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Ce Fiore v. Pinkberry

I've only been to Pinkberry once (only because I thought that their yogurt was good but not something that I would really crave and think about constantly like Bulgarini's Crema di Limone gelato that reminds me of the Limoncello gelato from Renato Bar in Mondello, Sicily) but when I was in J-Town last night I noticed that a Pinkberry was opening up across the street from Ce Fiore.

I had never been to Ce Fiore but since I like to be counter to what's popular, I decided to become Ce Fiore's best customer. Was I pleasantly surprised! I thought that their frozen yogurt was great! It had a nice balance of tart and sweet (the time that I had Pinkberry it was more on the tart side) and the texture was creamier and not watery like Pinkberry (disclaimer: Pinkberry was a bit watery when I got it).

I topped my frozen yogurt with red beans - fabulous!

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  1. I like Fiore better too! They have more flavors and they will SWIRL! :)

    --Dommy!

    4 Replies
    1. re: Dommy

      Oh Swirl...I have to check this place out...where is it??

      Bon Vivant post some pictures pleaseeeee....when are you going to review a new place? I'm hungry.

      Pinkberry is watery, good point.

      1. re: hazelnutty

        It's in Little Tokyo, in the Japanese Village Plaza there in the middle of 1st and 2nd.

        http://cefiore.com/

        --Dommy!

        1. re: hazelnutty

          There is CeFiore on Lankershim and Magnolia, across the street from the Millenium dance studio. North Hollywood.

        2. re: Dommy

          The green tea-pomegranate swirl rocks my world.

        3. I'm like you, I tend to like what's not the most popular. I prefer Fiore to Pinkberry (although I like both). If Fiore was as plentiful as Pinkberry, I'd go to Fiore every time. I like the slightly more variety of flavors at Fiore and the texture/smoothness of the Fiore yogurt is just perfect.

          1. I went last week to CeFiore and also thought it was creamier (less "icy") and not as tart as Pinkberry. I also love that they offer other flavors - blackberry and raspberry/pomegranate.

            My sister on the other hand preferred the tarter and icier Pinkberry.

            To each his own :)

            18 Replies
            1. re: MeowMixx

              do they have chocolate flavor or chocolate toppings

              1. re: hazelnutty

                They had chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.

              2. re: MeowMixx

                Pinkberry will mix flavors, but only in their largest size portion; CeFiore will mixflavors in any size, and has more and better flavors. When the Chowspouse inquired, at a Pinkberry location within the last week, as to any possible reason for the "No Swirl" policy, (other than to extract maximum additional dollars from customers) the explanation was basically "That's the policy".

                RFGS
                No avatars, and not refusing to eat at any Pinkberry without an adequate parking lot

                1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                  Mix flavors, Pinkberry only has two and frankly I don't consider the green tea a flavor...it does nothing for me.

                  1. re: silverlakebodhisattva

                    Well I dunno if it's just an odd thing with the MDR location, but one possible reason is that they charge more for the Green Tea flavor. Another point for Fiore, all their flavors cost the SAME!

                    --Dommy!

                    1. re: Dommy

                      I believe CeFiore also charges more for their green tea flavor - at least that's what I noticed last week when I went. Then again, I wasn't REALLY paying attention :)

                      I haven't tried it there, but I really didn't like the green tea at Pinkberry.

                      1. re: Dommy

                        I was hoping that to be the case when I went yesterday, but seemed to have developed the same policy as PB. They charge more for flavoreds, but I just ordered the plain. Had it with red beans, mochi, and coconut - the guy behind the counter seemed pleased that I tried that combo - gave me a nod of approval. I can easily say that the yogurt and toppings at CF are to my preference, and the mochi did taste like mochi. I still don't know what PB puts on their mochi but it tastes like a dusting of something bitter with a chemical aftertaste. Thumbs up to CF.

                    2. re: MeowMixx

                      Limelight in Sherman Oaks has multiple flavors. In addition to plain and green tea, it has chocolate and mango. I'm not a fan of the other flavors because I find that the flavoring does not mesh with the tartness. However, I love their plain yogurt, and they have more toppings than Pinkberry.

