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Review: Arlecchino Gelateria (Phoenix, AZ)

jasonaz May 5, 2007 10:50 PM

Rating: ★★★★★

As many of you know, Michele Laudig of the Phoenix New Times wrote an excellent article this week on Arlecchino Gelateria; it’s a must read. After reading the article myself, I immediately planned a visit to Arlecchino with my wife.

The shop is very quaint, with only a few stools to sit on and room for maybe ten people inside. The gelato immediately struck me as having a natural appearance. Other gelaterias that I’ve been to locally have really intense colors that look artificial. I ordered one of Arlecchino’s special creations, the Coppa Tre Cime ($9, above), which is chocolate, coffee, and pistachio gelato topped with roasted pine nuts, espresso, and shaved chocolate. It was purely a work of art in preparation and presentation. The chocolate and coffee gelatos had bold, exquisite flavors. The pistachio was more mild, but delicious nonetheless. The shaved chocolate, pine nuts, and espresso were all excellent quality. What a wonderful creation it was. The owner, Moreno, explained to me how he had used three different types of pistachios from Sicily, which he claims are the best that can be found. The chocolate is an elaborate mix of numerous types of premium dark chocolates, which is prepared daily by Moreno himself, as is every last bit of gelato at Arlecchino. In fact, his wife, Marina mentioned that her husband had not had a day off since they opened their shop nearly two years ago. Only he knows these precious recipes!

My wife got the Coppa Arlecchino ($7, above), which is three fruit flavors with Amarini Fabri, a wild cherry sauce. She chose Valentino, Mystico, and Cortina. The Valentino was a new creation of Moreno’s. It was pomegranate along with a couple other rare berries. It had an intense, tart flavor, but was well balanced with the sweetness. The wild cherry topping was extremely good. I didn’t get to try the other two flavors.

I’m no gelato aficionado, but I have visited various parts of Italy and tried some famous gelaterias there. I don’t know enough about gelato to say if Arlecchino’s is world-class or not, but it was easily the best gelato I’ve ever tasted. We’re very fortunate to have such a passionate chef preparing gelato for us here in the valley. Even though it’s a 30 minute drive, I will be returning regularly.

Note: The parking is a bit of a situation in this area. More than likely you’ll have to park on a side street and walk a little ways.

4410 N. 40th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85018
phone: (602) 955-2448
email: contact@arlecchinogelateria.com
hours: M-Thu 3-10, F-Sat 11:30 -10:30, Sun 11:30-10

View photos and read more Phoenix restaurant reviews at: www.chowdownphoenix.com

  1. Seth Chadwick May 5, 2007 11:34 PM

    The influx of people since that article is nothing short of amazing. I was driving by there on my way home yesterday and there was a line out the door and along the sidewalk toward the paper store.

    It really is great gelato, but now that the secret is out and summer is coming, I may have to abandon hope of every seeing a parking space there again.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Seth Chadwick
      jasonaz May 6, 2007 09:06 AM

      There weren't many people there when we went yesterday. Perhaps the best time to go is while everyone is eating lunch? We were there at about 12:30.

      I'm happy that the secret is out. The Spangaro's are wonderful people, and they deserve to be well rewarded for their efforts. I hope their business becomes a raging success.

    2. Firenza00 May 5, 2007 11:53 PM

      We stopped in on our way back from The Farmhouse for breakfast. I got the Vesuvio (chocolate gelato, hazelnut, Grand Marnier, and maybe one other ingredient). It was really good. My g/f didn't like the Grand Marnier taste, but I didn't mind. It reminded me of the chocolate Grand Marnier balls I make at Christmas. My g/f got the plain chocolato and really enjoyed it.

      1. z
        ziggylu May 6, 2007 07:41 AM

        We havne't been to Archellino in a long time...but pomengranate gelato? really? For this I just might have to fight the parking situation up there. That sounds wonderful!

        1 Reply
        1. re: ziggylu
          jasonaz May 6, 2007 08:16 AM

          Yep, pomegranate, and it was amazingly good. I've never tasted anything like it. It had something else mixed in with it too, you'll have to ask what it is when you go.

        2. b
          brianroaz May 6, 2007 08:29 AM

          Great gelato, no doubt (and have seen pomegranate gelato at Gelato 64 next to Lee Lee before). My one question: Gelato was a cover story in the New Times? Very strange for a tabloid like typically prefers ripping on Sheriff Joe or anything in Phoenix.

