Are you an ice cream or gelato licker? Maybe you’re both, or maybe you don’t really know the difference? That’s okay, Sydney churns some of the best of both types.
Although just to fill the gap, gelato is an Italian dessert that has around 3-10% less fat than ice-cream. It’s used mainly to highlight fresh fruits and nuts. Ice cream is made from milk, sugar, and eggs, which is why it has a higher fat content, but it also gives it that rich, creamy mouthfeel.
Sydney takes both seriously, and one visit to an artisanal ice cream shop is all you need to be convinced of. The best ones use fresh ingredients, high-quality milk, and is made with care. So, whether you’re after whacky flavours, creamy licks, or traditional scoops, here are the best places to pick up a frozen treat in Sydney.
Newtown You can’t go past a scoop or two from Mapo in Newtown. This place is known for its high-quality ingredients, including blending in Pepe Saya butter to create the creamy scoops. The little gelateria, often blocked by lines of people waiting for a scoop, is also dedicated to sustainability. They serve scoops in compostable containers and with compostable spoons. Half their flavours are dairy-free, and you’ll find all their small batches are freshly churned in the lab at the back. If you peek over the counter, you can see the machines hard at work. Word has it the tiny gelateria is about to get a lot bigger, with a new location opening up in Bondi, late February.
Barangaroo, Darlinghurst, and Parramatta Enjoy gelato the Sicilian Way at RivaReno. They have locations dotted all over the city, and every single one you walk into has the gelato covered in stainless steel containers, also known as ‘pozetti.’ This means you don’t get to see all the bright wonderful colours, but it’s the way they do it in Sicily and keeps the flavour fresh and texture silky. There are over 30 flavours from walnut and black liquorice to ricotta and caramelised fig. They’re always tinkering away int he lab, creating new flavours. For the RivaReno experience, be sure to top your scoop with a generous drizzle of gianduia (chocolate and hazelnut).
Chatswood This unassuming little gelateria has a friendly Italian man, Luca Zanini, dressed head to toe in a red and white gondolier uniform, scooping traditional gelato and sorbet. The kitchen is open, so you can watch as they make the gelato from pistachio siciliana to panna cotta, and other melt-in your mouth flavours. The secret is the vertical gelato maker, only one of few in Australia. The technology is from 1972 and is capable of chilling the gelato to temperatures colder than modern technology. It’s mechanically worked with a paddle by a gelato maker, which means they can only make 6-litres at a time. The flavours change, but they always have a certain amount of classic flavours available.
Redfern This classic Italian gelateria uses simple ingredients and a traditional method to churn out their well-known scoops, made in-house, of course. What sets them apart is the use of Jersey milk, naturally superior milk that comes from purebred Jersey cows, resulting in velvety and silky smooth gelato. The shop itself is a lounge-room to the past. Expect a long thin-room, few chairs to sit on, rock n roll blasting through the stereo, and batch freezers at the back. It almost feels like you’re in a gelateria in Italy, hidden on a cobblestone street. If only, but for now you can get a taste of Italy at Ciccone and Sons in Redfern.
Newtown This family-run gelateria in Newtown has been making gelato on-site for 10 years and yet, there are still lines, some around the corner, of people waiting to get their hands on a scoop or tub. They have 26 flavours each day, but the most famous flavour is their Mandorla affogato. It won World’s Best Gelato at 2014’s Gelato World Tour in Rimini, Italy and continues to lead from the top. They also make gelato cakes from the many flavours they have on their list. There most creative flavours include banana salted caramel, elderberry, and lychee and coconut.
Five Dock The De Luca’s have been making ice cream since 1937 when Salvatore De Luca got a license to sell gelato in the streets of Sicily. Today, Cremeria De Luca serves the locals of Five Dock and visitors from all over and has been since 2013. If that’s not a testament to the quality, we’re not sure what is. Expect different flavours of gelato, available in one or two scoops. You can top it with Panna and Nutella or indulge and get a gelato burger. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds. Imagine a scoop of gelato sandwiched between two buttery slices of brioche with a dollop of whipped cream and slathering of Nutella.
Newtown Gelato Blue is Sydney’s first 100% plant-based gelateria, so now everyone can enjoy the frozen treat. Every element is made in house, including the nut mixes that are milled on site. They use a base of coconut milk, and cream to create their 20 vegan gelato flavours, including double-roasted pistachio, and pavlova. You can also pick up a gelato sundae, topped with Belgian chocolate, nuts, and a waffle cone.
