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Best GELATO? Recommendations please?!?

Okay Chowers, give me your best shot on the BEST gelato in the L.A. area!

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  1. Let the Gelato WARS commence !

    Scoops on Heliotrope & Melrose

    2 Replies
    1. re: Burger Boy

      not gelato, but agree, excellent ice cream.

      1. i guess i should chime in, given my screenname. :)

        definitely the best gelato in southern california is gelato paradiso in newport beach, near fashion island. according to their website, there's a new location in hollywood, though i've never been. i think i've tried nearly every other gelato place in socal, and nothing comes close to gelato paradiso!

        9 Replies
        1. re: greengelato

          I've never heard of or tried this place, but it sounds good. The next time I'm in OC, I would like to check it out.

          1. re: greengelato

            There's also one in Manhattan Beach.

            1. re: greengelato

              Interesting. I've been there many a time and each time thought it was barely passable.

              1. re: choctastic

                it's not the same one. or at least, i'm pretty sure it isn't. their website doesn't mention it either:

                i have a feeling that the hollywood one doesn't stack up to their newport beach location. i read on yelp that they don't have many flavors, but the newport beach has a really good selection. their panna cotta is to die for.

                1. re: greengelato

                  The one I'm talking about is in that little plaza across the street from Sur La Table and Bristol Farms. I guess it's the Corona Del Mar one. Where is yours?

                  --actually now that I think about it, the one in the Fashion Island mall is better than the one I was thinking of.

              2. re: greengelato

                Man, Gelato Paradisio is outstanding. When I was in Italy last year, I didn't resist trying every Gelato place I ran into. And, Gelato Paradisio is as good as any one of those places in Italy. My favorite is the Panne Cotta.

                1. re: greengelato

                  I went to the Gelato Paradiso in Hollywood, and was truly impressed. Very surprised to find authentic, delicious gelato right in the middle of the tourist cesspool. And it's made in-house.

                  1. re: Papuli

                    I stumbled on the Hollywood location and thought it was great. I was also surprised to find such good gelato in the middle of tourist traps.

                  2. re: greengelato

                    I totally agree. Every flavor I've tried at their CDM Plaza has been heavenly, esp. bacio bianco, hazelnut, and tiramisu. They make it fresh everyday and you can taste the difference.

                    1. re: thebat

                      Was just there and 2 flovers where ICEY! What is up with that and there was a strange vibe to the place. The chocolate that just came out of the machine, Un F#$%in believable, it was heavenly, ying and yang all in one gelato case. Maybe the need some better refrigeration equipment.

                      1. re: Burger Boy

                        When you mention the strange vibe, do you mean you get it from being in the store or the way the staff is? I sometimes get that strange vibe when the owner Leo is there, especially when you pronounce pistachio and he repeats it with his pronunciation. So that basically makes me feel weird.

                        1. re: thebat

                          Maybe he is referring to the infinished look/feel of the place??? When I went 2 weeks ago, they were still moving boxes in and out of the restaurant and the displays looked amateurish. They'll get there.

                            1. re: running pig

                              I agree with the look/feel of the place. The gelato did not look appetizing in the case. Most flavors looked half-melted. At first I thought we were in the wrong place.

                              At the Gelato Bar, which I think has good gelato, the presentation is really nice and they have a nice area to sit and eat. I don't always expect a nice ambiance when I choose a place to eat (noodle shops/taco stands etc.), but a good presentation shows me pride in the craftmanship.

                              1. re: bsquared2

                                I think the owners of Bulgarini might have gotten in over their heads. As much as they were praised while serving their gelato from a cart, my guess is they knew they had a good thing going and could anticipate having a strong demand for their gelato from a brick & mortor. They probably just didn't sense how strong the demand would be. Ever since Bulgarini opened, they've probably been chasing their tails trying to keep up with the "business" of making gelato at a much grander scale than what they had previously been used to. In other words, their business model has completely changed, and maybe they just weren't ready for different challanges that it presents.

                                Having a cart keeps your level of production and overhead down. Your ambiance is the surrounding grounds. You set your demand by what day and time you show up. When you decide to leave, you're closed up for the day. With a brick & mortor, you have a much more substantial overhead (rent, set-up costs, city bureaucracy, etc) you're always accessible (based on your business hours), and depending on the location and configuration of your shop, that could severely impact the customer flow as well.

