Whether you lick your ice cream cone or go for a chomping bite, few things get those taste buds dancing and smiles on your kiddo’s face like a mouthful of cool, sweet ice cream. And since Los Angeles enjoys warm weather most of the year, you almost always have a reason to enjoy this classic treat. But L.A. scoops up more than just your typical ice cream fare. You’ll find new and exciting gourmet twists on classically homemade ice cream and don’t forget the many delicious gelaterias now sprinkled around the city. Today’s frozen delicacies far surpass the ubiquitous trek down to the local DQ or Baskin Robbins. Set your mind to cool as you’re in for a delicious brain freeze!

Gelato:

Pazzo Gelato
This Silverlake staple is amongst the best gelato in the city. They serve up their own twist on gelato by using “unexpected herbs and spices” with fresh fruit and dairy to come up with new and exciting flavors each day.  Try not to drool while you read the menu as you scan unique flavor combos like coconut with curry, banana fudge with toasted almonds and crème fraiche with strawberry champagne sauce. Don’t forget they also make seasonal sorbetto, which is a sure bet – o…  And if you’re feeling creative, try asking for a custom made flavor they say “there’s nothing they can’t create”!

3827 W Sunset Blvd
bt Hyperion & Lucile Aves
Los Angeles, Ca
323-662-1410

Scoops
This hip gelateria takes their gelato seriously and they even made it vegan thanks to owner and mastermind Tai Kim. Their crazy flavors change daily and lucky for their legions of local fans they can be found at two locations amongst other LA shops and restaurants. Flavors rotate in and out but a few make frequent appearances like their ever popular Brown Brown Bread. On other days you may find flavors like, Raspberry Tiramisu, Green Tea Ginger, Guinness Chocolate and many more. Keep in mind you may want to bring your own little scooper to try as many flavors as possible! So get the scoop on Scoops before everyone else does as they often sell out on weekends and when it’s gone, it’s gone well, at least until the next day… Closed Sundays.

2 locations:
(Flagship) Scoops at the Wilshire Center
712 N Heliotrope Dr
Los Angeles, Ca
323-906-2649

Culver City
3400 Overland Ave
Los Angeles, Ca
323-405-7055

Al Gelato
Satisfy your summer sweet tooth with this Beverly Hills neighborhood Italian gelato café. Although they do serve Italian food and other outstanding deserts here, the main draw is in its namesake – the GELATO!  Most Angelinos who swear by their gelato sing their praises for the ever-popular coffee crunch which you can have with a dollop of whipped cream.  You’ll be whipped into a frenzy while sampling their other flavors like banana chip, blackberry, lemon vanilla, chestnut, pumpkin… you get the idea! There’s so much to choose from that you’ll have no trouble ensuring everyone’s satisfied. So take a seat on the patio, relax and watch the world go by… just don’t forget to eat it before it all melts. Good news they now take credit cards.

806 S Robertson Blvd
Los Angeles, Ca
310-659-8069

Bonaventura Gelato Lounge
You know this newly-opened gelateria is kid friendly when you can order gelato shaped like a caterpillar, Pinocchio, or a plate of spaghetti. Once you’ve ordered your sweet creation, grab a seat over in the super cool Kids’ Corner where toys and games will entertain the kids even after they’ve finished gobbling up their gelato. Good luck trying to get the kids to leave this spot–no doubt they’ll ask to come back again before too long.

4700-4720 Lincoln Blvd
Marina del Rey, Ca
310-822-1404

Bulgarini Gelato
Voted LA Weekly’s Best Ice Cream and Gelato in LA for 2011 and mentioned on the Food Network, this little hole in the wall would go unnoticed were it not for the incredible homemade gelato flavors that they produce. Your kids will really dig Bulgarini Gelato’s flavors like salty chocolate and olive oil. And, don’t be surprised if you happen to see one of Bulgarini Gelato’s mobile carts at the next event that you attend.

