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Best Gelato ANYWHERE - La Cremeria!

NYC hounds, I have to alert you to the best gelato I’ve had in my lifetime (that includes in Italy). It’s at La Cremeria in of all places Little Italy. I tried it on a whim. While walking down Mulbery street, we spotted a place with no sign, that looked like it sold gelato. My girlfriend and I were intrigued for some reason, perhaps because as she said – “it looks like this place is serious about what they do.” So we walked up, and the guy behind the counter, who is from Italy and was obviously the owner, offers us a taste. We were hooked. Mind you, we had just come from Katz’s deli and were stuffed. The idea of eating again was revolting but this was just so good, we couldn’t resist. And it was worth every bite! It had a texture smooth as silk, it was the perfect temperature – so soft it was almost runny yet miraculously it didn’t seem to melt fast, it just stayed that way. Most importantly, the flavors were, to put it mildly, a revelation. The pistachio had a hue and a taste that just screamed out that it was made with actual pistachios, and it was also full and bold. The hazelnut had the same qualities – strong bold, and the word “natural” came to mind while eating both, but not in a tree bark, flavorless, whiny “I-want-to-be-organic-and-don’t-care-what-it-tastes-like” kind of way, but more as a powerful depth of flavor that tells you that this is made from the real stuff by a master. I don’t know if it was or it wasn’t “real” in that sense, but it tasted and felt that way. When we told the owner that the gelato was really good, he proudly responded “I know.” He wasn’t obnoxious about it, you could just see the pride he took in making a superior product. I’ve since told everyone I know to stop there, and now I’m telling the NYC Chowhounds. This guy makes spectacular gelato. Reward him with your business, and reward yourself with a frozen treasure. The website says "coming soon" but it's open. http://www.la-cremeria.com/

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La Cremeria
178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

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  1. How would you compare to Grom (which is known for its pistachio)? Or L'arte? Otto?

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    Grom
    233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

    5 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Sorry Kathryn, I can't compare it, as I've never been to those places. But I can say I had never had gelato in the US that's nearly as good as the gelato over in Europe. Then I tried this place. I think the key indicator is that I'm still thinking about it 3 weeks later.

      1. re: kathryn

        I tried Grom in Rome last week and now I can tell you unequivocally that Grom doesn't hold a candle to La Cremeria. It's good, maybe a B- but that's it. In fact, I wanted to like it, I was excited to try it because they have a location in Malibu, but before I said anything my girlfriend looked up at me after giving it a try and the first thing she said was, "La Cremeria is better." I had to agree, and by the way, neither of us was thinking about doing a comparison at the time - we just wanted to try the best Italian gelatos. The Grom flavors were not as bold, which could be a function of it being served colder than optimal as some have suggested in other reviews, I'm not sure, but the real downside was the texture. It was, for lack of a better word - gummy. And that gummy texture and mouthfeel applied to all four flavors that we tried, including Pistachio, Bacio, Hazelnut, Crema, and the Dark Chocolate (which was the best of the four). Honestly, even in Gelato devoid Los Angeles where there really isn't a great gelateria, I would not make the effort to go to Grom.

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        La Cremeria
        178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

        1. re: OC Mutt

          Not when you could get amazing ice cream at Sweet Rose Creamery.

          1. re: OC Mutt

            speaking of LA - go for a drive and try Tifa Chocolates and Gelato in Agoura (off Kanan Road). I don't think they do it homemade like La Cremeria, but it is very fine.
            The owner of La Cremeria told me the chocolate sorbet is his grandmother's recipe, a special chocolate and water. That's it.

            1. re: Chuck Lawrence

              Thanks! One of these days I'll find Agoura.

              Will put the chocolate sorbet on my list too. Love that chocolate gelato at La Cremeria.

        2. Very bold statement
          .
          I've had many gelato from Lecce to as far north as the Piedmont, and many many places in between, and have yet to find any US (or NYC) gelato that can compare to even the smallest unknown gelato place in a far-flung town in Italy. I'll definitely have to try this one out since it is in my home turf.

