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(Yasmin Islas / For The Times)

Where to get the best ice cream in L.A.: From classic parlors, to gelaterias and vegan creameries

Who can forget the sweet reward of an ice cream sundae or root beer float after patiently running weekend errands with a parent? Or maybe it’s a scene of you arriving at an ice cream truck, out of breath, to slap down a fistful of coins and order a chocolate-covered Drumstick. Your ears might still perk up when you hear the telltale clang of an ice cream cart’s bell. No matter your background, ice cream is the nostalgic treat that unites us all.

Sweet, creamy and flavored in more ways than Baskin-Robbins can count, ice cream is a snack that demands your full enjoyment. Look away for too long and you’ll find it pooled in the bottom of your cup or melting stickily all over your hand. On furnace-hot summer days, it offers the perfect counterbalance, sending an almost pleasant lightning bolt of brain freeze as we race to finish before the sun turns its velvety spheres into sugary, milky goop.

Cool off this season with our ongoing guide to the best frozen treats in Los Angeles.

Even as the frozen dessert becomes more artisanal and luxurious, with makers folding in fresh farmers market bounty, updating recipes to accommodate plant-based patrons and incorporating flavors and techniques that honor a multitude of cultures, ice cream remains accessible, usually clocking in between $5 and $10 — an easy impulse to satisfy.

From classic ice cream parlors to Italian gelato and regional styles and flavors that play off of L.A.’s vast cultural landscape, here are 23 of the best ice cream shops for conquering the summer heat, spanning the San Gabriel Valley, Malibu and Newport Beach, with plenty of options all over Los Angeles.

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A cup of ice cream with a cookie perched on top sits on a counter with event posters
(Astrid Kayembe / Los Angeles Times)

All Chill

Leimert Park Ice cream $
What better way to celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop than with a little “C.R.E.A.M.” On the corner of Degnan and 43rd Place sits All Chill Ice Cream. After hosting pop-ups in Leimert Park for two years, founders and husband-and-wife duo Julian Petty and Genelle Brooks-Petty opened the “hip-hop ice cream shop” storefront on Juneteenth this year. Inside is decorated with hip-hop memorabilia from Petty’s personal collection, including party flyers, jackets, books and trinkets. Brooks-Petty is a fourth-generation Leimert Park resident and was tired of traveling beyond her neighborhood for artisanal ice creams. “Seeing things change in the community, we want to be a part of that change and hold space for the people who’ve been here and add a spot of joy,” she said. Smoked olive oil, one of the shop’s most popular flavors, is a drier, Philly-style ice cream (meaning it’s made without eggs). The olive oil makes the texture so creamy and adds a toasty aftertaste to the sweet vanilla. In addition to flavors like vanilla rose and whiskey praline, the vegan menu offers refreshing sorbets and dairy-free options. The All Chill team recommends combining flavors: Try topping the lemonade and peach tea with sweet cream for a creamsicle-like spoonful with a tart aftertaste.
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A trio of ice creams in cups with a spoon sticking out of each
(Cindy Carcamo / Los Angeles Times )

Atomic Creamery

Newport Beach Ice cream $
Clouds of cool vapor swirling in the air greet patrons who walk into this 1950s-themed ice cream parlor where scoops are made to order with liquid nitrogen. This process makes for creamier and denser ice cream, which resembles frozen custard. Instead of churning for 30 minutes like old-school ice cream, the base and ingredients freeze on contact when liquid nitrogen is introduced — at -321 F — into the mixer. The speedier the freezing process, the smaller the milk particles and the creamier the texture, resulting in fewer ice crystals. My favorite is the Limonana, a creamy concoction made with lemon and mint, which reminded me of a milky caipirinha, sans alcohol. The flavors vary depending on the day. All scoops are made to order, and lines can be long. The scoops are big and the color-changing spoons that react to changes in temperature are a fun touch.
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Vegan and nut-free ice cream bars from August Novelties, available at Maciel's Plant-Based Butcher in Highland Park.
(Courtesy of August Novelties)