749 E Altadena Dr
Altadena, Ca
626-791-6174

Ice Cream:

Milk
For lactose lovers who are looking for a serious sundae summer treat. Milk, as the name suggests, has a lot on offer to quench your summer cone cravings. Check out their Ice Cream Parlor for every ice cream treat you can dream up. You name it, they’ve got it. Whether you fancy a delicious ice cream cup, cone, sandwich, malt, shake or cake – you will leave satisfied.  Ice cream menu overload? Start out with one of their classics, the Warm Ooey Gooey Chocolate Sundae. Don’t worry there’s plenty of sizzling summer days left to try everything on the menu. Trust me, you’ll definitely be back for more!

7290 Beverly Blvd @ N Poinsettia Pl
Los Angeles, Ca
323-939-6455

Bennet’s Ice Cream at the Farmer’s Market
Addicted to ice cream? Belly up to Bennett’s busy old-fashioned ice cream shop in the Farmers Market, next to The Grove to get your fix. Bennett’s Ice Cream is made on site so you and your kids can watch them make it right through their kitchen window. Flavors change frequently but are creatively crafted so each time you visit you’ll marvel at what they’ve come up with. Owner Scott’s cabernet sauvignon sorbet and the Choffee Choffee ice cream (Chocolate and Coffee Ice cream with Chocolate covered toffee pieces) are definitely worth the wait! Cash only.

6333 W. Third St.
Los Angeles, Ca
323-939-6786

Diddy Riese Cookies
For those who like to build their own ice cream sandwiches, Diddy Riese is the spot. These tasty treats are made to order with whatever combinations of ice cream/cookies you can imagine. And there’s nothing more satisfying than sinking you teeth into two freshly baked cookies covering a sweet scoop of delicious ice cream. The best of all? these custom creations cost less than $2 each! It’s no wonder then that the lines here are long. Be prepared to wait, but the staff usually cycles through customers rather quickly.

926 Broxton Ave
Los Angeles, Ca
310-208-0448

Sweet Rose Creamery
Sweet Rose Creamery will be sweet music to your taste buds. “Small batches… of happiness” is their tag line and that’s no lie. Try this delicious and locally inspired, homemade organic ice cream that’s made in small batches with no stabilizers for the ice cream purist in you. They’re open seven days a week so you can try flavor favorites like, Salted Caramel or this month’s Fig Jam swirl with goat cheese and toasted walnuts ice cream any day of the week!

7 Days a Week Brentwood Country Mart
225 26th Street, Suite 51
Santa Monica, Ca
310-260-CONE

Ice Cream Truck:

Cool Haus
Moo’ve over there’s a new ice cream truck in town…and it doesn’t play creepy music! Check it out by following them on twitter you can then cruise on over to the uber popular Cool Haus truck. This L.A. favorite is famed for its inventive brand of architecturally themed gourmet ice cream sandwiches. They offer up clever combinations of cookies and ice cream to make a truly decadent ice cream sandwich. Not only is their ice cream delicious, but it’s also “all natural, organic, handmade and sustainable” whenever they can swirl it.

Now here comes the fun part, choose one of their home-made ice cream flavors and then pick a cookie and voila! The ultimate ice cream sandwich is yours. Take note, deciding which ice cream tastes best with what cookie can be tough, but it’s all part of the fun and will keep you coming back for future visits. How does a balsamic fig and mascarpone ice cream sandwiched in between two ginger molasses cookies sound? Or try one of their specials, an architecturally inspired concoction, by taking ginger cookies and meyer lemon ice cream to make up their Richard “Meyer” ice cream sandwich special. Oh yeah, and did I mention even their wrappers are edible? Who knew an ice cream sandwich could taste this good and make you feel so good about ordering it. Brilliant.

Cool Haus just opened a storefront in Culver City, so now your favorites from the ice cream truck are served alongside Blue Bottle Coffee, artisan hot chocolate, floats, and of course, ice cream sandwiches.

Did we forget to mention your favorite ice cream spot? Share it with us in the comments below!

— Jessica Jones

photo credit: Ken Lund via flickr, Tamaki Sono via flickr, DeKay. via flickr, Razman Lop via flickr & Cool Haus facebook page