          1 Reply
          1. re: RCC

            Agree. I'm officially way beyond intrigued. If what OC Mutt says is true I'm going to be fatter and poorer very soon....

          2. prices, please

            3 Replies
            1. re: pbjluver

              Honestly, I only remember raising and eyebrow and being pleasantly surprised that the price to portion ratio seemed quite generous compared other gelato places.

              1. re: pbjluver

                Why not call and ask and report back here?

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                La Cremeria
                178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

                1. re: pbjluver

                  $4.50 for a very generous small cup - it's really 2 scoops.

                2. It's true!

                  Strong words require swift action. I stopped in today after some dim sum. This was the best gelato I have ever had, anywhere - including Italy. The dark chocolate was deeply satisfying, without being so intense as to be borderline off-putting (no offense il Laboratorio). They do several specials, I had the Tiramisu which was a delightful symphony of flavors including a dusting of chocolate powder. That said, the thing that flipped me out was the consistency - this gelato was the creamiest I have ever had. Astounding!

                  A small cup ($4.50/two flavors, in spite of the signage) was almost too much for me to finish. Ha!
                  They are from Bologna.

                  This place leaves il Laboratorio and L'Arte (two places I really enjoy) in the dust.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: Chuck Lawrence

                    OMG OMG OMG I am in trouble.....

                    1. re: Chuck Lawrence

                      How does it compare to the gelato at Otto, which is very good?

                      1. re: Chuck Lawrence

                        Is this the place that's more of a stand, with cases position by the door of a hallway like space?

                        1. re: sugartoof

                          Not a stand; it has a glass-windowed front and a door, but no real place to sit and eat. It's where the video store used to be.

                          1. re: squid kun

                            Well, Amorino certainly isn't the gift from God I'd hoped it'd be. It opened on Univ. Pl recently and I imagined them getting a lot of my money if it was anywhere near the semi-freddo in Florence. Well, it isn't and the prices are really pretty steep. The consistency is wrong ( too hard) and the chocolate isn't as dark or as strong as in Italy...I guess a walk down Mulberry St is in order....

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                            Amorino
                            60 University Pl, New York, NY 10003

                            1. re: sing me a bar

                              I agree--at Amorino they're freezing the gelato too hard, I think, because once it softened it was okay. Also, it was too sweet for my taste.

                              1. re: scrittrice

                                I've tried it in Paris, and was not a fan. The flavors are not correct, for me.

                      2. Stopped in la Cremeria yesterday and had a small pistaschio. While I would have liked a bit more pistaschio flavor, this is a quibble - very creamy texture just as promised above. Looking forward to trying the other flavors in the future. One of the best I've tasted in the US and the price is right for NYC.

                        1. I've been thinking about this gelato all week. I returned today after a chicken parm at Torrisi's just up the street. I tasted several special flavors and went for 1)coffee and 2) a mascarpone/chocolate fondue combo called Amarcord (I think). Awesome!
                          Overall, this stuff is divine. Will have to ration my visits accordingly.

                          1. I can't wait to try this. Anyone who's been - can you tell me about the fruit flavors they have? I've always liked L'Arte Del Gelato more than Grom because they generally have a lot more fruit-based flavors to choose from (although I don't live in NYC and am not a regular, so I don't know what their typical selection looks like) when I've gone. Would also be interested in sorbets as well!

                            -----
                            L'Arte del Gelato
                            75 7th Ave S, New York, NY 10014

                            Grom
                            233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: alexinct

                              right now they have mango, strawberry, and lemon.

                              i just had the mint and it was the best mint that i have ever had. this place is the real deal.

                              1. re: nmprisons

                                went again today with my pastry cook fiancee. she agreed that the texture was pretty much perfect, but thought there was something a bit unnatural in the flavor of both we tried. i am much more of a phillistein and just thought they were great, but, you know, professionals.

