HOME > Chowhound > Los Angeles Area >
Do you create unique foods? Share your adventure

Best Ice Cream Parlor in LA (like Farrells used to be)

roxhills Jan 6, 2008 08:13 AM

For my husband's 40th birthday, I want to surprise him and take him and our 3 kids, under 5 years old) for ice cream someplace great. My husband loved Farrell's as a kid and I am wondering if the current farrells is worth the trip or if we should try fosselmans or dr bob's.

We live in west LA but will travel 30-45 minutes.

Any suggestions?

  1. e
    estone888 Jan 6, 2008 08:21 AM

    Fosselman's, hands down, IMHO.

    1. s
      sel Jan 6, 2008 08:27 AM

      While I like both Dr. Bob's and Fosselman's ice creams, the later has a genuine old time ice cream parlor ambiance that my lads enjoy. And it's closer to WLA where you are comming from and also closer to a vast selection of Chinese cusine that I usually have before a trip to Fosselman's!!!

      1. Debbie W Jan 6, 2008 08:42 AM

        Be aware that Fosselman's doesn't have table service. You wait in line and get your goodies and then find your own table.

        1. j
          justagthing Jan 6, 2008 09:37 AM

          The one last Farrell's is located in Santa Clarita. My cousin had her hubby's 40th Bday there. It was quite fun. There is also mini golf and an arcade for the kids. Not exactly the same as the original Farrell's but they do have the Zoo and the Pig's Trough.

          1 Reply
          1. re: justagthing
            Dommy Jan 6, 2008 10:10 AM

            We LOVED Glacier ice cream in Manhattan Beach. The flavors were more rich and and flavors more spot on than Scoops. I had the Gingersnap... the darn best ginger bread ice cream since B&J Festivus (My all time fave ice cream) and Homemade Fudge, Peanutbutter and Oreo (yes, I did type that out right... and yes, now I can die happy).

            P. had birthday cake, which really had the fun taste of cake batter.

            Their in house waffle cones are also EXCELLENT, not to sweet, delicate so you can eat them really easy...

            We want to be back often, but our diet perfers we do otherwise... LOL!


          2. maxzook Jan 6, 2008 10:05 AM

            RIP C. C. Brown's and Soda Jerks.

            You mentioned Farrell's, Fosselman's and Dr. Bob's, all of which are a lot more than 45 minutes from West L.A.., so I'll recommend the Fair Oaks Pharmacy in South Pas which is a little closer and has the old-fashioned soda fountain vibe.

            Linking ...

            Fosselman's Ice Cream Co
            1824 W Main St, Alhambra, CA 91801

            Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain
            1526 Mission St South, Pasadena, CA 91030

            Dr Bob's HandCrafted IceCreams
            1101 W McKinley Ave, Pomona, CA 91768

            Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour
            21516 Golden Triangle Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91350

            8 Replies
            1. re: maxzook
              Emme Jan 6, 2008 10:36 AM

              These four would have been my suggestion, but I'll also throw in MILK as an option.

              1. re: maxzook
                sel Jan 6, 2008 02:39 PM

                I love the soda fountain that was relocated from a midwestern shop but the ice cream served at Fair Oaks Pharmacy & Soda Fountain is mediocre compared to Fosselman's and Dr. Bob's.

                1. re: sel
                  maxzook Jan 6, 2008 04:04 PM

                  Perhaps, but I think think the OP is going for the old-fashioned-soda-fountain vibe in preference to the gourmet-ice-cream vibe. Otherwise, I'd recommend Scoops or Milk over Farrell's.

                  Catching up on links ...

                  Disney's Soda Fountain & Studio Store
                  6834 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028

                  8209 W 3rd St, Los Angeles, CA

                  1. re: maxzook
                    wutzizname Jan 6, 2008 04:20 PM

                    Thanks, as always, for linking maxzook. On my computer, linking somehow remains an iffy function.

                  2. re: sel
                    Minimang Jan 13, 2008 11:17 AM

                    Funny, I am pretty sure they serve Fosselman's ice cream at the Fair Oaks Pharmacy.

