, taro and tiramiso. You also can order your ice cream base made organic and kosher, or non-dairy and vegan. Add candy, nuts, fruit, cookies and cake, whipped cream or more NutellaWith locations also in Glendale, Mission Viejo and Temecula. 253 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (424) 253-1710, creamistry.com.

CVT — Joe Nicchi and wife Tyler roam the streets of L.A. in their vintage two-tone truck that more or less matches the colors of their soft-serve flavors: chocolate and vanilla. You can get each flavor, or a twist of both, in a cake cone. www.cvtsoftserve.com 

Fosselman's Ice Cream — Family-run in Alhambra since 1919 (yep, they're almost 100 years old), Fosselman's makes traditional flavors as well as things like macapuno (young coconut), brown butter, green tea and taro. There's only one retail shop for these ice cream makers — who make everything in the small production kitchen in the back — though they supply hundreds of other shops and restaurants. It's in a decidedly retro building in Alhambra, filled with antiques, old photos and candy jars — and ice cream. 1824 W. Main St., Alhambra,  (626) 282-6533, fosselmans.com.

A waffle cone filled with plum ice cream and espresso ice cream at Gelateria Uli in downtown L.A.
A waffle cone filled with plum ice cream and espresso ice cream at Gelateria Uli in downtown L.A. (Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

Gelateria Uli — A smallish gelato shop in downtown L.A.'s Spring Arcade (next door to Guisados), Uli is run by Uli Nasibova. It makes gelato and sorbetto every day on-site, and you can get a waffle cone filled with two or even three scoops, as well as a very good shot of espresso. 541 S. Spring St., #104, Los Angeles, (213) 900 4717, gelateriauli.com.

Gelato Bar — Located along the cozy stretch of Tujunga Avenue near Aroma Cafe, this is a mash-up of a gelato bar and a coffee shop. (The two gelaterias once were owned by Gail Silverton and Joel Gutman, but were sold separately.) This one is pretty fun too, with wooden tables, huge windows and outdoor seating with brightly colored umbrellas — and, most importantly, lots of flavors of gelato.  4342 1/2 Tujunga Ave., Studio City, (818) 487-1717.

Grom — This beloved Italian gelato chain, which arrived in New York City in 2007, now has two shops in L.A., in Hollywood and in Malibu — one of the few gelaterias near the beach. Look for traditional Italian flavors, tiramisu, salted caramel, Italian yogurt and something called creme di grom — egg cream with corn biscuits and Colombian “Teyuna” chocolate chips. 3886 Cross Creek Road, Malibu, (310) 456-9797; 6801 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 873-2990, grom.it/en.

Honeymee — This little counter in Koreatown serves "true milk" soft-serve with honey or a nub of honeycomb in clear plastic cups. Sit on the steps of Brown Derby Plaza and eat your ice cream while you watch the crowds gathered for Boiling Crab. It's quite a show. And if you can't make it to Koreatown, there are a number of outlets in L.A. and beyond, including Westminster, Cerritos, Irvine, Gardena, Sawtelle and Buena Park. 3377 Wilshire Blvd., Koreatown, (213) 267-0020, www.honeymee.com.

ICDC — This is an acronym for "ice cream, doughnuts, coffee" and is the long-awaited project from Neal Fraser (Redbird) and his longtime pastry chef, Mariah Swan, who for years hosted the Wednesday night Doughnut Shoppe at Grace and BLD. 7454 1/2 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 746-3346.

Ice Cream Lab — Imagine if Nathan Myhrvold was moonlighting at your local Baskin Robbins, and you'd get something like Ice Cream Lab. The gimmick: The ice cream is frozen with liquid nitrogen, while you watch. This means the stuff is pricey — but a very fun show. 16 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, (626) 808-4874; other locations in Beverly Hills, Little Tokyo and Westlake Village, icecreamlab.com

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams — Jeni Britton Bauer's Columbus, Ohio-based ice cream company (23 shops, two books, lots of supermarkets) opened in Los Feliz last year— the first standalone shop on the West Coast. It's been swamped pretty much since then. 1954 Hillhurst Ave., Los Feliz (323) 928-2668.

