The Definitively Best Ice Cream
A flavorful collection of ice cream shops brings a summer treat to winter.
Reading Time: 4 minutes
As winter approaches, some people might say that the season for ice cream is over. Those people are wrong. The season for ice cream is never over. In winter, the lines for the Insta-famous ice cream places are shorter and the ice-cream will always melt slower.
A French company serving Italian gelato in New York City, Amorino is by any standard a global brand. Today, they have boutiques in Europe, North America, Africa, and Asia. They serve classic Italian gelato flavors such as hazelnut, pistachio, and stracciatella, a traditional milk gelato with fine and irregular pieces of chocolate throughout. This creates a smoother texture than American chocolate chip ice cream, with a slight crunch throughout. Amorino is also famous for its variety of chocolate options, all with different percentages of cocoa, including a sorbet. An Italian favorite is the l’inimitable, which is a chocolate hazelnut flavor, similar to Nutella (though native Italians might call it Gianduja after their preferred spread). Amorino is also known for their rose-shaped ice cream in the cones, which they carefully layer for every customer.
$5.25 for a small size (as many flavors as desired)
721 8th Ave, Manhattan
60 University Pl, Manhattan
3. Ample Hills Creamery:
Ample Hills Creamery is a Brooklyn classic, though there are now locations throughout the city. Known for adorable names like Ooey Gooey Butter Cake and PB Wins the Cup, Ample Hills creamery has a distinct brand. There is an expectation of cute images and unique flavors. However, they’re not just cute. Ample Hills also places an emphasis on fresh ingredients and homemade mix-ins, resulting in distinct flavors and textures. Though it varies from location to location, Ample Hills typically has a woodsy and homey atmosphere and a continuing theme of nature. The name, Ample Hills, is a reference to the natural landscape of Brooklyn, which carries through to the decor of each location. Though Ample Hills is a relatively new brand, as it only opened in 2011, it has definitely proven that it is a worthwhile stop.
$5.02 for single scoop
623 Vanderbilt Ave, Brooklyn
634-02 30th Ave, Queens
2. Sundaes and Cones
Founded in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn in 1991, Sundaes and Cones is a striking dichotomy of both classic American ice cream and interesting international flavors. Now located in the East Village, the interior is spacious and has a classic atmosphere, with clean white countertops and glass cases full of ice cream. However, Sundaes and Cones is known for adventurous flavors such as Wasabi, Corn, and Red Bean. The parlor is rarely empty, but almost never has a line. The service is friendly, and the chance to taste flavors is helpful when faced with such a difficult choice. The black sesame is a favorite due to its rich nutty flavor and dense, creamy texture. The goal of Sundaes and Cones was to create an environment of a community ice cream parlor but with more exotic flavors, and it succeeded; everyone who lives in the neighborhood knows it as their ice cream shop.
$4.23 for a single scoop (one flavor)
95 E 10th St, East Village, Manhattan
1. Max and Mina’s
In a small storefront sandwiched between an electronics store and a larger restaurant, Max and Mina’s seems to radiate light. The decor is bright, with an emphasis on pink and purple. The walls are plastered with everything from cereal boxes to stickers to Band-aid boxes. A local neighborhood shop, Max and Mina’s is rarely crowded, and has some of the best service in the ice cream business, with an infinite number of tastings. Typically only populated by locals, Max and Mina’s has an eclectic and homemade atmosphere. Known for crazy flavor combinations and interesting textures, Max and Mina’s has flavors like Cap’n Crunch Cookies N Cream Brownies (yes, that is all one flavor), Blueberry Pie, and the classic French Vanilla. One of their most popular flavors, Double Cookies N Cream, is a twist on the classic Cookies N Cream. Instead of a vanilla ice cream base, there is an Oreo flavored ice cream base with Oreo pieces mixed in. This adds more depth to the oreo flavor, rather than just a vanilla ice cream with an occasional crunch. On top of all of that, it’s kosher!
$4.90 for a single scoop (up to two flavors)
71-26 Main Street, Flushing, Queens
Momofuku Milk Bar
Though not technically an ice cream shop, they have some of the best soft serve in New York City. Their cereal milk soft serve is iconic, and they have locations throughout the city. Inspired by the milk left at the bottom of the bowl after the cereal has been eaten, that is exactly what it tastes like. However, while the real thing tastes like leftovers, the soft serve has a clean and crisp flavor; an idealized version of an everyday taste. Their added crunch topping creates a deconstructed bowl of corn flakes, but more refreshing.
$5.50 for a cup
360 Smith St, Brooklyn
110 Wall St. Manhattan
Republic of Booza
Republic of Booza is the first contemporary ice cream shop in New York to serve the Turkish “stretchable” ice cream. Booza was the first frozen dairy-based dessert, developed 500 years ago in the Eastern Mediterranean. A mixture of sahlab (ground orchid root) and mastic (a resin) combined with milk, cream, and sugar is pounded and stretched by hand instead of churned. This creates a smoother, denser, and creamier ice cream, which means booza is more flavorful than any other ice cream and melts more slowly. Though they serve an ancient type of ice cream, the ambiance of Republic of Booza is very modern. With plain white walls and the menu painted directly on the wall opposite the entrance, there is a clean and crisp atmosphere. Traditionally, booza was only available in one flavor, known as Qashta or “Candied Cream,” but as a modern Booza shop, Republic of Booza adds interesting flavor combinations, which makes it a notable stop to visit in Brooklyn.
$5.25 for a small size
76 N 4th St, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
A classic ice cream and the embodiment of every childhood. When in Central Park, or just wandering through the streets, these trucks are every New Yorker’s go-to. Though there are a bunch of interesting and unique options out there, sometimes the classic ice cream truck is perfect.