          2 Replies
          1. re: brianroaz
            jasonaz May 6, 2007 08:36 AM

            I guarantee you the pomegranate at Gelato 64 doesn't taste anything like the Valentino at Arlecchino.

            Here's the link to the New Times article again: http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2007-0...

            1. re: brianroaz
              z
              ziggylu May 6, 2007 09:07 AM

              We tried Gelato 64 this week and didn't care for it. Definitely not on par wtih Angel Sweet or Archellino. We live down here in Chandler and as such frequent Angel Sweet much more than Archellino(our LGO trips tend to be for breakfast so when we do get up there gelato isn't open yet! :-( ) But like I said for Pomengranate I may have to make the trip...we're heading up to scottsdale today so maybe I"ll convince the husband to take a gelato detour to try this...

            2. Seth Chadwick May 6, 2007 11:23 AM

              The thing that sets Arlecchino apart from the rest is the real flavors that come across when eating their gelato. When I eat the Pistachio gelato, it is like I am eating a handful of cold, salted pistachios. When I have the Watermelon, it is like being at a summertime watermelon bust.

              I like the gelato at Gelato Spot and at a few other places I have had it in the Valley. But Arlecchino's flavor is light years ahead of everyone else.

              1. z
                ziggylu May 6, 2007 04:13 PM

                Well it just took the promise of a dozen LGO english muffins for the freezer to convince my husband to detour over so we could also have some gelato. Lucky us we even found an empty parking place right in front when we pulled in!

                I tried teh Valentino...indeed very good. very very REFRESHING! If this flavor is around through the summer it will be a great antidote to a hot summer evening(though I"m wondering...he must be making this from juice and not fresh fruit this time of year right?). My husband had pistachio which he'd had before and declared as good as ever. Smooth, full of real pistachio flavor and not at all too sweet.

                We don't get up here much....this is only the third or fourth time we've been there. I had the good fortune to spend some years in northern Italy...and during that time had a guy making homemade gelato in a stand right in front of my apartment building. (and I wondered where the extra ten pounds came from during those years when I was walking so much?? )Archellino is indeed the real thing and compares in every way.

                We frequent Angel Sweet as it's in our neighborhood...and it is a good second but Archellino does have the top nod here in Phoenix - and other places I've tried gelato in the states at least...

                1. Carb Lover Dec 5, 2008 06:55 AM

                  I was visiting my sister and BIL in Scottsdale for T-day weekend. We had a group of 9 so I tried to make a reservation at Pizzeria Bianco for Fri. but I was late by one or two days in calling (they take reservations around 30 days prior to the date) and everything was booked. My consolation was a trip to Arlecchino and Penzeys, and the Bianco blues were washed away!

                  I make homemade ice cream regularly and have very high standards when it comes to frozen confections. Arlecchino completely won me over with their pistachio and cortina flavors! The pistachio is the best that I've ever had. Dense and meaty in fresh pistachio flavor and not too sweet. The cortina was ground nut (almonds, I'm pretty sure) ribboned w/ a chunky ligonberry syrup. I was in nut heaven! Good thing I took a seat at one of the stools since my knees buckled from the pure and direct flavors.

                  One sis got pistachio and the other got espresso which was very good too. I sampled the stracchiatella but it didn't jump out at me. Other flavors that I recall: lemon, strawberry, chocolate, the rest is a blur. There were about 14 flavors or so. I liked the modest portions, and I felt light and refreshed afterwards. Prices are reasonable given the high quality. You are lucky to have this kind of passion being expressed in your city.

                  We checked out all the businesses in the complex, and it was fun to peruse the merchandise at Le Grand Orange. That corner is quite the foodie oasis. I can see how parking would be a big deterrent since the tiny lot was full and we snagged one last spot across the street at that Italian wine bar which was closed around 1pm on Sat. Looks like a fun place to hang out; is the food any good?

                  And Penzeys was great, as always! I sufficiently fried my nasal passages from all the inhaling of exotic spices. Looking forward to experimenting w/ my newly acquired Sichuan peppercorns and more! I found some matcha powder for making green tea ice cream at the small Japanese market across the street. Look forward to exploring more of your fine area next time. The Chihuly exhibit at the botanical garden for the Luminaria event at night was very cool!

                  -----
                  Penzeys Spices
                  3310 N Hayden Rd, Scottsdale, AZ 85251

                  Arlecchino
                  4410 N 40th St, Phoenix, AZ 85018

                   
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