August Novelties

Highland Park Ice cream $
Malcolm Livingston II, former pastry chef of Noma in Copenhagen, launched August Novelties in Los Angeles after several years of developing and evolving his own non-dairy ice cream. “I set out to create a non-dairy, non-gluten, non-nut ice cream that rivals real ice cream in taste, texture and craveability,” he says. Now he makes his own milk and cream from tiger nuts, the tuber (not a nut) that gets its name from its stripes. “The more I learned about it, I got super intrigued. What I loved most was the clean mouthfeel, not waxy. No disrespect to oat or coconut [milk], but coconut can overpower the flavor in the ice cream. I wanted to do something different.” The tiger nut ice cream is featured in his enrobed ice cream bars in flavors that marry nostalgia and innovation: vanilla strawberry, cookies and cream, matcha and tortilla chocolate. The latter is inspired by regular trips to Mexico with chef Rene Redzepi. “I started to think about feuilletine, the crispy confection made from thin crepes, and wanted to replicate that feeling.”

August Novelties ice cream bars are currently available at Maciel’s Plant-Based Butcher Shop.
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Two cups of ice cream with spoons sticking out sit at the edge of a takeout window
(Ja Tecson)


West Hollywood Ice cream Vegan $$
Australian chef Zen Ong’s Awan catapulted vegan “ice cream” into the stratosphere when it opened up shop from a tiny takeout window in West Hollywood, serving Indonesian coconut-based frozen dessert. Fans drive from all over the city for the lush nondairy ice cream (Awan means cloud in Bahasa Indonesia), in vibrant and rich flavors such as Valencia orange, finger lime, lavender vanilla bean and Valrhona chocolate. Awan pints also are available at neighborhood markets such as Wine + Eggs in Atwater Village and Sesame L.A. downtown. The plant-based ice cream is extra-luxe, with concentrated flavors that speak to the quality of Ong’s highly seasonal ingredients. Recently that included seaweed from Shui Ishizaka, chef of Sea Vegetable Test Kitchen in Tokyo.
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A cup of Dear Bella Creamery vegan ice cream with chocolate hard shell and rainbow sprinkles in Hollywood.
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Dear Bella Creamery

Westside Ice cream $
There’s care and a lot of flavor in every cup, ice cream sandwich, milkshake and sundae at Dear Bella Creamery, the totally vegan scoop shop founded by best friends Alice Cherng and Belinda Wei. In both Hollywood and Costa Mesa, the pair form their own base out of a blend of coconut and oat milks, with many options riffing on classics and pan-Asian profiles. The matcha mango sports strong earthy tea flavors from the ceremonial-grade matcha base, which is punctuated by lightly chewy puddles of mango compote, while the Taiwanese pineapple cake — one of the best, and Wei’s favorite flavor — comes dotted with buttery chunks of the iconic pineapple-filled cake. The Vietnamese coffee ice cream features chicory coffee from Cafe du Monde and house-made condensed oat milk, while the “bee-free” Honeecomb, a feat of vegan ingenuity, offers a plant-based take on honeyed bliss with chewy, crumbly, chocolate-coated faux honeycomb that’s made from tapioca, nondairy cocoa butter and chocolate liqueur. Those looking to take home some of the Dear Bella’s magic won’t just find pints, ice cream cakes and ice cream sandwiches in the freezer near the register; Cherng and Wei also sell jars of their house-made magic shell, cookie dough and salted caramel, and bags of their “honeecomb.”
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A person in white shirt and green apron holds up a giant Fair Oaks Pharmacy banana split ice cream sundae
(Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times)

