Monday, August 02, 2010

The best ice cream in Toronto

Date:  August 2, 2010

I love ice cream!  And gelato, ice cream cakes, ice cream sandwiches, get the idea.  And I think I have now found Toronto's best ice cream.  I have, in fact, undergone extensive testing of this product to try and ensure that my conclusion is correct.  Let's do a run-down of frozen dessert options.

Dutch Dreams

You can see it in the above photo.  Ironically, this is probably one of the worst ice cream places you can go to.  Great for kids, fun if you want to drown your ice cream in toppings, but if you're actually eating the ice cream, it ranges from "okay" to "gross."  Most recent visit was a couple weeks ago and the two sorbets we tried were definitely on the gross end of the spectrum.  Dutch Dreams is by St. Clair W. station.  Fun for kids. 

A perennial contender, I have a soft spot for Greg's.  I went to school at UofT while Greg's was still in it's old, subterranean location on Bloor.  Greg's is great for having a wide range of flavours but as the years have passed, I find that their ice cream is lacking some richness to it.  Definitely worth going if you're a fan of their flavours such as roasted marshmallow, malt ball crunch, etc, but in terms of actual ice cream quality, I think maybe it's above average, but we are looking for the best here.  Greg's current location is near Spadina station.


I haven't been to Summer's in years, but I'm guessing my memories are correct (my years-old memory of Dutch Dreams was spot-on, so I'm assuming that ice cream quality doesn't vary as much as food quality can).  Summer's isn't bad, but I don't remember ever thinking it was particularly special.  Living at UofT, I mostly went to Greg's with occasional side-trips to Summer's.  I don't think Summer's had the range of fun flavours that Greg's had and I feel like the quality was pretty average.  Summer's is in Yorkville.

Baskin Robbins

If you think Baskin Robbins is the best ice cream in Toronto, you need to live a little more.  Next!

Dairy Queen

Yeah, I know this isn't ice cream but I don't care.  Blizzards are awesome!  Um, but I digress.

Dolce Gelato

Um, ok, yeah, not ice cream either.  But gelato is basically ice cream to me.  I like Dolce, they have a good range of flavours without being ridiculous.  A solid option.  Dolce is on College St., in Little Italy.

La Paloma

Ridiculous range of flavours, pretty good quality.  I don't really know how to gauge gelato quality actually, I use the pistachio test (i.e., eat the pistachio flavour - if it blows my mind, the gelato is good - unfortunately, my favourite pistachio in town was at the now-defunct Solfereti by the Financial District, so I'm a bit s.o.l.).  La Paloma has too many flavours, I like Dolce better because it's more manageable.  La Paloma is on St. Clair W. by Earlscourt Park.


Brutal.  I don't know if I ordered the wrong thing, but I tried a couple of flavours and settled on a chocolate - while it was good, there was something a bit odd about it.  Like, not as creamy as ice cream, almost more fudge-y?  Not bad and I'd happy to go back and work my way through some other flavours in the interest of research, but I'm not sure about Xococava, even though I know they're supposed to be some of the city's best ice cream.

Hoof Cafe

Sneaking this one in.  Okay, you can't get scoops of ice cream but the best single ice cream I've probably ever had is the malted ice cream (made in-house) which comes as part of the Malteaser.

Sicilian Ice Cream

Does this place even serve ice cream?  I think I usually got tartufo because it was more intriguing.  If you want straight-up ice cream, go to Dolce Gelato instead (well, I guess that should be "if you want frozen dessert in a cup or cone" instead of a sundae or other, more complex, dessert, go to Dolce instead).  Haven't been back for years because I switched to Dolce after they opened.  Little Italy.

The Big Chill

I used to live a block from here, this place is cute!  You used to get a mini-Oreo on top of your ice cream.  But ice cream quality was just average from what I remember.  They've expanded into a bigger space it seems, Little Italy @ College/Manning.  Fun for kids.

Ed's Real Scoop

I've only been here once, a couple years ago, and don't remember being overly impressed by the ice cream.  I remember thinking it was pretty good but not worth going out of my way for.  In the interest of research, I might make another venture over to see what it's like compared to my pick for best ice cream.  In the Beaches. 

Soma Chocolate

Ooo now we're getting close to the best.  Soma's already probably my current pick for Toronto's best hot chocolate and they're also pretty damn close to my pick for best ice cream also.  Rich, creamy and oh-so-delicious.


Which brings us to my pick for best ice cream in Toronto.  I loooooove Delight.  There's a small range of organic ice cream flavours, generally around six each time I've gone.  Chocolate seems to be a stand-by while others, such as Blueberry Cheesecake and Niagara Apricot change seasonally based on what's available.  My current favourite is Mint Chocolate Chunk - the flavour of the real mint ice cream with the soft chocolate chunks is killer.  Topped with a piece of milk or dark in-house chocolate, this place is awesome.  BUT WAIT.  I haven't gotten to the best part.  Delight has a non-dairy chocolate ice cream which is fantastic.  It's made with coconut milk and having done a head-to-head comparison, it's actually even better than their regular chocolate ice cream.  The dairy-free is like...fudge in ice cream form, it's so rich.  Two locations, one in the Junction, one by Trinity-Bellwoods.  Although the selection of flavours is small and it's not the cheapest place in town, Delight is great quality and had something that everyone can eat, so what's not to like?

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