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Hot Fudge Sundae in SF

I want to celebrate something on Saturday and a post in the LA board made me crave a hot fudge sundae. Does anyone have any recommendations for a good sundae in SF with whipped cream, decadant hot fudge and almonds? I want to sit somewhere to enjoy the sundae so I don't want to go to Mitchell's, Bi-Rite or Ghirardelli (although Ghirardelli might be the best bet). Is Fenton's in Oakland worth a drive from SF?

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  1. Bi-rite is newly remodeled and now has a seating area. It's certainly not luxury accommodations, but it is the best sundae I have ever tasted. I got dragged to Ghiradelli about a month ago - the sundae was so, so sweet, in no small part due to the incredibly sweet and otherwise bland ice cream. I did not care for it at all. The fudge sauce was admittedly tasty though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: artemis

      Thanks. I find the line at Bi-Rite way too long. Was there a long wait for seats? I don't want to feel rushed either.

      1. re: Mari

        On a saturday night circa 10pm, the line was *very* long (30 mins?), but the seating gods smiled on us because seats opened up right after we paid. It was probably especially bad because this was either the first or second Saturday they had reopened after the remodel. I think it was the first Saturday, so there was a lot of pent up demand.

        There's a fixed bench along the wall, and little tables spaced apart attached to the floor in front of the bench. The bench probably seats 10, maybe a bit more. I don't think you'd feel rushed unless you wouldn't be keen on all the hustle and bustle. It does sound like what you're after then is a soda fountain-type place. I've never been to the East Bay ice cream shops, but please report back if you do!

        ETA: come to think of it, check please said hayes street grill is supposed to have a good sundae - and unless it's during the seating for people going to the opera/ballet/symphony, you can probably sit there as long as you want.

        Bi-Rite Creamery
        3692 18th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

        1. re: artemis

          Loard's in the east bay has very tasty ice cream and creative sundaes. Lots of seating pink and white booths. Alameda and El Cerrito are two locations

          Loard's Ice Cream & Candies
          2265 S Shore Ctr, Alameda, CA 94501

    2. Across the bridge, in Larkspur at Pizzeria Picco, they make the best hot fudge sundae. It is not too sweet and made fresh and simple.

      Pizzeria Picco
      320 Magnolia Ave, Larkspur, CA 94939

      1 Reply
      1. re: tstrum

        Thanks for the suggestion, but I want scoops of ice cream rather than soft serve and I don't think they have whipped cream and cherries. Otherwise, Picco's sundae is a good one with a modern twist.

      2. I remember trying out Ghirardelli hot fudge sundae a long time ago and it was great.

        1. St Frances Ice Cream Parlor and Sandwich shop had it on the menu. 24th St Mission. Old -fashioned ice cream store. Haven't had it in years.

          1 Reply
          1. re: stanbee

            St. Francis now serves Mitchell's ice cream.

            St. Francis Fountain & Candy
            2801 24th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

          2. For an old fashioned hot fudge sundae, I used to like Fenton's a lot. I haven't been there in years, but I assume they haven't changed. My son often goes because it's the only place around there a teen can go fairly late at night. He prefers milkshakes, but his friends love the sundaes. Don't eat the food.

            1. I'd go to Bi-Rite an a relatively off-hour. Seating isn't as good as elsewhere, but their sundaes worth it, particularly if you like the contrast of sweet and salty. There's their salted caramel ice cream of course, and some of their toppings (e.g. marcona almonds) are salty, so you can build a sundae with contrasting tastes. Bi-Rite also makes good baked goods, like brownies and cookies, so those additions to a sundae there are a treat.

              Since they expanded their seating area, I've always been able to find a spot and enjoy.

              1. Fenton's no question. You can order hot fudge or cold fudge (which they make) and ask for old fashioned whipped cream as they have 2 types...old fashioned being freshly whipped. Having grown up eating their crab sandwiches grilled in butter that now are completely different and expensive I agree skip the food. But for old fashioned sundaes no where else compares. The only other place is in Palo Alto at Peninsula.

