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ice-cream parlours???

2ndserving Nov 26, 2006 08:16 PM

where are all the ice-cream joints in toronto
there used to be fines in atrium, swensons in eaton centre and honest ed had one too.
besides 50 flavours which has succumbed to mediocrity- where's the ice cream????

  1. e
    estragon Nov 26, 2006 08:30 PM

    - Greg's at Bloor and Spadina.
    - Solferino on Wellington, east of Yonge.
    - La Paloma, St. Clair, just west of Lansdowne.

    Here's a good list:

    1. z
      zoohort2 Nov 26, 2006 08:37 PM

      Kensington Market Organic Ice Cream at 66 Kensington Avenue (at Baldwin).

      2 Replies
      1. re: zoohort2
        Food Tourist Nov 26, 2006 08:57 PM

        I think Kensington shut down at that location, didn't it?

        1. re: Food Tourist
          pinstripeprincess Nov 27, 2006 03:09 PM

          yup, they're now off of augusta tucked away into back alley grill. however i noticed they're now "missing", i think they've shutdown for the winter season.

      2. TorontoJo Nov 26, 2006 10:14 PM

        Hollywood Gelato, Bayview and Manor.

        1. Full tummy Nov 26, 2006 10:48 PM

          If you're interested in ice cream, not gelato, then these are the choices I'm aware of:

          Ed's Real Scoop (Beaches)
          Greg's (Spadina & Bloor)
          Kensington Market Organic (Kensington Market)
          Summer's (Yorkville)

          4 Replies
          1. re: Full tummy
            hungryabbey Nov 26, 2006 11:16 PM

            I hope I dont start too much controversy.. but which one is better, eds or gregs?

            1. re: hungryabbey
              Otonabee Nov 27, 2006 01:37 AM

              I think everyone is different. I personally prefer Ed's, but then it is my home turf. Having said that, Ed still makes his stuff in the shop whereas Greg's has gotten quite a bit bigger and (I beleive) has his stuff done offsite. I think they tend to do different flavours from each other so just keep that one in mind!

              1. re: Otonabee
                hungryabbey Nov 27, 2006 01:39 AM

                hm yah I guess it just depends what neighbourhood your in at the time

                1. re: Otonabee
                  julesrules Nov 27, 2006 01:53 PM

                  Greg's does interesting flavours, but for me it does not taste like high quality ice cream. I personally do not go out of my way for Greg's. Ed's was better when I tried it (once, a few years back).

            2. garlicscapes Nov 27, 2006 01:10 AM

              I second Greg's. Try the toasted marshmallow flavour. There is nothing like it anywhere!

              1. sweetie Nov 27, 2006 01:34 AM

                Does Demitri's count? They have lots of different kinds of sundaes

                8 Replies
                1. re: sweetie
                  estragon Nov 27, 2006 01:42 AM

                  Demitri's? Feh! All sugar, no flavour!

                  1. re: estragon
                    Fwagra Nov 27, 2006 02:00 AM

                    Double-Feh!! Demetri's does not count... for anything.

                    1. re: Fwagra
                      deelicious Nov 27, 2006 02:31 AM

                      Eds and Gregs are by far my fave choice for ice-cream in the city. I have been going to gregs since it first opened and am amazed that he still owns the city (aside from gelato). Greg's idea originated from Steve's in the States, so who knows why there aren't more knock offs. That being said, there is still room for Demetres. I like some of their chunky ice-creams. Better than B&J and better than B&R. Every once in a while I love an ice cream filled with lots of goodies. There is nothing wrong with Demetres as the quality of ingredients is very good even if high in sugar.

                      1. re: deelicious
                        hungryabbey Nov 27, 2006 12:50 PM

                        Yah, I do have a weakness for their peanut butter ice cream :S

                        1. re: deelicious
                          embee Nov 27, 2006 04:37 PM

                          I think Greg's was originally a just a knock off of Steve's. He bought a concept and ran with it. He outlasted Steve Herrell in the business, though I understand Steve recently reopened in a small college town! Greg got to where he is through an exceptional location and a tremendous flair for self promotion. His ice cream itself isn't of great quality, but his flavours are

                          There was a knock off called Loh's, which opened at Yonge/Eg in the 80s. They had more flavours than Greg, some of them very interesting. I found their ice cream better than Greg's. Loh's unique feature was that they originally made their ice cream using an old fashioned churn hooked up to a motor.

