Ice cream is a foolproof way to combat the hot mess that is summer in New York. But sometimes even the most ardent ice cream lover needs a little vacation from garden-variety vanilla—that’s where rich Italian gelato comes in. Whether classic or kooky, you'll find supremely yummy frozen desserts at New York’s best gelato shops.
Best gelato shops
São Paulo native Antonio Barros Biagi updates traditional gelato with Brazilian flavors. Inside his shop, with a bright yellow storefront—outfitted with Brazilian street photography—Biagi churns ice cream using organic milk to create exotic varieties like basil–pine nut and açai-banana. Alongside the cold treats, the store also sells packaged coffee beans.
Dive into more than 60 flavors at this West Village corner shop, where the serving containers are authentic as the gelato. Waffle cones are made in-house, and Italian-style cones and brioche rolls (for a rich interpretation of ice cream sandwiches) are imported to transport you as close to Italy as possible. Founder Salvatore Potestio also imports olive oil from his family’s business.
Italian native Luca Meacci brings an outpost of the all-natural gelateria, based in his hometown of Arezzo, to the East Village. Like the original, this takeout shop makes its creamy, cold treats with top-notch ingredients, such as Italian organic Mukki milk, hazelnuts from Lagne and pistachios from Bronte. Twenty-five gelatos—including, in a nod to Gotham's signature sweet, a cheesecake flavor made with strawberries, homemade cream cheese and digestive cookies—rotate daily.
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 recent standout combines ripe passion fruit with the Italian aperitif Campari.
The second location of this popular Lower East Side gelato operation is a 3,300-square-foot corner space complete with an espresso bar. The modern, industrial tasting room offers 40 flavors at a time, plucked from a 200-strong repertoire that includes wasabi, vanilla-saffron, avocado and a range of chocolate flavors, plus dozens of fruit sorbets. Can't decide? See what's being made in the glass-walled production room, visible from the street.