                1. Fenton's is worth almost any drive.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: dotMac

                    And be sure to look for the print from "UP" featuring Fentons. Its hanging on the wall on the right hand side between the main dining room and tne back dining room.

                    1. Since it was specifically rejected by Mari this fair recent review of Ghirardellit is only a what could have been, although the picture might be mind changing.

                      1. I hesitate to recommend Mel's, but for a sit-down ice cream sundae - complete with the soda fountain schtick, it would work.

                        Pier 23 also has a brownie sundae that might work. I'm surprised that Gott's/Taylor's strikes out. Woulda thought they'd have one.

                        1. Rivoli's hot fudge sundae is worth the drive from SF.

                          I thought Fenton's fudge sauce wasn't very good (especially compared with their great caramel sauce), and the way they serve it overflowing from a too-small dish means the fudge cools off immediately.

                          Rivoli Restaurant
                          1539 Solano Ave, Berkeley, CA 94707

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: Robert Lauriston

                            I agree the caramel sauce is better but you can order a hot fudge in a boat dish instead so it doesn't cool off and pour all over the dish/table with the small dish.

                            1. re: cakebaker

                              Thanks! I'll keep that in mind since I think I am going to try Fenton's.

                              1. re: Mari

                                Well, if you go to Fenton's, make a side trip to Lush Gelato a block away ... you should be able to handle one extra tiny scoop of outstanding gelato.

                                Lush Gelato
                                4184 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                          2. Fenton's: nice atmosphere, so-so ice cream and hot fudge. You go there for the experience, not so much the ice cream. And certainly never, ever the food!

                            Ghirardelli: so-so ice cream, amazing hot fudge. I always get the sundae that's just vanilla ice cream, bananas, hot fudge, whipped cream and almonds. Not necessarily the best ice cream -- but surely one of the best hot fudge sundaes I've ever had.

                            The best of the best for me is a hot fudge sundae at Mitchell's on their toasted almond, but you're right, it doesn't offer that sit-down experience. One day I'll try St. Francis since they're scooping Mitchell's. Great atmosphere there.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: sfkusinera

                              Thanks again everyone. I did make it to Fenton's last night (Saturday) and they quoted a 30 minute wait for a table at 9 pm but we were seated within 10 minutes. I had a hot fudge sundae with mocha almond fudge and vanilla ice cream as well as a side of caramel and marshmallow sauce. The hot fudge was too sweet for my taste and the fudge did end up landing mostly on the plate. I was disappointed that they didn't put many almonds on top too. Nevertheless, my craving was satisfied and I might check out Ghirardelli next time since I haven't been there since I was about 10. I was way too full to try Lush Gelato since I had a nice dinner at Dopo before the sundae.

                              4293 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA 94611

                              Lush Gelato
                              4184 Piedmont Ave, Oakland, CA

                              1. re: Mari

                                Next visit to the east bay try Loard's. I think their ice cream is better than Fentons and they have nice sit down location in Alameda. Tuckers is also nice for sit down, but I don't like their ice cream as much (but it is extremely well liked by others)

                            2. I had a second sundae this weekend at the Balboa Cafe. I saw that they scoop out Figaro Gelato from a big box but I am not sure what kind of hot fudge they use. The ice cream was delicious as was the hot fudge. They poured some fudge into the glass and there were 2 big scoops of ice cream. They provide a side dish of hot fudge so that you can pour as you eat. They also add almonds and a small amount of whipped cream. The fudge was like melted dark chocolate without the overly sweet taste of the Fenton's fudge.

                              Figaro Gelato
                              1017 Ashby Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Mari

                                Now that sounds so excellent. Congratulations on whatever it is you're celebrating with two hot fudge sundaes, Mari!

                                Balboa Cafe
                                3199 Fillmore St, San Francisco, CA 94123