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REVIEW: Frati Gelato, Fullerton

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Frati Gelato (http://www.fratigelatocafe.com/) is a new, much needed gelateria in downtown Fullerton (Commonwealth just west of Harbor). The gelato is made on site by Dr. Anthony LuPriore who studied in Italy with Luca Caviezel, and the recipes and methods are authentic to traditional gelato making. Of course, the proof is in the eating and this gelato is excellent. There are about 10-12 flavors available every day, including the traditional choices straicatella, cioccolato, vaniglia, and a number of fresh fruit flavors straight or in combination. There are some more "modern" flavors such as peanut butter and a number of sorbeti made with fresh fruit. I have tried about ten of the flavors of both gelati and sorbeti and have not been disappointed, although I should point out that I am a traditionalist and stick with those flavors.

Dr. LuPriore and his family are delightful hosts and it is a very relaxed and friendly place. They also have panini that look quite good as well as Italian influenced coffee drinks.

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  1. Thanks for the review. I was at Ace Hardware yesterday and noticed Frati Gelato...and Mr OCAnn and I discussed whether we should try it. Having just come from dim sum @ Ten Ten Seafood, we opted to try it the following weekend.

    1. We just visited this evening and were very kindly treated by Dr. Anthony's brother-in-law, who is his partner. They had an interesting fig gelato this evening, as well as other fruity sorbetti and traditional gelati. My sister had asked for gianduja and after he consulted with Anthony, he treated us to a cup of nutella gelato, saying it should be about the same as gianduja — very nice people. They have comfortable wicker chairs and one table on the sidewalk that we enjoyed. They are open until 11 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and that gelato goes down really smoothly.

      1. We drove all the way from Irvine to Fullerton to try their gelato and were really disappointed. We tried eight flavors and they were all too sweet for our taste.Their cappuccino and espresso was way too strong and the espresso lacked any crema. It almost tasted like a bitter regular coffee. What a waste of gas.

        2 Replies
        1. re: mrsjoujou

          I didn't try their coffee but have now tried 5 kinds of gelato. I didn't find them too sweet at all. The only criticism I might have of the flavors is that they weren't quite as aggressive as I would like. The smoothness is amazing, but I believe that flavors I had during my summer in Sicily were a bit more vibrant.

          1. re: JH Jill

            Well, compared to the best gelato shops in this country or Italy, The flavors we tried, were too sweet and not intense or vibrant as you mentioned.

        2. Just had my first panini there today -- it was very, very good. Fresh mozza, capicolla, arugula... on an artisan bread, grilled to order. Sides were very Italian and flavorful (I had the garbanzos with carmelized onion/olive oil and a touch of balsamic. So nice that it was room temp, not refrigerator cold. Only tasted three gelatos. The candied fig was quite sweet (natch) but the signature mascarpone with pine nuts was delish. I finally selected the hazelnut. Texture of all was dead on... I can't wait to try the lemon next time. I consider the versions I tried far superior to those made/offered in old towne Orange at Cafe Lucca.

          My espresso was just fine (nice crema, not harsh). I got out with an $11 tab which I thought was a good deal.

          The owners are extremely warm and accomodating. I'll be back and send my friends. Careful, quality fare is desperately needed in downtown Fullerton where there is alot of restaurants but little food, if you get my drift.

          5 Replies
          1. re: OCBites

            I think your last point is really important. Fullerton has a lot of potential but it needs quality establishments like this one. I'm going to San Diego today and I'm going to have dinner at the Linkery http://thelinkery.com/ and I think to myself why can't Fullerton support a place like this (or anywhere in Orange County)? Among millions of people there must be enough to appreciate very high quality local ingredients cooked simply and presented in an unpretentious neighborhood setting. So, I may be kidding myself but I think supporting entrepreneurs such as Dr. LuPriore will lead to a change in the food culture...

            1. re: stuffed

              I second this sentiment.

              There are three very good restaurants in the area, but none of them on Harbor Blvd btwn Santa Fe/Commonwealth and Chapman Ave:
              - RUTA's is on Pomona Ave;
              - THE OLDE SHIP is north of Chapman; and
              - SIDNEY'S is east of Harbor.

              The City has been quick to accept RFPs from average to sub-average restaurateurs which litter the City's cute thoroughfare. The one thing I AM looking forward to is the return of FUN SUSHI MOMO.

              I LOVE the City's dog park...now if they can make a nice cafe that will accommodate dogs while I enjoy Sunday b'fast would be great.

              1. re: OCAnn

                Sidney's is closed. Or so I hear. Possiblly replaced by the Rialto Cafe? Haven't walked the block in a month or so, so can't be 100% sure on that.

                1. re: Taxpayer624

                  I drove by today and the Rialto Cafe seems to be open. I will probably try and stop by there in the next week or two.

                  Also, since we're including other establishments in this thread, has anyone been to the place on Commonwealth near Richman called the 419 Veronese Cafe?

                  1. re: stuffed

                    Veronese is a pretty tea room in a vintage building on that stretch of Commonwealth that's pretty rough around the edges. It's a Korean style tea room. Prices feel too high for the quality of food (meh) and beverages, though the tea selection is nice. Funky, charming setting for a cuppa and chat with friends.... better chow and drinks at places nearby. That's my experience...

          2. We finally tried Frati. I had their signature gelato, the mascarpone/pistachio/pine nuts mix which had chuncks of nuts (nice!). I liked it, but couldn't finish it for some reason...it was rich, as it should be, but maybe too rich for me.

            Mr OCAnn, OTOH, had frozen yogurt from CeFiore on the other side of Harbor Blvd.

            In any case, it's great having a good neighbourhood gelato shop....