                            2. Do they have any dairy-free flavors?

                              1. just had the zabaglione and baccio...omg.

                                omg

                                1. Inspired by this thread, I'm going today! Definitely looking forward to checking this place out!

                                  1. The dark chocolate is amazing. I also liked the vanilla with balsamic-soaked cherries and hazelnut, but not as much as the dark chocolate.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Windy

                                      I just had the dark chocolate and the hazelnut, both excellent and very creamy. Thanks for the tip!

                                    2. Yesterday I tried the mint, bacio, and hazelnut. As posted above, the bacio and hazelnut were wonderful. I wasn't too impressed with the mint in comparison. It was very light and the mint flavor tasted artificial.

                                      Will be back for that hazelnut!

                                      1. Have to try it, but immediately upon leaving Katz' is Il Laboratorio, with the most wonderful Figue gelato outside of Italy. Some of the exotic flavors are terrific as well, great consistency and intense flavors. On the LES, this is the place to go for gelato!

                                        1. tried it this past weekend and although l'arte i my personal favorite, la cremeria is pushing it! the consitency is perfect and the flavors are great, i ultimately got the monella. I didnt examine the menu complete but does anybody know if they do the brioche ice cream sandwiches here?

                                          1. sometimes I think that the posters on this board are a little too much in love with their own prose. this ice creamery is an example of what I mean. I've been reading this thread and drooling over the thought of making a special trip on the Lexington local line just to try this place. finally,I had a legitimate reason to go downtown and La Cremeria was my first stop. It is a new,bright place with a lovely young lady with a strong Italian accent behind the counter. she was very friendly and gave me generous tastes of several flavors. The prices seemed a little steep, so I order a one flavor cone,zabaglione,for$3.00. I thought the texture was perfectly smooth and the flavor clear and not overpowering, but it didn't deserve the avalanche of praise that I've been enjoying on this thread. the Argentinian place on Bleeker ( next to John's Pizzeria) is every bit as good. This is not a post about a comparison between two ice cream shops,just to say that more moderate comments make the discovery of a new taste all the "sweeter"!

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                                            John's Pizzeria
                                            278 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                            La Cremeria
                                            178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: pammi

                                              I swung by last Saturday after reading the posts, had a medium which was maybe $6 and shared it with my lady. We tried the Amarcord (mascarpone with chocolate "fondue") and Nocone (80% cacao) and was blown away by the flavors and texture.

                                              We were coming home from Scarpinia and decided to swing by Otto for dessert. We had 3 flavors for $8 (Olive Oil, Lemon and Dark Chocolate; the size is about the same, and I will admit we probably didn't make the wisest flavor selections). Anyway, the only standout was the olive oil, and that was too frozen.

                                              Maybe Otto isn't the best basis for comparison, but I have been eating their gelato for years and always thought it was very good. Or maybe La Cremeria is just much better. I certainly think so.

                                              1. re: pammi

                                                Cones isn't a gelato shop though. A comparison to Grom might be more apt.

                                              2. Has anybody done an A/B comparison against Grom?

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                                                Grom
                                                233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                1. I went to La Cremeria 3 times in the last 2 weeks, each time with a couple of friends. Got to try several flavors this way and I have favorites but I have to say that everything was very good.
                                                  Love-love-love the Baccio and I don't think I'll be able to go to LC and not get it. Pistachio is the best I've had in NYC. Tiramisu is boozy and creamy. If you like sorbets (not me) the fragola and limone are as good as they get. Dark chocolate is fabulous if you're a fan of dark chocolate (not me). Amacord was my least favorite.

                                                  To give you an idea of my tastes, I'm a fan of Grom although I never thought they're as good as any gelato I had in Italy - with the disclaimer that the cassata siciliana they had on special a long time ago is stuff that dreams are made of. I find La Cremeria a step above Grom.
                                                  L'arte is going on 3rd place now and I've never liked Il Laboratorio.

