Ice Cream, You Scream
I’d love to find out about fun places for ice cream around New York City. Can you suggest some different places to try?
There’s nothing like an ice cream cone to cool you off during the hot summer months and transport you back in time. NYC has a bountiful of really “cool” ice cream, gelato and sorbet shops that offer everything from basic vanilla to exotic lychee and we even found a vegan variation.
Here are my top 10 picks in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn for fun and an amazing view.
Stogo Gourmet Ice Cream
159 2nd Avenue (Entrance on East 10th St btw 2nd and 3rd Aves
Stogo Gourmet Ice Cream offers some of the healthiest, most delectable frozen desserts. They use premium organic dairy-free ingredients with no refined sugars, no animal products, no preservatives and no artificial flavorings. Ice creams made from soy milk, nut milks and coconut milk all sweetened with agave, come in dozens of flavors. Mango, mixed berry, cardamom-pistachio and chocolate-hazelnut are favs.
The founders Steve and Rob enlisted Master of Ice Cream expert Malcom Stogo, who formulated and advised many of the most successful ice cream products in history, from Carvel to Häagen Dazs, from TCBY Stores to Columbo Yogurt. Steve and Rob enrolled in Malcolm’s Ice Cream University, and announced the plan for vegan ice cream. Since Malcolm’s own health needed a little improvement, the more he thought about it, the more he began to get it and one day said “Healthy ice cream! Yes! I see!” The store is named for him.
Il Laboratorio Del Gelato
95 Orchard Street (between Broome & Delancey Streets)
This super cool artisanal ice cream “lab” makes gelato like your Italian grandma would (if you had an Italian grandma) – creamy and tasty, made mainly with local and organic ingredients (owner, Jon Snyder, previously founded and later sold Ciao Bella). These hand-made gelatos and sorbets come in a wide array flavors, and our favs are cinnamon gelato and lemon sorbet. Each day, choose from 12 ever-changing flavors served up by lab coat garbed staff at this small shop. Also, Il Laboratorio can send express deliveries nationwide.
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard Street
Since 1978, visitors to Chinatown have enjoyed the tasty flavors of ice cream and sorbet offered at the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, which coalesces America’s most popular dessert with an exotic Chinese twist. Favorite flavors include green tea, red bean, ginger and lychee. CICF stands today as one of Chinatown’s oldest businesses, and is often referred to as an unofficial landmark.
Sundaes and Cones
95 East 10th Street (bet. Third and Fourth Avenues)
Founded in Brooklyn almost 2 decades ago, this East Village ice cream shop defies convention in its flavors but not in its bright white shop design. In addition to the classics (chocolate and vanilla, flavors that is), there are seasonal and striking varietals such as corn (yes the yellow on the cob variety) and many Asian influenced flavors available including our favs ginger and wasabi (unusual but worth the try) as well as black sesame.
272 Bleecker Street (between Sixth and Seventh Avenues)
This is one of those hidden gem gelato establishments that doesn’t have a website and still manages to have customers at all hours. Cones is known not only for their rich and smooth gelato, but also for their charismatic and chipper Argentinean helmers who will let you try the flavors before committing. Our favs include hazelnut, pistachio and banana (which tastes like your actually eating it straight off a tree). And their signature hot concoction whiskey soaked kumquat.
La Maison du Chocolate
30 Rockefeller Center
We’re sure you know about the most amazing macarons in the world, but did you know that this classic French chocolatier also serves up amazing ice cream at its two shops in Manhattan during summer months only. Caramel ice cream is a particular favorite, but their signature is decadent Guayaquil chocolate ice cream, named after the Ecuadorean port on the Pacific.
Shake Shack Custard
Madison Square Park (Madison Avenue and East 23rd Street)
If you crave traditional frozen custard to remind you of a day at the beach, brave the line at Shake Shack for a hand-spun shake or a concrete. Started by Danny Meyer’s restaurant group, Shake Shack was born out of a single hot-dog stand in Madison Square Park and has grown into an institution. Rich, creamy custard is what happens when soft serve shacks up with premium ice cream, and then you can chose toppings to make it your own. They even have Pooch-Ini, a chilly treat for those with four feet.
Melt Cafe & Gelato Bar
1053 2nd Avenue (bet 55th and 56th Streets)
The Melt gelato & crepe café opened a NYC location, and offers Italian gelato & sorbetto, Italian panini’s, French crepes, 100% fat free smoothies and great Italian coffee. All of their sorbetto flavors are fat free and their gelato flavors have significantly lower fat content than regular ice cream, and they use real fruit, nuts, chocolate, milk and cream, not syrups, to make it. Our fav flavors are burgundy cherry gelato and fresh mango sorbetto.
115 St. Mark’s Place
Ice creams, sorbets and remixes offer visitors to this Australian inspired ice cream shop a delicious, refreshing experience. Everything is made on premises fresh daily, using all natural ingredients and flavors. Taste our Mango sorbet with fruit from India, treat yourself to Strawberry ice cream with strawberries from Spain, or be seduced by Crunchy Macadamia remix with nuts from Australia and caramel sauce from the United States.
Ciao Bella Cafe
Upper East Side, 27 East 92nd St
Still one of New York’s best original gelato makers, we love Ciao Bella (even though they moved their plant to New Jersey), and our favorite location is their Upper East Side enclave. They source ingredients globally such as Valrhona French chocolate, Alphonse mango, Sicilian blood oranges, raspberries from Oregon, and vanilla from Tahiti and Hawaii. Ciao Bella offers an impressive list of sorbets and gelatos, many of which they provide to the hottest restaurants around NYC.
Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory
Fulton Ferry Landing Pier (Old Fulton and Water Sts.)
There are shorter lines in Greenpoint, but a better view while waiting in line at Fulton Ferry Landing. And while the view alone is worth a visit to the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory, the scrumptious ice cream is worth a journey even without the skyline. The owner is a self described ice cream sommelier, evident when he describes a great vanilla as “natural, clean and silky.” He laments the evils of bleached sugar and preaches the righteousness of fresh peaches over canned. A self-proclaimed ice cream purist, there are only 8 Flavors offered: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, vanilla chocolate chunks, chocolate chocolate chunks, butter pecan, peaches and cream, and coffee.