Kansha Creamery — Kansha, which apparently is the Japanese word for gratitude, is run by a brother-and-sister team in Gardena. Their ice cream is made using ingredients mostly from area farmers, and a portion of all sales goes to charities such as Gospel for Asia and Children's Hunger Fund, which means you can feel good about eating more scoops of matcha, banana-clove, rhubarb ripple, bourbon raisin and orange creamsicle. There are also parfaits and sundaes, and yes, the shop sometimes makes ice cream with bacon. 18515 S. Western Ave., Gardena, (310) 953-7110, kanshacreamery.com.

KindKreme — Just because you're vegan doesn't mean you have to go without ice cream. This ice cream shop was founded by a vegan, for vegans, using a base of raw cashews, fresh almond milk and coconut. KindKreme is also a raw food shop, and it uses raw honey in some of the ice creams — which isn't vegan, true. It also has shakes and floats, including one with kombucha. 1700 W. Sunset Blvd., Echo Park, (213) 989-1718; 319 S. Arroyo Parkway, Pasadena, (877) 985-5463, kindkreme.com.

Kippy's — This is another shop for ice cream-loving vegans. Vegan and organic, the stuff is made from coconut and sweetened with honey. If this place sounds familiar, it may be because you watch "Good Morning America" — Kippy's was featured on the show because it has an ice cream cleanse (three days, five pints per day, $199. Have fun.). 245 Main St., Venice, (310) 399-4871, kippysicecream.com.

Long Beach Creamery – This brand-new place in North Long Beach is trying out some seriously adventurous ice creams — burnt caramel, Chaco-Cado. But it does the classics well too, including a terrific whiskey-vanilla. 4141 Long Beach Blvd., Long Beach (562) 513-3493, longbeachcreamery.com. 

Manhattan Beach Creamery — Every beach town needs a good ice cream place, and Manhattan Beach has this one, a classic creamery with homemade ice cream, cupcakes, candy and ice cream sandwiches. You'll be fighting crowds to pick from the 28 flavors — which can include cotton candy and Sticky Bun Crunch. 1120 Manhattan Ave., Manhattan Beach, (310) 372-1155, mbcreamery.com

Mashti Malone — Tired of chocolate, vanilla and salted caramel? Maybe get rosewater or saffron ice cream next time. Mashti Malone is run by two brothers from Iran, and it's been serving Hollywood for about three decades now. You also can find the stuff in grocery stores. 1525 North La Brea Ave., Los Angeles, (866) 767-3423, mashtimalone.com.

Mateo Ice Cream & Fruit Bars — Mateo's is a tiny, very brightly colored shop that sells juices, smoothies, sandwiches, fresh fruit, paletas — and lots of ice cream, also brightly colored. Look for Mexican flavors, such as leche quemada (burnt milk), passion fruit, tamarind, guanabana and mamey. 4929 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City 90230. (310) 313-7625; 4234 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 931-5500; 1250 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 738-7288.

McConnell's Ice Cream — Because for many years, to get some of this ice cream, you had to drive up to Santa Barbara, McConnell's gave us all a break and opened a stand in downtown L.A.'s Grand Central Market a few years ago — making it that much easier for some of us to get cones of Eureka lemon and marionberry ice cream. There also is a shop in Studio City, and a third one opening soon in Los Feliz. 317 S. Broadway, Los Angeles, (213) 346-972212075 Ventura Pl, Studio City, (818) 308-7789, mcconnells.com.

Mikawaya — Founded by the Hashimoto family in 1910, Mikawaya's flagship store (named after a Japanese province) is conveniently located in the walking mall at the center of Little Tokyo. Tired of your ice cream — or gelato, as that is offered too — in a cone? Try it wrapped in sweet rice paste. 118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Little Tokyo, (213) 624-1681.

Milk — Before chef Bret Thompson opened Milk, he worked for the Patina Group, so his ice creams, brownies and blue velvet cake have some serious technique behind them. You also can get ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches, ice cream sundaes, shakes, malts and floats at his two ice cream shops. 7290 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, (323) 939-6455; 1639 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 913-9911, themilkshop.com.