                      1. re: Jwsel

                        Cefiore but if i had a chance to choose another Humphrey's ftw! =)

                        1. re: Jwsel

                          Yogurt Zone in Encino is the King of Toppings as far as fro yo places go.

                          1. re: pocketsked

                            I like CF way better. Less crowded, a little less pretentious (although that has changed somewhat with their recent remodel)

                            That being said, 6 bucks for yogurt? Christ. I used to work at goldenspoon, buck forty five for a cone with almonds!

                            1. re: ns1

                              Stopped by Cefiore/Fiore/If (whatever it's called) in J-town a few week's ago after dinner in the area.

                              I got the regular with blueberries. I took a nice, big bite only to find out the BLUEBERRIES WERE BAD. They were completely bitter and brown on the inside.

                              I was so disgusted I felt like my dinner was going to come back up. I told the manager and he didn't seem to care too much, didn't do anything about it.

                              Can't wait to try Red Mango when it opens...

                              1. re: Twinkies

                                I'm not quite sure what you mean, as there are (at least one) locations (minus the s, perhaps) in the city?

                                I doubt the Pinkberry franchises would care either

                                1. re: Twinkies

                                  Personally, I like Red Mango better than Pinkberry. There definitely is a difference. Whereas Pinkberry is more tart and "icey," Red Mango is creamier, thicker, and less tart.

                                2. re: ns1

                                  Golden Spoon is now $1.75 for a mini with no toppings. Still not a bad value, but it's a traditional sweet flavored nonfat yogurt, not a tart yogurt like Pinkberry clones.

                                  Of course nothing beats 99 cents for a Thrifty choc malted crunch ice cream on a sugar cone.

                                  Too bad about those bad blueberries. They didn't offer to remake the order for you with something else? The one time I went to Ce Fiore in Little Tokyo the toppings looked really good, although I just went with the greentea/pomegranate swirl neat.

                                  1. re: mlgb

                                    Pinkberry and Cefiore is about to battle, the cold war has begun. I pick Cefiore pinkberry better run. Cefiore is coming to downtown fullerton.

                                    1. re: neo949

                                      hahha! i believe they are coming to hollywood as well. right across the chinese mann theatre

                                      1. re: neo949

                                        The cold war has begun -- LOL. I stopped at pinkberry and brought it out to my wife in the car. She took one spoonful and pushed it away saying, "No, don't eat that. It has gone bad." I told her it is supposed to taste tart. She said, "Tart is tart but that is sour." I finished it but the sour aftertaste stayed with me for several hours -- bad! Once for pinkberry and never again.

                                        I noticed signes all over the Santa Anita Mall in Arcadia "Cifiore coming soon." I also noticed a new Dairy Queen in the food court and I had a really smooth frozen treat there. Not FroYo but neither is pinkberry -- right?

                                        This cefiore web page below list Huntington Beach, Rowland Hts., and Westwood as coming soon. If a download appears just click cancel and then skip the intro. This group is going also heading world-wide.
                                        http://www.cefiore.com/

                            2. BF and I tried Ce Fiore in Little Tokyo tonight...
                              Although the selection of flavors, swirls, and creaminess was nice, we both like the tartness of Pinkberry more. To me, the green tea flavor of Ce Fiore tastes just like green tea ice cream.
                              We noticed that a Pinkberry store is about to open right across the street from Ce Fiore...
                              If we had to choose, we would go for Pinkberry, but with the outrageous prices, I'm glad we don't have to. The greek yogurt from Trader Joes or even the Vietnamese yogurt at Banh Mi Che Cali with a variety of fruits and berries from the farmer's market will do just fine for us.

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: Me so hungry

                                Here's another thread on Pinkberry locations which also discusses Cé Fiore. See my final post with link to recent LA Times article on what's in Pinkberry's product.

                                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/393317

                                1. re: Me so hungry

                                  i actually think cefiore's yogurt is creamier. pinkberry feels too icy for me.....

                                2. Since tartness and acidity are inherent to yogurt per se, may I suggest you stick with ice cream, instead? It tastes better, too.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: fergusmccool

                                    The tartness in PB's is not normal... it's ascorbic and citric... my friend who is a nutritional consultant says it's probably citric acid added to the powder...

