The Best Ice Cream In Los Angeles
Our 15 favorite spots for a tasty little scoop.
LA happens to be absolutely stacked with incredible ice cream shops, so there’s no excuse to be stuck on your couch next to a pint of freezer-burnt grocery store ice cream. Which is why, after extensive scientific analysis (eating a bunch of it all at once), we’ve compiled a list of our favorite spots. From classic 100-year-old institutions to pop-up projects that have recently become full-time dessert shops, here's where to find the best ice cream in LA.
Awan serves creamy, plant-based ice cream from a tiny takeout window in West Hollywood. You come to this Indonesian-inspired dessert shop for refreshing flavors like blood orange, lemongrass, and rhubarb pie—not a basic scoop of chocolate on a sugar cone. The vanilla beans here are imported straight from Bali and the strawberries come from renowned farm Harry’s Berries in Oxnard. Expect to walk away holding a beige cup full of something wonderful and unexpected. Our favorite surprise so far? The tortilla flavor, which will leave you wondering how a scoop of vegan ice cream can taste more like a hand-pressed blue corn tortilla than the real thing.
Mashti Malone’s is an LA institution that’s been serving Persian-style ice cream in the heart of Hollywood (and now Westwood) for almost 40 years. The menu is large, with nearly 50 different flavors served on any given day, but what makes this tiny shop so special are its fragrant flavors that stay on your tongue all afternoon. Think ginger rosewater, saffron, and roasted pistachio-infused heaven. There is an almost perfume-like quality to the ice cream here that, at first, might take some people by surprise, but then you’ll realize you never want another kind of ice cream again.
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Salt & Straw
Thank you, Portland—along with professional baristas and an appreciation for Subarus, you’ve also given us some of the best ice cream in LA. You’d probably assume a place with flavors like avocado sherbet and black olive brittle with goat cheese wouldn’t be for everyone, but you’d be wrong. Because Salt & Straw adds stuff you should never put in ice cream, and somehow still makes it taste delicious. Now, with several locations from the Arts District to Venice, you’re never too far away from its glory.
photo credit: Talia Mayden
Mateo's Ice Cream & Fruit Bars
Between their Oaxacan-style paletas, super-creamy gelatos, and sorbets that taste like freshly juiced strawberries, this incredible Mexican dessert shop reminds us of an enchanted bow and arrow, or Olivia Colman’s IMDb page: it simply doesn’t miss. There are a few locations throughout the city, with each storefront stocked with over 30 different flavors of paletas, including watermelon, mango dusted with chile, and leche quemada, a creamy smoked milk concoction that tastes exactly like someone kippered a gallon of dairy over an open flame.
This sibling-owned scoop shop in North Torrance is ideal for when you’re craving ice cream that’s a little more balanced than a nine-topping sugar bomb. Kansha’s flavors are kept simple to highlight star ingredients: intense dark chocolate with roasted barley tea, nutty black sesame, or milk ice cream with caramel and fresh-baked oatmeal cookies. If you see any seasonal fruit flavors on the menu, prioritize—they often source from growers at the Torrance Farmers’ Market. And since Kansha is located in a strip mall near some of the South Bay’s best Japanese spots, you'll feel smart suggesting dessert after ramen for lunch.
photo credit: Sylvio Martins
Bacio Di Latte
Along with the trying samples at the Aesop store, Bacio di Latte is one of the few places at the Century City Mall where you can have a moment of uninterrupted peace. This serene, all-white gelato shop serves a dozen rotating menu flavors, including red velvet, biscotto with big chunks of spice cookies, and passionfruit cream. Their two best-sellers, though, are what we gravitate toward: the excellent, not-too-sweet pistachio and the bacio di latte. The namesake flavor tastes like pure cream with a subtle hint of vanilla, making it rich enough to satisfy your sweet tooth but not so heavy you’ll need to recline your car seat for a nap later.
Saffron & Rose Ice Cream
Saffron & Rose is one of the largest brands of Persian ice cream in America and can be found in markets nationwide, but nothing beats a visit to its original location in Westwood. Located just south of Wilshire in Persian Square, the tiny shop has been cranking out thick, Persian-style ice cream for almost four decades and still has lines out the door. Almost everybody is eating the saffron and pistachio flavor, but we never leave without getting at least one scoop of the orange blossom as well.
The family running Pops, a small shop located in Santa Clarita, comes from Belize, and they’ve integrated Latin American flavors into the majority of their ice cream—and the result is out of this world. There’s the insanely sweet zapote, the nut-flavored lucuma, and a coconut ice cream we want to fall asleep next to every night. Skip the cone and cup, and put it all in a hollowed-out, half-coconut husk to make your friends even more jealous they haven’t been here.
Greetings from the grandaddy of all LA ice cream. Established in 1919, Fosselman’s is the definition of a classic, and if you haven’t gone to the Alhambra location at least once, you can’t really say you know LA ice cream. This is the kind of rich, creamy, old-school ice cream you crave when you’re home plowing through a season of Law & Order you’ve already watched. The fudge sundae is a must. Warning: cash only.
photo credit: Alberto Blasetti
Add an extra 30 minutes to the parking meter because you don’t want to rush yourself at Fatamorgana. With locations in Beverly Hills and Studio City, this Rome transplant stocks over 60 gelato flavors, and you’ll want to sample as many as possible. There are classics like stracciatella, an entire section of just chocolate flavors, Mexican-inspired sorbettos, and creations that belong on a fancy dessert menu. Our favorites are the creamy ricotta with fig jam, the very-fragrant basil, and a decadent baklava flavor that’s too delicious to put down.
Magpies is one of the most popular ice cream shops in LA and for good reason: this Silver Lake original (there are now also locations in Highland Park and Tarzana) makes absolutely perfect soft serve. Lines are still pretty long on the weekends, so just do what we do and order in advance. If it’s your first time, order their signature sweetened cream, and then get involved with their daily flavors (like maple French toast) on future visits. Yes, there will be future visits.
Wanderlust’s schtick is ice cream inspired by countries around the world. What does that look like in your cone? Stuff like olive oil with chocolate-dipped baguette (Catalonia), Thai Tea, pretzel and rye crumbs (Iceland), and their signature purple flavor, Ube malted crunch (Philippines). The whole thing could be stupidly precious, but the ice cream itself is amazing. There are several locations around LA, and all of them rotate their flavors monthly—and by some miracle, we've yet to sample anything we didn't love.
McConnell's Fine Ice Creams
This Santa Barbara original has been making ice cream for 70 years, and it shows. They know their way around the classics (the vanilla bean is a real best-in-show) but also make fancier flavors like boysenberry rosé milk jam. They have locations in Grand Central Market, Studio City, and Pacific Palisades, and also do nationwide shipping. Always get the turkish coffee flavor.
Rolling into town from Columbus, Ohio, Jeni’s has moved into LA in a big way, with shops in Los Feliz, Larchmont, Calabasas, and Playa Vista. Narrowing down the huge choice of flavors can be more than a little overwhelming, but we’re partial to the brambleberry crisp and the darkest chocolate. You can usually try some flavors they’re testing out, if you like feeling like an ice cream lab rat. Which seems like the best kind of lab rat.
Ginger’s is a relatively new addition to the LA ice cream scene, but this corner shop in Culver City has become a local favorite thanks to the huge number of flavors, super creamy ice cream, and genuinely good vegan options. They’ve got everything from raspberry panna cotta to Vietnamese coffee, but you’ll probably find it hard to go past the “Billionaire Brownie.” You can get your ice cream in sandwich form, or you could go the ice cream pop route. Live your truth.