Fair Oaks Pharmacy

South Pasadena American Ice cream $
Founded in 1915, Fair Oaks Pharmacy began as a popular pharmacy and soda fountain, offering a diner menu, ice cream and milkshakes to road trippers on the original Route 66. Now owned and operated by pharmacist Zahra Shahniani and her sons Ash and Brandon, you can still fill a prescription here, or browse the gift shop that’s stocked with everything from retro memorabilia to souvenirs, puzzles and games. There’s even a section devoted to nostalgic candy brands like Pop Rocks and Necco Wafers. But step up to the counter that’s backed by a neon “Soda Fountain” sign to order up-to-12-pound ice cream sundaes, floats and thick milkshakes composed with Thrifty’s Ice Cream, plus freshly carbonated sodas. Dig into your selections on one of the spinning barstools and watch the soda jerks at work.
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A brûléed banana split sits on a mirrored bar at Echo Park ice cream parlor Fluffy McCloud's
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Fluffy McCloud's

Echo Park Ice cream $
One of L.A.’s best ice cream newcomers isn’t just stylish — it’s also organic. El Prado’s Nick Fisher opened vibey scoop shop Fluffy McCloud’s in Echo Park with mirrored walls, a large light-up installation of the planet Saturn, a jukebox and a dispenser that spits out Lactaid, but among the Rube Goldberg machine-like art installation and the well-curated kitsch, there’s also fantastic ice cream. The chef-proprietor uses whole ingredients for a dozen flavors that sit in a case with a sign that reads, “Don’t panic it’s organic”: creamy and rich pistachio; bright and light peach; a cashew-based vegan chocolate ice cream with a texture so perfect it’s almost, well, fluffy. While pitch-perfect on their own, these scoops are best enjoyed in sundae or banana-split form — the former adorned with pretzel sticks, the latter flanked by halves of banana that’ve been lightly brûléed to the crackly-sugar-topped ideal. In addition to ice cream and fresh-fruit sorbets, Fluffy’s also offers cheese sandwiches (with or without ham) and, for some whimsy and a real treat, frozen grapes served on a platter.
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Banana split with two large scoops of ice cream under whipped cream and a maraschino cherry
(Los Angeles Times)


Alhambra Ice cream $
The long-running ice cream parlor that Christian Fosselman opened on Alhambra’s Main Street in 1941 feels like stepping into a time capsule. There are colorful candies stacked in clear containers on the counter, hand-sized lollipops, a display case filled with tubs of ice cream and refrigerators with ice cream cakes and one-gallon containers of ice cream to take home, with a few booths for enjoying your frozen treats in the air-conditioned shop. Now run by Christian’s grandsons John and Chris, the same ice cream base first formulated almost a century ago is still at work, featuring just four ingredients (cream, milk, sugar and a vegetable-based stabilizer) crafted by Scott Brothers Dairy, though the flavor list is constantly expanding. Now, in addition to specialty flavors like real pistachio nut, rum raisin and cherry vanilla, find options that serve as homage to the neighborhood’s rich Asian and Latino communities — ube, lychee, taro, Mexican chocolate, horchata. Nondairy sorbet flavors also have been added, as well as soft serve. For a fruity, nonfat and nondairy take on a milkshake, order a smoothie with up to three sorbet flavors blended in. Ice cream can be blended into milkshakes, dolloped on soda for a float, added to a sundae or scooped onto waffle, cake or sugar cones.
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Ice cream from Ginger's Divine Ice Cream.
(Jenn Harris / Los Angeles Times)

Ginger's Divine Ice Cream

Beverly Grove Ice cream $
As the name suggests, ice cream at this shop with locations in Culver City and Beverly Grove is simply divine. The shop takes a maximalist approach to its frozen treats, using premium ingredients you’ll likely recognize from the farmers market. The banana chip tastes like a dark-chocolate-dipped frozen banana. The Key lime pie nails the sharp zing of Key lime with crumbles of sweet graham cracker crust. There are plenty of vegan options too. And you can get your ice cream sandwiched between two cookies if you’re in the mood for something a little more decadent than a fresh waffle cone or bowl. I may sample a new flavor or two, but when it’s available, I order the farmers market strawberry. It’s packed with super sweet strawberries from none other than Harry’s Berries.
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A hand holds an ice cream cone
(Cindy Carcamo / Los Angeles Times)