                                Artisans and entrepeneurs are often great at developing fantastic products and concepts, but are also known to be relatively naive at taking their business to each successive higher level. They are usually very reluctant to seek outside help or delegate duties as they have always been used to doing everything their own way themselves. It's a span-of-control thing. I think if we just give these folks some time, they will work things out after they catch their breath, and Bulgarini will be at the top of their game again.

                                1. re: bulavinaka

                                  They've already got us driving from the Valley and the Westside to ALTADENA, where rent must be relatively cheap. That was smart! Now they just need to clean it up a bit. Maybe pay a designer for a few days worth of work to make it spiffy :-)

                                  Anyone try the candies they have on the right side of the store?

                                  1. re: running pig

                                    Hey Swift Piglet, hope your run went well along the ocean... I'm sure all the neighboring businesses appreciate the new life that Bulgarini has brought to this neighborhood. It was a smart move for them to pick this area as most other areas in this neck of the woods in LA County are already benefitting from at least a certain amount of cache'. Now they need to hire you as a design consultant - suggest to them that you'll work for just the mere pittance of a daily allowance of their gelato for the next year...

                                    They now have candies? Do you recall what kind? =P

                        2. re: thebat

                          yes. and i believe burger boy maybe have had the sorbetto????? i want everything from bulgarini............thanks Thebat!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                          1. re: caitybirdie

                            No! I had strawberry GELATO that was ICEY! Partially thawed and re-frozen! Does Sorbetto have MILK in it? NO!

                            1. re: caitybirdie

                              I do know the difference, sorry for the outburst.

                              1. re: Burger Boy

                                While we had a fantastic time and enjoyed the 4 flavors we tried immensely, others have complained about the strawberry. I guess thats the one flavor I will avoid.

                            2. re: thebat

                              Absolutely. Bulgarini opened the weekend we got home from a week in Tuscany, so we were able to compare it to *real* (and very good artiginale gelato) within 24 hours. The texture isn't quite there (it isn't as much like taffy as it is in Italy) but the fruit flavors are spot on.

                            3. Has anyone tried the new gelato place in Redondo Beach on PCH?

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: kealoha

                                Had the hazelnut gelato there. It was too sweet and the hazelnut aroma was a bit weak for me. The owner was very nice, but I'm sad to say, I don't plan on going back.

                                1. re: Me so hungry

                                  Gelatopia? Had what I thought was chocolate but it tatsd like hazelnut essence mad in a lab. Owner insisted it was chocolate and that it is made on premises. The strawberry was better-although a strenge flourescent version of strawberry pink.

                                  Has the new one in Manhattan Beach opened yet?

                                1. re: Bite Me

                                  I hear alot about Al Gelato,... that good, huh? Any rec's on flavors? And what is the cross street on Robertson?

                                  1. re: kealoha

                                    Al Gelato is terrific but it isn't really gelato, just very good ice cream. For what it is it's excellent, especially the cappucino and the green apple sorbet (and the rainbow sorbet, if you like that sort of thing).

                                    For those us on the westside who can't get to Bulgarini and Scoops on a regular basis, Mondo Gelato on Pico near Westwood has very nice, pure tasting gelato (as well as an "plain Italian yogurt" that's much much better than Pinkberry and clones). There are many, many prior threads on all of these.

                                    1. re: PayOrPlay

                                      I second Mondo Gelato. It's such a non-descript place but it's pretty darn good.

                                2. Second Scoops.

                                  Also Al Gelato and Angelato Cafe.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Emme

                                    Are you talking about the Santa Monica Angelato? Angelato doesn't make their own Gelato. Is shipped down from San Francisco from a distributor. I think most of their stuff is pre gel. I much prefer the gelato places that make it fresh and in house.

                                  2. I like Pazzo in Silverlake.

                                    1. Gelato Cafe I think it is called near the Sunset Junction where Sunset and Hollywood meet in Silverlake. And they can make you a decent European macciato to wash it down! And they have these strange little merangue biscuits to boot. I don't know what else is out there, but give it a go!

                                      1. Across the board, I thought Bulgarini was best for texture and fresh, natural flavor. I also like Gelato Bar in the Valley. The flavors aren't as consistently good, but their fig and honey gelato was pretty spectacular, especially on a hot day.

                                        1. Cafe Lucca in the Orange Circle.

                                          1. I've tried a number of places and my favorite is still Monte Carlo in Burbank.

                                            6 Replies
                                              1. re: mattesq

                                                THIRD! Actually, its Pinocchio's, right? I loved the 5-flavor sampler! Over-the-top Italian-American decor wins bonus points with me :-)

                                                1. re: running pig

                                                  FOURTH!!! The pistachio is absolutely amazing. Love many other flavors too, but the pistachio is an absolute must. Truly one of the best things I've ever tasted.