Mother Moo Creamery — Open in Sierra Madre for four years now, Karen Klemens' ice cream shop is an old-fashioned spot, serving a number of rotating flavors, root beer floats — and lately soft-serve too. 17 Kersting Court, Sierra Madre, (626) 355-9650, mothermoo.com

 

A slice of boysenberry pie with organic triple milk ice cream at the newly opened Mother Moo on Mission in South Pasadena.
A slice of boysenberry pie with organic triple milk ice cream at the newly opened Mother Moo on Mission in South Pasadena. (Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

The Moo at Mission — Recently opened in the former Buster's space on Mission in South Pasadena (where the owners served Fosselman's for three decades) is Karen Klemens' second ice cream shop, the Moo at Mission. In the century-old two-story brick building, you'll find a coffee program, excellent housemade pies — and repeating buckets of orange blossom and cardamom, salty chocolate, raw honey, salted Meyer lemon, organic cornflakes and organic triple milk ice cream, to name but a few. 1006 Mission St., South Pasadena, (626) 441-0744, mothermoo.com

Neveux Artisan Creamery — Open since 2011 on Melrose Avenue and named after its owner, Leo Neveux, this little shop makes over 30 flavors of ice cream. These aren't your average flavors either — basil-olive oil, blueberry-chevre, cardamom-creme fraiche, cinnamon-date-tahini, tamarind-peanut butter and toasted marshmallow. 7407 1/2 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 951-1002, neveuxartisancreamery.com.

N'Ice Cream — Open in Venice since 2008 and run by Christian Toxboe and Laura Nielsen, a pair of Danes using family recipes, N'Ice cream is made with milk instead of cream and is actually gelato rather than ice cream. (I guess N'Ice Gelato didn't really have the same ring to it.) All organic and with many rotating flavors, sometimes including salted caramel, waffle cone crunch and birthday cake. 1410 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, (310) 396-7161; 619 Ocean Front Walk, Venice, (310) 581-0650.

Paciugo Gelato — This gelato shop has many locations across the country, and one a block from the ocean in Hermosa Beach. The folks there make over 30 rotating flavors (they have over 300 recipes) on-site, including strawberry-rose-chocolate chip, red velvet, chocolate-jalapeño and black pepper-olive oil.  There's also espresso. 1034 Hermosa Ave., Hermosa Beach, (310) 379-2525, paciugo.com.

Pazzo Gelato — Among the many reasons to spend time at Sunset Junction (Intelligentsia, the Cheese Store of Silver Lake) in hot weather, Pazzo should be the focal point of your trip. The espresso gelato is made with Intelligentsia, and there are many excellent flavors to sample — Peruvian chocolate, maybe, or Guinness mocha chip. If you're closer to downtown than Silver Lake, there's a Pazzo outpost at FIGat7th. 3827 W. Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 662-1410; 735 S. Figueroa St., Los Angeles, (213) 489-9020, pazzogelato.net.

Peddler's Creamery — Love ice cream? Love biking? Well, this downtown ice cream shop (take the northbound Main Street bike lane) lets you combine the two. You churn your own dessert on a bike set up for precisely that purpose. After some peddling, you can eat your bicycle-churned Mexican chocolate or pancake batter ice cream, and feel better about it for the exercise. 458 S. Main St., Los Angeles, (213) 537-0257, peddlerscreamery.com.

Quenelle — This little Burbank ice cream shop has some serious restaurant cred behind it, as owner John Park was the pastry chef at Providence, Water Grill and Lukshon before he left to open his own place. Look for ice pops and pastries, as well as flavors inspired by his childhood in the San Gabriel Valley. 2214 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, (818) 843-1035.

Saffron and Rose — This Persian ice cream shop in Westwood has the kinds of glorious flavors that you'd expect from a Persian ice cream shop with a name like that: rose and saffron, of course, but also pistachio, orange blossom, pomegranate, jasmine — and chocolate, watermelon, guava, cucumber and espresso. 1387 Westwood Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 477-5533. 

Salt & Straw — The Portland, Ore.-based ice cream shop finally opened in Larchmont Village two years ago. Why all the fuss? Try sea salt with caramel ribbons, almond brittle with salted ganache and chocolate with gooey brownie and double-fold vanilla. More shops are open in Studio City and Venice, and a fourth is coming soon to DTLA's Arts District. 240 N. Larchmont Blvd., Los Angeles, saltandstraw.com.

Scoops — Way before there were so-called artisanal ice cream shops in nearly every neighborhood in L.A., there was the cult favorite ice cream shop founded by Tai Kim on Heliotrope. We're talking more than 700 flavors, including the brown bread, for which this place is justly famous. There are now four shops, each run by different people, all still seriously addictive. 712 N. Heliotrope Drive, Los Angeles, (323) 906-2649; 3400 Overland Ave., Los Angeles, (323) 405-7055; 5105 York Blvd., Los Angeles; 727 N. Broadway, Los Angeles, (323) 739-8675. 