Hans' Homemade Ice Cream and Deli

Santa Ana Ice cream $
If you’re looking for a no-fuss shop with densely delicious ice cream, this is where you want to be. Hans’ has three locations in Orange County, but I prefer the original Santa Ana shop to its hip new locations in Huntington Beach and Anaheim. There is just something about this old-school creamery that’s tucked away in an unassuming strip mall. Perhaps it’s the wood paneling left over from when it was a Swenson’s. But really it’s the house-made classic ice cream flavors. Butter pecan, cherry Bordeaux and mint chip are standouts, but Hans’ also offers some obscure flavors like black licorice. The house-made chocolate-dipped bananas, ice cream sandwiches and drumsticks are delectable. But my daughter Cora and I favor the junior sundae, which carries just the right amount of chocolate fudge and crumbled almonds on top.
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Two cups of fruit ice held up in front of the Happy Ice sign with clouds and rainbows
(Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

Happy Ice

Fairfax Ice cream $
Philadelphia native Lemeir Mitchell brought his Happy Ice truck to Los Angeles in 2017, offering dairy-free water ice in a rainbow of flavors, with a smooth consistency similar to Italian ice. The fruity, refreshing sweets quickly caught on, allowing Mitchell to expand to a residency at Smorgasburg, in addition to a playful bricks-and-mortar on Melrose Avenue that feels like stepping into an ice cream dream with a sky-blue exterior, rainbows striped across the interior walls and fuzzy, cloud-shaped light fixtures that dangle from the ceiling. You can order flavors like lucky lemonade, mango tango and sweet watermelon on their own; in a variety of combinations, including rainbow rocket, with every flavor in one cup; or with a swirl of house-made sweet bean ice cream on top. The nondairy ice cream features an oat milk base and combines sweet creme and vanilla bean flavors into a velvety soft serve. Sweet bean is exclusive to the Melrose shop and can also be ordered on its own.
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A hand holds up an ice cream cone topped with two perfectly round pink scoops
(Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams)

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

Windsor Square Ice cream $
James Beard award winner Jeni Britton is showing the SoCal cream scene what the Midwest is about. Started in Columbus, Ohio, in 2002, and now a Certified B-Corp, Jeni‘s holds itself to high production standards, sourcing milk from family-run dairies, fresh fruits and vegetables from the Midwest and Appalachia, and Fair and Direct Trade chocolate, vanilla and coffee. It feels like you’re in Jeni’s home kitchen with the potluck-favorite Texas Sheet Cake and locally sourced ingredients including lemons and honey. With menu items so delectable, you’ll want to try all the flavors — and you can. Jeni’s offers a flight of 10 scoops to try a myriad of its all-natural selections. The summer collection is now on full display, including brambleberry crisp and wildberry lavender, with new additions such as frosé sorbet, lemon and blueberries parfait and strawberry buttermilk. Jeni’s has seven L.A.-area locations in Calabasas, Beverly Hills, Larchmont Village, Los Feliz, Venice and Playa Vista.
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Two paper cups with scoops of Ice cream from Kansha Creamery in Gardena.
(Betty Hallock)

Kansha Creamery

Torrance Ice cream $
Kansha Creamery serves some of the best ice cream in Southern California, because the sister-and-brother-owned shop doesn’t compromise on the quality of its milk. It’s extraordinary that this tiny Gardena ice creamery uses Straus organic milk. The results are noted — milky-sweet and grassy — in ice cream flavors such as pistachio ripple, with a salty-sweet dark green ribbon of crunchy pistachio paste; white peach; strawberry lemonade cream; barley tea; and Mr. Universal, with caramel and chunks of oatmeal cookies. James Tatsuya and Elaine Yukari always seem to be around — he’s making ice cream in the back, and she’s scooping. They donate a part of every sale to charity. The matcha parfait is a favorite dessert: matcha ice cream with anko (red bean paste), shiratama (sticky-rice dumplings), whipped cream and corn flakes.
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A pint of Lavender and Truffles' lychee rose ice cream.
(Astrid Kayembe / Los Angeles Times)