                          When the get rich quick franchisers came calling, Greg said no. He hasn't deviated from that. Greg's is just Greg's and always has been.

                          Loh's took the franchise bait and quickly went bust. I think (not sure) that Tropical Treets has Loh's recipes. (Unfortunately, Tropical Treets is now using low butterfat and high overrun in their pre-packs. The coconut, pistachio, and mango flavours still taste great, but they used to be much denser and richer.)

                          I disagree about Demetres. It just doesn't taste good. When I want ice cream with lots of stuff, I much prefer B&J. Unfortunately, we get very few B&J flavours (and equally few Haagen Dazs flavours) in Canada.

                          1. re: deelicious
                            Full tummy Nov 29, 2006 10:33 PM

                            Over the last few years, as I've learned to make crepes, waffles, sauces, caramelized apples, brownies, etc., I've found my enjoyment of Demetre's declining. Last time I was there, I really felt as though there was nothing special about the dishes, the ingredients, or the skill used in preparing the ice cream desserts, and that anyone with a little time and effort can do much better at home.

                            1. re: Full tummy
                              icey Nov 30, 2006 04:15 PM

                              i agree. i do go to demetre's several times a year because woodbridge doesnt have that many coffee places (i dont really like symposium). the problem is that they never ever ever change their menu, and i guess im just bored. there's only so many crepes and waffles you can eat, and the crepes to me always taste undercooked. the cakes rotate on occasion, but theres always the same la rocca cakes (caramel crunch, bailey's cheese cake) i would love it if they had a special or something once in a while.

                              1. re: icey
                                hungryabbey Nov 30, 2006 06:20 PM

                                I agree, sometimes I feel like telling them to make a new kind of ice cream. Though, Ive only been to the one of the danforth and they actually do rotate the cakes alot, with some of the same ones there every time, but lots of new ones too.. actually, if your bored, I dont know about the one in woodbridge, but the one of the danforth lets me make up whatever kind of combo I want and they never charge me extra for whatever I want. That way I can make my own little creations

                    2. h
                      hungryabbey Nov 27, 2006 01:50 AM

                      do any of these ice cream parlors mentioned offer banana or grape ICE CREAM, not gelato, but ice cream? they are my absolute favourites and hard to find (especially grape, last time I saw it was when I was a little girl at licks in the beaches, but they dont offer it anymore)

                      14 Replies
                      1. re: hungryabbey
                        embee Nov 27, 2006 02:40 AM

                        I've seen variations on banana at Gregs.

                        Tropical Treets (available many ethnic stores and some supermarkets) makes a "grape nut" flavour that is interesting, though probably not what you want.

                        1. re: hungryabbey
                          Yongeman Nov 27, 2006 02:44 AM

                          Don't forget about Dutch Dreams on Vaughan Rd., just north of St. Clair. Ice cream's good and every cone is all decked out in fresh fruit and real whipped cream on top. They make a good natural banana.

                          1. re: Yongeman
                            deelicious Nov 27, 2006 02:48 AM

                            As much as I know many people on here don't see any value in Demetres, where i do. I have to say that I personally don't "get" Dutch Dreams.

                            1. re: deelicious
                              Yongeman Nov 27, 2006 02:56 AM

                              What's to get? Get in the line, order an ice cream, eat it. You don't like the ice cream? I always order a fruit flavour (banana, black cherry, etc.). I like it. And the condiments are fun.

                              1. re: Yongeman
                                deelicious Nov 27, 2006 03:00 AM

                                Never tried the fruit flavours and I agree the toppings are fun and good too.

                                The flavours I have tried - chocolate based, sweet cream based have all been weak on quality. Average chocolate and not rich and the ice cream itself is not rich and creamy.

                                I have friends that make me go, so next time I will try a fruit flavour.


                              2. re: deelicious
                                Fredster Nov 28, 2006 06:48 AM

                                demetre's is still a fantastic dessert place, all they serve is very good. However, the only regret I have is that with the franchising, they lost their greek flavour. Most stores do not have baklava anymore and, except at the Danforth location, it's hard to get greek coffee with your dessert. NBut their ice cream is good. Not as good as Greg's but after clubbing or the pub, it's mighty good...

                                1. re: Fredster
                                  Jacquilynne Nov 28, 2006 05:22 PM

                                  I think the value of demetre's is in their sugary sundae and waffle concoctions, rather than the quality of a plain scoop of their ice cream, which ranks somewhere around mid-level grocery store stuff - not as good as Ben&Jerry's or Haagen-Daazs but better than the cheap stuff. Quality of the sundaes varies a lot from place, to place though.

