HOME > Chowhound > Phoenix >


Gelato!! (Tempe)

I've tried Chandler's Angel Sweet (Peanut butter, pistachio, Super dark chocolate!!), Gelato Spot (my fave is Roche! Peanut butter is so good!), Tempe's Whole Foods gelato counter (White Pistachio is excellent! Valrhona Chocolate is very good), and the gelato counter at Mill Ave in Tempe's The Coffee Bean (?). Haven't tried Phoenix's Arlecchino's... any others that beat these gelato spots?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. begins and ends with Arlecchino!

    9 Replies
    1. re: Molto E

      Heaven is me in a bathtub of their pistachio. No kids, no phone, just me and the pistachio.

      1. re: mamamia

        Have you tried Ciao Bella's Pistachio? Heaven! There are pistachio nuts embedded in the white gelato, as well... I love the texture and saltiness they provide.

      2. re: Molto E

        First time visit to Arlecchino's today. Sampled a few flavors, including cioccolato, pistachio, nutella, cremolata (the best of the two hazelnut flavors of the day), pear-chocolate (surprise fave!), and a vanilla-based Kahlua-flavored gelato (may order this next time). Disappointed that peanut butter, choc/peanutbutter, and chocolate-hazelnut were not offered today.

        Perhaps I came too early (I visited shortly before 3p, which is when the store opens for business), and the gelatos were not up/down to serving temperature, but I did not find Arlecchino's to be any better than any of the other brands I've tried (see above posts). <Blasphemy!, they cried.> I prefer Whole Foods gelato counter's White pistachio, which contains actual chunks of pistachios (I love, love, love texture in my foods), to that of Arlecchino's pistachio. Of course, the pitiful sample size could have played a major factor in my not being able to savor the flavors. Perhaps I was just too full from the delicious chicken sandwich and coleslaw I ingested from Matt's Big Breakfast... but then again, a full stomach never kept me from indulging in desserts before! I'll have to go back soon and order a waffle cone with one or two scoops. Or I might just forego gelato and try a pizza at Cibo or La Grande Orange for the first time...

        1. re: starlightjulian

          what flavor or flavors did you buy or did you just sample?

          1. re: Molto E

            Just sampled flavors mentioned above (since I had a huge lunch) with the intention of going back with a relative later on that night after dinner. Said relative felt too sick to accompany me all the way downtown.

            Splurged after dinner tonight and had a waffle cone of peanut butter gelato from Angel Sweet. Mmmm-mmmm good!!

          2. re: starlightjulian

            I'm with you -- I have tried Arlecchino's over and over, and I don't see why they're touted as the absolute pinnacle of gelato-ness herein the Valley. I have found purer, fresher fruit flavors at Angel Sweet and Lombardo's, and I don't prefer Arlecchino's pistachio. Their chocolate and liqueur-based flavors are what I think edge out the competition's.

            Oh no! Are we about to start the great gelato debate? (Runs for cover)

            1. re: starlightjulian

              I've been equally pleased with Angel Sweet and Arlecchino in terms of their execution of the fruity flavors I prefer. My wife, however, makes the case for Arlecchino based on her love of mint chocolate chip gelato. At most places, that flavor is green, suggesting the usage of artificial color. Arlecchino, however, provides a white gelato with dark flecks -- seemingly a more genuine approach to mint chocolate chip.

              1. re: silverbear

                Have you tried Arlecchino's pear-chocolate flavor? Out of all the flavors I sampled that day, I would never have thought I'd enjoy that one the best... and I hadn't even asked to try that one... the server suggested I try her fave!

            2. I usually go to Lombardo's at Fiesta Mall in Mesa. I haven't been there is a couple of months. I'm thinking it's on the North end of the mall, on the second floor, right at the top of the stairs. There is another one at Arrowhead mall, down the aisle, West of the main food court.

              7 Replies
              1. re: johnseberg

                I absolutely LOVE Lombardo's! I think it's even better than Arlecchino, and I've been pleased with their service since my first time when they had just opened their first kiosk at Arrowhead. They'll let you taste everything in the case if you want. If they have either of the granita (they have strawberry-champagne and orange) try them, they're out of this world.

