Finally, the warm – and sunny – weather has arrived. And not to complain about the heat, but if you need a little cooling off, nothing does it better (besides a dip in the pool or lake) than a frosty treat.
Whether you like yours modern or old school, Ottawa has a number of options. Frankly, if you were ask 10 people for their favourite spot, you’d likely get 10 different answers, the choices are so plentiful.
So, in no particular order, except to start with what’s closest to home, here are 10 of the best ice cream and gelato shops in Ottawa to tempt your sweet tooth. (What’s the difference between ice cream and gelato, you may ask? It has to do with how it’s made, but in the most simplest terms, gelato typically has less fat than ice cream, as it’s often milk-based – instead of cream – and contains little or no egg yolks.)
#1 Stella Luna Gelato Café
Where: 1103 Bank St. (or 1130 Wellington St. W.)
Known for: With gelato in their name, you know it’s got to be a big deal. While there are plenty of other food items to choose from, the award-winning gelato is handmade fresh daily.
Sweet suggestion: In July, catch the mobile gelato cart at the Ukrainian Festival July 21-23 (St. John the Baptist Ukrainian Shrine grounds, 952 Green Valley Cres., near Heron Road & Prince of Wales Drive) and at the Asian Night Market at Lansdowne Park July 28-30.
More: 613-523-1116; www.slgelato.com
#2 Gelatini Gelato
Where: 344 Preston St.
Known for: Its pistachio gelato, said to be simply perfect. Gelatini also makes its Italian-style gelato in-house.
Sweet suggestion: If you don’t mind walking a few blocks, enjoy your sweet treat at Dow’s Lake. But if that’s too far to go, try cutting through Preston Square to the grassy courtyard behind the building.
More: 613-235-8050; gelatini.ca
#3 Moo Shu Ice Cream & Kitchen
Where: 477 Bank St.
Known for: This small-batch shop offers ever-changing flavours, some Asian-inspired, and vegan options. Note that they’re closed on Tuesdays and do not have seating.
Sweet suggestion: Try a waffle cone. They’re gluten-free and vegan and made on site.
More: 613-565-1524; mooshuicecream.com
#4 Pure Gelato
Where: 843 Bank St. (also on Elgin and in the ByWard Market)
Known for: Not surprisingly, its gelato, which is made daily on site using traditional artisan recipes and ingredients from Italy.
Sweet suggestion: For the lactose-intolerant, there are lots of options. Gluten-free and vegan choices can also be found. Otherwise, ask the staff for a recommendation.
#5 Lois ‘n’ Frima’s
Where: 71 George St. (also in Overbrook, at 300 Coventry Rd., and Stittsville)
Known for: A fixture in the ByWard Market since the 1980s, Lois ‘n’ Frima’s has created more than 60 recipes and makes its ice cream in small batches.
Sweet suggestion: Have a thick and creamy milkshake made from any flavour.
More: 613-720-7707; loisnfrimasicecream.com
#6 Chocolats Favoris
Where: 180 Vanguard Dr. (also in Gatineau)
Known for: Definitely their dipped ice cream, available in a dozen different dipping sauces.
Sweet suggestion: If you love cookies ‘n’ cream, try the dipping sauce over a soft cone. It’s like eating through a chocolate bar to get to the ice cream underneath.
More: 613-824-3535; chocolatsfavoris.com
#7 Sash Gelato Café
Where: 43 William St.
Known for: Billed as artisan gelato, it’s made fresh every day from scratch. You can see it being made in the old-style vertical barrel batch freezer, the same process as when it was first introduced to the world in 1927, the company says.
Sweet suggestion: The hazelnut comes highly recommended.
More: 613-567-7274; sashgelato.com
#8 Piccolo Grande
Where: 55 Murray St. & 95 Bank St.
Known for: Its gelato, with ingredients imported from Italy. The ByWard Market location is often quite busy in summer, but worth the effort.
Sweet suggestion: Got guests in town? Suggest the maple flavour.
More: 613-241-2909 (market) or 613-864-2152 (Bank); piccolograndeonmurray.com
Where: Ottawa Farmers’ Market or take-out containers at select shops
Known for: Made from natural ingredients and includes seasonal flavours.
Sweet suggestion: Try the goat cheese ice cream for a little adventure. If you can’t wait for market day, their website lists locations that sell pints.
#10 La Cigale
Where: 14 Ch. Scott, Chelsea
Known for: If you don’t mind hopping over the Ottawa River, this spot is worth the effort. There are 24 flavours of homemade ice cream, from classic chocolate to the unusual gingersnap and chai, plus sorbets.
Sweet suggestion: The shop is right next to Gatineau Park. Either hang out in the deck chairs on the property or work off your sweet treat with a hike through the park.
More: 819-827-6060; lacigaleicecream.ca