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The Best Ice Cream Shops in L.A.

The Best Ice Cream Shops in L.A. Posted By: Raman , Date: Oct 24, 2019

By Shauna Murray

I scream, you scream, we all scream for…well, you know how the rest goes. It’s the middle of summer in Los Angeles, and as the temperature outside gets hotter and hotter, nothing sounds better than cooling off with a delicious frozen treat. Of course, the climate in Los Angeles feels right for ice cream just about any time of the year so whether you’re in town during the peak of summer or the dead of winter, any time is the right time to treat yo’ self.

With dozens of ice cream shops in the city – each serving up their own frozen delicacies – it can be hard to narrow the options down. We recommend trying all of the shops on this list…just maybe not all on the same day.

Some of these businesses have set up shop in more than one location, and a few have stores outside of L.A. County, but we tried to keep it local and represent businesses that serve the greater L.A. area primarily, if not exclusively. You won’t see the big national chains here because c’mon, you can get that stuff anywhere. Los Angeles is all about being a little extra and your ice cream should be, too.

McCONNELL’S FINE ICE CREAMS

McConnell’s is more than an ice cream brand, it’s a family tradition. For 70 years and three generations, the company is still family run and takes pride in making all-natural fine ice creams from scratch using the fewest ingredients possible. All flavors start with the basics – milk, cream, eggs, and cane sugar – before flavoring with fruits, nuts, chocolate and such. Their ice cream tastes the way real ice cream should taste. No bells, whistles, or fancy gimmicks needed.

Originating in Santa Barbara, McC’s now has multiple location in Los Angeles from Pacific Palisades to Los Feliz so there’s bound to be one near wherever you are. You can even find pints of McConnell’s in some grocery stores outside of California; even so, nothing beats the taste of a hand-scooped ice cream cone so pay a visit to this SoCal staple while you’re in town.

WANDERLUST CREAMERY

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Back in the early summer of 2015, just before opening our first store in Tarzana- I was r+d’ing recipes in our home kitchen. At that time, we had been back from a recent trip to the Croatian coast, where we ate grilled purses of fresh cheese wrapped in fig leaves. Inspired, I plucked some young fig leaves from our fruitless tree in our backyard and steeped it into hot cream sweetened with wildflower honey. What resulted was an ice cream with a green & verdant, yet subtly floral scent…with a flavor reminiscent of coconut- but not quite. A handful of raw pistachios & a few tweaks later later, one of Wanderlust Creamery’s first flavors was born: Fig Leaf + Pistachio. We’ve been bringing it back every start of summer since. It’s not quite fig, and not even close to traditional pistachio; it’s something entirely different you’d have to taste to know firsthand. 🥄 @adrienneborlongan #wanderlustcreamery #eatwanderlust #figleaf Photo by @mxmlla.

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Courtesy of Wanderlust Creamery

As the name suggests, the creators of Wanderlust Creamery take inspiration from destinations all around the globe. One of their first signature flavors ‘Fig Leaf + Pistachio’ (pictured) was inspired by a trip to Croatia. Other notable ice cream flavors include ‘Vegan Sticky Rice Mango’ inspired by Thailand, and ‘Abuelita Malted Crunch’, inspired by their upbringing in Los Angeles.

With locations in Venice, Atwater Village, Tarzana, and at the downtown Sunday market, Smorgasburg, chances are there’s Wanderlust Creamery near you serving up 100% natural dairy and dairy-free ice cream. Stop in and see why they say there’s a “destination in every scoop.”

MATEO’S ICE CREAM & FRUIT BARS

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Mateo’s has been serving up frozen treat in Los Angeles for the past twenty years, specializing in paletas (popsicles) and ice creams in exotic and tropical flavors. The company’s founder,

Priciliano Mateo, moved from his home in Oaxaca, Mexico, to Los Angeles in 1982 and brought with him the Mexican tradition of colorful paletas in tropical fruit flavor. On any given day at Mateo’s you’ll find 29 ice pop flavors, 25 ice cream and sorbet flavors, and even fresh pressed juices and smoothies. Everything is home-made in the Mateo’s kitchen using fresh fruits and the colorful display at the counter is unlike anything you’ll find in another ice cream shop.

Try a ‘Smoked Milk with Cactus Fruit’ fruit cream popsicle if you’re taste buds are feeling adventurous, or stick with a more familiar strawberry or mango flavored pop. Either way, you’ll be getting a delicious taste of Angeleno culture.

SAFFRON & ROSE

Photo by Katrin Leo Pako

Saffron and Rose has been serving up genuine Persian Ice cream in Southern California for nearly four decades. Using all natural and organic ingredients, Saffron & Rose takes pride in creating highest quality ice cream for its loyal customers. Specializing in unique flavors, you’ll find unexpected menu offerings like ‘Poppy Seed Slush’, ‘Cucumber’, and ‘White Rose’.

