27 Uniquely LA Ice Cream, Gelato And Paleta Peddlers
Los Angeles is awash in terrific homegrown ice cream, paletas and gelato. Sure, National Ice Cream Day, celebrated on the third Sunday (or would that be sundae?) of July, is a good time to eat them. But any day is a perfect day for to scream for L.A.'s local ice cream shops. Cuz we don't need upstarts from Portland, Santa Barbara, Brooklyn or Italy to get our fix.
BENNETT'S ICE CREAM
Located at the Farmers Market at Third and Fairfax, Bennett's has some unique flavors like Cabernet Sauvignon, Choffee Coffee and Fancy Nancy (coffee ice cream with banana chunks and caramel swirls) in addition to the standards. They also make their own frozen, chocolate-dipped bananas. Cash only.
6333 W. 3rd St., Ste. 548, Beverly Grove.
Plenty of places do shaved ice but true to its name, the "snow cream" served at Blockheads is less icy and much creamier. It comes in large, frozen blocks that are shaved into a fluffy pile after you order. Then you pick your toppings, everything from rainbow sprinkles and brownie bites to grass jelly and lychee.
11311 Mississippi Ave., West L.A.
Bulgarini place makes the most exquisite pistachio gelato in town and they make it from pistachios imported from Sicily. It's expensive but worth the money. Their other flavors are also great.
749 E. Altadena Dr., Altadena.
CARMELA ICE CREAM
Sorbets like blueberry thyme, cucumber, raspberry rose and cantaloupe get equal play to exquisitely sourced ice cream flavors like strawberry and mint cacao nib. Carmela also makes some of the best salted caramel ice cream around.
2495 E. Washington Blvd., Pasadena.
7920 W. 3rd St., Beverly Grove.
It's all about awesomely wacky flavors like brown butter candied bacon, Thai tea, chipotle chocolate, fried chicken and waffles and horchata. You can also spot Coolhaus trucks (not just in L.A. but in Dallas and New York as well) and you can pick up their architecturally-themed ice cream sandwiches in stores all over town.
8588 Washington Blvd., Culver City.
59 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena.
This longtime favorite of UCLA students and Westwood denizens is one of the best deals in town: a couple of bucks for a scoop of ice cream between two cookies. The ice cream flavors at Diddy Riese are basic -- mint chocolate chip, strawberry, vanilla, cookie dough, rocky road, etc. -- but that doesn't make them any less delicious. Be prepared for a line. Cash only.
926 Broxton Ave., Westwood.
EL PARAISO POPSICLES
An East L.A. favorite for paletas, El Paraiso has a solid selection of flavors although not as many as some other places. They have all the standards: watermelon, guava, strawberry, cookies and cream, coconut, etc. Prices are low. No wonder you'll see customers here hauling away popsicles in bulk. Cash only.
515 N. Mednik Ave., East L.A.
You can pretend you're in a 1950s soda fountain while you chow down on scoops of taro, black walnut and macapuno ice cream, a creamy coconut flavor inspired by the cuisine of the Philippines. The chocolate dipped strawberry, a rich strawberry ice cream with dark chocolate flakes, and the seasonal peach are favorites at old timey Fosselman's.
1824 W. Main St., Alhambra.
Located in the Spring Arcade in downtown's historic core neighborhood, Gelateria Uli is a small-batch gelato shop with a rotating assortment of experimental flavors such as maple pecan, coconut lemongrass and jamaica-mint. It's also known for its assortment of vegan non-dairy sorbets.
541 S. Spring St., #104, downtown L.A.
8044 W. 3rd St., Beverly Grove.
The gimmick at Honeymee is that they offer soft-serve "made with fresh Californian milk from a family-owned, kosher certified dairy farm." Then they'll drizzle it with honey and put chunks of honeycomb in it. The result is a delicious, creamy treat that seems sorta healthy cuz honey.
3377 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 116., Koreatown.
