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best ice cream?

What are thought on the best ice cream or gelato downtown and western burbs? Our tastes tend toward interesting flavor choices (e.g., fruit) w/o chunks of sweet sticky stuff inside, not super-sweet, and on the creamier/richer side....

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  1. I know you are looking for downtown or west suburbs but my personal favorite is the Chocolate Shoppe in Skokie - IMHO some the best ice cream in the Chicago Land Area -

    2 Replies
    1. re: weinstein5

      Chocolate Shoppe is GREAT!
      Just thought I'd toss my 0.02 here- Sweet Occaisions in Andersonville and Ravenswood- excellent creamy ice cream, terribly decadent and some unique excellent flavors.

      1. re: lunchbox

        The ice cream at Sweet Occasions is not very good - not homemade and you can tell the ice cream sits in the freezer. Walk a mile south to Bobtail on Southport - worth the hike.

    2. Are there any Oberweis outlets near you? Very good ice cream. I love the coffee ice cream and their strawberry is delicious.


      My dh loves Petersen's in Oak Park. They also serve diner-type food.


      Far west has Graham's Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream. I've only had it once but I remember thinking it was good. I think I had sherbet there.


      I am not sure I'd describe any of these as less than typically sweet, though. Still, they're worth a try if the locations are convenient!

      1. Try Canady, a wonderful chocolatier who also makes good gelati, in particular the mascarpone (creamy and rich with a tart undertaste) and the pistachio (nutty!)

        Canady Le Chocolatier Ltd
        824 S Wabash Ave,

        1. I think you might like Capannari's in Mt. Prospect.

          1 Reply
          1. re: bibi rose

            I second Capannari's. Whenever I go visit my parents we have to get ice cream here.

          2. Sometimes I actually have dreams about the shakes at Oberweis... just love the chocolate, so I'm not sure about your request for interesting flavors.

            1. Caffe Gelato is very, VERY good:


              2034 W Division St
              (between Damen Ave & Hoyne Ave)
              Chicago, IL 60622 (773) 227-7333

              2 Replies
              1. re: durzia

                Unless Caffe Gelato has changed their recipe, their gelato has seemed "rubbery" in the past, though it's beautiful to look at...

                Al Gelato is really great stuff, they sell it at alot of restaurants. Il Appetito carries it in the John Hancock building deli also...


                1. re: Chicago Mike

                  By the way, here is Capannari's website:


                  If you enter the site, you will see that they offer a rotation of more unusual flavors such as green tea, Guinness, licorice. My SO says the chocolate is the best he's tasted.

                  My only criticism is that the flavors tend to vary quite a bit according to strength. I usually get the trio of small scoops so I can try some of the temporary flavors. In some the taste is quite aggressive; in others, I have to remind myself what flavor I ordered. (The one time I had vanilla, it had quite a strong taste of vanilla-- great if you are eating it plain but I thought it came as a surprise with the chocolate sauce we had ordered.) I am not sure this would be a problem for most people. I think it's good that they seem to be experimenting with their flavors.

                  Oh, and my other criticism is that they are open only for a brief season and even then you'd better check the hours before you go.

              2. I have limited recent experience (since I live 2000 miles away) but my last couple of trips to Every Day is a Sundae in Downers Grove (across the tracks from the Main Street Metra station) certainly put it up there with the best. They are the only place in the Chicago area that I know of that serves Sherman's Dairy (from Michigan) ice cream.

                6 Replies
                1. re: RSMBob

                  Every Day is a Sundae rocks...

                  I think they get their ice cream from a place in Michigan... sherman's perhaps ?

                  There was an ice cream place in Lincoln Park at Diversey and Pine Grove that had the same brand and it's great...

                  AND IT CLOSED...

                  And there were two places even better that made their own ice creams and gelatos in-house...

                  Ice Dreams on Clark N. of Diversey, unfortunately next to the Animal Hospital and the AIDS clinic...

                  And Soups and Scoops on Clark south of Wrightwood...

                  AND THEY BOTH CLOSED...

                  The Soups and Scoops guy intimated that for the cost of the exceptional products they put in their ice cream they couldn't really afford the demand price points... I can believe that, as can anyone who's tried to make very high-end ice cream at home, it is expensive to make it.

