I just moved to palo alto from nyc by way of boston and am in search of seriously good gelato and cannolis in the sf area - i am willing to travel!
in terms of gelato flavors i'm specifically looking for hazelnut, canteloupe (that tastes like ripe melons) and pear, and as for cannoli - ricotta based filling is a must (no custard/icing masquerading as cannoli filling). Please, I would love any suggestions!
Also wanted to say - thank you for all the fantastic restaurant tips!
Check out Marco Polo Ice Cream on 24th Taraval. They make great ice cream along the lines of gelato - rich soft creamy with intense flavors - using also sorts of tropical fruits. I don't think this place has canteloupe or pear, but there's jackfruit, lychee, an amazing coconut, guava, durian just to name a few.
I'm decidedly not a cannoli expert, but there is an Italian bakery I love in San Francisco: Dianda's, with branches on Green (North Beach) and on Mission near 25th. I would guess their cannolis are pretty good, given that I love most of their other stuff (they have a coffee cake that's wonderful).
Remember: leave the gun; take the cannolis.
Don't know if you had Ciao Bella gelato in NYC but there's a branch in SF at 685 Harrison in SoMa. They were wonderful in NYC and they're wonderful here too. I love their gelato and have been lazy in hunting down other good gelato places when I know I can go there and get my fix. Sorry-can't help on cannoli.