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Best Gelato

Hey 'hounders,

Since the weather's getting warmer, I'm craving for some dense, creamy gelato. I would like to know who has the best gelato in Manhattan?

I've been to L'Arte del Gelato recently and it's still as good as I've remembered. I want to revisit Otto for their awesome olive oil coppetta (and want to try their rhubarb, too - sounds interesting). Has anyone been to Grom recently? I haven't been there for nearly a year. I've been to Cones but I don't feel swooned by it.

As for other suggestions or thoughts about what I've mentioned, it will help.

Thanks in advance,


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  1. I'm assuming you've been to Laboratorio? I went to Grom's for the first time a couple of months ago and thought it was wonderful, but I think I don't eat enough gelato to do fair comparisons! That Otto olive oil one does stand out in my mind, and I'm glad you mentioned rhubarb - would love to try that.

    1. Otto is still my favorite. I recently went to the Bleecker Grom and thought it was great: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/512362. Il Lab is great too. I like Cones, but it's a different type of "gelato." My favorite flavor is the zabaglione.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Lucia

        Is it just me or is Cones sweeter than other gelato?

        1. re: cimui

          Sweeter than Grom for sure, I'm not sure than L'Arte or Otto. I'm not particularly sensitive to too much sugar.

          1. re: Lucia

            I do quite like my sugar, don't get me wrong -- but for some reason in cold foods like gelato, high sugar content masks other flavors for me. At least that's why I think I've never liked Cones as much as the other places you mention. Grom on the other hand... I could die happy after being dropped into a giant vat of their gelato, being forced to eat my way out -- and expiring as I eat the very last bite... (But only after I'd swallowed it, of course.)

        2. il laboratorio del gelato on the lower est side. the thai chili chocolate is amazing.

          1. Probably I should have listed where i've been to:

            Grom (a year ago; from the first time: very good when it opened; then they tanked when they became stingy with the portions, and the last time I went there, I thought it was good, not great)
            Il Laboratorio del Gelato (good but not great)
            Cones (not too thrilled with it)
            Otto (in my mind, the best so far)
            L'Arte del Gelato (it's not sublime but in my opinion, better than il lab's because of the portions and the way they scoop the gelato)

            Has anyone tried Gottino's gelato? I read it from NY Magazine and Time Out NY that it's pretty good. I know it's a wine bar but I'm willing to go to restaurants for divine gelato.

            14 Replies
            1. re: chocokitty

              I often wonder whether scarcity has anything to do with how much I enjoy Grom. Those portions *are* small. For the record, the one in the west village doesn't do the levelling off thing and I think the one on the UWS stopped doing it, too, after being called out on Chowhound, Eater, and some other boards.

              1. re: chocokitty

                Gottino's is from Capogiro in PA, which I've never had but heard good things about. I had a scoop once at the end of the meal. I recall it being very good, but not divine, and not worth going out of your way for. It might have to do with having to store and ship the gelato to NY.
                By the way, portions at Grom weren't stingy at the Bleecker location--none of the levelling that was happening at first on the UWS. The slow service hasn't changed at all, though.

                1. re: Lucia

                  So this begs the question, where else can I find gelato?

                  Unless I have to trek out to Brooklyn...

                  1. re: chocokitty

                    Here again is another great thing about NYC. Unlike far too many other cities, we've a fair number of decent choices to compare.

                    L'Arte del Gelato is my favorite on your list (but haven't had Otto's).
                    I like Capogiro's when I'm in Philly, but haven't had any of theirs here. Not sure how well it travels.

                    You didn't mention Ciao Bello (I know I invite the slings & arrows of some hounds by including them, but I really like some of their flavors, albeit their sorbettos are usually superior to their gelato).

                    Anyone know what became of that little gelato counter that was in the front of a small Italian restaurant on 4th ave just a few blocks north of the Astor St subway stop? The restaurant closed maybe 4 yrs ago if I remember right. I think Ed Levine raved about their gelato years ago. I had to agree - they had some out-of-this-world stuff there.

                    1. re: racer x

                      I don't like Ciao Bello's gelato. The only time I ever want to get their stuff is when I'm dying for one in the middle of Grand Central Station...and that's a rare occurrence.

                      1. re: chocokitty

                        I agree with racer X that while Ciao Bello's gelato isn't that great, their sorbets are very good.. Very true to the real taste of the fruits, and sometimes with a twist of alcohol.

