22 Essential Ice Cream and Gelato Shops in Los Angeles
22 Outstanding Ice Cream and Gelato Shops in Los Angeles, Summer 2018
Where to find the best heat-beating scoops around
With the heat well on its way to Los Angeles, it’s a good time to start thinking about summer resolutions — like where to get the best ice cream and gelato. Thankfully LA is spoiled for choice when it comes to those two categories, with scoop shops, gelaterias, and ice cream outlets parked everywhere from the Valley to the South Bay. It’s a good time to be a cold treat lover in Los Angeles.
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
When in Altadena, a stop at Bulgarini Gelato is practically a must. There’s always something nice about stopping at the original location — especially when the pistachio gelato is on.
Soft serve hit Magpies has already expanded into this second location in the Valley, following the success of their original in Silver Lake. Chefs Warren and Rose Schwartz craft housemade soft serve with a bunch of quality toppings to go right alongside.
The salted caramel at Carmela Ice Cream on West Third is the stuff of legend, but that shouldn’t deter customers from trying any of the other seasonal flavors on the menu, like lavender honey and strawberry buttermilk.
Karen Klemens is behind the flavors at Mother Moo, which are all made with organic Strauss cream and milk. The spiced-infused ice creams are an absolute favorite — pure and exotic. Of course, don’t forget to pick up a pie or two as well.
Now running a small fleet of converted Mr. Softee trucks, CVT Soft Serve mostly plays to Valley crowds desperate for good soft serve — offered with sprinkles or sea salt only.
McConnells’s Fine Ice Creams Studio City
A Santa Barbara outfit with a growing presence in Los Angeles, McConnell’s prides itself on freshly-churned ice cream using dairy from cows along the Central Coast. Their classic look in Studio City plays up the company’s decades-old position in the booming California ice cream market.
Famous Italian gelato-maker Fatamorgana snuck into Studio City last year, opening up a West Coast location that has become a kind of flagship for the company. Despite the rotating seasonal flavors, plenty of folks still swing through a few nights a month for a taste of the iconic stracciatella.
Wanderlust Creamery expanded from their Valley original into Atwater Village, and the response has been tremendous. Lines routinely snake through the open front door with guests eager to get a taste of the upstart company’s unique flavor combinations. Look for other locations at Smorgasburg, in Venice, and Tarzana.
LA’s original Persian ice cream shop has been serving locals and tourists for years, and their rose-infused ice cream still tastes like springtime. Don’t forget to add a dash of sour cherry syrup to tame all of the sweetness.
This nearly 100-year-old straight up ice cream brand still puts out some of the city’s best scoops, anywhere. Of course, the Alhambra-based company’s soda fountain options (floats, malts, and more) are worth the commute as well.
In terms of popularity alone, Milk quite possibly remains LA’s ice cream shop to beat. Better still: there are malts, floats, French macaron ice cream sandwiches and more to indulge in, beyond the usual scoop-and-a-cone options.
Portland import Salt & Straw has fit right into their Larchmont location, amiably serving scoops of well-sourced ice cream to their often upscale clientele. They’ve since expanded across the city too, only furthering the growing ice cream wars in Los Angeles.
Bennett’s Ice Cream at the Original Farmers Market is a rare treat. The classic ice cream is handmade and hand-scooped right in front of wide-eyed little ones hundreds of times a day, with a throwback menu of classic flavors like chocolate and mint chocolate chip. There are few gimmicks here, just good ice cream and a charming environment.
118 Japanese Village Plaza Mal
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mikawaya is one of Little Tokyo’s true mochi specialists. The Japanese Village Mall Plaza shop offers tons of well-known flavors like green tea, strawberry, and plum, and offers a wide variety of other Japanese snacks inside as well. Mikawaya also sells their creative mochi flavors at many local grocery stores.
This Spring Street Arcade addition comes from Uli Nasibova, and features a rotating selection of seasonal flavors perfect for those hot days when everyone need something satisfying.
With multiple locations across Los Angeles (including this more recent Palisades addition), there seems to be no stopping Sweet Rose. Not that anyone is complaining; the ice cream from Zoe Nathan and Josh Loeb’s Rustic Canyon family of restaurants is the brainchild of chef Shiho Yoshikawa and is full of delightful surprises, like their housemade candied nuts and mini meringues.
This Brooklyn-based ice cream retailer boasts ice cream made with a simple recipe: fresh milk and cream, cane sugar, and egg yolks. With locations now in the Arts District, Culver City, and beyond, it’s easy to get a taste of the Big Apple anywhere in the city. There’s plenty of options for those with vegan predilections, too.
Steps from the Pacific, Italian import Grom captures everything there is to love about gelato: the creamy texture, rich flavors, and vibrant colors. The cantaloupe, cassis, and peach are the purest expression of fruit in frozen form.
One of LA’s most successful food truck start-ups, Coolhaus continues to build ice cream sandwiches out of classic cookies and unique ice creams, both from their roving mobile operations and their dedicated shop in Culver City. They’re even in Whole Foods now, proving just how popular the concept has become.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams has expanded from their singular Los Feliz location into a mini-empire that stretches across Los Angeles. That’s good news for ice cream lovers, as the Midwestern-based company continues to shine with a fantastic array of summer flavors.
Relative west Culver City newcomer Ginger’s Divine Ice Cream is already making plenty of noise with its signature ice creams and popsicles. Expect throwback flavors like Snickerdoodle and pecan with sea salt, plus fun unique creations like “The Dude” white Russian and the chocolate-heavy billionaire brownie.
Long Beach Creamery is a hit for the city that bears its name, operating two locations across town since opening in 2013. Expect colorful, modern interiors and a rotation of classic and new flavors throughout the year, like whiskey cognac or coffee.
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