The Best Gelato In LAClassic Sicilian pistachio, creamy stracciatella, creative riffs, and more.
Los Angeles and Italy share a similar "Mediterranean climate," except we have air conditioning, and Italians have a more fun way to cool down: gelato. A creamy scoop (or three) of gelato is a welcome addition to any occasion, whether it's a post-dinner treat or a pick-me-up after a long, snotty cry. It's the denser, richer cousin to your grocery store pint, yet somehow has less sugar (not that you'll notice). And although we're pretty sure frozen yogurt shops still outnumber gelaterias 3:1 in this town, there are a growing number of gelato shops that serve a mix of classic Italian flavors and creative spins to keep things exciting. Here are our five favorite gelato shops in LA.
Add an extra 30 minutes to the parking meter because you don't want to rush yourself at Fatamorgana. With locations in Beverly Hills and Studio City, this Rome transplant stocks over 60 gelato flavors, and you'll want to sample as many as possible. There are classics like stracciatella, an entire section dedicated to chocolate flavors, Mexican-inspired sorbetti, and creations that belong on a fancy dessert menu. Our favorites are the creamy ricotta with fig jam, the very-fragrant basil, and baklava with spiced caramel. And for our dairy-averse friends, Fatamorgana's sorbetti are vegan, including fruity flavors like tangerine and mango, plus a chocolate variety, too.
Along with sampling "Resurrection Aromatique Hand Balm" at the Aesop store, a scoop at Bacio di Latte is one of the few moments at the Century City Mall where you can have uninterrupted peace. This serene, all-white gelato shop serves a dozen rotating flavors, including red velvet, passionfruit cream, and biscotto with big chunks of cookies. We gravitate toward their two best-sellers, though: the excellent, not-too-sweet pistachio and the bacio di latte. This namesake flavor tastes like pure cream with the tiniest smooch of vanilla, making it rich enough to satisfy your sweet tooth but not so heavy you'll need to recline your car seat later.
Italians don't drink cappuccinos after 12pm, but we've never heard that you can't have gelato for breakfast. That's a real possibility at Capri Gelato. This Marina Del Rey shop opens at 7am as a coffee bar with espresso, pour-overs, and, yes, scoops of creamy Italian ice cream. There are classic flavors like Sicilian pistachio and stracciatella, plus more creative offerings like goat cheese with tart passion fruit. However, the fluffy Italian cheesecake is a non-negotiable, so you might as well skip the sorbetto and double up on the cream.
If you're the indecisive type, Ecco un Poco on W. 3rd Street is easy to navigate: there are only a dozen flavors at any given time. And even though you can't choose from seven different single-origin chocolate varieties, the flavors you can sample are nothing short of excellent. There are a few signatures that never get cycled out, including one with toasted Piedmont hazelnuts that are, according to EU Law, the black truffle of nuts. If you want something sweeter and stretchy like taffy, get the honey custard that's luscious from egg yolks and caramelized honey. And if gelato runs here turn into a habit, be aware that there's a rewards program.
Pazzo Gelato has been scooping ice cream in Silver Lake for nearly two decades, but the neighborhood hasn't remotely gotten bored of its flavors. Expect a frequent gelato rotation of a dozen options, including Mexican coffee, matcha, and spicy Thai tea with Asian pear. If you find yourself waiting in line for a few minutes, it's because everyone in front of you also wants to sample everything, so patience is key. Don't miss the intensely sweet mango sorbetto that tastes like biting into the juiciest, ripest mango of the season. It also happens to be vegan, along with dozens of other seasonal plant-based flavors that pop up throughout the year, like apricot, horchata, and chocolate tequila.