                                                  1. re: godvls

                                                    They're pretty good... and actually the gelateria is on the "Monte Carlo" side, not the "Pinocchio's" side. Monte Carlo is the deli and market, Pinocchio's is the restaurant. Just be aware that you may suffer Italian Crooner poisoning if you stay too long. There was one time they put "Dominick, the Italian Christmas Donkey" on repeat (over and over and over and over) until somebody (certainly not me, I would never condone this kind of behaviour, cough) called out, "Eh, Dominick! Va fangulo!"

                                                      1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                        Aha! I stand corrected! That donkey sounds soooooo funny!

                                              2. Any thoughts on Massimo's (Washington Blvd & Redwood)? Someone told me before it was their favorite, but I drive by almost every day and have yet to try...

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: LisaStitch

                                                  My lads and I used to love the gelato at Massimo's on Abbott Kinney after some slices at Abbott's Pizza. I went to the new location early for a morning pastry and it was very mediocre at best. Then I read here that he sold the business to the nearby health food store. I'm worried about the quality of the gelato based on my recent pastry experience!

                                                2. Al Gelato isn't as good as it used to be. Scoops has very interesting flavors but the consistency of the gelato isn't as good. Didn't have a good experience at Bulgarini. Gelato Bar is very good and the ingredients are good quality.

                                                  My top choice....Pazzo. Everytime we go there, we can always find something very innovative. Some flavors work better than others, but the fruit flavors are always top notch and I love the Venezuelan Chocolate.

                                                  1. the answer to your question depends on the flavor.
                                                    the best pistachio is served at a different place than the best chocolate.
                                                    the best caramel is served at a different place than the best chocolate and the best pistachio. . . .

                                                    1. It may not be the best Gelato in LA, but I do enjoy Creme De La Crem in Burbank, which is next door to Zankou. They will always let you try any flavor, and they also have great frozen yogurt, even in yogurt flavor which they will mix things into. And the prices are pretty damn good too, and you can get a coupon for a free waffle cone at Zankou.

                                                      1. Where is Scoops? And what are your favorite flavors there?

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: kealoha

                                                          It's hard to have a favorite flavor at Scoops because the owner constantly changes them. What is special is that the flavors can be very unusual/unconventional! One time I enjoyed the Chocolate Wasabe but my lads could not find anything that they liked! You probably won't find vanilla, chocolate or strawberry unless it has an unusual flavor combined with it. The owner encourages sampling - go and sample everything that sounds good to you and maybe even some of his 'stranger' creations!

                                                          712 N Heliotrope Dr
                                                          Los Angeles, CA 90029
                                                          (323) 906-2649
                                                          Mon-Sat 12:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

                                                            1. re: kealoha

                                                              You're welcome, I hope you enjoy it. BTW the parking is often difficult so I sometimes park on the street that runs parallel to and west of Heliotrope. I don't mind a short walk though, especially after ice cream! I do hope you report back.

                                                        2. I recently returned from a two month trip to Europe and Africa; two weeks of which were spent in Italy. I tried gelato from many different vendors in all five of the cities we were in, but none compared to the richness of the Cinammon flavor at Tutti Gelati in Old Town Pasadena. It is outstanding.

                                                            1. re: running pig

                                                              Just came back from Hollywood, and I was shocked to not find Gelato Paradiso there anymore. It must have just closed down. I really hope that they've just moved, this place was my favorite gelato place here in LA.

                                                              Anyone knows what's going on??

                                                              1. re: maxx11

                                                                A sign went up in the glass doors all of a sudden saying they were closing temporarily about two or three weeks ago. Then the little paper sign went, too. I work near there, and even some people in that building don't realize they're closed yet. It was very sudden.

                                                                1. re: Woolsey

                                                                  I actually called them yesterday, and they told me they were closing for good not planning to open another store in the area.

                                                                  1. re: maxx11

                                                                    I figured as much when the sign went down for good. The rent there has to be pretty high, and for a non-chain like them with a relatively modest operation must be pretty difficult. Of course, they could have been forced out, too, like Hamburger Hamlet seems to have been for H&M. (It's all speculation, though, really.)

