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Is Ici worth the wait?

We were walking to the Elmwood Filippo's last night and passed by a VERY long line out the door for Ici's. We thought there must have been a special event going on to draw such a crowd, but did not see any special signage (there was a chair massager outside though).

Was this normal for a Saturday night? The line was still 20 deep after dinner too around 8:30. I've been to Sketch a couple of times, but never Ici's. Is it worth the wait?

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  1. That's pretty normal for a Saturday night, I'd say -- lots of people coming from nearby restaurants or the movie theater and getting ice cream. I like Ici ice cream a lot, but I try to go at times when the line isn't as long.

    1 Reply
    1. re: JasmineG

      Went tonight for the first time. The line was formidable, at least a 20 minute wait. I would say it was worth it. We sampled the concord grape sherbet ( exactly like Welch's grape juice, not a compliment), the peanut butter chocolate chip (more like shaved chocolate, delicious), and candied ginger ( very good ginger spice and generous candied bits) but ultimately settled on the coconut toffee and the malted vanilla. I'm a Mitchell's kinda girl but the coconut toffee was insanely good in the tightly rolled sugar cone. I was extremely happy with the saltiness--any good toffee needs some measure of salt, and the coconut flavor was subtle. My fiance's malted vanilla was smooth, with gentle malt flavor and lots of vanilla. Yum, yum, yum.

    2. Ici is worth trying. The style of ice cream is not to my taste. Too sweet, thick and heavy.

      1. i think ici is totally worth trying. they've finally really hit thier stride and thier flavors are spot on. go around dinner time if you want to avoid the line. and if they have concord grape sorbet-get it

        1. For me, it's pretty expensive considering the portions but the ice cream sandwiches are awesome.

          7 Replies
          1. re: tempest40

            I used to think Ici was too expensive, but I recently took the kids to an amusement park and spent more than $5 per cone for small cones of merely serviceable Ben and Jerry's ice cream. I don't know if it was the amusement park mark-up or if that's a typical B & J price, but I was happy to spend $2.75 ("kid's" cone price -one scoop) for thoughtfully made ice cream on those super-tasty 'n' lovely-textured cones. That being said, some of their flavors are too weird for me. The peach and habanero sorbet was...unsettling. I'm not in the sweet and hot camp, though, unless ginger or cinnamon are involved. I did like the concord grape sherbet, though.

            1. re: MollyGee

              Was it Discovery Kingdom? Those prices were outrageous! I'll take Ici anytime!

              1. re: MollyGee

                A few places to consider with lower prices and nice handmade ice cream without the hoopala.

                Nieves Cinco de Mayo
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/434073

                Gelato Firenze (free size upgrade with theatre stub)
                http://www.chowhound.com/topics/437051

                So toofacetious, did you go? Did you wait? What did you think?

                I think Ici has improved a lot since it opened but am still slightly resentful of their working out the kinks on customers, especially at those prices. I would stop by if it was relatively empty to check out the current flavors. I would never wait in line. Obviously their hype machine worked ... they had glowing reports in the press weeks before they opened. Ici to me still doesn't respect their customers. It is like they are doing you the favor of allowing you to purchase the product. While the service is better, they still need to get a friendlier staff in the front of the house ... if not warm ... and least not icy. That, even more than the prices, keeps me from rushing back.

                Great macarons though.

                -----
                Ici Ice Cream
                2948 College Ave, Berkeley, CA 94705

                1. re: rworange

                  The servers at Ici have been very nice when I've been there.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                    I think that you've been pretty lucky. Lately the service there hasn't been bad, but I've had downright rude service at Ici, though mostly it's been just incompetent and very very slow (which is one reason why the line is unnecessarily long). They have been better about this recently, though, I think that they've been learning.

                  2. re: rworange

                    I had an early dinner with a friend (Shanghai -- love that 3-for-$15 menu!), and then went to Urban Ore in West Berkeley. Since I was craving ice cream (as I often do after Chinese food), and Sketch was nearby, we headed over there. At the end of a long, hot Saturday, they were sold out, and I was disappointed, because I've never managed to try their ice cream. To console myself, my friend and I headed back to Alameda via Fruitvale and stopped in at Nieves Cinco de Mayo. As she handed me my change, I realized that *two* double scoops of fresh, handmade ice cream there set me back less than one scoop at Sketch or Ici.

              2. I love Ici, but what truly makes it great are the homemade waffle cones that have a warm chocolate surprise at the base of the cone. Normally I wouldn't wait behind 20 people for an ice cream, but I would if it comes in of those cones.