Best Ice Cream Shops and Creameries in SF
Pop 5: Best Ice Cream Shops in SF
Last week, we announced the best burritos in San Francisco, and today it's on to a less savory treat: ice cream! From famed 1940s creameries to buzzworthy hot spots opened in the '00s, from the tip-top of Russian Hill to the flats of the Mission, San Francisco has much to choose from if you're looking for what's soft, sweet, frozen, and milky. Here are our favorite ice cream shops in town.
- You can practically predict weather patterns by the line that stretches around the corner of Bi-Rite Creamery (3692 18th St., 415-626-5600) in the Mission. Its location next to Dolores Park makes it the destination on a sunny day — if you have patience. The sweet spot makes all its ice cream on-site by hand in small batches, as well as all of its ingredients, be they brownies, peanut brittle, or snickerdoodles. Some of the hottest flavors are salted caramel, honey lavender, and roasted banana. While each day there may be something new and "out there" to try, the flavors are consistently and reliably delicious.
- If you're seeking adventure (or possibly booze) in a cone (or bowl), Humphry Slocombe (2790 Harrison St., 415-550-6971) in the Mission is the spot to be. With flavors as far out as salted licorice, pepper mint (yes, two words), Boccalone prosciutto, and foie gras, every spoonful is a risk worth taking. Churning out an extensive list of artful flavors, this creamery has firmly cemented the notion that ice cream cones aren't child's play anymore and, dare I say, put San Francisco on the map for it.
- Swensen's (1999 Hyde St., 415-775-6818) may be a global franchise of grilled cheeses and banana splits, but we in San Francisco can gladly claim bragging rights to its first-ever location, a beyond-charming creamery in front of the cable car tracks on the corner of Hyde and Union streets. The ice cream shop, which opened in 1948, looks much like it did 60-some years ago, winning hands down in the nostalgia department. While you'll find some nontraditional flavors like green tea, the creamery specializes in the classics, as well as its beloved "Swiss orange chip," all of which have been perfected for years via good old-fashioned trial and error.
- Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous (699 2nd St., 415-970-0750), a small artisan shop opened in the Dogpatch last year by pastry chefs and owners Ian Flores and Anabelle Topacio, makes ice cream (entirely in-house, I might add) for the fearless. Avant-garde options range from basil chip to summer squash to Fernet Branca to the crowd-pleaser "Ballpark," featuring Anchor Steam ice cream with peanuts and chocolate-covered pretzels. Not so hyped like the others, this one wins in the "neighborhood favorite" category.
- Noe Valley's Mitchell's Ice Cream (688 San Jose Ave., 415-648-2300) has been a San Francisco fave for more than 50 years; taste one bite of its rich, creamy, homemade ice cream and you'll know why. The family-friendly spot is known for its unique, tropical flavors, ranging from avocado to coconut pineapple to ginger, made from fruit and other produce imported from the Philippines. During the holidays, flavors like eggnog, cinnamon snap, and Irish coffee also draw crowds, but year-round, nonseasonal ice creams like biscotti nocciole, Mexican chocolate, and espresso toffee are always hard to resist.
Source: Flickr user urbanfoodie33