HOME > Chowhound > San Diego >


Locally-owned Ice Cream/Gelato places in SD

  • b

Where are the locally-owned Ice Cream/Gelato/Sorbet parlors around San Diego? I've managed to find almost every chain imaginable (Maggie Moo's, Coldstone, B&R, etc.), but while they're generally good, they lack the personal touch of the family-owned parlors. Any suggestions?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I like Mariposa on Adams and 34th in Normal Heights. It's a mom and pop place, and I recommend the Mexican Hot Chocolate ice cream-- it's chocolate with cinnamon flavor.

    1. Niederfrank's in National City is an independent old fashioned ice cream parlor, as is Mariposa on Adams in Normal Heights. Scoop in South Park also sells Niederfrank's ice cream. Gelato Vero on India at Washington and Pappalecco in Little Italy are good independent Gelaterias.

      I think Mootime Creamery is also locally owned - but I could be wrong, they have an outlet in Coronado and used to have a couple of others, but I think the might have closed. There is definitely one in the Hotel del Coronado though. It's somewhat like Coldstone/Maggie Moos, but a slightly better product. I also recall reading about a good independent gelateria in Coronado on Chowhound a while back - might want to do a search for that.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Alice Q

        I am pretty sure the Coronado Mootime is the only location. It's too bad, as the UC location was a favorite of mine.

      2. My favorite locally-owned ice cream is at Oasis Ice Cream Parlor, in Imperial Beach. While not called gelato, the very dense, airless ice cream is gelato-esque in texture. The guy who makes it uses a very rich cream, and only cream - no egg yolks involved. I can't speak highly enough of this stuff, it is incredible.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Josh

          Oasis' web site:

          Cheesy, but don't let that influence you. Their ice cream is the best I've had in SD, including Mariposa, and Gelato.

        2. We just bought an ice cream maker after discovering there really are no down-home local ice cream joints in the north coast county region.

          1. Maybe Gelato Vero or Mondo Gelato?

            4 Replies
            1. re: jessicah

              I believe Gelato Vero used to make Gelato for all the San Diego parlors but am not sure these days since the owner was killed.

              1. re: MrKrispy

                I thought the owner died from a heart attack. . .anyway, the gelato is still very, very good.

                1. re: jmtreg

                  He did - on the premises I believe. Gelato Vero sell ice cream thru several smaller vendors including the street stand in OB (can't remember the name right now) and the coffee shop in Kensington that used to be Kensington Coffee Co - I think they changed their name to San Diego Coffee Co. or something like that.

                  1. re: Alice Q

                    my fault. I only remember the initial report of him being found in the freezer and the news alluded to murder. Must have stopped on Fox News on accident.

                    Still a tragedy, and I am thrilled they were able to stay open.

            2. Cafe Zucarro on India St., I like the taste and creaminess (sans the cream).

              1. Although a "chain" Maggie Moo's is indeed locally owned and made. And pretty good stuff...

                1. Mariposa is always great. They are always adding new flavors, last night they had Butterfinger. They are locally owned and involved inthe neighborhood. Recently San DIego Magazine rated them as the best ice cream in San DIego.!

                  They are on Adams Avenue

                  Mariposa Ice Cream
                  3450 Adams Ave, San Diego, CA 92116

                  1. Word on the street is that Zarlitos Filipino Family Restuarant opened a small gelato shop inside the restuarant. There it's been said they serve a gelato made entirely from ferrero rocher''s that's supposed to be awesome.

                    Also..Conching's Ice Cream Parlor serves some tropical and exotic ice cream flavors; Jackfruit,Ube ( Purple Yam), Mango, Avocado and others as well as my favorite Mais Con Queso. Conching's Ice Cream Parlor makes a really good Halo-Halo - a mix mix of shaved ice, condensed milk, sweet beans, and fruit topped with ice cream. Oooh, that stuff is so good on a HOT day.

                    Both Filipino joints are around National City....go go go check it out!

                    1. You could try out the Daily Scoop in Southpark, it's on Juniper and 30th, right where 30th turns into fern street. It's a nice little ice cream shop.

                      The Daily Scoop
                      3004 Juniper St, San Diego, CA 92104

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: hctrimmer

                        They get their ice cream from Niederfrank's - which is also a local company. Mr. Niederfrank also passed away relatively recently, and I think the shop is struggling a bit. Support these local shops if you can, if we lose them we lose a piece of the community.

                        Niederfrank's Ice Cream
                        726 A Ave, National City, CA 91950

                        1. re: Alice Q

                          Niederfrank's has been around since I was little - and that's a LONG time! I was just discussing this with a couple of coworkers today, as the talk turned to St. Patrick's Day and McDini's was brought up in the discussion. I said, "then we could head over to Niederfrank's for ice cream", and I was surprised no one had even heard of it. I think it's a testament to quality and a loyal customer base that enables a place to stay open that many years, especially in an area that doesn't get alot of traffic and isn't going through a building "boom". So, whether you get it from Daily Scoop or right from the Niederfrank's storefront, I agree with Alice - support them if you can!

                          1. re: Alice Q

                            I love Niederfrank's! Are the prices for a half gallon the same as if I go to Niederfrank's?

                        2. Centifonti's in downtown La Mesa has a wide variety of gelato and the owner is an excellent chocolatier. I heard the food was good - haven't tried it yet. They have a coupon on Fox6 ads...google it.

                          1. i can't believe no one has mentioned bubby's gelato in encinitas!

                            Bubby's Gelato
                            937 S Coast Highway 101 Ste 106, Encinitas, CA 92024