If you have a somewhat less curious palette, you’ll find plenty of familiar flavor options, too. Some flavors are even available as a vegan option so there is something for everyone at Saffron & Rose.

You can explore the diverse menu at their locations in Westwood and Irvine.

MILK

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Dessert lovers rejoice: MILK has just about every kind of confection you can think of from frozen treats to creamy indulgences to baked goods. MILK’s goal is to “provide guests with an elevated ice cream experience, transporting them back to the classic ice cream parlor with shakes, floats, sundaes and ice cream novelties” and everything on the menu is made from scratch in their Los Angeles kitchen using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

Not in the mood for a frozen treat? MILK has plenty of other ways to satisfy your sweet tooth. You’ll find an assortment of cookies, cakes, puddings and more in MILK’s bake shop, and you can wash it all down with milk served in an old-fashioned glass bottle.

Pop in to indulge at either of MILK’s locations: in the Fairfax District and in Silverlake.

LITTLE DAMAGE

Courtesy of Little Damage

As you might have guess from the image, Little Damage’s claim to fame is its signature black ice cream cones. The almond-flavored cones are hand-rolled get their black color from activated charcoal. You won’t find ice cream by the scoop at this DTLA hotspot – Little Damage makes soft-serve only, offered in unexpected flavors and colors. Their menu rotates seasonally with recipes that are often unconventional but unexpectedly delicious.

 

Everything at the shop from the ice cream to the décor is an Instagram dream so don’t forget to snap a pic before you devour your cone of ‘unicorn tears’. Bonus points if your manicure matches your ice cream cone.

KIPPY’S ICE CREAM

Courtesy of Kippy’s

For some folks, the words “vegan” and “ice cream” have no business being together, but at Kippy’s, vegan ice cream is their business. Kippy’s ice cream starts with a raw, organic coconut cream base sweetened with local honey or dates. All of Kippy’s ice creams are made in-house daily using five ingredients or less, and all flavors are free of dairy, soy, nuts, and gluten.

Don’t let what’s not in Kippy’s recipes fool you, their ice creams are big on flavor and there is always a wide variety to choose from. Stop by their location on Main Street in Venice for a cool treat you can feel good about eating.

AFTERS

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SUMMER IS COMING ⛱ #aftersicecream

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Afters is on a mission to ruin your diet, and with their tempting flavor combinations available at more than twenty SoCal locations (most open ‘til midnight), they’re making it too easy to do just that. Afters serves up hand-crafted ice cream in unique flavors like ‘Milk and Cereal’, ‘Cookie Monster’, and ‘Jasmine Milk Tea’ and their toppings bar includes all of your favorite childhood cereals like Fruity Pebbles, Cookie Crisp and Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

If you’re really determined to ruin your diet, try the Milky Bun, a glazed doughnut stuffed with ice cream that’s warm on the outside and cold on the inside.

CAFÉ BORA

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#Repost @urbancell_gastronomy with @get_repost ・・・ LOS ANGELES Cafe Spotlight : Who’s fan of K-pop & K-desserts ? @cafebora_la in K-town elevates the pastry experience with their famous Korean purple sweet potato inspired desserts !! 💥⚫️ Canon EOS 6D DSLR @canonusa ⚫️💥 Sigma 50mm f1.4 art @sigmaphoto ————————————————- #culinaryart #zipkick #gastronomia #foodartchefs #limitlesseats #foodinfluencer #latimesfood #lamagfood #bestfoodla #FoodPhotographer #top_food_of_instagram #DiningOutSD #forbestravelguide #eaterla #foodstagram #eattheworld #culinaireinspiratie #vscofood #eeeeeats #infatuationla #timeoutla #CafeBoraLA #LOCALeLA #koreatowneveryday #ktownla #koreandesserts #sandiegofoodphotographer

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Café Bora snuck by our “locals only” rule, but it deserves a place on the list. As part of the popular Korean dessert chain, the Koreatown shop in L.A. is the first location in the United States. Café Bora offers traditional Korean desserts such as the purple-tinted sweet potato soft serve, and ‘bingsoo’, Korean shaved ice covered in fruit puree.  The menu also includes a few items that fuse different dessert traditions, such as matcha tiramisu.

Though it might look like food coloring is to thank for the colorful ice creams and sauces, all of the desserts get their bright coloring from 100% natural ingredients. Often garnished with green mint leaves and delicate flowers, Café Bora’s desserts are almost too pretty to eat…almost.

By Shauna Murray