The Bay Area’s Best Ice Cream Shops…Rated!
OFF MENU IS SPONSORED BY EMPEROR NORTON’S BOOZELAND THE TENDERLOIN’S NEWEST HISTORIC DIVE. HAPPY HOUR NOON – 7PM
Ice cream isn’t just summer’s game anymore. There are too many flavor combinations to try and too few fucks I have to give about silly things like calories or diabetes or what time of night it is. When I want ice cream, I want it now.
But with the plethora of milky cold deliciousness available, who’s got the most accurate guide?
If 10 is literal ambrosia from Mt. Olympus and 1 is a pile of dog feces in a cone spray painted white, this is where our beloved ice cream shops stand.
Listen, it used to be great. It’s still even good. But between the long lines, the commercialization, and odd partnerships with Uber, the secret breakfast flavor just isn’t so secret anymore.
Mitchell’s Ice Cream
688 San Jose Avenue, San Francisco
A classic is a classic. If you believe in tradition and solid flavors, Mitchell’s is forever. The pistachios in their eponymous flavor are actually from California, by the way.
Smitten Ice Cream
It could be worse, for sure. The mint, in particular, is pretty tasty. And it’s fun to watch, sure. But at a certain point, is that all there is?
Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
699 22nd St, San Francisco
Have you ever had a white rabbit candy? Go get one of those if not, then go here and get the ice cream version. I don’t know what to tell you, this place is amazing. It’s so worth going to.
You guys are kidding me, right? This is not good ice cream. Yes, I know it’s cute with its cookies and bullshit. But you might as well just pick up a convenience store ice cream sandwich at half the cost.
482 49th St, Oakland
Now this is a good ice cream sandwich. The earl grey ice cream between lavender shortbread sandwich is particularly great. Some of the flavors and textures are a little hit and miss but this is a great staple in Temescal.
3692 18th St, San Francisco
Is it worth standing in line for an hour to get the much-lauded salted caramel? Meh. Is it worth skipping the line to pick up a pre-made, multi-layered ice cream pie? Yes. Definitely, yes.
Fight me: the only flavor worth giving a shit about is the lemon cookie.
Alcohol-flavored anything is pretty much a safe bet. Also, don’t you just feel good when you’re inside this place? The Oakland location at least, almost nothing makes me feel good in FiDi.
Tara’s Organic Ice Cream
I want to hate it on principle alone. But oh man, that bay leaf flavored ice cream is great. Also, sesame waffle cones? Genius. Not every flavor is well-balanced and sometimes the concept is better than the execution, but dammit…they’re trying.
I have to rate this lower so you don’t die of a heart attack on the streets. Also, tourists.
Ici Ice Cream
2948 College Ave., Berkeley
It’s real cute in there. It’s not mind-blowing by any means and sometimes not as creamy or silky as it could be, but it’s a solid favorite for families.
Frozen yogurt counts! Though this one is very hit or miss and is mostly good because of the luxe-as-hell toppings. Valhrona chocolate? Yes. Entire scoops of pie? Yes.
951 Valencia St, San Francisco
Does this place confuse anyone else? I mean, it’s fine. The flavors taste about what you’d expect them to taste like: a little processed, sometimes too sweet. It gets the job done, though.
3100 16th St, San Francisco
Did we need another gourmet market? We’re here to talk about frozen treats. There is “Italian frozen yogurt” in this market. It is beyond good. A little tart, super rich, and very, very, very good. It’s deeply problematic. It only comes in one flavor and there are limited toppings. I have literally not gone into the Mission once for the last 3 months without having some.