                                                  katryn, I haven't done an A/B comparison with Grom but we went there the next day after the first LC try. One of us thought Grom slightly better than LC, the other 2 went with LC. As we didn't get the same flavors, can't say it's completely fair to Grom.

                                                  -----
                                                  Grom
                                                  233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                  La Cremeria
                                                  178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

                                                  7 Replies
                                                  1. re: RedVelvet

                                                    Interesting as Grom is also known for their pistachio. I love the tiramisu at Grom. It's not boozy but I love the espresso, chocolate chips, and pieces of ladyfingers mixed in.

                                                    I think overall Grom's best flavors have either coffee/espresso or chocolate/chocolate chips. I had a cup of Stracciatella with Tiramisu a few days ago and it was quite good.

                                                    The baccio is hazelnut chocolate? Probably not one of the flavors I'd go for.

                                                    -----
                                                    Grom
                                                    233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                    1. re: kathryn

                                                      the baccio at Grom is actually my favorite flavor. i do believe it is chocolate hazelnut.

                                                      -----
                                                      Grom
                                                      233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                      1. re: kathryn

                                                        Yes, baccio is hazelnut chocolate and you might ask for a taste, it's worth trying.
                                                        The tiramisu I only tried from someone's cup, not sure if it has chocolate chips and ladyfinger pieces, but I don't think so. Maybe someone who had a whole serving could chime in. While I love tiramisu, I don't usually go for it in gelato.
                                                        But the pistachio, I do think is better than Grom's.
                                                        I think it's worth mentioning - just so you're not disappointed when you go - that LC's chocolate doesn't have chocolate chips. And I think they have less flavors than Grom. :)

                                                        -----
                                                        Grom
                                                        233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                        1. re: RedVelvet

                                                          Thanks, that's helpful.

                                                          BTW, the July menu on Grom's site doesn't have bacio but it does list cassata siciliana!

                                                          -----
                                                          Grom
                                                          233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                          1. re: kathryn

                                                            Oh, that's wonderful news! I wonder how I missed this, the last visit at Grom was around July 10th or so - and believe me, every time I go I look at the specials. But I'll try to make it there a.s.a.p. Thank you!

                                                            -----
                                                            Grom
                                                            233 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014

                                                            1. re: RedVelvet

                                                              Their web site has it on the regular menu, not the special flavor of the month. I'd call ahead and confirm.

                                                            2. re: kathryn

                                                              My favorite gelato is at Amorino (university place and / Nice, France). Pistachio is my preferred flavor. I find Grom's gelato too "gummy" . I also like L'Arte del Gelato on 7th ave south. I love the take out styrofoam containers that really keep it cold until you get home ( i know bad for the environment).

                                                      2. Thanks for the recommendation. I'll try it out on one of my carb days.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: Pan

                                                          ^^"I'll try it out on one of my carb days."

                                                          haha, exactly what I was thinking! Maybe bike to iL lab first and then over to La Cremeria for a side by side.

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                                                          La Cremeria
                                                          178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

                                                        2. Very few (if any) gelato places in the states are making their own gelato in house, instead opting to adapt a base, and use mix ins. La Cremeria seems to be doing it the old fashioned way, manufacturing from scratch, or as closet to it as we'll get, in the shop.

                                                          Anyone else find it difficult to work through La Cremeria's single scoop cup stuck to one flavor though? The richness breaks down the nice flavor profiles, and it's overkill. I would rather a smaller, cheaper size, or the ability to mix the small.

                                                          Comparisons to Il Laboratorio or Scoops don't make any sense by the way. It's a proper gelato you're not going to mistake with ice cream of even soft serve, and only a couple flavors use eggs.

                                                          -----
                                                          La Cremeria
                                                          178 Mulberry Street, New York, NY 10012

                                                          4 Replies
                                                          1. re: sugartoof

                                                            I didn't finish my dark chocolate, although I did get it all over my face and t-shirt. Still loved it, but yet, it was very rich for me.

