Where You Should Be Eating Ice Cream in Philadelphia
From soft-serve to scoops to gelato, here are our favorite places to chill out with a sweet treat this summer.
It’s ice cream season — and while we consider the frozen delicacy to be a year-round food, nothing quite hits the spot in hot weather like a frosty double scoop in a crisp waffle cone or a fudgy, overloaded sundae. Here are our favorite Philly-area ice creameries to keep you cool all summer long.
Jen and Andy Satinsky’s Best of Philly-winning Girard Avenue scoop shop sources hyper-local ingredients for seasonal flavors of their rich, French-style custard. Be sure to get a mini ice cream sandwich to top your next scoop (served in a homemade waffle cone, of course).
Fiore Fine Foods, Old City
One of the only silver linings of COVID was that Justine Macneil’s gelatos finally got their due. Every week, they post the menu on their website for preorder, and every weekend, droves of very smart people come from all over the city to stock their freezers with Macneil’s perfect creations. Follow along on their Instagram for a chance to vote on upcoming flavors.
It’s kind of a rigmarole to get your hands on a pint of ice cream from 1-900, but once you do, you’re likely to forget all about the timers you set and unreasonable number of dollars you spent, because you’ll be feverishly digging through a pint of super-rich, creamy ice cream absolutely packed with over-the-top chunks of potato chips, brownies, cereal, and more.
D’Emilio’s Old World Ice Treats, East Passyunk
D’Emilio’s is the spot for old school water ice, and for a classic swirl of soft-serve ice cream coated in sprinkles and served in a cone. If you’re really going for it, you can also opt for one of their signature sundaes, which are gigantic and perfect for a long summer night.
Milk Jawn, pop-ups
Milk Jawn’s Philly-style, egg-free ice cream is made in small batches by Amy Wilson, Ryan Miller, and Cathryn Sanderson. Their flavors are seasonal and a little more grown up – think vegan mango sticky rice, Earl Grey ice cream studded with honeycomb candy, and a perfectly minty stracciatella that begs to be scooped onto a cone.
Somerset Splits, Port Richmond
Somerset Splits scoops Bassetts ice cream into their signature cones, milkshakes, and yes, banana splits. Kids and grown-ups alike will be delighted by their selection of toppings that range from junky (cotton candy crunch and Reese’s) to outside the box.
Scoop DeVille, Midtown Village and Old City
This candy-colored, retro-style ice cream parlor is the place to be when you’re ready to overload on creamy, cold, sugary goodness. Get sundaes and scoops with whipped cream and a ton of toppings, or take your ice cream served in a cookie cup.
Franklin Fountain, Old City
Eric and Ryan Berley’s ice cream parlor recreates a Victorian-era vibe with old-timey uniforms, decor, and even equipment. Be sure to check out its just-opened sibling, the Franklin Ice Cream Bar, right next door.
La Michoacana Ice Cream, Kennett Square
This offshoot of downtown Kennett Square’s Michoacana Grill makes more than 50 flavors of house-made ice cream, water ice, and frozen pops in classic flavors and tropical options like guava-guayaba and passionfruit.
Roly Cow, East Passyunk
Cool down on the Avenue at this spot, which sells Thai-style rolled ice cream, made to order. Get it in a cup, traditional waffle cone, or in a taco-style homemade waffle cone.
C & C Creamery, Manayunk
This seasonal spot on Ridge Avenue has been serving up frozen treats and baked sweets for several decades. Head there for house-made water ice, soft serve, shakes, and malts.
Nonno’s Gelato and Italian Ice, Northeast Philly
Looking for classic flavors in addition to some creative new options? Hit up Nonno’s for creamy gelato in old favorites like rum raisin and chocolate in addition to playful varieties like birthday cake and cereal-studded Apple Jacks.
Philly Flavors, Fairmount, Center City, Midtown Village, East Passyunk
This mainstay for frozen treats offers a wide variety of sweets, from water ice to sundaes to shakes. Try the Philly Blast, a milkshake blended with the sundae topping of your choice.
A cheery shop that boasts scratch-made everything, from seasonal scoops and sandwiches (like salted caramel and strawberries and cream) to house-baked cones that come in all kinds of flavors.
D’Ascenzo’s Gelato, West Chester
A trip to Rome inspired owners Glen and Kristin D’Ascenzo to start making and selling gelato at Philly farmers’ markets 15 years ago. Now, they operate out of their nationally-acclaimed gelateria, working with a local dairy to source their milk, roasting ingredients like nuts in-house, and sourcing seasonal fruit to make their rotating flavors.
Crave Creamery, Springfield
Cool off at this Baltimore Pike shop, which stocks a slate of gelato flavors — think classics like coconut, pistachio, and cookies and cream — in addition hard ice cream, water ice, and soft serve. You can get it by the scoop, or go green with one of their returnable logo quart jars to get a buck off your refill next time.
Gemelli, West Chester
At Italian-born chef-owner Vincenzo Tettamanti doesn’t just produce fantastic gelato in flavors like raspberry chocolate, blueberry mascarpone, and tiramisu — he’ll home cooks and professional chefs alike to make it themselves in his hands-on “gelato lab” workshops.
El Pueblo, Italian Market
This 9th Street spot offers more than 20 flavors of ice cream, plus popsicles, fresh juices, and chamoyada (smoothie-like shaved ice with pickled fruit) sourced from La Michoacana.
Häagen Dasz, South Street
One of the oldest ice cream shops in the city, owner Brian Calhoun’s outpost of the Bronx-based chain (yeah, we always thought it was European too) has been scooping at 3rd and South Streets for 33 years.
Gran Caffe L’Aquila, Center City
This Chestnut Street emporium boasts espresso, a full menu, and a shop full of Italian goodies — plus some of the best gelato in the city. Stop in for a scoop or go all out and book your own gelato tasting with optional wine pairing.
Sweet Charlie’s, Washington Square West and Rittenhouse
This Philly-based chain makes rolled ice cream, but nighttime is when they really shine: from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday at the Rittenhouse location, they offer special boozy menu items for 21+ customers.
Tubby Robot, Manayunk
A Best of Philly winner, Tubby Robot makes all their flavors in-house, using locally sourced ingredients. Even better? You can order up ice cream flights, sundaes, waffles, and even an ice cream hoagie — that’s scoops sandwiched inside a fresh-baked puff pastry “roll.”
This longtime Society Hill cookie bakery moved to the ‘burbs in 2011 and added Pennsylvania-made Leiby’s ice cream to its offerings at the same time, somehow making an already-perfect menu even better.
Bassett’s, Market East
The OG of Philadelpia-style (egg-free) ice cream — and the oldest ice cream brand in the country — still serves up shakes, cups, and cones from its longtime stall in Reading Terminal Market.