                                  2. I didn't have an opinion one way or another for the longest time, but count me in as part of the Ce Fiore camp.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: SauceSupreme

                                      Same here. CéFiore is the gold standard. However, I do sneak away to Cantaloop once in awhile for a change. A friend got some of my Cantaloop at work yesterday and enjoyed its unique style: "That's like real yogurt that's been frozen!"

                                    2. CF definitely. I had CF before ever trying Pinkberry. I was expecting a better consistency and flavor than CF because I bought into the Pinkberry machine. Absolutely no comparison. The blackberry was perfect by itself. Went back a week later to try the raspberry/pomegranate and was impressed all over again at the creaminess and fresh clean flavor. Not a sour note between either of the flavors. The counter help at CFare much more on the ball when you order toppings. Everytime I go to the Pinkberry in Rolling Hills the counter folks have to double check after every ingredient. (And it's never the same person either.) How freakin hard is it to remember three toppings? And what is with only five reaspberries when you order the medium? Oh how I wish they would open a CF in the South Bay. A girl can only dream . . .

                                      1. After trying Pinkberry in Studio City and Ce Fiore in NoHo, we prefer Pinkberry. Why? The fruit toppings (pineapple, raspberry,coconut) are much fresher at Pinkberry. At CeFiore, the pineapple was brown and not as sweet, the berries were not as good and the shredded coconut was dry, not moist like Pinkberry. As fas as the yogurt taste, we like Pinkberry original the best. The only downside is the hollow center once you eat through the swirl.

                                        8 Replies
                                        1. re: rad818

                                          Don't you think that going to a frozen yogurt shop for the fruit is like going to a bar for the coasters? I mean, I'm not saying that there's anything wrong with that, but this is the first time I've ever heard this used as the reason.

                                          1. re: SauceSupreme

                                            You are the wind beneath my wings.

                                            1. re: SauceSupreme

                                              I look at the yogurt as a blank canvas and the toppings complete the masterpiece. Doesn't the quality of the toppings on a pizza/hot dog/burger/taco/salad/baked potato make a difference to you?

                                              1. re: rad818

                                                That's still like saying you think Cloris Leachman is hotter that Heidi Klum because she's wearing a better jacket.

                                                1. re: Woolsey

                                                  ROFL! Great analogy!

                                                2. re: rad818

                                                  The quality of the toppings are definitely paramount when talking about the characteristics of an individual food item (a frozen yogurt cup or a pizza or what have you).

                                                  But when comparing two food items, the toppings only come into play when I feel the main product itself is close enough.

                                                  Take Vito's Pizza for instance. Many people like it. I prefer Village Pizzeria in Larchmont. Why? The toppings. I feel the crust and the sauce and the cheese between the two are similar enough that it comes down to the toppings at Village.

                                                  And that's what I'm trying to get at. If you think CeFiore and Pinkberry are similar enough in chilly bliss minus toppings, then I totally respect your opinion, but I just want to make sure that's what you mean.

                                              2. re: rad818

                                                I'm not trying to be mean or anything; I'm just confused. Normally I'd go to peripheral flavors like toppings only if I've decided that the main flavors are close.

                                                So while you prefer Pinkberry's original flavor the best, do you think that Pinkberry and Ce Fiore's flavors are close enough that the fruit is the differentiator?

                                                1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                  I've had poor-quality fruit at Stinkberry before, too. Just because the shops don't schedule their produce off-days doesn't mean one should be considered uniformly better solely on fruit quality. Moreover, the cheap-o ice milk at Stinkberry has a terrible texture that has only gotten more and more bargain basement as they've expanded their Evil Empire global domination scheme. They've clearly taken to watering down the who-knows-what-it-is even more than they did just eight or nine months ago, to where it's akin to getting a soft-serve sour snow cone. Ick.

                                              3. Other than Ce Fiore and Pinkberry, there's also Red Mango and Kiwiberri joining into this frozen yogurt battle...

                                                http://www.eastwestmagazine.com/conte...

                                                http://www.redmangousa.com/ - vesus -
                                                http://www.cefiore.com/ - vesus -
                                                http://www.pinkberry.com/ - vesus -
                                                http://www.kiwiberri.com/ - vesus -

                                                Who will win? :-)

                                                1. I have not had pinkberry so I can't really say anything bad or good, but I have had ce fiore. I love their green tea frozen yogurt. I usually get granola and blueberries. I've had their regular frozen yogurt with the same toppings and was just as satisfied.

