Ice Cream Shops in NYC with Unique Flavors
Growing up in the countryside of São Paulo put Antonio Biagi right in the midst of Brazil’s freshest fruit, sugarcane, and coffee. His belief that food connects people to their past led him to study the art of gelato in Italy. He has since started a quaint shop on Elizabeth Street in Nolita where all gelato is made on site. While his homeland shines through in the açai sorbet, Biagi continues to dole out new ideas, with flavor combinations like basil and pine nut, or goat cheese with candied orange and anise.
Nick Morgenstern, who plates pizza at GG’s and pulls espresso shots at El Rey, is also heavily devoted to ice cream. Driven by the purity of flavor profiles, Morgenstern brands his shop as one that combines a new American palate with a timeless indulgence. Banana Curry, Cardamom Lemon Jam, and Szechuan Peppercorn Chocolate are just a few from the list of endearing, and deliciously unforgettable flavor combinations.
L’Albero dei Gelati
The Lombardy-based café came stateside in 2013 when Monia Solighetto opened doors in Park Slope and continued to grow her cultish following. The emphasis on local produce and the Slow Food philosophy is painfully sincere. Flavors change along with the seasons, but reliable classics like stracciatella and pistachio are always present. What sets this act apart, though, is the savory selections, like saffron gelato (which, by the way, meets its perfect partner in an accompanying scoop of the blueberry sorbet).
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Founded in the late 70s, Chinatown Ice Cream Factory is possibly one of the first spots in NYC to churn out flavors than most would consider exotic. “You can really create an understanding and common dialogue through flavors,” says the founder’s daughter, Christina Seid. “And ice cream, of course, makes everyone happy.” Head to the Bayard Street shop for a selection that includes lychee, pandan (a leaf native to Southeast Asia), durian (a pungent fruit for the brave), and almond cookie (made with fresh sweets from nearby Fung Wong Bakery).
L&B Spumoni Gardens
In 1939, Italian immigrant Ludovico Barbati set up shop in one of New York’s most thriving expat communities. His goal? To bring a quintessentially Neapolitan treat to the masses. Spumoni is caught somewhere between ice cream and Italian ice and comes in a few variations. But at L&B Spumoni Gardens, in Brooklyn’s Gravesend neighborhood, it’s a creamy combo of chocolate, pistachio and vanilla, flecked with pieces of ground nuts—and served best in a flimsy paper cup.
Davey’s Ice Cream
Owner David Yoo comes from a graphic design background, so when he decided to “take the leap” and do something new, he knew it needed to be an equally creative endeavor. Ice cream, clearly, provided many possibilities. “I specialize in very premium and high quality flavors using the best local ingredients and often develop seasonal flavors based on what’s available at the Union Square Farmer’s Market,” says Yoo. Look out for the Butter Popcorn flavor, set to be released this summer at the new Williamsburg location.
Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria
The ever popular Il Buco offshoot puts focus on artisanal, rustic Italian fare. From Old World-style American cured meats to expertly crafted cocktails, Il Buco Alimentari & Vineria is a tour-de-force of la cucina italiana. And it would be a sad day if gelato was nowhere to be found. Flavors like grapefruit-rose water and lemon anisette meet toppings like chocolate gianduia and albicocche in Moscato d’Asti, for a cool menu that’s simply buono.
Opened in Brooklyn’s Prospect Heights in 2011, Ample Hills has since become somewhat of a local phenomenon. Ice cream production is taken quite seriously (so much so that owners Brian and Jackie pasteurize their own milk) and the flavors are wonderfully playful. Delve into Salted Crack Caramel (yes, it contains saltine crackers) or the cooler Peppermint Pattie (chockfull of homemade dark chocolate).
Pearl & Ash
While not a parlor per se, Bowery’s Pearl & Ash combines two wonderful things into one — cocktails and ice cream. The Negroni Ice Cream Sandwich starts with sweet ice cream that’s infused with Campari, red Vermouth, and gin. Sandwiched between soft pieces of orange-vanilla cake, the dessert menu item truly elevates a childhood staple.