                1. re: johnseberg

                  Thought I'd let you all know that Lombardo's gelato is now at Arizona Mills. Bebe informed me that they've been there for about a month now. She tried to get me to sample a few flavors, but I was just too full from dinner... you normally won't have to ask me twice to sample gelato!! The white chocolate peanut butter intrigued me, but I really couldn't eat any more... Bebe told me I have to try the mango soon!

                  I hope this info is helpful!

                  1. re: starlightjulian

                    So that's where Bebe has been hiding! The mango does indeed utterly rule, especially when they're in peak season.

                    1. re: JK Grence the Cosmic Jester

                      I was really disappointed to go quite a stretch out of my way to hit Lombardo's at Arrowhead, to find them gone. It's pretty much the only reason I would go to *any* of these malls.


                      1. re: johnseberg

                        Good news! Lombardo's has four new stores in the works, and they are looking good for taking space in the strip mall at Hayden and Indian Bend. Also, at 59th Ave and Utopia, possibly where the new Tutti Santi is, plus Gilbert and Tempe Marketplace.

                        For now, they just have the AZ Mills location between Neiman Marcus and Saks.

                        1. re: johnseberg

                          Tempe Marketplace? There's already Mercato del Gelato (average at best, incidentally) there, wouldn't two gelaterias in a shopping center that size be a bit much?

                        2. re: johnseberg

                          Oh, I know! They left there just before Christmas, and my heart just plain sank when I saw they weren't there anymore.

                  2. Yep - Got one for you. They are located in a strip mall near Brown/Higley.
                    It's called Gelato Dolce Vita. The owner is from Italy. Wonderful gelato.
                    Also very good espresso!!!

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: StuCazzo

                      Thank you for the three replies so far! I will definitely try Arlecchino's and Lombardo's soon... Brown/Higley is a little bit too east for me. Keep the suggestions coming!!

                      1. re: starlightjulian

                        The original Lombardo's is at Arrowhead Mall, if that's not too far west for you.

                        I really miss Angel Sweet.

                        There is also a good gelato shop out at Verrado. Grazie for pizza, gelato after -- nice way to spend the evening.

                        1. re: themis

                          OK - I'll bite. What happened to Angel Sweet?

                          1. re: StuCazzo

                            Nothing, I just don't live down the street from it anymore.

                    2. Definitely try Arlecchino's - the Vesuvio and the Valentino particularly!

                      We live right by Angel Sweet and that's where we most often go(beyond being nearby we've found it to eb the best on this side of town) but if we're in the neighborhood of Arlecchino we try to stop in and get some(sometimes we don't want to fight the parking situation though!)

                      1. I tried a couple of gelatos at Arlecchino several weeks ago on a sunny weekend afternoon -- one was pistachio, the other chocolate, for about $5.50 total. It was very, very good, better than what I've had at Gelato Spot, which also is good. I don't eat stuff like that very often ... I inhaled that food when I was younger, but I mostly eschew desserts to make room for everything else in my cornucopia ... and upon reflection, I think I'm more of an ice cream guy anyway.

                        1. Its probably out of your area, but "That's Amore" in (far) north Scottsdale (Miller & Pinnacle Peak) has great gelato. Since I haven't tried the others you've listed (I live in N. Snottsdale), I can't compare them, but they do have great gelato (and also great pannini).

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: JC1954

                            Pinnacle Peak is a little too far north for me (had a Jalapeno's gift certificate to use years ago; the fresh chicken enchilada and green chile tamale were flavorful enough). I was looking forward to buying a pint of Whole Food's (which actually stocks Ciao Bella gelato) gelato counter's White Pistachio, but there wasn't enough to hand-pack a whole pint ($5.99). Thank goodness, I spied some pints in the regular ice cream aisle... many Ciao Bella gelato flavors are on sale ($3.99)- more importantly, the Pistachio and the Chocolate-hazelnut. Another take-home brand to try is Berto's Gelato (pistachio, chocolate hazelnut, and peanut brittle are good bets! When BG is doing the Costco circuit, you must check out the spumoni flavor... mmmm!).

