Consider this week’s slightly premature heat wave a taste of things to come. Summer in New York City means cocktails on rooftops, air conditioned shopping respites, and–perhaps most importantly–ice cream. There are many ways to cool off in this town, but ice cream remains, definitively, the most delicious way to tackle rising temps. Whether you’re looking for a trip down memory lane or an adventure for your palate, you’re in luck. If you can dream it, chances are New York City has it. Herewith, your guide to the best ice cream in New York City.
Ice and Vice
Ice and Vice has joined the ranks of Dimes and Kiki’s in an area that feels to be Manhattan’s hottest culinary destination at the moment. The East Broadway spot makes their adventurous ice cream, sorbet, and frozen yogurt in small batches, and adjusts their menu with flavors of the season. Right now, dig into Ants on a Farm (raisin, celery, gianduja chocolate chips) or order the Blood Sisters (salted chocolate, burnt blood orange sorbet). If you’re #eatingfortheinsta, you’ll be pleased with their Ice Cream Wedgies, which looks less like a familiar dessert and more like an edible defying of physics.
221 E Broadway, New York, NY 10002
Unicorn Frappuccino, eat your heart out. Soft Swerve holds it down when it comes to whimsical treats. Their Ube Purple Yam is definitely the star of the show here. (It basically looks like a sticky My Little Pony rolled around in some sprinkles, if you’re wondering.) Aside from the oft-photographed purple yam, Soft Swerve also offers coconut, matcha, and black sesame flavors, all of which can be decorated with any number of appealing (and photogenic) toppings. Gimmick? Definitely. Delicious? You bet.
85B Allen St, New York, NY 10002
Located just down the road from SIXTY Soho, La Newyorkina serves up deliciousness inspired by Mexican sweet treats. They’ve got paletas (beautifully colored ice pops in flavors like pineapple jalapeño), chamoyadas (kind of like a slushy sorbet made with pickled plum juice, salted chile, and a tamarind candy straw), and the more familiar Mexican ice cream (expect something closer in texture to gelato with cameos like Oaxacan chocolate chunk horchata). It’s like a trip down south for your tastebuds.
240 Sullivan St, New York, NY 10012, New York, NY 10012
Forget chocolate chip cookie dough Say goodbye to mint chip. Malai, which you can only find on Saturdays and Sundays at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg, wants you to expand your creamy horizons. The small batch ice cream outfit pushes out wondrous concoctions informed by the flavors of India. Masala Chai, Golden Turmeric, Sweet Corn Saffron: these seem like more than fair trades for the comparatively dull stuff you’ve been spooning up for far too long.
90 Kent Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Il Laboratorio del Gelato
Looking for an incredible ice cream spot right around the corner from SIXTY LES? Consider Il Laboratorio del Gelato your go-to. It’s the brainchild of Jon F. Snyder, ice cream royalty by any standard. (Snyder founded Ciao Bella and is the grandson of the Carvel empire.) This Lower East Side gelateria has been parked on Orchard Street since 2002–no small feat in a swiftly changing neighborhood. You can attribute its staying power to their rotating list of 200 delicious gelatos and sorbets, which range from the daringly exotic to reassuringly classic.
188 Ludlow St, New York, NY 10002
Mikey Likes It
Further north on Manhattan’s East Side, Mikey Likes It is a tiny little shop serving up outrageously big flavor. They’re another spot throwing their hat in the ring for most Instagrammable dish: an ice cream sandwich… made with a waffle. Choose between the Mac Daddy (half waffle) and Daddy Mac (whole waffle, if you can believe it), each made with the flavored waffle and ice cream of your choice. For those looking for something a little less decadent, Mikey Likes It offers plenty of scoops in a regular ol’ cup. Try the Parliament Funkadelic (mint ice cream with crushed Oreo) or the Foxy Brown (mocha ice cream with crushed chocolate wafers and sea salt caramel swirl).
199 Avenue A, New York, NY 10009