                        1. re: kobetobiko

                          I second your assessment on Ciao Bella. I'm not sure why L'Arte is so popular. It seems plasticky to me. My favorite is Grom with Il Lab coming in a close second.

                      2. re: racer x

                        The much-missed (at least by me!) little bar attached to Siracusa/Bussola on 4th Avenue. Loved that place--they had great espresso, too, and they used to make this excellent savory vegetable pie. The restaurant is Ippudo now.

                        1. re: scrittrice

                          Ah, yes! Thanks for the reminder - Bussola. With google's help, I see that Gino Cammarata was the gelato master there and that, according to ed levine's blog, Cammarata is back in business now making gelato in Brooklyn.

                          Also, from some old reports (Gael Greene at NY Magazine and Ed Levine at the slice blog) it looks like several Manhattan restaurants have carried Cammarata's gelato in the past (most recently Celeste, but also Il Cantinori, Bellini, Da Umberto, and Sistina). Not sure whether any of these places still do, however.

                        2. re: racer x

                          Just wanted to mention that you can get some of Capogiro's gelatos at Whole Foods. At $10/pint, it's more expensive at other offerings, but should be comparable to getting gelato at a store.

                          btw, chocokitty, I've seen your blog before (not from this site), and I have to say your pics are divine!

                          1. re: Miss Needle

                            I don't think it's 100% comparable to getting gelato at a storefront/factory because if the gelato melts a little and refreezes, the consistency is greatly affected, as gelato is supposed to be made and kept in a forced air type freezer. And isn't the best gelato is made fresh daily anyway? A friend who's tried Capogiro on site AND from a grocery store says the two don't really compare. Alas.

                            1. re: kathryn

                              When I said it was comparable, I was talking in terms of price, not quality. People tend to balk at spending $10 for a pint at a market but generally won't think twice paying $15 for the same amount of gelato at a store. I totally agree with you that there's a difference getting it at a store and getting it at the market.

                              1. re: Miss Needle

                                Ah, understood! And I agree with you about the price factor!

                            2. re: Miss Needle

                              Thanks for the compliment Miss Needle! It's a weird obsession I have. Haha...

                    2. I've never been, but there was an article in the Times (I think) not too long ago about the gelato (supposedly amazing) at Da Enzo (9th at 37th). Don't know anything else about the place or their food menu, though.

                      ETA: Whoops - it was actually NY Magazine, and apparently it's now closed...can anyone confirm?

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: biondanonima

                        Yes, Da Enzo has closed!!! They were also theSiracusa/ Bussola family. Keeping an eye out for a new opening from them. Will post as soon as I see something.....hopefully very soon. The very best gelato ever!!

                      2. Does anyone know which restaurant it is in midtown -- I think in the 50s near 6th ave. -- that has a gelato counter out front in the summer? A chowhound mentioned it last year, but it was late in the season and I didn't get to try it before it became too cold, and the outdoor counter closed. If it's back this year, I still want to try.

                        4 Replies
                          1. re: racer x

                            You REALLY know your dessert / gelato places, lady. :) Thanks!

                            1. re: racer x

                              Yep, that's the one - its on 55th, near 6th. I walk by every day. I didn't sample their stuff last year, but I have to say, it LOOKED more like traditional ice cream than gelato. I assume they'll be putting the cart soon, so I'll report back when I see it!

                              1. re: racer x

                                Looks like they're not doing the gelato thing this year - I walk by every day on my way to and from the office and the cart isn't there. :(

                            2. Having tried Grom, Il Laboratorio, Cones, L'arte, and Otto so far, I'd rank them this way:

                              1. Laboratorio
                              2. Otto (olive oil)
                              3. Grom
                              4. L'arte (from what I remember...which is hazy)
                              5. Cones

                              Il laboratorio is my favorite by a longshot. Really amazing gelato.

                              The Vegetarian New Yorker: http://vegny.blogspot.com/

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: shivohum

                                OP posted a followup saying she'd been to all those spots and wanted more -- can you think of any others?

                                Hard to believe that the collective knowledge of CH can only come up with Gottino, Osteria del Circo, and the now closed Da Enza/Bussola family.