                    1. re: Minimang
                      sel Jan 13, 2008 04:52 PM

                      Me too, I had read that they served Fosselman's but after a hot fudge sundae I asked and the server said that they did not. Maybe they once did and maybe they do now but they did not the few times that I've gone in the past. Still a cool soda fountain though!

                  3. re: maxzook
                    Minimang Jan 13, 2008 11:15 AM

                    I grew up going to Fair Oaks Pharmacy and Soda Fountain, my Nana used to have a toy store across the street. From the days when I needed help onto the stool to current day it has the same "Norman Rockwell" atmosphere and hands down best ice cream sodas anywhere. Fosselman's just opened another branch in San Marino on Huntington Dr. but the ice cream "joint" on Main in Alhambra is where they make the ice cream which comes in classic flavors like Rocky Road and Mint Chip to more exotics like Taro. Enjoy with your kids, I have many fond memories of both these places.

                    1. re: Minimang
                      chowhoundist Mar 25, 2009 09:02 PM

                      Me too. I grew up going to Fosselman's (and Kane's toys!-all time favorite toy store in the world). But I must say Fair Oaks Pharmacy has gone down hill lately. Really bad service and the management doesn't seem to care much about the condition of the place.

                  4. wutzizname Jan 6, 2008 11:47 AM

                    Understandably, this being Chowhound, the recs are starting to head toward "where to get the best ice cream" (which by the way has been covered a lot lately in other threads) as opposed to what it sounds like the original post is really looking for: a bell-ringing, celebration-place of an old-timey ice cream parlour. MILK has great product, but it certainly ain't that.

                    I'm no expert on the topic, having not been to any of the other recs, but I will throw out two more local destinations that seem to come closer in terms of environment:

                    The Disney Soda Fountain across from The Chinese on Hollywood (albiet a complete corporate refabrication).

                    And apparently, just up the block, Lickety Split is about to reopen.

                    1. j
                      jillso Jan 6, 2008 02:00 PM

                      Dr. Bob's has an ice cream shop? I thought he closed that 2 years ago?

                      Glacier has the best ice cream in Southern California, but it's not a Farrell's-type sitdown shoppe. You'd have to go to Doc Burnstein's way up in Arroyo Grande for the full-on ice cream shoppe experience

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: jillso
                        wutzizname Jan 6, 2008 03:52 PM

                        There's also Dewar's in Bakersfield for the real deal...but clearly Farrell's in Santa Clarita is a lot closer than both of those.

                        1. re: wutzizname
                          maxzook Jan 6, 2008 04:27 PM

                          The Disney Store soda fountain next to the El Capitan in Hollywood carries Dewar's ice cream.

                          Glacier Ice Cream & Gelato
                          1605 N Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266

                          Dewar's Candy Shop
                          1120 Eye St, Bakersfield, CA 93304

                          Lickity Split Cafe & Frozen
                          6708 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, CA

                          Doc Burnstein's Ice Cream Lab
                          114 W Branch St, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420

                      2. k
                        kel Jan 6, 2008 04:26 PM

                        MILK would not be too far: 7290 Beverly, 90036: 323 939 6455, but may I suggest going by first to check it out.

                        1. o
                          onebite Jan 6, 2008 04:28 PM

                          I predict that your kids will LOVE Farrell's, and your husband will be slightly disappointed, but still happy to see a bit of the old Farrell's. For those with fond memories of going to Farrell's as a kid (like me), there is really no substitute. The current Farrell's is not quite like what I remember, but close enough to count for a trip down memory lane. I vote for the long trip out to Santa Clarita.

                          1. r
                            rydyl Jan 6, 2008 04:58 PM

                            I loved Farrells as a kid and fondly remember having more than one birthday party there. The one I went to is just blocks from where I currently live. I've thought on many occasions that it would be great to have a place like that open back up.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: rydyl
                              roxhills Jan 6, 2008 07:39 PM

                              Thanks so much for all your help.

                              We have been to MILK (it is close) and enjoy it. but it isn't really what I had in mind.