                                                            2. Went to Scoops! I had the mango-lychee, and my friend had the chocolate-cayenne. I also got to sample the orange tiramisu and the thai ice tea. Oh my god, all the flavors (the chocolate cayenne was a little spicy for me!) was so incredibly delicious!!! Thanks all you Chowers (especially Sel) for the turn-on!

                                                              1. I like Bulgarini, but IMO the difference in quality between Bulgarini and, say, Al Gelato isn't enough for me to make the trek to Altadena from the Mid-City. I guess my demands aren't that high. That being said, I do want to check out Paradiso one day here in Hollywood, which will be even more convenient than having to go to BH.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: SauceSupreme

                                                                  Gelato Paradiso in Hollywood has apparently closed for good.

                                                                2. Jus tried "Milano Freezer" on Olympic (in BH) last night. Excellent creamy texture and good flavors although the pistachio I ordered had a slightly chalky finish to it. Makes me wonder if they're using real nuts or a flavored power.

                                                                  I'm going to try it again; anyone else been there?

                                                                  1. I love Angelato on the 3rd Street Promenade. 100+ flavors, including caramel apple, chocolate cherry and a good pistachio. They also have some excellent sorbets, especially pink grapefruit. I was unaware that it was shipped, the quality has always been fine.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: Iceman

                                                                      angelato is way too sweet, as is pinochio in the palisades. they are better than
                                                                      the gelato place on montana, at least, by a long shot. but
                                                                      this side of town hasn't any gelaterias of note

                                                                    2. Eastside: Pazzo. I was there today and tried a combination suggested to me by the guy behind the counter. Blueberry and pineapple. I know, it sounds a little odd, but pineapple gelato slightly melting on top of blueberry gelato? Beats the pants off the lunch I had planned for myself at home (cold cuts, sharp cheddar, whole grain bread).

                                                                      Westside: Gelato Fantasia. Green tea, mango, fresh cream (NOT vanilla, NOT sweet cream), cappuccino, passion fruit, tiramisu...I don't have a favorite flavor there, but these are the most recent that I've really liked.

                                                                      Sad to see Gelato Paradiso go, by the way. I used to live right up the street and would make a bi-weekly pilgrimage there.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: riceflour

                                                                        How funny, Riceflour---I was there also, at about 12:30 PM. What time were you there? I witnessed the owner suggesting combos to lots of people and was thrilled by his interaction. I will be writing a review soon----I was delighted!

                                                                        1. re: running pig

                                                                          running flour, I was at Pazzo between 12:45 and 1:15 sitting outside trying my best not to stick my face into my bowl of pineapple and blueberry gelatos. And wondering why in the world my writing partner was bailing on not just meeting me, but also the frozen deliciousness. He missed out, as you and I both know.

                                                                      2. Pazzo Gelato in Silver Lake...3827 W Sunset Blvd. They have authentic gelato, not just a mix that they add flavorings to but they "cook" the milk for many hours as gelato is supposed to be. This causes the milk to become thick--hence the creamy texture--then it is cooled and a flavoring added and run through the ice cream freezer..I believe they make their own flavorings or use really high quality...not that c@#p from restaurant depot and other inferior flavorings. There are a lot of gelato places that use a "pre-fab" mix and just add flavors and run it through the ice cream freezer. I used to be a pastry chef and made ice cream at many restaurants around LA.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: madkitchenscientist

                                                                          mad scientist...very much agree with the pre-fab comments, but wouldn't you agree that PAZZO is not authentic. even the owners say, well, it's really american gelato, read "ice cream". i love their product and am there often, but it's not near the texture, air content, and milk/cream ratio of gelato, non?

                                                                        2. I have to vote for Bulgarini. Talk about a passion for gelato! Too bad it's out of the way and has a rather spartan decor. But hey, sometimes you have to suffer for art.

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. re: bromion

                                                                            was at BULGARINI yesterday. they've started showing italian films at night on the weekends, so fun.

                                                                            yesterday we had a large pistacchio gelato/fragola (strawberry) sorbetto, large ciocolatta con arancia (chocolate w/ orange), and my favorite white grapefruit granita with blood orange granita on top in a chilled cupola. the relatively new scooper was terrific at flavor combos and he said the way the sweetness of the blood orange melts on top of the tart, slightly bitter grapefruit was superb and he was 100% correcto! this new fellow is really a great asset to their operation, btw.

                                                                            they have a new freezer for granita, not made in the pre-fab machines as it needs to be kept at a different temp than gelato. i haven't seen that at another shop in l.a.