Bellingen and Rozelle Bellingen Gelato is a family affair, which started in the late 1980s, and has grown to a local institution, even growing to Rozelle, where a second shop has opened. The highlight here is the endless flavour choices. Expect to see the classics, but also their creations, including roast macadamia and honey, fig and port, spiced pumpkin pie, and many more. Their milk-based flavours are low in fat, with 5-6% butterfat, while the fruit sorbets are fat and dairy-free. They also make gelato cakes, with any flavour you like.
Multiple Locations Messina, as it is more commonly known opened its first shop in Fitzroy, VIC. The humble little shop started a craze, which grew to 19 stores across NSW, VIC, NT, QLD, and ACT. Even though they are a chain, they don’t mass produce flavour pastes or have pre-made bases, instead, they stick to their original daily-made method, boasting 35 traditional flavours, and five rotating weekly specials. For the specials, expect banana and passionfruit, strawberry gelato and pistachio fudge, and a banana split gelato.
Marrickville This old school gelato is seriously old school. The tables are dressed with fresh flowers, and diners can sit by the window for prime people-watching. Everything in this shop screams Italian dessert parlour, down to the exposed brick walls. Owner, Franco is the man behind the gelato, which is oh so creamy, and made with good quality ingredients— exactly as it has been for many years. Expect classic flavours like banana, coffee, and strawberry, as well as some knockouts, including the stracciatella, and Toblerone.
Bondi There’s nothing better than having ice cream before wading down to Bondi Beach for a swim. There are plenty of options nearby, but for a scoop, you won’t regret, head to Pompei’s. The restaurant slings pizza, pasta, and other Italian favourites, but their gelato is some of the best you can get in Bondi. Go for a scoop or two of classic pistachio, or indulge in other sweet delights, including a dessert calzone with chocolate and hazelnut filling, or take home a tub of their famous gelato, available in 500ml or 1-litre tubs.
CBD, Chatswood, Macquarie, and other locations Aqua S is an ice cream where all your Instagram content dreams come true. Think pretty colours, clouds of fairy floss, and a dreamy interior. Their signature soft serve is the sea salt flavour, which you would normally find in Okinawa, Japan. Its aqua hue is an addition, owner Jennifer Lam added—an Instagram-worthy soft serve. Apart from the signature serve, their flavours rotate every two weeks, and you can top it or wrap it in just about anything. From cotton candy to popping rocks, roasted marshmallows, and popcorn, this truly is topping heaven.
There’s plenty to celebrate this year, from new menus to restaurants throwing parties, bottomless brunches, and more.
Here, we have the latest on Sydney’s food news, from chefs taking over restaurants to limited-edition menus and feasts for all your friends to enjoy.
To celebrate World Gin Day, and for one week only, gin and food lovers can try nagashi-sōmen—translating to ‘flowing noodles’— which sees noodles sent down a bamboo chute for diners to collect with chopsticks. The one-off experience will be hosted at Kid Kyoto, where guests can enjoy their flowing noodles alongside a menu paired with delicious KI NO BI Gin cocktails. Purchase tickets here.
Tuck into a Fireball Burger
Feeling the cold? Fireball Whisky and Bar Luca have teamed up for the ultimate firey menu. Offered for a limited time only, head down to Bar Luca for $6 Fireball shots all day, a Fireball shot and cocktail on arrival, and an all-you-can-eat bites of the full “Blame Fireball” menu on Saturday, July 1. Book a spot here.
For two nights only, on Tuesday the 20th and Tuesday 27th of June, Graeme Hunt, Head Chef of Sydney’s trending late-night bar and dining venue at Zaffi, will be stepping up to the kitchen at award-winning bar PS40. Pop-up guests can expect a mosaic of colourful Lebanese-inspired bar snacks paired with exclusive midweek sips made by the mastermind behind the experimental bar, Michael Chiem.
Fan of Cinderella? The Great Hall is transforming into The Royal Palace for an enchanting high tea from July 1-2. There will be dancing and fun, and then Cinderella will run out of the venue leaving behind her glass slipper—the search for the missing beauty will begin. Tickets for the Cinderella High Tea costs $80-85 and you can purchase them here.
Grill’d has dropped two new burgers, and they’re beyond anything we could have imagined. Taking inspiration from Mexico, Grilld’s two new burgers are a Zesty Mexi and Luxe Nacho Burger. The Zesty Mexi features a black bean pattie with corn chips, tasty cheese, slaw, jalapenos, and chipotle mayo mixed with green tomatillo lime salsa. For meat lovers, the Luxe Nacho Burger is the same as the Zesty Mexi, but with a premium Wagyu pattie.