Lavender & Truffles

Culver City Ice cream Vegan $$
For a lighter alternative to ice cream, look no further than Lavender and Truffles, a small-batch, plant-based creamery. Like many of us during the pandemic, Alicia Liu found herself leaning into her passion for cooking. Out of that grew a desire to make healthier versions of her favorite dessert. The brand’s elegant minimalist packaging mirrors Liu’s use of fewer than 10 ingredients in each pint, including organic unrefined virgin coconut oil and high oleic sunflower oil to add fat, and organic cane sugar, tapioca syrup and inulin derived from agave as sweeteners. Liu alternates between using oat milk and coconut cream bases for flavors that draw from her Taiwanese background as well as global travels. Black tahini is a sesame lover’s dream. Lychee rose whisks you to a tropical hideout with a bright floral and citrusy taste. Dalgona coffee, the most popular, tastes just like the whipped coffee drink and contrasts its frothy texture with crunchy cacao nibs. When your spoon takes a silky smooth scoop, it’s almost impossible to tell it’s not dairy. For something lighter and fruitier, Lavender and Truffles released its first set of sorbets this spring, including yuzu vanilla, peach rhubarb, sumac-roasted strawberry and mango chile. The brand often hosts pop-ups in Venice, and you can order pints directly from the website. They are also available at local grocers such as Erewhon, Vicente Food, Lifefood Organics and Kyle’s Feel Good Food, in addition to restaurants like Chifa, Monarch, Arroz y Fun and Yoboseyo.
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A hand holds a chocolate ice cream cone topped with strawberry chocolate orbs in front of a flower wall at Cafe de la Plage
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Le Cafe de la Plage

Malibu French Ice cream $
Blink and you might miss Malibu’s French-inspired Le Cafe de la Plage, an ice cream shop and cafe selling cups, cones and ice cream sandwiches that wedge the brand’s thick, creamy ice cream between two oversize macaron cookies. The focus from owners Sophie and Bernard Benita is on all local and organic ingredients, with California honey weaving its way through a goat cheese base, lavender adding floral tones to fresh blueberries, and dates partially sweetening an orange blossom ice cream. There are scoops, pints, affogati and milkshakes, plus a rainbow of vegan sorbets in flavors such as strawberry banana, virgin mojito and pineapple mango. Over the last four years the Benitas have expanded the brand to a popular retail line in supermarkets across the country, but for the full experience, stop by their cafe in a Point Dume strip mall for ice cream, sorbets, coffee, pastries, Parisian-inspired sandwiches and salads. Pro tip: Find Le Cafe de la Plage across the way from Lily’s, home to some of L.A.’s best breakfast burritos; load up on goods from both spots before or after a beach day.
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Two white paper cups of ice cream with a white plastic spoon in each
(Danielle Dorsey / Los Angeles Times)

Mashti Malone's

Hollywood Ice cream $
Raised in a family of restaurateurs and having grown up making ice cream in his uncle’s shop in Iran, when Mashti Sirvani came to L.A. in 1979, he knew that he wanted to be in the ice cream business. He took over an ice cream shop in Hollywood called Mugsy Malone’s and changed the first name to his own. On the interior he offered something entirely unique: his version of bastani sonnati, Persian ice cream that’s traditionally made with milk, eggs, sugar, rosewater, saffron, vanilla and pistachios. Mashti Malone’s caught on and in the last 40 years has expanded to locations in Westwood and Griffith Park, though you’ll want to visit the original shop off Sunset and La Brea to spy the sign Sirvani amended, featuring an ice cream cone and a three-leaf clover with Persian script and Mashti Malone’s Ice Cream spelled out underneath. The herbal, floral and aromatic flavors are the way to go here — creamy rosewater, date, cherry faloodeh or Persian cucumber — either ordered as a scoop or three, sandwiched between two wafers, scooped atop a honey-soaked rosewater pastry or paired with a baklava loghmeh for a sticky-sweet dessert.
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Scoops of ice cream from McConnell’s Scoop Shop.