Soda Jerks — An old-time soda fountain in the same 1916 building as the Santa Monica Pier carousel, Soda Jerks has ice cream sundaes, Fosselman's ice cream, historically accurate egg creams — and soda jerks dressed as if they escaped from a 1930s department store, or a Woody Allen movie about one. 200 Santa Monica Pier, Santa Monica; (310) 393-7632, sodajerksusa.com.

Sweet Lucie's — Sweet Lucie's organic ice cream can be found in both a shop in Mar Vista and an ice cream truck, specifically a 1959 International Harvester Metro that has been a functional ice cream truck for three decades. Named after owner Geri Czako's daughter Lucie, the business has not only ice cream — butter pecan, blueberry pie, Earl Grey, vanilla bean, black sesame milk tea — but also vegan options, ice cream sandwiches and milkshakes. 12222 Venice Blvd., Los Angeles, (310) 245-8242, ilovelucies.com.

Sweet Rose Creamery — Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb (Rustic Canyon, Huckleberry, Milo & Olive, Cassia) opened the first Sweet Rose at the Brentwood Country Mart. Now, with ice cream maker Shiho Yoshikawa, they make their small-batch, seasonal ice creams at five locations across town. Look for honey-ginger, salted caramel, fresh mint with homemade chocolate — and ice cream pie. 225 26th St., Santa Monica, (310) 260-2663,  sweetrosecreamery.com

Tifa — If you're suddenly overcome by a need for gelato while on the 101 near Agoura Hills, you're in luck. Tifa has been making excellent gelato — the shop sells lots of chocolate too — in a little shopping mall close to the freeway since 2008. The family-run business, which also has an outpost in Westlake Village, makes blackberry-lavender, fig-mascarpone, basil, cookie butter and salted caramel, among other gelato and sorbetti flavors. 28888 Roadside Drive, Agoura Hills, (818) 879-0685; 30760 Russell Ranch Road, Westlake Village, 805-796-1893, www.tifachocolate.com.

Ugo — You can get wine and pasta at this Culver City Italian cafe, but you're mostly here for the gelato. Made in the Italian style, Ugo's flavors include creme brulee, tiramiso, stracciatella, cappuccino, hazelnut and something called Italian Love Potion, which is made with cinnamon, mascarpone and sour cherries. There are also locations in Santa Monica and DTLA.  3865 Cardiff Ave., Culver City, (424) 341-2796, cafeugo.com.

Van Leeuwen's New Yorker sundae, with espresso ice cream, housemade fudge, whipped cream and cacao nibs.
Van Leeuwen's New Yorker sundae, with espresso ice cream, housemade fudge, whipped cream and cacao nibs. (Amy Scattergood / Los Angeles Times)

Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream — New York-based Van Leeuwen Ice Cream started as a truck on the streets of New York City in 2008, based out of an apartment in Brooklyn. Since then, it has hit the roads in L.A. (where there are two trucks) and has opened two shops in town, one in the Arts District in November, and a second in Culver City in March; a third L.A. shop will open this summer in Franklin Village. In addition to classic ice cream, Van Leeuwen makes vegan ice cream and sundaes. Flavors include Earl Grey, gianduja and mint chip, as well as vegan peanut butter-chocolate chunk and Sicilian pistachio. vanleeuwenicecream.com.

Wanderlust Creamery — Open since last summer in Tarzana, this ice cream shop is owned by San Fernando Valley natives who got tired of going over the hill for ice cream. If you're tired of the same old chocolate and vanilla, Wanderlust excels at interesting, well-crafted flavors, including hojicha-burnt honey, abuelita malted crunch, Thai tea, sticky rice and mango, and fig leaf and pistachio. The shop also makes its own waffle cones, also in unusual flavors — green tea, ube, black sesame, brown butter vanilla and Speculoos. 18511 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, (818) 774-9888, wanderlustcreamery.com.

ALSO: 

Where to get great vegan fro-yo and ice cream

This honeycomb ice cream doesn't need an ice cream maker

The Moo on Mission is now serving ice cream in South Pasadena

amy.scattergood@latimes.com



UPDATES:

11:16 a.m.: This article has been updated with additional locations.

This article was originally published at 9:10 a.m.

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