Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Ontario (inc. Toronto) >
Aug 2, 2008 01:06 PM


Yes, yet another post on gelato, but I would love an update. I read about Gelato Fresco and called them but unfortunately, they're only open M-F during office hours, so I wouldn't be able to make it there. I did see some limited flavours at Loblaws today, but is the price about 5.49 for 500m sound right? Does Highland Farms sell it as well?

Where else would I find really great gelato uptown (I personally don't like Tropical Treets) in containes to bring home? I live in Scarborough but wouldn't mind to drive a bit. Downtown would be too far, as I would want to just run in and get some and get back in my car, and also, it would probably melt, despite my cooler.

I would like to try the ice-cream type gelato over the sorbet type ones.

Also, I saw another brand at No Frills today, I think it was called Dorgel's? Not sure how that one would taste but the flavor I wanted (hazelnut) was sold out.

Any ideas would be appreciated! (Forgot to add - a place where the gelato is not overly sweet would be great)!

Thanks fellow Chows!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Il Gelatiere, better than everybody else in the city (Hollywood, Solferino, La Paloma, Bravo, Dolce).

    Eglington & Mt. Pleasant

    7 Replies
    1. re: aser

      Really? I've read great reviews on Hollywood and La Paloma). I'll check it out the next time I'm in the area. Thank you.

      1. re: red dragon

        Il Gelatiere is the best in the city, hands down!!!

          1. re: millygirl

            Oh how I miss Il Gelatiere....but since I moved to the St. Clair West, La Paloma is about a 5 - 10 minute walk away, so I am making do with it. I rarely find myself East of Yonge these days....I guess I need to make a pilgrimage to Mt. Pleasant and see if Alessandro has come up with anything new...I hope the Zuppa Inglese is still as good as I remember....

        1. re: red dragon

          I'm on the Il Gelatiere bandwagon. Went there last night and had white chocolate and pistachio... amazing.


        2. re: aser

          Yes, Il Gelatierie. Authentic Italian without paying the airfare to go. WIll be making a trip there for their cioccolato con pepperoncino.

          1. re: aser

            Il Gelatiere is great, but one bone to pick there. You virtually never see anyone getting a take-out container. Likely has to do with the cost of $30 per kilo or $15 per a 500 gram container. Now by weight that 500 gram container is virtually equal to the standard 500ml container that Hollywood charges just under $8 for.The (very nice) lady serving at Il G. explained the weight - volume difference , but when I WEIGHED Hollywood's take out , it was a tad short of 500 grams. Bottom line G's is twice the price to take home. I love it , but they could consider repricing, or maybe that's the idea.No price break on a 3 portion order is not a good thing IMO. BTW they had merenga or meringue flavour last week that was to LIVE for. That did it ...up the road I go.It's tough living 5 minutes from them /Hollywood and working 5 from Solferino. Everybody now....AHHH !

            1. re: embee

              I concur - Il Gelatiere is the best in the city. Alessandro (the owner) has two gelaterias in Rome, so he knows a thing or two about putting out an authentic product. The pistachio is fantastico!

              1. re: janetzuccarini

                Thanks for all your feedback!! Thanks Embee for your advice on Dorgel!

            2. Whatever you do, avoid Faema in Sherway Garden at all costs. Yuck. That's all I can say. Don't ask me why I decided to give it a try - just had a craving. Left me VERY unsatisfied. I'll be trying Il Gelatiere later today, as well as Hollywood for a side-by-side comparison as long as my stomach has room (need to stop by for a beef refill at Cumbrae's and get some baked goods in the area - why not top it all off with an ice-cold dessert?). Will post photos later today/tomorrow.
              Estufarian has a very comprehensive and knowledgeable posting on Gelato at the following link:

              Cheers and Happy Eating!

              1. Without a doubt, the best gelato is at Hollywood. I have had gelato in Italy on numerous occasions and both Hollywood and It Gelatiere are both comparable, but the long line-ups and very poor service at the latter make it less favorable than Hollywood. PS. The ultimate combination that puts Hollywood over the top is a scoop of their Blood Orange Gelato with scoop of dark chocolate. I have not seen blood orange anywhere else and it is so good. For a less authentic but equally delicious flavour, I also love their Key lime Pie and Coconut Cream Pie. Yum!

                4 Replies
                1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie

                  I agree. I really liked Il Gelatiere but Hollywood is just better IMHO.
                  Now, that said, I'm basing my argument on the fact that I like the flavours better at HG.


                  1. re: Toronto Fastfoodie

                    I just had the blood orange gelato at Ed's Real Scoop, in the Beaches, a few days ago. Thought it was lovely. It was my first time there, so I'm not a long-time patron, but I liked what I had. And the aroma of fresh waffle cones being made in a corner of the shop is not to be dismissed...

