Our great city is dripping with ice cream and gelato shops these days. From classic Italian gelaterias which have been around for decades, to the latest, bravest and most Insta-worthy creations. Nicola Trup scoops up the best ice cream in London.
Where to find the best ice cream in London
1. La Grotta Ices
Barbados Custard ice cream from La Grotta
La Grotta does a strong line in fruity flavours, so you can expect to see the likes of Charentais melon and jasmine, or pink gooseberry and hazelnut crunch on the menu. There’s no permanent base yet, but on Saturdays during summer you can buy scoops and ice cream buns from a van outside Puntarelle in Bermondsey. Alternatively, recreate the recipes at home; La Grotta’s Kitty Travers has just published a recipe book.
La Grotta on Tumblr
Bermondsey Summer Saturdays outside Puntarelle 5 Spa Rd, London SE16 4RP
Shoreditch Leila’s Shop, Calvert Ave, London E2 7JP
General Store 174 Bellenden Rd, London SE15 4BW
Proper creamy ice cream at Udderlicious
This husband-and-wife operation dishes up deliciously creamy concoctions, with flavours chosen by a monthly customer vote. The current roster includes salted caramel and rhubarb and fig, but another month they might serve a chocolate and Marmite ice cream, for those who love it rather than hate it. Despite what the name might suggest, there are few dairy-free options too, as well as sorbets (look out for the peach and prosecco).
Islington: 187 Upper Street, London, N1 1RQ
Covent Garden: 24 Earlham Street, WC2H 9LN
The Insta-worthy black coconut ice cream
Mamasons’ Filipino-style “dirty ice cream” has been a hit since arriving on the scene in Camden in 2017. Try strikingly-coloured scoops of black buko (black coconut) or ube (purple yam), dished up in highly Instagrammable milk buns or cones (the XXL holds seven scoops). Alternatively, why not go for a Filipino classic, halo-halo – shaved ice, piled high with toppings.
Camden: 91 Kentish Town Road, NW1 8NY
Chinatown: 32 Newport Road, Soho. WC2H 7PQ
Avolatos at Snowflake in Selfridges
‘Luxury gelato’ outfit Snowflake makes its products using the best ingredients, from organic Ivy House milk (available at farmdrop.com) to Sicilian pistachios and hazelnuts from Piedmont. As for the flavours, don’t miss the dark chocolate or the avocado – creamy and delicious, it comes with a £9 price tag to match. As well as the usual cones and cups, they serve waffles, cannoli and sundaes at their five ’boutiques’.
Bayswater, Soho, South Kensington, Marble Arch, Selfridges
Gelupo’s Mint Stracciatella, Bonet and Ricotta Sour Cherry
The menu’s always changing at chef Jacob Kennedy’s compact Soho gelateria, but some of the specials this summer should keep you happy if you have a savoury tooth: olive oil and rosemary, and pine nut and fennel. There’s also a Pimms and lemonade sorbet that’ll hit the spot on a hot day. Everything is made daily in small batches, and the most popular options run out, so arrive early for the biggest selection.
Soho: 7 Archer St, W1D 7AU
6. Marine Ices
Amarena cherry Belgian waffle sundae at Marine Ices
It may have moved down the road from its original location, but Marine Ices has been a Camden staple since 1931, and still has a wonderfully old-school vibe. Some of the recipes have been passed down through the generations, and today there are 24 flavours of gelato, including fabulous dessert-inspired options like tiramisu, speculoos (spiced biscuit), blueberry muffin and chocolate fudge brownie.
Camden: Old Dairy Mews, 61 Chalk Farm Road, NW1 8AN
7. Ruby Violet
Ice cream pairing – Prosecco and strawberry sorbet at Ruby Violet
You’ll have to show up at Ruby Violet on the day to know what’s on the menu; the flavours of their small-batch ice creams, sorbets, lollies and floats change regularly. But during the heatwave they’ve been dishing up fruity and floral numbers such as lavender, and juniper and rosemary – as well as a delightful honey ice cream. Traditionalists, don’t worry – there’s vanilla and chocolate too. Best of all: they’re open until 10pm and serve cocktails.
King’s Cross: Midland Goods Shed, 3 Wharf Road, N1C 4BZ
Tufnell Park: 118 Fortess Road, NW5 2HL
The classic flavours done well at Oddono’s
Since its first gelateria opened in South Ken in 2004, Oddono’s has concocted more than 130 flavours, but the oldies are goodies: chocolate, hazelnut and pistachio are all bestsellers, as is the incredible mango sorbet. Want the full Italian experience? Go for an affogato – ice cream with coffee over the top. They’ve now got four more branches across London.
South Kensington, Battersea, Hampstead, East Dulwich, Chiswick