                                1. re: kathryn

                                  Well, there are other places that have gelato (for instance, they've got gelato at Tarallucci e Vino on 1st ave and at Bruno's Pasticceria), but the OP wants a recommendation of The Best, which is a different matter. Maybe there are no other contenders for The Best at the moment (blame it on the frozen yogurt craze).

                                  1. re: racer x

                                    what's your take on bruno's, racer?

                                    1. re: cimui

                                      I've never had it. Their pastries always get to me first.

                                    2. re: racer x

                                      I'm w/racer x on this one. E.g. there's gelato at Rocco's. While I love it for pastries, it's not a go-to for gelato, esp. w/so many other options nearby. And, there's a gelato counter at Buon Italia, but I've never been to it w/L'Arte del Gelato under the same roof.

                                      1. re: Lucia

                                        In reply to your comment Lucia, a friend of mine tried Buon Italia's gelato a summer or two ago and she said the pistachio flavor was awful. I heart pistachio gelato when it's done right.

                                2. I'm on board with l'arte. i think the flavors are good at labboratorio, but when it comes to gelato it's all about texture. l'arte is the only place i've had in NY that comes close to what you get in Italy. everything else is too hard, to me its just regular ice cream.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: Renguin

                                    Yeah, that's the one thing that bugs me about Il Lab. They serve their gelato way too cold. Gelato should be more spreadable. It's not just the texture but affects the taste as well. If you like the texture of L'Arte, you should give Grom a try (if you haven't already).

                                  2. Well, I pass by Grom UWS fairly often. The lines have been non-existent. Today, I actually walked in to taste it again after over a year. I had been one of the folks who chimed in about their 'scooping techniques' on this board. I felt they were purposely scooping slowly to create long lines and limit the amount of gelato per customer.

                                    Anyway, today I actually felt bad for them. It was a Saturday afternoon in May, and there was only one person in there who was headed out when I walked in. That was it. No lines; no people. Granted, it was only 50 degrees and just barely, partly sunny but it really does look like people caught on.

                                    Anyway, I tried the Gianduja and it tasted really good. No, it'll never be as good as what I had in Sorrento but it was better than I had remembered... or maybe it was b/c I felt bad for them.

                                    Out of Cones, L'arte, Grom and Otto, Otto's olive oil gelato blows everything away.
                                    I don't believe I've tasted Il Lab.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: nativeNYer

                                      I walked past the new Bleecker St. location last weekend (perhaps the weekend prior?), when it was gorgeous out, and the line was two dozen people deep. So maybe the UWSers have learned but not the folks who live downtown? :)

                                      Otto's olive oil gelato is amazing but I have the sinking suspicious that they're using more milkfat than other gelatos (5-8%) ... which makes it ice cream. Not gelato, technically. That could account for the amazing mouthfeel.

                                      1. re: kathryn

                                        ... and according to the comments above, it looks like they are not leveling at the WV location. Smart move. Oh, and, yup, I'm sure whatever is in Otto's gelato is very, very bad but since I'm not an ice cream lover, I'm not sure it's the extra milkfat that is doing it for me.

                                    2. The Olive Oil is a gelato for all seasons, but I recommend branching out further at Otto. The best gelatos/coppettas I've had there are seasonal ones, most memorably Meyer Lemon (circa February) and Corn (July/August).

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: D...DF

                                        I agree w/this advice. I usually get at least one other flavor w/my olive oil when I order gelato. Sometimes I end up wishing I'd just stuck with the olive oil, but once in a while I end up happy with my decision to explore, most notably with the sweet corn and ricotta flavors.

                                      2. Had my first taste of Otto's olive oil gelato yesterday. Didn't care for the taste of it much, although I liked the way it feels in your mouth. I brought a pint home and salvaged it with fresh strawberry sauce and whipped cream.

                                        Also tried Grom's on Bleecker. There was an overwhelming sense of deja vu as I walked in (maybe I've had it before at the UWS location and just don't remember when). Portions were on the small side, but I probably wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been reading this thread. The gianduja and pistachio were so so. The vanilla left a lot to be desired - tasted like microscopic ice crystals and lacked the creaminess of the other flavors, plus the vanilla taste was very weak.
                                        This month Grom's gelato flavors bear a very heavy chocolate and coffee influence - I generally don't like either of these flavors much in gelato or ice cream. Overall, not too thrilled with Grom.

                                        1. I just received an email from Capogiro that they have opened a gelato stand in Rockefeller Center for the summer. It's open daily from 12 to 8 and it's on the landing neat the Prometheus statue.