McConnell's Fine Ice Creams

Downtown L.A. Ice cream $
Husband and wife Gordon “Mac” and Ernesteen McConnell in 1949 were inspired to produce “the finest ice creams in the world” from scratch. And they did. Now in its third generation of family ownership, McConnell’s calls itself “a 70-year-old start-up” because of its firm stance on delivering high-quality ice cream with a hand in every step of the process, from sourcing its milk and cream from grass-grazed Central Coast cows to using ingredients from long-standing partnerships with local farmers and manufacturers. The result is a consistently dense, creamy and flavorful custard. The menu boasts homegrown classics with flair: Santa Barbara strawberry with strawberry chunks straight from the region, sea salt caramel cookies and cream with homemade chocolate chip cookies and a delicate Golden State vanilla. Eureka lemon and marionberries is a tart and tangy love letter to the West Coast made with lemons from Northern California and marionberries sourced from Oregon. McConnell’s has four locations in the L.A. area: Pacific Palisades, Grand Central Market, Studio City and Santa Monica Promenade.
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A paper cup and three cones with scoops of ice cream in a rack on a counter
(Salt & Straw)

Salt & Straw

Culver City Ice cream $
Started as an ice cream cart by cousins Kim and Tyler Malek in Portland, Ore., in 2011, Salt & Straw has since expanded to various locations across the West Coast, including Southern and Northern California, Las Vegas and the Seattle area, with additional outposts in Orlando and Miami. With 11 locations in Los Angeles County alone, it’s become one of the city’s favorite scoop shops, standing out with cream that’s sourced from fifth-generation, family-owned Scott Bros. Dairy and a rotation of seasonally inspired flavors, in addition to beloved classics such as arbequina olive oil, strawberry honey balsamic with black pepper, and sea salt with caramel ribbons. This summer’s limited flavors are reminiscent of those you’d find in a picnic spread, including baked brie and fig cheesecake, chocolate potato salad, cinnamon and honey fried chicken and sour apple pie, with pink rosé and watermelon sorbet the only vegan option. Get your scoops in a cup or house-made waffle cone, or pick up a pint to enjoy at home.
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A hand holds a double-scoop chocolate ice cream cone of mint chip and strawberry against a blue wall in Sweet Rose Creamery
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)

Sweet Rose Creamery

Santa Monica Ice cream $
Sweet Rose Creamery takes its sourcing — and its made-in-house ethos — seriously. We’d expect nothing less from the ice cream branch of the Rustic Canyon Family, the hospitality group behind lauded restaurants like Birdie G’s and Rustic Canyon, and at Sweet Rose the ingredients list reads just as seasonally and locally as those of its sibling concepts. The ice cream shop with outposts in Brentwood and Santa Monica pasteurizes its own dairy base, uses milk and eggs from California farms, and picks up much of its produce from the nearby Santa Monica Farmers Market for flavors like Tamai Farms strawberry, Weiser Family Farms watermelon sorbet, or mint chip that uses spearmint sprigs from Kenter Canyon Farms. The gourmet toppings, too, are almost entirely made on-site, with options such as marshmallows, candied nuts, magic shell, shortbread crumble and brownies. Sweet Rose also whips up a selection of frozen treats like pudding pops, frozen bananas, push pops, ice cream sandwiches, cakes and sundaes — all made with local ingredients.
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Thrifty ice cream from the kiosk insie the Rite Aid in downtown Los Angeles.
(Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Thrifty Ice Cream

