The Best Ice Cream and Gelato in Los Angeles

Treat Yourself! With Ice Cream & Gelato

MILK Macaron | Photo: MILK


Los Angeles is well versed in the ways of heat waves. Even though the city resides in what should be the desert, Angelenos have shown ingenuity in keeping cool, whether that’s with air conditioning, swimming pools, or the most flavorful route, ice cream. L.A. offers a wide range of frozen salvation, with creative flavors, market-driven ice cream and gelato, and companies that cater to specific cultures. Here are some of our frozen favorites in L.A.

Red plum almond gelato at Bulgarini Gelato

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Bulgarini Gelato



Leo Bulgarini and wife Elizabeth Foldi trained with a Sicilian gelato artisan and gained valuable business insights behind a cart at stops throughout Pasadena before opening a brick-and-mortar location in an Altadena strip mall. Intensely focused gelato flavors are semi-seasonal and might include tangy goat cheese with bitter cocoa nibs, gritty almond, or tangy red plum. Together, those last two flavors form an Italianate PB&J. When the couple travels to Italy, they bring back sweet, vivid Sicilian pistachios to produce their signature flavor.

Espresso and brown sugar vanilla bean at Carmela Ice Cream

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Carmela Ice Cream



Jessica Mortarotti and business partner Zachary Cox started selling seasonal ice cream at farmers markets and opened in full in east Pasadena. Now Carmela Ice Cream has a second storefront near The Original Farmers Market featuring a blackboard menu, a trio of "crystal" chandeliers and a single indoor table. They serve what may be LA’s definitive salted caramel ice cream, plus rich and distinctive alternatives like espresso with crushed cacao nibs; and brown sugar vanilla bean. They fill bowls and waffle cones with mix-and-match scoops, and also craft shortbead ice cream sandwiches.

Cherry ice cream cone at Fosselman's

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Fosselman's Ice Cream Co.



Christian Anthony Fosselman launched his family’s ice cream company in 1919, in Iowa. Over 80 years later, grandsons Chris and John continue the tradition in Alhambra. To satisfying long time customers, they still offer flavors like rocky road, butter pecan and peppermint. The Fosselmans have also tapped into modern San Gabriel Valley demographics, adding Asian flavors like taro, green tea and lychee. They build enormous banana splits with a choice of any three scoops and any three toppings. Yes, they’ve got floats, malts, and jars of old school candies.

Crema di Grom and Caramello al Sale Gelato at Grom

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Grom



This Malibu link in an Italian born chain might not look like much from the outside, with a glass front and some sunken seats in a Cross Creek strip mall. Still, this company produces some seriously premium products. Crema di Grom is their signature flavor, featuring an organic egg base, tiny Colombian "Teyuna" chocolate chips, and gritty Battifollo biscuits crafted by Cuneo-based Silvano Gianellom, who uses five varieties of corn: Marano, Ottofile, Pignet, Astice and Quarantina. They’ve also got seasonal fruit flavors and Caramello al Sale with caramel and a savory hit of Himalayan pink salt.

Saffron rosewater ice cream sandwich at Mashti Malone's

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Mashti Malones



Hollywood may be in the midst of an aesthetic upgrade, but the strip mall that houses Mashti Malone’s remains well worn. However, brothers Mashti and Mehdi Shirvani installed a colorful interior at their Persian-tinged ice cream parlor. Floral Iranian-inspired flavors include creamy rosewater, orange blossom and pistachio-studded saffron. Feeling less adventurous? No problem. They’ve got classic American flavors like chocolate chip and peanut butter cup. No matter the flavor, they’ll gladly press ice cream sandwiches to order between airy wafer discs.

Chocolate Pretzels & Beer at MILK

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Milk



Lucy Danovic’s glass fronted cafe resides at the base of an Art Deco spire and contains stainless steel tables, a counter jam-packed with pastries, and an overhead menu. MILK serves ice cream sundaes, shakes, malts, floats, bars, drumsticks and macaron sandwiches, plus standard scoops. Flavors include the signature Coffee Toffee. Pure comfort arrives in the form of Chocolate Pretzels & Beer, featuring Fat Tire amber ale, crunchy pretzels coated in milk and white chocolate, and a drizzle of caramel.

Blueberry and Lime Sorbet Triple Milk ice cream at Mother Moo Creamery

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Mother Moo Creamery



The only time Karen Klemens ever gets in a jam is on purpose. The market-driven Mothercluck jelly and jam maker expanded to ice cream in 2011, opening a shop on Sierra Madre’s main square. She still sells preserves, along with artisan products like pickles, sea salt caramels, and Plow & Gun coffee. Straus Family Creamery organic dairy factors into house-churned ice cream. Flavors incorporate Indonesian Korintje cinnamon, Etheridge Family Farms peaches, and perhaps the grand champion, Triple Milk, which combines buttermilk, whole milk, and skim milk. Yes, they’ve got house-made cones, sandwiches, shakes and sundaes.

Scoops ice cream

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Scoops



Scoops ice cream maestro Tai Kim combines cuisine with artistry. He earned degrees from CalArts and Western Culinary Institute in Portland before opening the first Scoops near LA City College. Kim still showcases local artists at his Eastside ice cream parlors, but Kim’s primarily creative outlet ends up in metal bins of ice cream. Matthew Kang took the concept to Palms in 2010 with Scoops Westside. Kim opened a Highland Park production facility and storefront in 2012. Kim’s built an arsenal of over 1,000 flavors, and is constantly crafting new flavors based on the seasons, outside food experiences, or the Flavor to Suggest boards. The only flavor that remains constant is Brown Bread, a play on an English classic that combines sugared Grape Nuts with vanilla ice cream. At Scoops Westside, Brown Brown Bread incorporates dulce de leche. Some recent entries include taro brown sugar, strawberry lime leaf balsamic, and hazelnut passion fruit.

Candied cherry ice cream with coconut granola

 |  Photo: Joshua Lurie

Sweet Rose Creamery - Brentwood



This small-batch ice cream shop with an inviting patio at Brentwood Country Mart is the latest market-driven venture from Josh Loeb and Zoe Nathan. Their partner, pastry chef Shiho Yoshikawa, changes the shop’s blackboard menus daily. Ice creams may feature sweet-tart candied cherries and coconut granola, loquats with almonds, or coffee from neighboring Caffe Luxxe. Custom toppings may include pecan brittle, cocoa nibs, or rainbow sprinkles flavored and colored with tea. They’ve also got an assortment of sandwiches, sundaes, and floats. Their milkshake blends a choice of any three scoops with luxurious Clover milk. The shake sure worked well with market basil.