                                  1. re: Jacquilynne
                                    hungryabbey Nov 28, 2006 09:32 PM

                                    yah, kind of agree. I dont think you go to demetre's for a SCOOP of ice cream.. the main reason for a trip to demetres in my opinion is b/c they serve a lot of dufflet cakes (mm last time I was there I had that incredible toffee apple cheesecake) which their ice cream can ACCOMPANY.. I dont see the ice cream as the main event.

                              3. re: Yongeman
                                Full tummy Nov 27, 2006 03:12 AM

                                Are you sure it's real whipped cream? If so, then that's a change from several years ago when I asked if it was real, they said yes, and it was definitely hydrogenated oil topping. I haven't been back since. Don't remember being all that impressed with the ice cream. Maybe it's worth another try.

                                1. re: Full tummy
                                  Yongeman Nov 27, 2006 11:09 AM

                                  I'm not certain to the extent that I observed cream being whipped, but it sure tasted like real whipped cream to me. I know a kid who worked there--I'll ask, if I see him.

                              4. re: hungryabbey
                                peppermint pate Nov 27, 2006 12:52 PM

                                I went to Greg's this week-end to pick up a tub to take to a friend's house along with some Celestin cake for dessert. I never order fruit flavours but something possessed me to try their banana ice cream. It was unbelievable - fresh tasting with real pieces of banana, no artificial flavours, no cloying sweetness. Eating it later that night, everybody thought it was one of the best ice creams they had ever tried in their lives.

                                1. re: peppermint pate
                                  Yongeman Nov 27, 2006 01:59 PM

                                  I love that banana with a scoop of the sweet cream flavour. Mmmmm.

                                  1. re: peppermint pate
                                    hungryabbey Nov 28, 2006 01:55 AM

                                    mmm sounds good , I will have to make a special trip out for it

                                  2. re: hungryabbey
                                    JesseJensen Jun 18, 2008 11:18 AM

                                    I love Grape Ice Cream too, it is always at the Mandarin Buffet in the ice cream

                                  3. e
                                    embee Nov 27, 2006 02:37 AM

                                    - Greg's
                                    - Ed's
                                    - Hollywood
                                    - Solferino
                                    - Dessert Lady
                                    - Summers
                                    - Soma

                                    (Swensen's and Honest Ed's never did have really good ice cream. Neither does Dutch Dreams, though some of their creations are over the top.)

                                    Actually, neither Ed nor Greg makes really superb ice cream in and of itself. I know that at least one of them makes the ice cream from a commercial mix; possibly the other one does as well. Neither one approaches the real premium stuff in the quality or richness of the ice cream base. Both are worth your custom; I don't think either is worth a long journey.

                                    That said, Greg has always had a knack with flavours. Some of them were recipes he bought from a guy in Boston way back when. I think the marshmallow, which borders on genius, is his own. His toppings have always been delicious and his whipped cream is real.

                                    Ed seems to really care and has been trying hard lately (the chocolate-chile, for example). His scoops are huge. His waffle cones are freshly made. But I've often found the ice cream flavours somewhat weak and the butterfat too low. His gelato doesn't really make the cut.

                                    Hollywood is almost as good as gelato gets (short of Mondo in Vancouver). Solferino has lovely fresh fruit flavours, but I find many of the flavours I've tried to be lacking in intensity.

                                    In fact, all of the places I mention seem to care about what they serve. I'll acknowledge that Kensington also cares a lot, but I haven't personally found the ice cream very good. The flavours have been crude, and sometimes ambiguous, and the ice cream itself often icy.

                                    It ain't near Toronto, but you MUST try Slickers in Prince Edward County.

                                    7 Replies
                                    1. re: embee
                                      deelicious Nov 27, 2006 02:42 AM

                                      That guy in Boston was Steve of Steve's Ice-Cream. The originator of mix-in ice-creams. I LOVE Greg's sweet cream.

                                      1. re: deelicious
                                        embee Nov 27, 2006 03:00 AM

                                        Which is nothing more than frozen, unflavoured ice cream base ;-)

                                        1. re: embee
                                          deelicious Nov 27, 2006 03:03 AM

                                          Yes. Until i mix my fave items in.

                                          1. re: deelicious
                                            hungryabbey Nov 27, 2006 12:53 PM

                                            do eds or gregs do just scoops or sundaes and banana splits and such as well?

