Ice cream. Seems simple enough. Once you’ve had a cone you’ve had them all, right? Well, these ice cream shops in San Francisco would beg to differ. We want to take you on a mini tour of some of our top picks for best ice cream in San Francisco (in no particular order) and show you how these places really differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Our list of the best ice cream in SF:
1. The Baked Bear
The Baked Bear has locations all across the US, and we’re SO happy they opened one in San Francisco! They bake all kinds of cookies as well as brownies each morning and you can have anything from ice cream cones to ice cream sandwiches, and even ice cream on top of a warm cookie in a bowl! Add some toppings to complete your awesome creation and get ready to indulge. Be absolutely sure to try their Bear Batter ice cream, which is the blue one in the photo below! It’s crazy good.
2. Amorino Gelato
Amorino Gelato has some of the best gelato in San Francisco and they make their gelato a literal work of art! Every cone is carefully crafted to look like a flower, and scooped with a flat scoop to form each of the “petals.” You can combine all kinds of flavors from fruity sorbets to rich chocolates. Also, add a gelato-filled macaron on top to finish it off! During shelter in place, they’re still shipping across the country, so while it may not be as pretty to receive a pint, it still tastes just as amazing as ever.
They also have boxes of gelato macarons, fruit tarts, cheesecakes, and even waffle cones – both plain and dipped in chocolate – so pick some up and have yourself a classy, decadent evening!
3. Milkbomb SF
Next up is Milkbomb. If you’ve got a serious sweet tooth, this is, for sure, one of the ice cream places in San Francisco for you because they take ice cream to the next level with their flavors, cones, and toppings. During shelter in place they’re still delivering their ice cream “all over the Bay” according to their website, but there’s a 2 week waitlist at any given point. So if you’re interested in trying them out, sign up earlier rather than later!
Above is one of their red velvet cones with scoops of vanilla and matcha ice cream, topped with fruit loops, fruity pebbles, and strawberry drizzle. Beyond it tasting incredible and more than satisfying our sweets craving, look at that presentation! Almost too beautiful to eat. Almost. Below are two other awesome choices from Milkbomb. Best believe you can have your ice cream INSIDE a donut! And you can customize your ice cream creations to your heart’s content.
4. Lush Gelato
Our next pick for best ice cream in San Francisco (or best gelato in San Francisco if you want to get technical) is awesome, not necessarily because of their innovation, but rather their dedication to tradition, quality, and uniqueness. Lush Gelato makes their own unique gelato flavors from scratch right in their San Francisco shop. They supply multiple restaurants in the city with their gelato, but the best experience is to just walk in on a warm day and grab yourself a scoop or two… or three like we did!
Above in the small cup are scoops of chocolate, honey nutmeg and candied plum, and crème brûlée. Below, from top to bottom is mango, mint chip (highly recommended!!), and chocolate. Note: Their mint chip was SO good! It tastes like mint leaves, not the typical artificial mint flavor, which was an amazing surprise.
5. Salt & Straw
Salt & Straw always makes delicious, creamy ice cream, and they create some of the most unique flavors around! They even made a limited run of flavors that were focused around a camping theme with names like Buttermilk Pancakes, Bacon and Eggs (white scoop below), as well as Berries, Beans, and BBQ Sauce (pink scoop below)! Doesn’t sound like ice cream, right? Well, seriously, don’t knock ’em till you try ’em because they’re freakin’ bomb.
You can stop by one of their brick and mortar locations, or you can order pints straight from their website!
Next on our list of ice cream spots in SF is Icicles. Ever had your ice cream rolled up, put in a donut and slathered in tasty toppings? Part of the fun here is watching the staff actually spread and then roll your ice cream up, and when you see the different flavors and toppings they offer you’ll be jumping up and down when they hand the finished product over to you. There are several places you can get rolled ice cream in San Francisco, but this is one of our favorites because the ice cream is actually creamy. It can get a little icy at some other rolled ice cream spots we’ve been to.
7. Garden Creamery
Last, but most definitely not least in our list of the best ice cream in San Francisco, is Garden Creamery. They not only have super unique flavors, but they also take more common flavors and add a twist to them that gives your taste buds a familiar, yet new feeling. And you HAVE to try their chimney cone! It’s hard to go back to a plain cone after having one of those.
Above from top to bottom is ube pandan coconut, mango li hing mui, and strawberry umeboshi. See what we mean by twists on classics?! Below is their matcha ice cream in a chimney cone. Zomg, guys, seriously though.
So those are our recommendations for the best ice cream in San Francisco! We hope you found something new to try and we hope you enjoy. What are your favorite ice cream spots in SF? Let us know in the comments! And let us know what you think of these places when you go. Till next time, Nomsters!