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The best ice cream in NYC
Here's the scoop—sorry, we couldn't resist—on New York's best new ice cream shops and old frozen favorites
Fri Jul 11 2014
Sure, Memorial Day may be the unofficial start to summer, but nothing signals the arrival of sunny days quite like an ice-cream truck jingling its way down a steamy New York street. And luckily for frozen-treat lovers, you don’t have to go Usain Bolt-ing after Mister Softee for a licking of ice cream—instead, head to one of these newfangled parlors, doling out hopped-up scoops, gargantuan ice-cream sundaes and a healthy dose of whimsy. Whether you're looking for an indulgent ice-cream sandwich or a refreshing cup of gelato, we've got you covered with our guide to the best new ice-cream shops in the city.
Where to get the best ice cream in NYC
At this cheery, canary-yellow Nolita gelateria from São Paulo-bred Antonio Barros Biagi, the rich, buttery ice creams—stretching seductively at the pull of a spoon— bridge gelato tradition with bursts of Brazilian flavor: Alongside Italian imports like white-chocolate bergamotto and fior di latte, there’s a passionfruit sorbet so concentrated and vibrant it’s like biting straight into the fruit. Small $4.75, medium $6.50, large $8.25.
- 235 Elizabeth St, (between E Houston and Prince Sts), 10012
Ample Hills Creamery
The behemoth, two-story follow-up to husband-and-wife team Brian Smith and Jackie Cuscuna’s Prospect Heights scoop shop churns out 24 ever-changing, off-the-wall flavors —up from the original store’s 16—that will please inner and actual kids alike. Snap Mallow Pop, an überrich, jet-puffed marshmallow number studded with crunchy, toasted rice-cereal nubs, is as comforting as a bake-sale Rice Krispies treat. Single $4.35, double $5.75.
305 Nevins St at Union St, Gowanus
Plain-Jane flavors get their due at this soda-shop throwback from pastry-bag-wielding restaurateur Nicholas Morgenstern (Goat Town, El Rey): scoop purists have five creamy, extremely vanilla-y vanillas (bourbon, Madagascar, burnt honey, peppermint and yogurt) to choose from. Succumb to the gluttony and get them all in the colossal King Kong Banana Split. $18.
- 2 Rivington St, (between Bowery and Chrystie St), 10002
There’s no fear of sugar overkill at this pint-size, circus-striped East Village outpost of the Brooklyn crowd-pleaser. Chef-owner Sam Mason (wd~50) tempers his greatest hits with savory and salty notes: Custardy caramel comes with a cholesterol-quivering swirl of meaty chorizo, and pineapple-thyme gets an oddball hit of tangy manchego. Single $4, double $5.25.
- 75 E 4th St, (between Bowery and Second Ave), 10003
Craft-brew maven Stef Ferrari brings beer geekery to inventive scoops like her IPI, an “India Pale” ice cream teeming with malt and dry-hopped cream. But inspiration doesn’t stop at suds: She amps up the classic ice-cream sandwich with her stand-out Barnburners, ice cream sealed inside an ever-changing shell (think fudgy brownies or salty pretzel buns) and toasted until it's decadently melty and downright sinful. Single $3.75, double $5.
- 204 Sackett St, (at Henry St), 11231
You might visit this restaurant-market hybrid to pick up a loaf of crusty filone or house-cured salumi, but on a scorching day, you’ll be hard-pressed to make it past the front counter without ordering one of the ethereally light sorbetti. A standout on the current menu combines ripe passion fruit with the Italian aperitif Campari. You’ll taste the tropical juiciness up front, but the liquor’s bitter citrus notes—drawn from myrtle-leaved oranges—tempers the sweetness and makes this colorful scoop an ideal palate cleanser. Small cup to-go $5, gelato on dessert menu (for dining in) $8.
- 53 Great Jones St, (between Bowery and Lafayette St), 10012
The doughnut ice cream sandwiches at this Technicolor shop are an exercise in decadence: Two halves of a split old-fashioned bookend three scoops of house-churned ice cream—we like the sweet-and-salty vanilla studded with chocolate-covered pretzels. Festoon this prodigal masterpiece with your choice of flavored frostings and garnishes, such as colorful sprinkles, candy fragments and nuts. $6.40.
- 796 Ninth Ave, (at 53rd St), 10019
Co-owner Julian Plyter harnesses the flavors of an iconic warm-weather tipple—the margarita—into this compact ice-cream sammie. A heaping puck of frozen custard, crafted with fresh limes and a hint of Tequila Avión, rests between two zest-flecked sugar cookies dusted with salt. $4.
- 132 Orchard St, (between Delancey and Rivington Sts)
Pastry whiz Christina Tosi made her name in extreme, compulsively craveable treats like Compost Cookies and Crack Pie. But the off-menu Pink Fizz at the Upper West Side Milk Bar location deploys a lighter touch to spectacular effect. The blend of pink-lemonade soft-serve and a healthy pour of Fever Tree ginger beer yields a refreshing, lightly fizzy milk shake with a lingering spicy kick. $8.
- 561 Columbus Ave, (at 87th St)
If you’ve warily eyed the bottles of drinkable yogurt in the dairy aisle, the sundaes at this newcomer might make you a kefir convert. Proprietor Rovshan Danilov doses the tangy probiotic milk product with a rotating array of natural fruit purees, and turns it into layered parfaits. Our favorite iteration gussies up a plain base with balsamic-macerated strawberries and swirls of whipped heavy cream. Small $3.75.
- 1076 Sheepshead Bay Road, (between Aves W and X), 10014
Gelato Ti Amo
This stateside offshoot of an Italian minichain crafts rich gelati on-site daily, using largely organic ingredients imported primarily from Italy and South America. Among the 20-plus, mostly classic flavors are frutti di bosco (vanilla dappled with mixed berries) and nocciola, a creamy hazelnut variety dotted with whole roasted nuts from Piemonte. But there are also a few hat tips to Gotham in NYC-inspired flavors such as a cheesecake riff stippled with strawberries and chunks of Tuscany-sourced biscuits. $5.30.
68 Second Ave at 4th St
According to Yelp Treat Petite Cafe is closed?? Someone didn't do their research. Apparently Big Gay Ice Cream Shop took over.
According to Yelp Treat Petite Cafe is closed?? Someone didn't do their research. Apparently Big Gay Ice Cream Shop took over
@Mimi A Thank you for pointing that out! Treat Petite is under a new name, Arbuz, and new location in Sheepshead Bay, but has all of the same offerings. We've updated to display the correct information above!