                              I think I may go for the memory lane vibe or give Fosselmans a shot.

                              Scoops was bizarre the day we went. My 5 year old twins wouldn't eat anything they had. The choices were innovative but not at all kid friendly.

                              Is the ice cream at the Disney Soda Fountain decent? Otherwise, we're off to Farrells or Fossemans.

                              1. re: roxhills
                                J.L. Jan 7, 2008 01:11 AM

                                Agree that while Scoops is a Jewel of our beloved city, it is NOT a traditional soda fountain / ice creamery.

                                1. re: roxhills
                                  fdb Jan 7, 2008 01:23 AM

                                  While I love sampling all the "bizarre" flavors at Scoops, I agree that they are not kid friendly. Most kids stick with their familiar flavors. My daughter had a scoop of chocolate on our last visit. She wasn't really impressed. My son totally refused to sample anything.

                              2. s
                                Sarsa Jan 6, 2008 09:01 PM

                                Don't forget Handel's in Upland! Excellent Ice Cream and so is Fosselman's and Dr Bob's but niether of them are like Farrels.
                                I guess one has to drive to Santa Clarita for a Zoo or Pig Through...

                                1. Honeychan Jan 6, 2008 09:26 PM

                                  This is a tough thing, honestly. The Farrell's in Santa Clarita is NOT what we grew up with, as kids. This, coming from my mother who went for HER birthday (?!?) in July. I grilled her all about it, totally jealous she got to go. (why did my uncle think SHE wanted to go there, it was me!!) She relayed that it was only "okay, not worth the drive" and she lives in Burbank.

                                  Our childhood memories can be strong, and food memories can be the strongest. The whole Farrell's event when you're 10 years old was magical..(at least for me!) But, flash-forwards to being 40....It's different. Some things may be similar, but...I hate to say it...He may be dissappointed going there. Your kids?? They'll love it no matter what.

                                  But!! A trip to that Farrell's may still be a good thing, he can tell the kids about being a kid himself, and it could still be a very warm and fuzzy-feeling day. Possibly a bit melancholy, but hey...It still might be nice to visit. Please Tell us all where you end up going, and how it went.

                                  1. roxhills Jan 13, 2008 06:35 AM

                                    Thanks Hounds for all your suggestions.
                                    Yesterday turned out to be a tricky day as the 21 month old hound is getting over an icky stomach virus and there was a TERRIBLE accident on the freeway. So, we left the little guy with a babysitter and took the twins to the Disney Soda Fountain.

                                    For those of you who haven't been, it is attached to the lobby of the El Capitan. We arrived just before the 1 PM show started so the fountain was pretty quiet. We sat at the counter and had "lunch" The girls had Mickey Waffles and my husband and I had French Dips that were not anything to return for. My husband also had a cherry phosphate. I have nothing to compare it to but it was okay.

                                    The staff was nice but the service was a bit slow. When it was time to order dessert, they were very nice. They have 8 or so flavors or Dewars Ice cream which we had never had before. It was very good ice cream-- rich, creamy and memorable. Reminded me a bit of Graeters. The girls each picked an ice cream flavor and a topping. i had a black and white sundae-- vanilla ice cream topped with yummy, thick hot fudge topped with chocolate ice cream and a thick sweet marshmallow sauce topping with ground almonds. The birthday guy built his own Sundae. Everyone left happy.

                                    Considering the limitations of the day, it was really fun. We parked at Hollywood and Highland and they validated at the Soda Fountain.

                                    We still want to try Fossellmans and some of the others on a day when we have more time.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: roxhills
                                      sel Jan 13, 2008 09:39 AM

                                      Thanks for the follow up report! Dewar's in Bakersfield and The Disney Soda Fountain have been on my to try list for too long, when I hit Disney it will be for ice cream only! And do try Fosselman's, an authenic old time place that now has some great Asian flavor ice creams in addition to the usual vanilla, chocolate etc.

                                    2. d
                                      Diana Jan 14, 2008 07:57 AM

                                      Lucky Devil's is sort of like a soda fountain for grown ups!

                                      Show Hidden Posts