                                                                            we finished our visit with an italian nougat candy, the chocolate with chile. i'll go back today for another. so good!

                                                                          2. for pistachio, i like ciao bella which is scooped out at the new manhattan beach whole foods.
                                                                            for chocolate i like the gelato that is served at boule
                                                                            for salted caramel, i like the ice cream (not gelato) at delicieuse
                                                                            for coffee (expresso) i like the ice cream (not gelato) at delicieuse.

                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. sorry, guys: i can't believe that this discussion is even taking place. after my adult family of five spent two weeks in italy, all we wanted when we came home was great pizza, wonderful gelato, and outstanding capuccino.

                                                                              all three have been satisfied: 1. vito's is fantastic, though a drive from la canada; 2. bulgarini is the answer to a prayer, only five minutes from the house; 3. and we all bought granville espresso machines.

                                                                              a bit of italy in la!

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: justanotherpenguin

                                                                                You're a very lucky penguin, indeed, to have Bulgarini so close. As for myself, I don't even know where Altadena is. Once I convince the BF to take a long drive with me for gelato, we'll check out your piece of heaven.

                                                                                1. re: riceflour

                                                                                  I think we are all lucky! With great gelato places in Silverlake, Altadena, and Manhattan Beach (and my nod for Burbank's Monte Carlo), we Angelenos have something to celebrate!

                                                                              2. oh and scoops! how could i forget my beloved scoops. you won't find your standard gelato flavors, but if you're in the mood for something fun, definitely head over to scoops.

                                                                                1. Has anyone tried the new Glacier Homemade Ice Cream & Gelato in Manhattan Beach, yet?

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: kealoha

                                                                                    Yes it's not new it's been there awhile their ice cream is excellent and the gelato is good.


                                                                                    1. re: Ben7643

                                                                                      Well of course it's not new when you answer a question a year after it was posed, Ben!

                                                                                      1. re: jackattack

                                                                                        yes, but your reply is 6 months after his post, lol

                                                                                  2. Try the gelato at Frati Gelato Cafe in downtown Fullerton. I'll bet you'll love it !! Check out the reviews it gets on Yelp.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Ron DeLay

                                                                                      Yelp reviews are not an endorsement.... there's a reason why we stay at Chowhound!

                                                                                      Mr Taster

                                                                                      1. re: Mr Taster

                                                                                        pazzo in silverlake.
                                                                                        freshest ingredients, best techniques and as people have said before, best combination of innovation of flavors and keeping the old stand-bys...
                                                                                        I have to see I've seen some recommendations on this thread, and cringe a little bit. A good quick indicator for quality gelato is too look at the colors of most flavors. In particular pistachio. What part of a pistachio is fluorescent green? Exactly. Look for natural colors and you will more than likely be safe. Angelato in santa monica is a good example of what not to eat. If your food blinds you, then perhaps you should not eat it.

                                                                                        1. re: humara

                                                                                          Judging by the number of "Scoops" recommendations here, I think it's fair to say that a lot of posters here simply aren't familiar with what real gelato actually is.

                                                                                          Since I'm unfamiliar with most of the places recommended here (aside from Scoops and Bulgarini), I for one am finding it difficult to parse who actually knows what they're talking about and who doesn't.

                                                                                          Can we have one or two self-appointed gelato afficionados (preferably with a few trips to Italy under their belts) help us to distill the gelato from non-gelato recs?

                                                                                          Mr Taster
                                                                                          P.S. I love Scoops. But homemade ice cream =/= gelato.

                                                                                    2. I think a Grom will open in LA in the next year or so; that will be the best gelato. I haven't had anything close to it in LA. Haven't had Bulgarini though

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: epop

                                                                                        Just tonight, a Grom employee at the Greenwich Village store said one is supposed to open in Malibu in 2010. This struck me as odd -- Malibu residents certainly can afford pricy gelato, but who in their right mind would open a gelateria so far from the bulk of your potential customers? Unfortunately, she had no further details.

                                                                                        1. re: darwink

                                                                                          I had Grom in Italy this summer and it is the best I've ever had. I would drive to Malibu.

                                                                                        2. re: epop

                                                                                          Guess I should try Grom and you should try Bulgarini before we pronounce any place as having "...the best gelato."

                                                                                          Bulgarini Gelato
                                                                                          749 E Altadena Dr, Altadena, CA 91001

                                                                                        3. My favorite is Nice Cream on AK in Venice. Flavors at Scoops are teffific, but I can't get past the texture. Haven't tried Bulgarini yet.