                    1. re: punchythecat

                      Just stay away from the Pistachio gelato at Ed's. I bought a pint last week without sampling first, and it was one of the most artificial tasting Pistachio's I've ever tasted. At Ed's, it's much safer to stick to the icecream flavours.

                    2. re: Toronto Fastfoodie

                      I disagree... at Hollywood - the kids you need to buy your ticket from barely notice when customers are there where the warm and friendly Alessandro welcomes everyone... both have good flavours (hollywood has more ice cream like flavours where il gelatiere is traditional gelato) Only negative I have about Il Gelatiere is their bacio... Hollywood just tastes more artificial to me where Il Gelatiere is more homemade.

                    3. You'll be 'challenged' in the east-end. Doubly so if you want less sweetness.
                      Il Gelatiere was superb last year - this year it has dropped a level (or two). In particular its products seem much sweeter (to me at least). It's also the most expensive place BY FAR. A 500ml carton (the same size as the Gelato Fresco one you saw for $5.49 - incidentally most places that one is $5.99) will cost between $15 and $18 - Il Gelatiere sells bulk by weight (not volume), hence the variability. The one flavour I do recommend this year at Il Gelatiere is Passion Fruit. Solferino is also good (and cheaper) but again, this year, seems sweeter.
                      If you prefer chocolate, then Soma in the Distillery district is good (but again expensive) - a much cheaper option is Xococava (bulk is $7.95) but they have a VERY small selection - high quality but not particularly innovative flavours.
                      Of the others mentioned (so far) in this thread:
                      Hollywood: one of the sweetest - but also one of the cheapest (IIRC Blood Orange is out-of-season now, the Blood oranges start in January and are pretty much gone by July). I've seen both Gelato Fresco and Metropolitan Blood Orange at retail (specialty) outlets.
                      La Paloma: has been overtaken by almost everybody. has a huge selection but generally over-sweet and expensive.
                      Dolce: Worst (of the specialty outlets) in the city - AVOID. Has a gummy consistency.
                      Bravo: Haven't tried (yet).
                      Dorgel: Awful!

                      And a (relatively positive) suggestion. If you are driving and have limited time, the best one-stop outlet is Summerhill Market. They are one of the most expensive on national brands, but they have a superb selection - unfortunately you can't buy by-the-scoop - but they have many small producers, including their own brand.
                      And note that the better scoop shops clearly label their non-cream-style gelato as "Sorbetto" (the more-correct name), so you can identify the creamier ones. However, this is not consistent (but for sure Solferino does this).

                      19 Replies
                      1. re: estufarian

                        Solferino, Hollywood Gelato, and now Il Gelatiere, are my favourite gelato stops around town. I would have to segregate my preferences according to two very important criteria (IMO): taste, and texture.

                        I tend to like the courser-grained gelatos (i.e. icy-er), and tend not to like the gummier (xanthan gum, or something similar may be used to achieve this consistency) and more syrupy blends. That said, I prefer that of Hollywood Gelato's, and Solferino's versions (though HG still leaves something to be desired as it still is a bit syrupy/gummy for my tastes)

                        For taste, I find that Hollywood Gelato plays up the more 'dessert-like' flavours very well. I have always been a fan of their Hazelnut, Coconut Cream Pie, toasted pecan, and toasted marshmallow - because this is a great flavour-packed alternative to just eating those items straight (very childish flavours, but I like 'em!). However, if I ever felt like something lighter, and more fruity, I find that they are a bit heavy-handed on the sugar content. In this case, Il Gelatiere wins out. Their fruit is more subtle and the focus is on the fruit, rather than sugary-sweetness. One downside is that their gelatos don't seem very 'juicy' - does anyone know what I mean? It's not very thirst quenching and flavour-intensive.

                        Today, I sampled the following flavours:
                        HG: Blood Orange (unless it is a leftover batch, it appears that Blood Orange is still being offered at HG), Pear

                        IG: Fig, Melone

                        IMO, HG won over for texture, while IG won for flavour for the fruit flavours I chose. Overall, I would have to say it depends on what I'm in the mood for - dessert-like flavours (HG's forte) or summertime fruits (IG's forte). As a stand-by favourite, I would have to stick with Hollywood Gelato if I had to pick a definitive winner.

                        If price is included as another criteria (as it always should be), HG will also win as it is larger in size for a lesser price (IG small: $4, HG small: $3.50).

                        Also, I'm not sure if anyone in Canada supplies Ciao Bella Gelato. Does anyone know if anyone carries it? Their blood orange is the greatest flavour I've tried in North America (of course, nothing compares to the Vanilla Bourbon flavour I sampled near the Trevi Fountain in Rome called San Crispino - but that's a bit out of my postal code) and it's practically healthy for you (98 calories, 0g of fat, 3g of fibre). Whole Foods in the US carries it, but I cannot find a supplier here in Canada. This flavour is partially why HG fell short in terms of fruity flavour, as their version dulls in comparison to that of Ciao Bella.