                            1. re: starlightjulian

                              Berto's roasted banana and fig are the bomb!

                              AJ's carries many of their flavors.

                              1. re: ziggylu

                                Something different, but I thought worth passing along since you mentioned figs... ever try the Black Mission Fig Laloo goatsmilk ice cream? It is SO GOOD! I also love the Chocolate Cabernet. I may be wrong, but I think there's even a chocolate-hazelnut flavor...

                                1. re: ziggylu

                                  Willo Bakery also carries Berto's gelato flavors. Make sure to look out for old pints of gelato... poor rotation/turn-over...

                            2. A brand new gelato place to report -- Ground Control is doing its soft open today in Litchfield Park. In case you're wondering about the name, it's being opened by an F-16 pilot named 'Double' who spent a few years stationed at Aviano Air Base in Italy. Double has a sommelier's license as well as a coffee roaster's certification, and Ground Control will be a triple-threat bar of coffee, gelato, and wine. (I told him if he just added in a used bookstore it would be my permanent home away from home, but he didn't go for that.) One might worry how one place could do three such disparate things well, but I know the guy, he has the passion.

                              NW Corner of Indian School and Litchfield Road.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: themis

                                Thanks for the info on Ground Control - I'm going to check it out this weekend. I've driven by the place a few times and always wondered what it was...

                                1. re: andyeats

                                  After reading this, I visited.

                                  It's tucked away, but when you step in, it's beautifully done inside. I was quite charmed by the comfortable modern decor.

                                  The coffee was excellent. To me, it hit all the right points: dark roast, fresh brewed, rich flavor, and hot. No need for sugar or cream (which I only use if the coffee's too bad to drink alone).

                                  But the gelato was rather disappointing. It's okay, but not particularly good, much less great. The fruit flavors were incredibly artificial tasting and the hazelnut chocolate was pretty insipid. But, the coconut was really tasty and my friend liked the peach, despite not tasting like peach (more like a jolly rancher).

                                  Nice place for a coffee and a sweet with a friend or a casual date, but not worth a trip for gelato. There's my two cents.

                                  Oh, and the service was not good, but sloooowww (I mean, they ignore you and talk while you stand in front of them for a few minutes slow... and there was nobody in the store)

                                  1. re: oryza

                                    I don't disagree, oryza, their gelato isn't the best in town; texture's great, but flavors tend to the artificial. Sadly, Mokarabia out at Verrado is about the same. I still love Ground Control for the fresh-roasted, fresh-pressed coffee and the care Double takes in selecting his beers and wines, and they book good entertainment for a date night. And ohh, their cheese plates. Lord help me with the divine stinky cheeses.

                                    As far as frozen confectionery in general, though, the grand opening of our new tangy frozen yogurt place was this weekend -- I think it might be called Swirl, it's behind the Black Angus at Litchfield & McDowell. Let me know if you try it.

                                    1. re: themis

                                      Themis - Thanks for the update about Swirl! I hadn't heard about this place before.

                                      My wife and I went to try berrygood (at McDowell & Estrella) on Sunday but it wasn't open yet. This was strange because we received a flyer in the mail for it last week...

                                      1. re: themis

                                        Themis, thanks for the rec with "i Swirl"... I went a couple of days ago when I was in the neighborhood and it was quite good!

                                        The yogurt is tart and creamy, quite lovely. It's an interesting concept; a self-serve, by the ounce yogurt bar... I loved the plain yogurt, with just the right amount of sweet and tart and crisp creamy texture.

                                        The other flavors that I sampled (the full seven flavors include: chocolate, peanut butter, creme de menthe, vanilla bean, apricot-mango, pineapple, blueberry) were similarly smooth, but all things being equal, I have a strong preference to the plain (even when it comes to regular yogurt from the grocery store).

                                        Oh, and you can sample with little sample cups before committing to any flavor, which is nice.

                                        Price was fair, too. I was a bit greedy with the serving, but it ended up being $5, including toppings and served two.

