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The Frieze Ice Cream Factory
Photograph: Robin Statfeld

The best ice cream in Miami is the tasty cold fix you’ve been needing

When the city heats up, cool down with an ocean breeze, shady trees and, of course, the best ice cream in Miami

By Virginia Gil
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May 2019: Bikini season, what? It’s ice-cream season, ya’ll. When the temperature reaches melt-your-face-off hot, we turn to dessert to cool off. Luckily, the list of great Miami ice cream spots is only getting longer. This month, we welcome back two old favorites, Hialeah’s beloved Tío Colo and South Beach’s the Frieze. For the folks who like their treats chill and mobile, we’ve also added Coral Gables’ popular Morelia Gourmet Paletas and Coconut Grove’s Vicky’s House, where paletas, sandos and milk shakes are plentiful.

Before the best coffee shops in Miami courted us with a cold brew and rooftop bars tempted us with the promise of a cool breeze, a visit to a Miami ice cream shop was the only choice for locals looking to satisfy their sweet tooth and cool off after a day of sunbathing at one of the Miami beaches. So even when the temperature doesn’t call for a chill treat (which, granted, is rare), Miamians can’t help but scream for the organic gelato, funky soft-serve and old-fashioned sundaes served at the city’s best ice cream shops, from Little Havana to Midtown Miami.

Best ice cream shops in Miami

Azucar - Time Out Market
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

1. Azucar - Time Out Market

Restaurants South Beach

What is it? This Calle Ocho shop—which you can now find in Time Out Market Miami—sells Cuban-inspired ice cream by the scoop and in pints to-go. Once you reach the only massive, colorful cone in Little Havana, you know you’ve come to the right place.

Why go? Owner Suzy Batlle runs the show. If she’s feeling like bourbon with cherries, that’s exactly what we’ll whip up—and her whims never disappoint. She’s scored big with flavors like Abuela Maria—vanilla ice cream, Maria crackers, guava and cream cheese—and café con leche.

Vicky's House
Photograph: Courtesy Vicky's House

2. Vicky’s House

Restaurants Ice cream parlors West Coconut Grove

What is it? Kush Hospitality’s ’80s-themed dessert bar serves over-the-top, retro-themed shakes and good times. 

Why go? Head to Vicky’s on milkless Mondays for vegan shakes made with Dasher & Crank’s nut-based flavors, or make it a two-for with dessert for happy hour: the hard hops floats blend grain-free booze with fruit, cookies and other mix-ins. 

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Dasher and Crank
Photograph: Lauren Cedeño

3. Dasher and Crank

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Wynwood

What is it? This bubble-gum-colored shop doles out hyper-local flavors customized in partnership with JoJo tea, Per’la Coffee and other Miami businesses. And the enterprise keeps growing, adding more than 225 flavors in the past year plus sundaes, slushies and more.

Why go? Thanks to an in-house pastry chef, the chalkboard menu changes daily, so you’ll never get sick of Dasher & Crank’s selection. Staples include matcha, charcoal mint and a smattering of non-dairy options, which they always have on tap.

The Frieze Ice Cream Factory
Photograph: Robin Statfeld

4. The Frieze Ice Cream Factory

Restaurants Ice cream parlors South Beach

What is it? As quintessentially South Beach as the beach itself, this charming, family-owned parlor has served legions of loyal patrons for 32 years.

Why go? The Frieze does things the good old-fashioned way, meaning its ice cream is made in-house with all-natural ingredients. If you order vanilla, it tastes like the bean, not the extract.

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Tío Colo
Photograph: Courtesy Tío Colo

5. Tío Colo

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Hialeah Gardens

What is it? This Cuban cafeteria in the heart of Hialeah doles out thick-crust Cuban pizzas and large, Cuban-style ice cream sandwiches in an assortment of flavors.

Why go? For the uninitiated, a traditional Cuban ice cream sandwich features two slices of moist, yellow sponge cake that have been rolled in sugar and stuffed with tropical ice cream flavors like pineapple, guava and coconut. If it sounds incredible, it’s because it is. You might never go back to the regular cookie variety again.

Cream Parlor
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Batool H.

6. Cream Parlor

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Miami

What is it? This homey café in Shorecrest owned by a local husband-and-wife duo serves classic sandwiches and light fare, plus quirky desserts and ice cream with punny names.

Why go? Two words: unicorn poop. The shop’s signature treat tastes like birthday cake and nothing like animal droppings—the rainbow-colored concoction mixed with cotton candy is one big, deliciously tasting sugar rush. The C is for Cookie will leave your mouth blue for hours, but the cookie-packed ice cream is so worth looking like the Cookie Monster for the day.

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Mad Lab Creamery
Photograph: Virginia Gil

7. Mad Lab Creamery

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Design District

What is it? Pastry chef Soraya Caraccioli-Kilgore’s playful dessert spot sells unicorn cakes, soft-serve in unconventional flavors and rich chocolate bark.

Why go? Kilgore’s ice cream, in flavors such as matcha and berry rhubarb, is anything but basic but she still amps it up with spritzes of edible glitter, gold leaf, gold dust, cotton candy and fancy sprinkles—and we’re all the more grateful for it.