                                            1. re: hungryabbey
                                              peppermint pate Nov 27, 2006 01:49 PM

                                              Greg's serves sundaes and banana splits as well. They also serve Greg's ice cream at My Favourite Ice Cream Parlour on MacPherson, just west of Yonge (by Patachou).

                                              1. re: hungryabbey
                                                embee Nov 27, 2006 04:45 PM

                                                They both serve sundaes etc. They both use great sauces that I believe to be home made. Neither has many seats. The new Gregs is even smaller than Ed's. I think it seats around 4-6.

                                        2. re: embee
                                          Food Tourist Jul 20, 2008 10:22 AM

                                          Nathalie-Roze at Queen East and Pape now sells Dessert Lady ice cream Wednesday through Sunday. $3 for small cup. http://www.nathalie-roze.com/


                                        3. icey Nov 27, 2006 01:37 PM

                                          i second the rec for soma (only gelato) and for ed's real scoop (ice cream and gelato...his gelato is actually quite good) ed's pumpkin ice cream is delicious, but in my opinion, soma's is more pumpkiny! (ie. rich). anyways, sweet olenka's on the lakeshore in etobicoke has really good ice cream as well.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: icey
                                            embee Nov 27, 2006 04:46 PM

                                            Where is sweet olenkas?

                                            1. re: embee
                                              icey Nov 27, 2006 06:51 PM

                                              2834 Lakeshore Blvd. West (between islington and royal york)

                                              1. re: embee
                                                Food Tourist Nov 29, 2006 07:27 PM

                                                Sweet Olenka's has terrific ice cream made fresh daily. Burnt sugar is my new favourite flavour. I visited a couple of Thursdays ago, around 6 pm, to discover that all 12 containers were virtually empty. The woman behind the counter reassured me that 5 more flavours would appear shortly (well before the 9 pm closing time) and that all 12 flavours that had virtually disappeared were in fact made that morning. Considering the quiet neighbourhood and the cold day, I found this hard to believe but she insisted it was true!

                                                1. re: Food Tourist
                                                  Food Tourist Jul 20, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                  Sweet Olenka's is still churning out great ice cream. However, I found their ice cream cake to be overly sweet (not the actual ice cream filling, just the frosting).

                                            2. garlicscapes Nov 27, 2006 05:46 PM

                                              Dutch Dreams do not actually make ice cream - they sell the Maypole brand. I believe Summer's uses a commercial mix.

                                              I am not familiar with Ed's. Where are they? Do they make their own mix?

                                              Making mix versus commercial mix is an interesting discussion. Commercial Mix is carefully controlled from a microbiological viewpoint, which is comforting. However, small homemade batches could be awesome flavourwise.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: garlicscapes
                                                embee Nov 27, 2006 06:17 PM

                                                Ed's is on Queen East in the Beach, near the Fox and the GOOF. I don't know whether they make their own mix. Greg's use a commercial mix. I wonder about Hollywood...

                                                I have made ice cream at home using a commercial mix in a Simac machine. If one carefully plays with the flavours and the butterfat content (e.g., by adding more cream), the mixes work just fine and have the benefit of consistency. They also contain stabilizers (that can be natural) which would be difficult to add to a small batch. Consumer Reports found that stabilizers did not necessarily wreck eating quality and often made it better.

                                                That said, my best ice creams all used a custard base (i.e., egg yolks to stabilize) and alcohol to control consistency.

                                                1. re: garlicscapes
                                                  Otonabee Nov 27, 2006 07:34 PM

                                                  I beleive they do their own mixes. He really plays with flavours and does it in small batches in the shop.

                                                2. garlicscapes Nov 27, 2006 11:32 PM

                                                  Just curious where you get a commercial mix.

                                                  For some reason I thought that Greg's made their own mix, but I could be wrong. Usually commercial mix users just add inclusions, whereas Greg's incorporates their flavours right into the mix (like the roasted marshmallow). I think this is a truly brilliant flavour!

                                                  I must try Ed's. Any recommendation on flavours?

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: garlicscapes
                                                    Otonabee Nov 28, 2006 01:23 AM

                                                    They are all pretty good so it is hard to really nail one down If it's there, the pumpkin is wonderful and the coffee toffee has a real buzz to it. I noticed that there was a bailey's there that had a really nice flavour as well. My big suggestion is to stick to the ice cream, I find it is better than the gelato. The flavours do change so it depends on what is there that day.

