I’ve lived in NYC for a few years now, and I’ve made my rounds on all the best ice cream shops in the city. So I thought it was time to round up my list of my favorite ice cream places and share them with you guys! Here you go: my professional opinion on the very best scoops in New York City.
Oddfellows is a cute shop downtown with a handful of flavors–all extremely unique and interesting. I stopped by last weekend to see what they’ve been mixing up lately. John helped me out and scooped up a bunch of different flavors for me to try–including corn bread and mushroom flavors (too adventurous for me). I ended up picking Matcha Rocky Road, which had bits of chocolate and marshmallow in the green ice cream. It was incredible and I highly recommend this spot if you’re ready to risk trying a really unique flavor!
This fun little ice cream shop on the Lower East Side is known for its bright colors and candies. They put Fruity Pebbles, Lucky Charm marshmellows and sprinkles on their pink, purple, and green hued ice cream. I was very excited to try this vibrant dessert, and the flavors did not disappoint. The soft serve makes it incredibly creamy, and with flavors like coconut, sesame butter, and Hong Kong milk tea, there’s always something new to try. It’s definitely worth going to, as long as you’re willing to wait in line to snag one of their iconic ice cream cones.
The fun of this ice cream shop is the secret of it: there’s a hidden speakeasy behind the pint-filled walls of the shop. They make ice cream flavored drinks and desserts, but don’t let the bar distract you from the fact that they make darn good ice cream, too. The shop is tiny but the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a great background for an Instagram photo with your ice cream. I chose salted caramel in a pretzel cone with sprinkles, and it was the biggest sugar rush I’ve probably ever had. The flavors are rich, but the ice cream is delicious. If you’re looking for a top secret, ultra cool environment for a boozy shake or ice cream, UES is the place to be.
Van Leeuwen started out as an ice cream truck in 2008 and has now expanded to over a dozen brick and mortar shops in NYC and LA. The artisan ice cream is the perfect spot for my vegan, nut-free and gluten free friends, with flavors like Rocky Road, Cookie Crumble Strawberry Jam, Cookies & Cream Caramel Swirl, and their most popular, Honeycomb. I took my friend Elysha and we each tried a different flavor, with a waffle cone of course. I liked the Cookies & Cream and Peanut Butter Marshmallow Crunch, but you really can’t go wrong with any flavor!
Christina Tosi is basically a household name in New York City, but if you haven’t heard of her yet, she created Milk Bar, which is the fun-loving dessert cousin of Momofuku Noodle Bar. She took favorite desserts she had as a child and gave them a twist, and her ice cream is no exception. The soft serve at Milk Bar has one flavor–cereal milk. She soaks the milk in cereal to get that iconic after-breakfast cereal taste in her ice cream, and tops with corn flakes or sprinkles. This is a very unique flavor, but worth checking out, along with her other array of delicious desserts like Birthday Cake Truffles, cookies and pies.
Morgenstern’s is a dream of an ice cream parlor on the Lower East Side. They also have about 88 flavors, and even more toppings and add-ins, so the options are nearly endless. I went with traditional American Classics, Butter Pecan and Cookies and Cream, which had amazing carmelized pecans and a perfect topping to texture ratio. They also have Parlor Classics like Burnt Sage, Green Tea Pistachio, and Salt & Pepper Pine Nut, and seven varieties of Vanilla seven of chocolate, and five different caramels! It’s insane how many flavor profiles they have. Go in and sample a few first before you decide which ice cream to choose!
Bonus: Ice Cream Trucks
There are dozens of gourmet ice cream shops in NYC, and they’re all amazing in their own way. But I thought I’d mention one that place that’s often overlooked: the ice cream trucks around the city! Central Park is one of my favorite spots to get ice cream in the city, and the ice cream truck that sits on the corner does the job perfectly. You wouldn’t think so, but it’s really tasty and a perfect on-the-go ice cream to satisfy your sweet tooth. So the next time you see an ice cream truck in NYC, give it a try (and get sprinkles on top–because duh!).
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