                  Alas, 3 of the very best ice cream places in Chicago city and they all closed :(

                  Whatever you do, avoid that beyond-dreadful "argentinian" place, I think it's on Lawrence, that is sort of a dual pizza/ice cream joint. Their excuse for gelato is horrible. Assuming they are still in business. They were once listed on the CHowhound "must visit" super-list for Chicago. I would protest and people would rejoin how great the place was. It was loved due to the fact it was out-of-the-way and very quaint hole-in-the-wall, and chowhounders always think they are discovering something that nobody else knows about if it's a hidden dump....

                  Ditto for the rubbery but beautiful gelato at caffe gelato. All that glitters isn't gold.

                  1. re: Chicago Mike

                    There's a new place going in where Ben & Jerry's was on Armitage b/w Clark and Lincoln. I think that the sign said it was going to be called Ice Dreams (I'm not sure though). Is it possible it's the same place at a new location?

                    1. re: SuzMiCo

                      A Bobtail Ice Cream shop is going in to the location where Ben and Jerry's used to be on Armitage. Drove by there last night, but I couldn't tell if it was open for business yet.

                    2. re: Chicago Mike

                      FWIW, Sherman's ice cream is made in South Haven, Michigan. They have a retail soda fountain, Sherman's Dairy Bar, where they make it, on Phoenix Road just east of I-196 Exit 20.

                      Personal opinion, I think Sherman's is okay, but not outstanding. I think Al Gelato is far better.


                      1. re: Chicago Mike

                        Mike, are you dissing the Penguin Argentinian Ice cream (yeah, it's on lawrence, just west of California, over the bridge)?

                        Bwahahaha- it really isn't good at all... the 24" diameter pizza for $5, however...

                        And I hate to disagree with iammurphy, below, but Margie's, though an institution, has lousy ice cream! They do, however, have OUTSTANDING hotfudge, caramel, and butterscotch.. the ice cream makes a more than adequate vehicle.

                        1. re: lunchbox

                          The Penguin WAS (note past tense) on Lawrence a bit east of California. It didn't last long under new owners.

                    3. Last year I posted the following list:


                      Hope it helps!

                      1. Margie's Candies on Western at Armitage is by FAR the best ice cream in town!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: iammurphy

                          I agree with lunchbox. The actual ice cream at Margie's is nothing special - just a vehicle for the sauces.

                        2. Another little place that is wonderful if you like pepperminty ice cream is "Peppermint Stick" in the little historic village of Long Grove - I go there every summer just for that ice cream :)

                          1. I'd say Bobtail (http://www.bobtailicecream.com) has the best homemade ice cream in town.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: magnate

                              We've got plenty of good ice cream within the city limits....but, for the best homemade ice cream you'll have to go a couple miles west of the city to Freddy's Pizzeria in Cicero. They've been dishing up the finest Gelato since 1968! Come for lunch and enjoy a slice of pizza or sandwich and stay for gelato or ice; be sure to take home some of the fresh baked pepperoni bread and house cured salumi.


                              Freddy's Pizzeria
                              Frozen Italian Lemonade and Gelato
                              Imported and Domestic Food
                              1600 South 61st Avenue
                              Cicero, Illinois 60804
                              2 Blocks West of Austin Blvd. @ 16th Street (On the Corner
                              )Monday - Saturday: 10 am - 7 pm Closed on Sunday

                              1. re: magnate

                                Bobtail has the best ice cream in the city. Made fresh everyday and interesting flavors, including signature sunset (merlot ice cream w/ chocolate chips) and peanut butter chip. Beware that their shakes are bad, sitck to the ice cream.

                              2. Forget ice cream... the best frozen dessert is Frozen Custard at Scooters: http://scootersfrozencustard.com/. They generally have two flavors: vanilla and chocolate with a third flavor of the day. The rich creamy texture can be heightened with toppings or any of their fun flavors, but you will never turn back once you have tried this stuff.

                                1. Hands down our favorite ice cream in the entire Chicago area: Palateria La Tropicana, 6239 Cermak Road in Berwyn. Our favorite flavors: tequila, mamey, guava, rompope (like a rum raisin), coconut or --I know it sounds so pedestrian-- the strawberries & cream. Really rich and creamy. And they come in ice cream bars, too.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: sushideluxe

                                    In my experience, some of the very best ice creams, sorbets, etc. are on the dessert menus of good restaurants (esp. Frontera/Topolobampo).