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: jocey

                                                    I need to try Pinkberry's competitors. I haven't had PB in a few months, but I liked it a lot when I had it. The only frozen yogurt I'd had before PB was Penguin's long ago and TCBY more recently. TCBY is sugar paste to me. It's awful. PB was a nice surprise after swearing off TCBY style froyo.
                                                    For a taste reference, my perfect refrigerator yogurt is Straus vanilla whole milk yogurt.

                                                    1. re: jocey

                                                      I was at Big Chill the other day and had their lemon tart yogurt ("chillberry"). It was yummy, & you can have it on a cone (much better when driving).

                                                      I have only had Ce Fiore once & was not persuaded to switch from PB which I love. And yes the quality of the fruit is important to me - that's one of the reasons I like PB so much. I had fabulous blueberries the other day (WH location).

                                                    2. I'm gonna join the Ce Fiore is better than Pinkberry train. The Fiore original is creamier and better tasting then PB. The fruit toppings at the Hollywood location were also ripe! I hate non-ripe mango!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: kek is khmer

                                                        i would also have to vouch for cefiore. there is just no comparison. cefiore is definitely creamier..can't say much for pb, who's i've always said was icier (though people still like to claim it's creamier ?!?!?!?) and what's up with the hole in the middle? as for toppings...i've always found cefiore's to be pretty ripe. and while we're comparing toppings. pb's mochi's are the worst.

                                                      2. CeFiore so far is my favorite after checking out Pinkberry, Kiwiberri and Bliss. Love their mochi topping. I liked the fact that they use stevia instead of sugar.

                                                        On limoncello gelato (original note) - recently had a great one at Gelato Paradiso at Fashion Island. I had the Bulgarini's crema di Limone but I have to say Paradiso's better (more tart-lemony).

                                                        1. Both are a horrible waste of calories, IMHO.
                                                          Go to Sno La!!

                                                          Sno La
                                                          244 North Beverly Drive (just North of Wilshire before Dayton Way)

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: SarahM

                                                            I second this strongly. I'm obsessed with their sour cherry syrup stuff. My god. For further proof, do a quick search here on sno la to see that we aren't the only believers.

                                                            1. re: SarahM

                                                              Tried Sno:LA. Didn't like it.

                                                              For chocolate flavors and other flavors Bliss is better. For creaminess and different flavors Golden Spoon's better (although some of their flavor tasted a tad 'artificial').

                                                              For original tart w/ fruit and mochi I much prefer Ce Fiore.

                                                              The wood spoon they provided really gave the food an off taste. I applaude their 'greeness' but can't they use some utensil derived from corn instead?

                                                            2. Here's the thing. It seems that people who actually overlook the HYPE of these titles, and actually honestly choose the better place in their opinion, really dig CeFiore. Now, I bet anything that if you took all the insides of CeFiore, and branded it the title, "PINKBERRY" everyone would be madly in love with PINKBERRY. In other words, the title of "Pinkberry" has become such a hype, that people don't even care if CeFiore is so called "better" than pinkberry or whatever... especially young people, they'll go to PB because it's the TITLE and the "THING." I agree though, I think PB is low quality in disguise. When Pinkberry first opened up in Koreatown, i thought it was great. Now that it has expanded, i DO realize the flavor going down a bit. It can't be helped. PB has won the title. In franchises like this, its ALL about winning the name, and they certainly did. CeFiore will probably NEVER be as popular... but those who know it's good, can enjoy it. Besides, why complain that it's not as popular, as long as you KNOW it's better right? ;)

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: AKlRA

                                                                The only problem is there's only so many customers and with all the froyo stores popping up like mushrooms after the rain some of them will have to go out of business.

                                                                I just hope Ce Fiore will get enough customers to survive.

                                                                Saw all the hype of Snola and I have to try it, but if you need a fix near your house/business unless you live near BH it's really either Pinkberry, Kiwiberri or Ce Fiore.

                                                              2. Although PB is indeed watery, a lot depends on the location. I've found that the West Hollywood PB is consistently better than the Abbot Kinney PB. The Abbot Kinney branch looks sickley and transluscent every time.