11301 W. Olympic Blvd., West L.A.
120 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Little Tokyo.
645 W. 9th St., downtown L.A.
1301 Ocean Front Walk, #05, Venice.
Westfield Culver City: Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City
15480 S. Western Ave., Suite 108., Gardena.
21540 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance.
Westfield Santa Anita: 440 South Baldwin Ave., Arcadia.
Westfield Topanga & The Village: 6600 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Canoga Park.
LA MICHOACANA PALETERIA Y NEVERIA
Guava, coconut-pineapple, cucumber, eskimal, zapote negro -- this unassuming ice cream shop has all kinds of flavors. It's most popular may be the fresas con creama aka strawberries and cream. The chamango, a fruity drink of mangoes, chamoy sauce, lime juice and chilli powder usually served with a tamarind straw, is also a winner.
7922 Rosecrans Ave., Suite N, Paramount.
LE MIRAGE PASTRY
This shop isn't in L.A., it's in the OC (Anaheim, to be precise), but we're including it because it's one of the only places in SoCal where you can find authentic Syrian ice cream, which is made with mastic, a tree resin that gives it its chewy, sticky consistency. Run by Syrian immigrant Maher Nakhal, Le Mirage Pastry serves ice cream in slices that are arranged like a flower and rimmed with crushed pistachios.
100 S. Brookhurst St., Anaheim.
Most soft-serve ice cream, even the fanciest stuff, is made from batches of mass-produced powders. Magpies aims to break the mold by doing it themselves, from scratch. That means flavors like strawberry rhubarb, yuzu honey, green tea brown rice and non-dairy caramelized pineapple coconut.
2660 Griffith Park Blvd., Silver Lake.
18971 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana.
Located on the second floor of a Hollywood strip mall, Mashti Malone's serves Persian flavors like rosewater saffron and orange blossom.
1525 N. La Brea Ave., Hollywood.
MATEO'S ICE CREAM & FRUIT BARS
It's all about the paletas at Mateo's. The colorful paletas (popsicles) come in fantastic flavors like tamarind, passion fruit, gaunabana, soursop, pineapple chili and leche quemada (burnt milk), among many others. You can also get most of these flavors as scooped ice cream.
4929 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City.
4234 W. Pico Blvd., Mid-City.
11551 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.
1250 S. Vermont Ave., Pico Union.
The ice cream bars and plain old scoops are pretty great but the best things about Milk are its milkshakes. And the best milkshake? We vote for the banana peanut malt, which features housemade banana dulce de leche ice cream mixed with peanuts and malt balls.
7290 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove.
1639 Silver Lake Blvd., Silver Lake.
MOTHER MOO CREAMERY
Under the Mother Moo moniker, Karen Klemons makes small batches of quirky and fantastic flavors like cara cara orange sorbet, organic corn flakes, fresh honey, matcha green tea and grapefruit Campari sorbet. Her jams are also great.
17 Kersting Ct., Sierra Madre.
NEVERIA EL OASIS
Esquimales, which translates to "eskimos," are popsicles dippsed in chocolate and coated with nuts, sprinkles or dried coconut -- and you shouldn't miss them at this paleteria. Neveria El Oasis also offers chocolate-dipped bananas, chocolate-dipped strawberries and all the usual flavors of paletas and ice cream as well as a few specialities. Try the Angel's Kiss, a combo of carrots, peach and various other fruits. Their mangoneada game is also on point.
11813 Santa Monica Blvd., West L.A.
PALETA Y NEVERIA LA MONARCA
They offer about a dozen different paletas de fresca (made with water) and about 15 paletas de leche (made with milk). In addition to the standards -- vanilla, chocolate, coconut, pecan, lime, etc. -- their ice cream flavors include gansito (inspired by a popular chocolate and strawberry snack cake) and cheese. Want something out of the ordinary? Try one of their prune, cappuccino or egg nog paletas.