Aubi & Ramsa
Photograph: Courtesy Aubi & Ramsa

8. Aubi & Ramsa

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Design District

What is it? This cool, dim spot looks like a bar and it serves alcohol, though theirs comes in the form of delicious boozy ice cream. You’ll need to be 21 to eat.

Why go? Order up your usual nightcap, with a twist. Get mescal with Mexican chocolate, tangerine sorbet with champagne and more treats that’ll satisfy your cravings for a cocktail and dessert.

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Ice Cream
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Sweet Melody Ice Cream

Restaurants Overtown

What is it? Mike Romeu and his sweet little girl, Melody, are the adorable team behind this homegrown ice cream business.

Why go? You’ve likely tried Sweet Melody’s icy creations at restaurants like Pinch Kitchen and R House. But the Wharf location is one of a handful of local pop-ups devoted strictly to ice cream, from Bo & Jo’s guava cream cheese and café con leche to seasonal offerings like coquito.

Taiyaki Miami
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Shinya Suzuki

10. Taiyaki

Things to do Event spaces Wynwood

What is it? Stationed at 1-800-Lucky’s courtyard, this small truck doles out those whimsical, fish-shaped ice cream cones you’ve seen flood your Instagram feed for months.

Why go? Not everything you see on the internet tastes good, but these cones do. Get swirls of matcha, black sesame and other Asian soft-serve flavors covered in sprinkles, with a gold unicorn horn and finished off with other toppings guaranteed to get you extra likes.

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Bianco Gelato
Courtesy: Bianco Gelato

11. Bianco Gelato

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Coconut Grove

What is it? Bianco does it old-school, making traditional gelato with all-natural, organic ingredients.

Why go? If you’re into food made simply, this is the ice cream for you. Pistachio is white, not green, as it should be when you’re using actual nuts in your dessert. There are also delicious vegan options that are satisfying and dairy-free.

Lulu's Nitrogen Ice Cream
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Diana R.

12. Lulu’s Nitrogen Ice Cream

Restaurants Miami

What is it? Lulu’s makes high-tech, nitrogen ice cream using fresh, local ingredients.

Why go? The ice cream of the future wasn’t the crumbly stuff you used to buy at the mall or the county fair, it’s this. Blasted on the spot, hand-crafted and served ice-cold, Lulu’s comes in vanilla, coconut and several seasonal varieties. In the mood for something frothy? Try one of the tasty, handspun shakes.

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Morelia Gourmet Paletas
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Morelia Gourmet Paletas

13. Morelia Gourmet Paletas

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Coral Gables

What is it? Morelia sells the ubiquitous Mexican paletas we just can’t get enough of. 

Why go? For artisanal paletas made with all-natural ingredients, which you can customize with toppings like cookie crumbles and sprinkles. You can’t go wrong with the indulgent Nutella or the refreshing lime—both are winners.

Miami Coppelia Ice Cream
Photograph: Luisa Alonso

14. Miami Coppelia Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Flagami

What is it? Named after the famous ice cream parlor in Havana, Coppelia serves up traditional Cuban ice cream, milk shakes and sundaes.

Why go? This place specializes in nostalgia-tinged dessert, featuring pre-revolutionary Cuban favorites like the Copa Lolita, a caramel flan sundae, and flavors like mamey and mantecado.

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Latteria Italiana
Photograph: Courtesy Latteria Italiana

15. Latteria Italiana

Restaurants Midtown

What is it? This old-school gelato shop throws it back to 1950s Rome.

Why go? Latteria serves all-natural, gluten-free flavors made in-house. Their gelato is so good, you’ll often find it listed on the menus of numerous Miami restaurants. Once there, try the affogato with fresh vanilla for or the chocolate—you can never go wrong with Italian chocolate.

Jaxson's Ice-Cream Parlour
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Bob Brown

16. Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour

Restaurants Ice cream parlors

What is it? An ode to the ice cream parlors of the past, Jaxon’s retro-style diner boasts a menu of classic frozen treats.

Why go? Slide into a booth and take in the walls full of stuff—license plates, toys, trinkets and other Americana collectibles. Feeling overwhelmed yet? Relax with a classic chocolate milk shake topped with whipped cream and a cherry. It’s the only way to relax here.

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17. Whip ’n Dip Ice Cream Shoppe

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Coral Gables

What is it? This South Miami neighborhood spot is a mainstay for traditional, no-fuss ice cream.

Why go? Servings are cheap, cookies are freshly baked and the staff—made up of mostly teens and kids from the area—are cheery and eager to let you try all the flavors.

18. Wall’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Dadeland

What is it? This old-timey Miami spot has been around since the 1950s. It’s vintage and charming, even if the flavor options are seemingly stuck in the past.

Why go? Forget the trendy salted caramel and other of-the-moment varieties you’re used to and stick to vanilla, chocolate and other classics, which are solid here. Eat 12 scoops of ice cream and get your name on the wall at Wall’s.

Prefer your sugar in cocktail form?

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