                                                    They are great about giving samples so you can always try a bunch! And if it is just too cold they also serve hot chocolate (your choice of dark or milk chocolate) which you have topped with either whip cream or homemade marshmallow fluff.

                                                    1. re: garlicscapes
                                                      embee Nov 28, 2006 02:05 AM

                                                      I got a few bags from a wholesaler in the 80's. I think it was called Nelson's, and they supplied pretty much ALL of the cream products sold in Toronto at the time (whatever the brand name on the carton). A friend in foodservice got it for me.

                                                      It was an interesting experiment. My more usual base is heavy cream, half & half and/or milk (to get a desired butterfat percentage), egg yolk, sugar, and a liqueur, fortified wine, or vodka (alcohol lowers the freezing point). The major variable is air. Breyers all natural premium is at least half air. Haagen Dazs, and my homemade stuff, have very little air.

                                                      The mix I got contained, as I recall (perhaps erroneously), cream, milk, and a few natural gums. It was in plastic bags. I don't remember whether it was pre-sweetened. There was a plain version and a chocolate version. The butterfat was pretty low - I think about 12%.

                                                      There's a whole industry that supplies ice cream mixes and flavourings. The ingredients in many of them are disgusting. Greg seems to use natural flavours, rather than synthetic ones, which makes a big difference. Real banana is very different from artificial banana flavouring (and banana is an easy flavour to imitate).

                                                      I gather nobody has been able to duplicate Greg's roasted marshmallow commercially,but I don't think it would be all that difficult. I've tried to do it and have come close, but I don't sell ice cream and don't have the motivation or patience to keep tweaking it. Melting marshmallows, cooking them until they started to caramelize, and using this in place of sugar gave me pretty good ice cream.

                                                      I make ice cream much less frequently now then I did in that era. There is much more good ice cream available at retail than there was then. My favourite brand is Double Rainbow.

                                                    2. garlicscapes Nov 28, 2006 05:16 PM


                                                      You do have a good memory. I remember Nelson's. They're no longer around. Any fluid milk plant can do the ice cream mixes. It's a higher margin business than plain milk. The bags it is supplied in is the standard 1.3 litre milk bags. Probably only 10% fat these days.

                                                      There has been a trend in the US for 'homemade' ice cream. It is hard to duplicate a small batch homemade ice cream (made with real egg yolks), in a continuous process ice cream plant (which is the norm). They have tried using artificial custard flavours, but it just isn't the same.

                                                      Haagen Dazs was originally made in small batches on Gladstone Avenue (where Cadbury now is).

                                                      I'm realllly getting a craving for some roasted marshmallow ice cream!!!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: garlicscapes
                                                        embee Nov 29, 2006 11:48 AM

                                                        I remember when Haagen Dazs first appeared. I was a kid growing up in New York. The name was very clever, since it wasn't imported from Scandanavia (or anywhere else). It was Riviera ice cream, made in, I think, the Bronx by a guy named Reuben. The major local brand at the time was Schraffts, from a restaurant chain, and I still get cravings for their coffee brandy flavour.

                                                        Anyway, there was all kinds of controversy about Reuben's claim that his ice cream had no stabilizers. The gurus of the industry deemed this to be impossible in shelf-stable ice cream. It does contain egg yolk, but I think the guy had invented a unique processing machine. It was 20 years before we got Haagen Dazs in Toronto, and we never have seen more than a handful of their flavours.

                                                        For your craving, I think you'll need to go to Greg's. Gelato Fresco had a marshmallow flavour in the stores earlier this year, but it tasted disgusting.

                                                      2. s
                                                        sweetspotlee Nov 30, 2006 06:33 PM

                                                        Forget the parlours.

                                                        Go to the frozen section of any good grocery store or health food store and get a hold of Mapleton's Organic Ice Cream, which is made on an organic Ontario dairy farm.

                                                        Limited flavours, but fresh and real if that's what you're after... be sure to let it sit for about 10 min. before serving! They also have fro-yo, btw.

                                                        1. f
                                                          foodlover99 Jul 20, 2008 10:25 AM

                                                          If you are heading up north, there is an amazing ice cream shop in a little place called Thornton. It is on hwy 27, north of cookstown, south of barrie. It is in an old house right on the main street. Cant remember the name of it now as it recently changed names, but the ice cream is absolutely amazing, as is their frozen yogurt.

                                                          There are actually two ice cream places in Thornton. The one i am recommending is right before the lights on your left as you are driving north on 27.

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