                                          10 Replies
                                          1. re: aunteejoy

                                            Thanks for that great piece of news!

                                            1. re: Miss Needle

                                              Anyone been to the capogiro stand recently? What flavors do they have? Work right around there and cannot wait to try it for the first time.

                                              1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                I haven't been there, but read on a blog that they only offer three flavors.

                                                1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                  I've gone a couple of times now and they've had Lemon, Pineapple with Mint (my personal favorite) and Bacio. I've heard that they're going to change the flavors every once in awhile though. Warning: The drinks that are being served are not from Capogiro's, are supersweet and don't complement the gelato and sorbetto. Stick to a bottle of water.

                                                  1. re: TiffMoni

                                                    finally went to the stand on a day they were there. tried all 3 flavors. the sorbetto were a bit on the sweet side for me. pineapple with mint started off weird, but grows on you. loved the bacio. nice rich chocolate with loads of crunchy nuts.

                                                    on a somewhat unrelated topic, i tried the chocolate sorbet at la maison du chocolate. it's different and well worth trying.

                                                    1. re: FattyDumplin

                                                      Me too--just went Monday and had the bacio. The flavor was great--very rich, and I loved the hazelnut brittle chunks. Unfortunately, the texture suffers some from the freezing and transportation to NYC. It was a bit too icy (visibly so) and hard at first, but it did soften quickly. I'm not sure it's going to be as good as you can get in Philly, and I'd still prefer to go to one of our homegrown spots or Grom (if not for selection alone), but Capogiro is a good option in Rock Center.

                                              2. re: aunteejoy

                                                that is awesome news. we keep getting great Philly imports! do they have their thai coconut milk one? my fave.

                                                Is L'arte the gelato area that is inside the Italian market inside Chelsea market?

                                                1. re: jeanki

                                                  No, L'Arte is the stand in the kitchenwares store in Chelsea Market. They also have a store in the W Vill.

                                                  1. re: jeanki

                                                    There's a map of the shops here lartedelgelato.com/location.html

                                                    L'Arte has a 3rd branch at Lincoln Center Plaza, although I've never been there.

                                                    1. re: racer x

                                                      It's a seasonal outdoor cart (May-Oct?), fairly recent. I think they only started it up last year.

                                                  1. I really liked the gelato at Pierre Marcolini -- the brand is Taste, and it's only served there...

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: shivohum

                                                      Thanks for the tip. The chocolate and hazelnut were outtasight. The fruit flavors looked tempting too.

                                                    2. just got back from a week in Rome and a week in Venice, trying different gelato places once or twice a day, including the major ones mentioned on the Italy board. Most were great, though I'm amazed at how many clearly pre-packaged, fairly blah places there were (often with the biggest lines). We found a place off-the beaten path in Venice that had by far the best--so much so we rushed back that night, taking an hour detour just to taste their out of this world extra dark chocolate sorbetto. Yes, you're right--it was GROM, which I knew looked vaguely familiar from my having seen (but never had a chance to go in) the Bleeker St. location. Hope they taste as good as they did there.

                                                      1. Tried the Grom gelato (W.village location) a few days ago and maybe my expectations were too high, but I was disappointed! I prefer il laboratorio, without a doubt. I tried the vanilla chocolate chip version, as well as the apricot. Apricot was definitely better, but still think laboratorio has them beat..

                                                        1. I know that Ciao Bella isn't everyone's favorite around here, but I just had some of their seasonal flavor "Key Lime and Graham Cracker." You should really try it before it's gone.

                                                          1. Based on the lines and number of locations Pinkberry is the best ;). I would rather have tongue surgery than eat it myself. I'll stick with Cones.

                                                            1. don't hate me for this (as i can't remember the name of the place) so if it's been talked about here... sorry...
                                                              there's a place on the corner of Barrow and 7Avenue... (an old Hagen Daaz store). That gelato was the best i've ever had. small store front, freindly staff (i think i tasted about 3-4 before buying)... Delious!
                                                              if anyone knows the name of the place of which I speak... please let me know.. if you don't know this place... CHECK IT OUT !!!

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: mskier

                                                                That's L'Arte del Gelato--discussed above.

                                                              2. I'm gonna go back to an old favorite today-Cafe Dante on MacDougal. Haven't been in years. Do they make their own gelato?