14226 Bellflower Blvd., Bellflower.
PALETAS Y NIEVES LIMON
Bubblegum-flavored paletas? Check. Tons of ice cream flavors? Check. Nachos? Check. Elote? Check. This paleteria has it all but what they're most famous for is their Skippy, a big styrofoam cup of shaved ice, lemon juice, chili powder and chamoy, a fruit hot sauce. The blend is sour and spicy and cooly refreshing.
6100 Atlantic Blvd., Maywood.
This shop is known for its tasty raspados, Mexican-style shave ice topped with syrups and fruit. The ice cream and paletas are reportedly made in-house include all the flavors you'll typically find at such shops -- coconut, mango, hibiscus, mamey, strawberry, cookies and cream, etc. If you like spicy with your sweet, they also make an extra hot mangoneada known as the diablito.
2271 W. Pico Blvd., Pico-Union.
PALETERIA Y NEVERIA LA FLOR MICHOACANA
Their large selection of paletas includes flavors such as soursop, cookies and cream, mango chile, pistacho, kiwi and strawberries with cream, to name just a gew. Ice cream flavors include mango, tamarind and even tequila. The mangoneadas, aka chamangos, are a sweet, salty, spicy, tart flavor bomb.
8111 Van Nuys Blvd., Panorama City.
Adventurous flavors like Amaretto, toasted almond fig and avocado are the order of the day at Pazzo. For those who need a kick, try the midnight espresso.
3827 Sunset Blvd., Silver Lake.
Even in a big city filled with wacky flavors, Quenelle stands out as having some of the wackiest and most unique: Luxardo cherry, pandan palm sugar caramel, strawberry white balsamic, POG (pasion fruit, orange, uava), cranberry apricot, Long Island ice tea (for adults).
2214 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank.
SAFFRON & ROSE ICE CREAM
There's a lot of overlap in the flavor profiles of Persian and Indian ice cream. At Saffron & Rose, you'll find the usual suspects: saffron, rose and cardamom. You'll also find jasmine, lavendar, cucumber, pomegranat and tart cherry, among other choices.
1387 Westwood Blvd., Westwood.
The Indian-style ice cream shop, located in the heart of Artesia's Little India neighborhood, makes delicious flavors. From fig, guava, honey almond and pistachio to saffron silk (a mix of saffron, rose and pistachios), chikoo (a salmon-colored tropical fruit) and rajbhog (saffron and cardamom), Saffron Spot has options. They also serve other frozen Indian desserts like falooda, a mix of noodles, rose syrup, sweet basil and ice cream or kulfi.
18744 Pioneer Blvd., Artesia.
Scoops has all sorts of intriguing flavors, which vary from location to location, and are frequently changed up. The signature flavor is brown bread, a concoction that's made with Grape Nuts. Nope, that description doesn't do it justice. But it is delicious. Technically, this stuff is ice cream (we think) but it's so creamy and rich it's closer to gelato.
3400 Overland Ave., Palms. (closing on Aug. 24, 2019)
5105 York Blvd., Highland Park.
727 N. Broadway, Ste. 125., Chinatown.
SWEET ROSE CREAMERY
The upscale Sweet Rose Creamery specializes in seasonal flavors like summer corn and stone fruit sorbet along with killer salted caramel ice cream and elevated basics like cookies & cream, toasted coconut and caffe latte chip. Their sundaes, which can be topped with nutty brittle, are spectacular.
225 26th St., Suite 51, Brentwood.
7565 Beverly Blvd., Beverly Grove.
970 Monument St., #103, Pacific Palisades.
2726 Main St., Santa Monica.
Honorable Mention: KPCC/LAist engagement editor Ashley Alvarado shouts out the bombas --raspberry, passionfruit and mango ice cream inside a white chocolate shell -- at Soh Grill House, a Korean BBQ restaurant located mere blocks from LAist headquarters in Pasadena.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story included Peddler's Creamery, a DTLA ice cream shop that has closed.