                                                            1. re: sugartoof

                                                              I would have like a two flavor cup esp in the try out stage. I think that finding it hard to finish the modest sized vanilla cup that I had was the sign of a poor showing.

                                                              1. re: wew

                                                                They'll give you two flavors in a single cup.

                                                                1. re: Windy

                                                                  thankyou

                                                            2. OK, I'm very confused. We went again and again I got the pistachio, only this time it didn't have bits of pistachio in it. Not that it wasn't good, just that it wasn't as good as the last time.

                                                              And they definitely give you two flavors in a small cup.

                                                              1. Lemon granita. Chocolate sorbet. A little of both in one spoon. Great!

                                                                1. Stopped here this past weekend and found that La Cremeria is now called Mo Gelato. I did not recognize the two employees in the shop but they told me that it was simply a name change and everything else including the recipes were still the same.

                                                                  Has anyone else been here lately and can compare to last year? I could be misremembering but the gelato didn't seem to be as good as before. I was there maybe 10-12 times last year and to me, like others have mentioned, the consistency was excellent and very similar to gelato that I've had in Italy. Flavors were great and the ladies working there were always very friendly.

                                                                  Here are the differences this time around:

                                                                  1) No sampling of the pistachio flavor allowed. They said I could sample any other flavor, but not the pistachio.

                                                                  2) They only allowed one flavor for the small cup. Last year, if I asked, they let me have two flavors. (Most times though, I decided to get a small cone with one flavor.)

                                                                  3) The flavors seemed overly sweet. I ended up getting a medium cup with my favorite flavors last year of tiramisu and pistachio. The tiramisu was a lot sweeter than I remembered and I did not enjoy it. The pistachio was also a bit too sweet but at least this was still pretty enjoyable with a few whole pistachios and flavor was quite good.

                                                                  4) Texture was off like it was too soft or too creamy. The gelato was tipping over the cup and began melting on my hands as it was handed to me. It seemed like the temperature of the tiramisu flavor wasn't kept cold enough while the server was also just sloppy in filling the cup. It got really messy really quickly and I had to dump out a fair amount at a nearby trash can.

                                                                  So all in all, a very disappointing experience. If it's truly the same people behind the shop, perhaps my memory is a bit off or my tastes have changed? Maybe it was just an off day? Anyone else been there lately?

                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                  1. re: churros

                                                                    Stopped by a few weeks ago. I agree. It is not the same. I was so dissappointed. I enjoyed Grom's and Ansel's Bakery during the same visit to NYC.

                                                                    1. re: churros

                                                                      I agree, I've been a few weeks ago and I felt the same.
                                                                      At the moment my overall favorite, being Italian, and a gelato lover, is l'Arte del Gelato.

                                                                      1. re: churros

                                                                        This is very disappointing. I was just there in May (it was still La Cremeria) and it was still the best gelato I had ever tasted - and that includes the gelato I had on a recent trip to Italy. I hope they were having a "bad day." On a side note, I'm scratching my head on how the name change to the odd "M'o Gelato" could do anything positive for the business.

                                                                      2. I've really been loving a new place in the E. Village called Ti Amo Gelateria. They don't put a lot of add ins in their gelatos, just focus on clean flavors. Their custard is outstanding as is the strawberry cheesecake. The dark chocolate is also tasty.

                                                                        2 Replies
                                                                        1. re: ManhattanLawyer

                                                                          I was going to post about this place. I agree, it's lighter and less dairy/creamy tasting than La Cremeria was at it's best, but the more natural tasting texture sets itself apart from Grom, and the rest, that way. The pistachio is interesting, and a little different, with the nuts being very prominent and less of a synthetic green color.

                                                                          1. re: ManhattanLawyer

                                                                            Thanks for the rec. Tried Ti Amo the other day and the pistachio and dark chocolate flavors were good. I also sampled the bacio (okay) and the espresso yogurt (didn't care for it). I would probably rank Ti Amo behind L'Arte del Gelato right now but it's a good option on the east side.

                                                                            So disappointed that La Cremeria is not the same.