                        These are the flavours being offered by HG today:

                        Cheers and Happy Eating

                        1. re: BokChoi

                          Il Gelatiere IMHO does intense flavours best like licorice or coffee. I enjoy their fruit flavours, particularly the strawberry, but their dairy stuff (cinnamon/maria, hazelnut chocolate, chocolate chile, tiramisu) truly rocks.

                          1. re: merlot143

                            I like HG a lot too!! My favourite flavour there is the venetian vanilla, I can't enough of that. My favourite at IG is their Tiramisu and if in the mood for a fruit flavour, I get the lemon.

                            1. re: callitasicit

                              Thanks everyone for your feedback and info!! Very much appreciated!!!

                            2. re: merlot143

                              Maybe I will give Il Gelatiere another try and sample more of their flavours before deciding on one. I feel like they are not as free in giving tasters of their flavours as HG is, leaving me a bit uncomfortable actually asking for one.

                              On another note, I found a container of gelato that has been sitting in my fridge, hardly eaten, and it is the offending brand of Dorgel. So, I second that this is a tasteless, and unappealing offering. Please stay away!

                            3. re: BokChoi

                              The blood orange looks the right colour - it's much darker in January and becomes more of a pinky-orange as the season evolves. So indeed could be fresh.
                              As people may know, from other posts, pear is at , or near, the top of my list as it seems to have an extra texture dimension. A couple of weeks ago the Il Gelatiere version was very disappointing, which I ascribed to this not being the 'right' season for pears. So I'll be rushing over to Hollywood to try their version.
                              I can't locate my 'size' comparison, but I also recall that Holywood's 'small' was about 50% larger than the 'small' at Il Gelatiere (the IG carton has the bottom layer significantly higher up the side). And also, that 50c difference in starting price (I thought IG was $4.25 by-the-way) translates into an extra 30+ cents in P.S.T. (in Ontario P.S.T. is not charged on foods costing under $4.00), so you're actually paying around a $1 more for the IG serving. Of course, for a snack food under $5, few people will let that affect their decision - but as price has been mentioned I thought I'd mention that. (on reflection, it may be that Hollywood 'illegally' charges P.S.T. - I do recall a couple of places who erroneously charged PST - but as I mentioned, I can't locate my raw data on portion size and prices).

                              EDIT: Found last years notes on sizes.
                              Il Gelatiere (small) was 100ml (only Dolce was smaller).
                              Hollywood portion was 200ml (for small) i.e. DOUBLE the size.
                              Hollywood was $4.25 (inclusive of taxes); IG was $3.90 PLUS taxes. (ASIDE: it is impossible to get a $4.25 price all-in as the PST kicks in at $4.00 meaning the price jumps by 32cents at the $4.00 mark - meaning $4.25 is "impossible").
                              The price difference (per 100ml) follows through to the cartons. Hollywood charged $6.95 per 500ml. IG charged $15.00 per 500gm (which worked out to between $15 and $18 per carton, depending on the density of the gelato bought).
                              So, in summary, Hollywood is roughly HALF the price of Il Gelatiere.

                              BUT quality also varies - the texture of IG was superior (based on my detailed notes) - I compared on lemon (which almost everbody produces and which is one of my favourites) and the IG was smooth and consistent, while Hollywood contained ice lumps.

                              1. re: estufarian

                                Hi estufarain - thank you for all the info - very informative and I now know where the best gelato can be found. Just curious, with the enormous variety of flavors, how many would be too many to sample before making a choice of bring home product ??? LOL

                                My husband loves anything chocolate and I like pretty much everything, especially hazelnuts or pralines! I thought I'd finally make the switch from ice-cream to gelato, as the pounds can so easily creep on for food lovers such as us Chowhounds!

                                As always, I enjoy reading your posts

                                1. re: red dragon

                                  At one time last year I discovered I had 34 different flavours in my freezer! I thought that was approaching "too many". My approach now is to limit "how many" I will store - that gives me a maximum! But, realistically, I find that, at any one place, bout 3 or 4 is the maximum I can appreciate (but my recovery time is fairly quick!).
                                  But be aware (not necessarily cautious). Ice cream can have up to about 40% af air whipped in (and most commercial brands do that). So eating a tub of 'supermarket brand' may well contain far less weight of ice-cream. Most gelato(possibly all - I haven't really checked) in Toronto is fairly dense - doesn't have surplus air - so you'll get more calories from the same volume of gelato. Which nmeans that "ideally" you should eat less. Only you know your own will-power. You'll need to watch out (separately) for both fat (usually butter-fat from cream) and sugar. The better brands get their flavour from the natural ingredient - but several do add sugar to accentuate the flavour. If you do like chocolate, then I strongly recommend you try the low-fat versions. Although chocolate is not one of my favourites (I prefer the fruit flavours) AmuseGirl is a fan and prefers the Gelato Fresco Chocolate Sorbet (not a regular flavour0, GF 0% butter-fat (but contains egg) - also not a regular flavour, or, at a pinch - Devil's Chocolate (which is technically an "ice-milk" as it has less fat than even a chocolate gelato (typically 3-4% for a gelato). She likes the mouth-feel of the various GF products (probably due to the superior machines they use) - but also because I shop at GF so regularly that they sometimes keep unusual flavours for me.
                                  The cheapest retail I've found at similar quality is at Xococava - but a very small selection - and they do let you taste everything. The cones/individual servings are similarly priced to Il Gelatiere, but the 500ml tubs are about half the price. But their chocolates are super-expensive (IMO).

