Along with a delicious variety of neighborhoods to explore, San Francisco offers some of the best ice cream in the US in an array of classic and unique flavors. Here is a list of some of the coolest spots in the city to indulge a sweet tooth.
The Ice Cream Bar
815 Cole Street, http://theicecreambarsf.com/
Harken back to the days of the soda fountain and delicious memories of childhood will come back to you. The Ice Cream Bar is a full service 1930s style soda fountain and classic lunch counter, serving house-made ice cream and sodas. On top of this, they serve “remedies” for the 21 and up crowd. Never has a place excited the child and adult inside you at the same time.
What’s popular: New Orleans Hangover (non-alcoholic).
What you should get: Sassy Granny Sutton (Alcoholic).
Mr. & Mrs Miscellaneous
699 22nd Street
Mr. & Miscellaneous was started by a couple that has as much experience working at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago as they have tattoos. This small Dogpatch operation makes ice cream so fresh that they constantly run out of flavors and restock with different flavors throughout the day.
What’s popular: Pink Squirrel.
What you should get: Rosemary Pistachio and Orange Blossom.
Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop
900 North Point Street, http://www.ghirardelli.com/sites/default/files/locationsevents/MenuRevGlass.pdf
Ghirardelli is a San Francisco institution that has been around since 1852, when they started making the chocolate that we all know and love. Today, Ghirardelli is home to some of the most decadent ice cream sundaes in the city.
What’s popular: Ghirardelli Square (Hot Fudge Sundae).
What you should get: Treasure Island (Warm Brownie Sundae).
432 Octavia Street, http://smittenicecream.com/
Every serving of Smitten’s ice cream is made to order using liquid nitrogen that freeze the ingredients while you watch.
What’s popular: TCHO Chocolate.
What you should get: Mint Chocolate Chip.
Three Twins Ice Cream
254 Fillmore Street, http://www.threetwinsicecream.com/
An all-organic ice cream, their unique flavors and creamy texture make it impossible to have just one bite.
What’s popular: Lemon Cookie.
What you should get: Mint Confetti (extra points for the awesome name).
Over the Moon
2144 Chestnut Street, http://overthemoonsf.com/index.htm
Inspired by Grandma, Over the Moon is a creamery with a retro bent. The combination of rich creamy ice cream and warm, gooey, fresh-baked cookies will hit the spot every time.
What’s popular: Honey Lavender.
What you should get: Coffee Caramel Crunch (with cookies).
3692 18th Street and 550 Divisadero Street, http://biritecreamery.com/
A local favorite, there will always be a line out in front of Bi-Rite Creamery, especially if the sun is peeking out behind the clouds. What’s popular: Salted Caramel.
What you should get: Ricanelas (cinnamon with snickerdoodle cookie pieces).
2790A Harrison Street, http://www.humphryslocombe.com/www.humphryslocombe.com/Home.html
The ice cream shop to seek out for the most peculiar flavors. Some of their offerings include: foie gras, strawberry candied jalapeno, any number of beers, and something called government cheese.
What’s popular: Secret Breakfast (we won’t ruin the secret).
What you should get: Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee.
Mitchell’s Ice Cream
688 San Jose Avenue, http://mitchellsicecream.com/
Before there were lines out the door or inventive flavors with the word secret in them, there was Mitchell’s. Established in 1953, Mitchell’s has been making ice cream in small batches that people keep coming back to time and time again.
What’s popular: Stracciatella.
What you should get: Grasshopper Pie.
Joe’s Ice Cream
5420 Geary Boulevard, http://www.joesicecream.com/
Want a traditional scoop of ice cream in the Richmond? Joe’s is the place. The family-run ice cream shop has been serving its award-winning homemade ice cream flavors to locals and visitors alike since 1959.
What’s popular: Blueberry Cheesecake.
What you should get: Coffee Crunch and a Joe’s It.
What’s the difference between frozen custard and ice cream? About one egg yolk, give or take. Because of that (and the fact that people run when they see them), California’s first frozen custard food truck makes the list. Their unique flavors are inspired from their ethnic backgrounds and foods that they’ve eaten around the world.
What’s popular: Burnt Caramel.
What you should get: Thai Tea
1999 Hyde Street, http://www.swensensicecream.com/
What is a global franchise today actually started in 1948 on Union Street and Hyde. Over the years, Swensen’s has modified their offerings to match the ever-changing American palette, but the three things they have never sacrificed are quality, quantity and value for your money.
What’s popular: Sticky Chewy Chocolate.
What you should get: Swiss Orange Chip.