Monterey Park Ice cream $
Thrifty ice cream is the not the best ice cream in the universe. It’s not even the best ice cream in Los Angeles. But it’s the ice cream you asked for when your mom picked up her prescriptions and a birthday card for your cousin at the drugstore. And I’m convinced the cylindrical scoop makes it taste better. If it was the early ’90s, you were licking your cone at a Thrifty Drug Store. Rite Aid bought the ice cream brand after the chain went out of business in 1996. I’ve spent many afternoons at my local Rite Aid, working on a scoop of Chocolate Malted Krunch in a cake cone while I peruse the “As Seen on TV” section. Do I really need the facial hair remover that looks like a vibrator, the genuine leather Wonder Wallet with RFID protection or the hands-free retractable screen door? Not really, but I like to flirt with the idea of buying them all while I finish my cone.
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Deep pink gelato in a silver metal bowl
(Betty Hallock / Los Angeles Times)

Uli's Gelato

Downtown L.A. Ice cream $
Uli Nasibova launched Uli’s Gelato nearly a decade ago with a gelateria in downtown Los Angeles, highlighting local ingredients, especially from California farms, including olive oil from Rio Bravo Ranch and blueberries from Murray Family Farms. Gelato flavors include yogurt with Andy’s Orchard cherries, fresh mint stracciatella, halva, black sesame, and coconut lemongrass. Baku saffron gelato is an ode to her native Azerbaijan. And the texture? Dense and creamy as any you’ll find in, say, Florence, Italy, birthplace of modern gelato. Even Nasibova’s sorbets are extraordinarily creamy. She’s known for making lush sorbet — chocolate, Jamaica agua fresca with mint and a California pistachio nondairy “gelato.” Note: The downtown store now is the site of Nasibova’s gelato vending machine — supposedly the first in the U.S.
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A scoop of ice cream in a paper cup that says Van Leeuwen
(Astrid Kayembe / Los Angeles Times)

Van Leeuwen

Silver Lake Ice cream $
Founded by Laura O’Neill and Ben and Pete Van Leeuwen in 2008, the New York creamery found its way into L.A.’s heart with a solid foundation of simple ingredients — egg yolks, milk, cream and cane sugar — and by building on them with unique and over-the-top flavors. Van Leeuwen puts an emphasis on meticulously sourced ingredients suitable for a range of diets, such as Earl Grey ea that incorporates hand-harvested Rishi tea leaves and honeycomb that tastes just like its name but is made with caramel candy. For vegans, Van Leeuwens is a fan favorite for its equally tasty selection that goes beyond the usual fruity sorbet options. Dairy-free patrons can enjoy creamy oat- and cashew-based scoops such as chocolate chip cookie dough, strawberry shortcake and churro and fudge. . Find Van Leeuwen pints and ice cream sandwiches at your local grocery store or stop by one of seven L.A.-area scoop shops.
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Three cups of ice cream from Wanderlust: Japanese Neapolitan in an ube cone, mango sticky rice, Vietnamese-coffee rocky road
(Stephanie Breijo / Los Angeles Times)


Beverly Grove Ice cream $
Those with a taste for not only ice cream but travel can find both at one of L.A.’s top — and most rapidly expanding — scoop shops. Wanderlust Creamery stretches from Pasadena and Tarzana down to Irvine with seven shops and a weekly Smorgasburg residency, doling out flavors that pull inspiration from all corners of the globe. One signature, a vegan mango sticky rice, riffs on the Thai classic with a house blend of rice milk and coconut cream that’s ribboned with bright Alphonso mango, while another perennial, the ube malted crunch, comes thick from the purple yams and pops with crunchy malt balls, and another, the Vietnamese rocky road, packs a Vietnamese-coffee base with gooey condensed-milk marshmallow. The seasonal options especially shine, with inspiration lifted from Australia (plant-based meringue with passion fruit and raspberry), Korea (fresh corn ice cream with honey-butter crunch), the Middle East (orange flower ice cream with flecks of baklava) and Japan (cherry blossom base with a house-made take on strawberry Kit Kats). Even the cones take on plenty of flavor, whether ube or brown-butter varieties. To taste the world in a scoop of ice cream, head to Wanderlust.
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