                                2. re: estufarian

                                  estufarian, the pear at HG had an excellent 'grainy' texture, which I guess, unfairly gave it the leg-up on IG's gelato in the texture department. So you should definitely give it a try soon, if that is one of your favourite flavours. Thanks for the price breakdown - price is very important for me as well, even though it is under the $5 snack food mark. I believe that IG seems to be mimicking the price and serving sizes one would find in Rome. They forget that perhaps the fact that Rome is a tourist destination (trap) allows it to charge super-elevated prices and perhaps Toronto may not be able to sustain that.

                                  With respect to the many comments that IG's owners used to own a couple of gelaterias in Rome, one should still be cautious. Not all gelaterias in Rome are created equal, and it is even safe to say that it is much easier to find a bad gelato shop in Rome, than it is to find a good one. Not sure if IG's shop was rated highly amongst the ranks over there...has anyone done any reconnaissance?

                                  Thanks for the information, estufarian. Much appreciated!

                                  1. re: BokChoi

                                    Just to emphasize - that was LAST year's prices - I haven't really checked any of the sizes/charges this year.
                                    And one comment - the pear gelato texture is the thing (for me) that elevates pear as a product. It has that extra dimension that other flavours don't have (except pistachio - I understand why people also use that example - except, for me, that texture doesn't work). So I would use the term "fairly" (rather than "unfairly").

                                    1. re: estufarian

                                      Ahh yes.
                                      I noted that the fig at IG was quite nice and had the fig seeds intertwined with the gelato when I sampled it last. I think that gelatos are best when they incorporate the textures of the fruit, and lay off the guar gum/carrageenan. I really despise that texture. That was my main complaint when sampling Tasti DLite in NYC - even though it had almost 0% fat and <80 calories per serving.

                                      1. re: BokChoi

                                        I did drop by Hollywood. Unfortunately the pear wasn't available, so I can't confirm the 'quality'. However the Blood Orange WAS available and, to my eyes, it certainly does appear genuine - and a very dark colour also. Possibly the oranges were sourced differently than those for Gelato Fresco (my usual source). Was tempted to taste this - but as I wasn't too hungry, decided to pass in favour of the Il Gelatiere passion fruit - which was exceptional last time. This time it was still good, but was sweeter than the previous batch, so represented a slight dip in taste for me. Now I have to make time to visit DT Bistro and see how their's stacks up. This was my guilty pleasure - not a particularly well-made product (contains chunks of ice) but I LOVE their flavours.

                                        1. re: estufarian

                                          Solferino's passion fruit is also great, one of their best flavours. Judging from your taste though, it might be too sweet as it is sweeter than IG's version. I had IG's version last week and it was very tart, very much like real fruit.

                                          1. re: aser

                                            Indeed it was - last week! This week's was significantly sweeter comparable to the Solferino I had last week!
                                            So with small-batch producers there is obviously significant variation - which may be the source of some of the differing opinions on this Board.
                                            I guess the learning is - try a serving - if it's great (for your palate) then grab a carton!

                                            1. re: estufarian

                                              You might find this interesting. Solferino follows a very measured recipe for their gelato's. It's all posted on a wall in their kitchen, if you want to sneak back there and steal their recipes, hehe. They also use a fruit puree for a few of their fruit flavours.


                                              Because of this I find their fruit flavours to be more consistent than IG. I still like IG more because when it's good it's mesmerizing.

                                          2. re: estufarian

                                            DT Bistro, eh? I haven't come across that one before. Is it located at 54 Harbord St? Any suggestions on what to try there?

                                            1. re: BokChoi

                                              Haven't checked flavours at all this summer - it's not on any of my regular routes, but was exciting last year (but a very small selection).

                                              1. re: estufarian

                                                Interesting. I'll try to stop by. Thanks

                                            2. re: estufarian

                                              The champagne/grapefruit gelato at DT Bistro is one of my favourite flavours anywhere. I agree that the texture is a bit too icy, but the flavour makes up for the texture for me.