                                        It could use some tweaking to make it a really great place; the decor and ambience was not great, and on that particular day the teenagers manning the counter were playing *bad* punk music (versus good punk, which I believe in) very loudly, and the toppings bar was awkward, but as long as you don't plan to sit and chat, it's worth a stop-- grab and go, yes?

                                        So, if I wanted to have a few hours with a friend, I would definitely go to Ground Control for that lovely coffee and atmosphere; but if it were simply a good frozen confection I wanted to take on the road, it's i Swirl for me...

                                2. Has anyone tried Gelato Dolce Vita on Brown and Higley in E. Mesa? It's fairly new. I went in one night around 9:10pm and there were several people outside enjoying their gelato at the outdoor tables. When I entered, the proprietor had already put all of the gelato away. The sign on the door said they close at 9:30pm. I was annoyed enough that I haven't been back. I have no idea if the gelato is any good but I hear it's quite expensive for the small amount of gelato you get.

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: scorpioscuba

                                    Recollection from ...last year?...when I "did" Arlecchino, Lombardo's, Angel Sweet, Berto's, That's Amore, Gelato Spot, Gelato Premio for a business feature and was able to interview all and also tour their production areas. Personal preference comes down for Arlecchino (superb production standards, outstanding product), Berto's for general use (happens to be gelato of choice for most resorts, restaurants throughout region because of willingness to deliver custom flavors) at home, Lombardo's is very good and they're getting better (gelato makers eager to expand repertoire of flavors). Angel Sweet is big hit with many - Hiro is fabulous but also admits that production is geared toward "American taste - and Americans love lots of sugar." - a quote I don't think I included in the copy.) Gelato Premio's also quite good...That's Amore? I'll stay silent.

                                    1. re: Alice Letseat

                                      That's funny because Lombardo's tastes sweeter to me than Angel Sweet.

                                      1. re: IamJacksBrain

                                        And I found Arlecchino's to be sweeter than Gelato Spot AND Angel Sweet. But I'll have to give it another shot.

                                      2. re: Alice Letseat

                                        You'll stay silent? I could take that to mean at least two very different things. Have you tried the product? Thanks.

                                        1. re: johnseberg

                                          I think Alice is just remembering what happened when I openly dissed Arlecchino last year. It's still known by the regulars as Gelato-gate.

                                          1. re: johnseberg

                                            Sampled and toured each and every store - including their production areas, where "how to" was pretty thoroughly discussed (learned an awful lot about gelato production, at least in part from the folks I interviewed) - I reported on. How else would one cover a story? Didn't say nada 'bout Gelato Spot, neither.

                                          2. re: Alice Letseat

                                            Heh heh - too funny. By the way you wrote it - it looks like to me that the place that comes the closest to true Italian gelato (That's Amore) is the one you don't like? LOL

                                        2. I'm curious what brought about this explosion of gelato in Phoenix. It seems like most of these places have opened in the last year or two. Can the valley really support so many people offering what was traditionally more of a niche product? Or will this be a fad like Krispy Kreme?

                                          7 Replies
                                          1. re: ajs228

                                            Definitely a bit of a fad. Right now, everyone is trying to get in on the act. Even coffeehouses and other atypical types of places are offering gelato. After a few years, I think the interest will plateau and some of the marginal players will fade away. The best should persevere even after the fad peaks.

                                            1. re: silverbear

                                              Gelato and wine bars....we want to think we're San Francisco.

                                              1. re: Alice Letseat

                                                Yeah ... and then there's this cupcakes thing going on .. what's the next, best new thing? Wagyu/Korubutu meatballs with rice noodles and heirloom tomato sauce with pickled ramps? ...

                                                I've got it: falafel tacos with broccoli rabe wilted in balsamic vinegar, scattered with sauteed Maui onions and slathered in mint chutney, wrapped in a blue corn gordita ... ... ...

                                                ... ... ... Mmmm ... sounds good, eh?

                                                1. re: misohungrychewlow

                                                  Yes, but only if everything is hand-picked by Gila River schoolchildren.

                                                  1. re: misohungrychewlow

                                                    Miso, all I can say is please don't give The Powers That Be any ideas.

                                                2. re: silverbear

                                                  Yes, you know people are trying to cash in when you see places like Kasha's in the old Atlanta Bread Company space on Elliot.

                                                  The sign reads "Bakery, BBQ...and Gelato".

                                                  1. re: HeatmiserAZ

                                                    *choking on my water*... no way, too funny

                                              2. Agree w/ Molto E - Arlecchino is the best!

                                                Tried a new place in Glendale called Gelato Matto (59th Ave/Beardsley, in the same strip mall as Fry's and Sakana) a few weeks ago. My wife and I sampled a bunch of flavors, and couldn't find anything we liked. Not wanting to just walk out, we bought a small dish and ended up tossing most of it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: andyeats

                                                  I also have to disagree with Andy, too! I am hooked on Gelato Matto as well. True the lemon is great, but I think the best flavor is straciatella (like a vanilla chocolate chip).. Also loved the Banana Nut (tastes just like the bread), Cherry Vanilla, Mint Chocolate Chip and Mocha Almond Fudge. I know others who are big fans of the Orange, Pineapple, Hazelnut and Caramel. My god, this place rocks!

                                                2. coming soon to Chandler - another Gelato place (as if we didn't have enough).

                                                  Gelato Spot is going to open up a shop in the shopping center where the new Whole Foods will be (Ray and the 101).

                                                  1. wow i'm kind of shocked by this. we feel arlecchino's is by far the best around.

                                                    our daughter is allergic to dairy and eggs so we often do the fruit gelato when we are there. i've never had gelato where you could so taste the fruit. it's amazing. our favorites have been canteloupe, banana, watermelon, apple cider.

                                                    and for non-fruit, we feel the cortina is hard to beat (roasted almonds and ligonberries).

                                                    will say that we haven't tried angel sweet or lombardo's. while we like gelato spot, we don't even think it's in the same league.

                                                    2 Replies
                                                    1. re: ccl1111

                                                      you forgot about the best place of all, Gelato 64, on the northeast corner of elliot and dobson (same strip as lee lee's). their coconut is awesome, much better than angel sweet's.

                                                      1. re: dongstadden

                                                        Thanks for the heads-up, dongstadden. I was not aware of the gelateria there. I will definitely check it out on my next trip to Leelee's.

                                                    2. There's a place called Gelato Premio on Gilbert/Germann over in my neck of the woods. My favorite flavor is Birthday Cake - they even have colorful sprinkles on it!

                                                      1. There was a new flavor at Arlecchino tonight... It might appeal to fans of the Vosges Naga bar. I forget the name of the flavor, but it was roasted banana with golden raisins, rum, and curry. I tried a sample. Good, but I'm not sure I could handle a whole scoop. I had my usual... the Mistico!

                                                        1. Since this thread has been bumped, let me add an endorsement for a new shop called "Chill" at Apache & Dorsey in Tempe. It's in the same shopping center as Pita Jungle and Tasty Kabob and just down the street from Haji-Baba and Khai Hoan. It features gelato and tangy frozen yogurt with a nice assortment of toppings. I just wish they had more frozen yogurt flavors -- right now it's just two. In any case, it's a nice addition to Apache's under appreciated restaurant row.

                                                          1250 E Apache Blvd 104, Tempe, AZ 85281

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: silverbear

                                                            Arlecchino is my #1 -- artisan product (no commercially purchased base -- I believe they make it from scratch), clean flavors, not cloyingly sweet.

                                                            Alice Letseat - if it's possible, can you post a link to your 2007 Valley state-of-gelato article -- I would love to read it.

                                                            1. re: yasouyiayia

                                                              I'm in the minority on Arlecchino, I just wasn't impressed. I went a few months after he first opened and found the flavor good but the texture lacking. I might go back some time, but considering the customer unfriendly policies including a limit on samples (Chill and Lombardo's both happily let you sample the entire case if you want) and credit card minimums (which are against the merchant agreement), I'll just go somewhere where I feel like they're happy to see me.

                                                            2. re: silverbear

                                                              Chill is doing like most all of the tangy frozen yogurt places and just offering a couple of flavors. I know Pinkberry just expanded their line to three flavors, adding coffee to the regular and green tea flavors. Red Mango still has just the regular and green tea.

                                                              If you want multiple flavors of froyo, then THE place to go is Mesa Frozen Yogurt on Gilbert Road south of Southern (well, technically the southwest corner of Gilbert and Southern, but the strip mall is just THAT BIG). They have six flavors daily, and an impressive roster of flavors.

                                                              Mesa Frozen Yogurt
                                                              1356 S Gilbert Rd Ste 12, Mesa, AZ 85204

                                                            3. If you want real Gelato you will have to head South to Tucson. Here we have Frost, two locations. These folks imported an Italian Gelato Master from Italy so that they could make sure they were making the real deal.

                                                              Sorry Maricopa, you are just missing out!

                                                              Frost Gelato
                                                              7131 N Oracle Rd Ste 110, Tucson, AZ 85704

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: DriverPhil

                                                                Lombardo's worked with a gelato master - yeah, from Italy! - for almost a year, he trained Peter Lombardo (I seem to recall it's Peter) very well, indeed. And Berto's does research annually in Italy and has a master on staff. I can only think of a very few of Maricopa County gelateria's that don't import their equipment directly from Italy (even Berto's equipment is all Italian), and many also import their display cases so that the gelato is held at exactly the right temperature.. Now, Phil...wanna talk some more about "real deals" in gelatio? (And I'm sure Frost is very good, too!)

                                                                1. re: Alice Letseat

                                                                  Glad to hear that at least some of Maricopa is up to date.

                                                                2. re: DriverPhil

                                                                  I've gotta disagree with you, Phil. I've been trying to find good gelato here in Tucson for years, and I just don't think Frost is it. I found their texture weirdly gummy, and their flavors all too sweet. They're ok for an occasional scoop, but I think they miss the mark by a bit. I recently had a scoop at a new place called Fratelli which was pretty good. They had just opened, so I plan to give them another go. Phoenix still has us poor underfed southerners beat on the gelato front, with both Arlecchino and Angelsoft beating the best I can find here. On the upside, we have the better Mexican food (and the better college sports teams) (go Cats).

                                                                  1. re: Booklegger451

                                                                    I haven't tried Fratelli yet, but plan on doing that soon, and I wholeheartedly agree with you on Frost. I lived in Italy for four months last spring, so granted I have a higher standard for gelatos to measure up to, but I just do not get the obsession that people have with Frost! It's marginal at best. It's probably a TAD better than the "gelato" they have at Penguins or even the stuff at Melt in Park Place and Tucson Mall food courts. I sampled a few at Melt on two different occasions and actually wanted to vomit when I tried their version of pistachio (how hard can it be to screw up gelato? at worst you'd think it would taste like Breyer's ice cream...). Arlecchino in Phx is awesome, the closest I've had to real gelato since I was in Italy.

                                                                    I also agree with you on the sports teams...go cats! :)

                                                                3. Went to Arlecchino last night and had the "Black Dragon," which was dark chocolate gelato with dried raspberries and chili. OH MY. Sooooo good. The initial flavor is just the chocolate, which is great in and of itself, but then the chili warmth sort of sneaks in just as the gelato finishes melting in your mouth.... Fantastic! I guess I wish the raspberries had been a little more prevalent (more a texture thing than a taste one as it was) but overall reallyreally good.

                                                                  While no gelato in the Valley has matched the plum gelato I had in Rome last summer (San Crispino), Arlecchino's is a pretty good runner-up. I like that they have creative flavors in addition to the more standard ones too.

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: Bax

                                                                    Dang it... now I have to drive up to Phoenix. Again.

                                                                    1. re: Bax

                                                                      When I lived in Rome, I was at San Crispino multiple times per week...their meringue flavors were out of this world and something I'd never experienced before and have not experienced since! Mmmmmm