16 Spots For The Best Gelato In NYC

They don't teach you in schools that gelato first arrived in the U.S. by way of New York, but according to gelato historians, that's how we ended up with this Italian delight. Rumor has it that Giovanni Basiolo, an Italian immigrant, traveled to New York in 1770 and brought his recipes for gelato with him. At that point in the history of this frozen confection, he would have known how to make a basic version of sorbetto by using fruit and ice, and an early version of gelato that was made by mixing milk with one of four primitive flavors: coffee, cinnamon, pistachio, or chocolate.

Unfortunately for our country, gelato's introduction was soon overshadowed by the invention of the hand crank freezer in 1843, which meant that gelato's fiercest rival, ice cream, skyrocketed in popularity. As a result, gelato's deep New York roots have been written over. In the New York City of today, the streets are littered with ice cream shop after ice cream shop, with fewer gelaterie farther between. To be fair, ice cream is faster and easier to make — but if you want a real decadent treat, slow-churned gelato is still the way to go. It's thick, creamy, and luxurious, not to mention reminiscent of far-off Italia. Fortunately, there are still plenty of great places to find some in New York City.

Dolce Brooklyn

Dolce Brooklyn is a little gelateria hidden away in the sleepy streets of Carroll Gardens, right off Henry Street. Co-founder Kristina Frantz was very much inspired both by Italy and the gelato-less children of Brooklyn to open her shop. "We tasted real gelato ... [and] we never wanted ice cream again," she explained in a YouTube video. Like most gelato, Dolce Gelato has less sugar and less fat in it than ice cream; Frantz intended it this way, saying, "I make gelato that I'm happy and proud to feed my kids."

There are limited flavors available at this tiny shop; they usually experiment with classics like fior di latte, vanilla, and chocolate, and spice things up with flavors like espresso stracciatella. You can preorder gelato cakes and macarons. The "Serious Chocolate" flavor is always in rotation because it's a fan favorite. This is not the best place to go for indoor seating, because the gelateria is so tiny that only employees are allowed inside; to order, you need to step up to the Dutch door that doubles as a counter.

L'Arte del Gelato

A Sicilian man named Francesco Procopio dei Coltelli is credited with having popularized gelato worldwide. Way back in the 1600s, dei Coltelli moved from Palermo to Paris, where he opened a dessert shop that was so cutting-edge that it singlehandedly started trends. One of these trends was a refined gelato, which dei Coltelli served in egg cups; this delicious dessert ended up launching gelato's success on a multinational scale. Even now, gelato owes a lot to Sicilian enterprise.

For this reason, L'Arte del Gelato is very proud of its Sicilian heritage. It's also purposefully aiming for a stuck-in-time aesthetic: The cheerful, sweet pinks and bright, peppy font choice are all inspired by the gelaterie of the 1970s, which were a "beacon and a symbol of Italian post-war prosperity," per the shop's site. Here, you can get your traditional flavors in a cup or a cone, or even on a small brioche — a specifically Sicilian way to serve gelato. There are several locations of L'Arte del Gelato throughout NYC, located near or inside touristy landmarks like the Oculus, the High Line, and the American Museum of Natural History. 


Venchi is an Italian superpower. Founded by a 20-year-old man named Silviano Venchi living in Torino in 1878, this gelateria actually originated as a chocolatier. The bonbons for which this business originally became famous were called "nougatine," a rich, Piemontese chocolate filled with chopped, caramelized hazelnuts. Venchi eventually expanded to sell gelato as well, which is what has since catapulted it to international fame. 

Venchi stores are recognizable by their gold trim, with gold glinting off counters and chocolate wrappers; many locations also have a water feature that looks like molten chocolate streaming down a wall. In addition to there being at least one Venchi in every major city in Italy, there are also seven Venchi locations scattered up and down the borough of Manhattan. If you're anywhere between FiDi and the Met, chances are you're only a few minutes away from a Venchi. 

Anita La Mamma del Gelato

Anita la Mamma del Gelato is a chain that arrived in New York from Tel Aviv, where it's the defining gelateria. According to its website, Anita Avital started making gelato in 1998 in a roundabout way — her specialty is homemade jam, which her youngest son Nir would mix into an ice cream base. In 2002, the duo began to serve these jammed-up ice creams to neighbors and friends. Next, word spread, and in only a matter of time, the family began operating a multinational chain.

There are only two Anita locations in NYC — one is on the Upper East Side, and the other is in NoMad. There are many flavors available at Anita's, which are divided into cream-based flavors, vegan, sugar-free, and frozen yogurts. The most exciting flavors at Anita are the ones that bring in unexpected new ingredients, like salted bagel, or popcorn with honey and caramel. Additional points for creativity go to Anita for the presentation of these flavors: Several of them are displayed with a layer of hardened chocolate, on top of which the gelato creators have created tantalizing works of marbled art.

Brown Butter Creamery

Brown Butter Creamery is a Black-owned gelateria that's newer on the scene than some of the other fairly well-established gelaterie on this list. This Bed-Stuy gelato spot opened in the summer of 2022 as an offshoot of the already-popular Brown Butter Craft Bar & Kitchen, which serves breakfast sandwiches, coffee, and cocktails two blocks down on Tompkins Ave. 

With flavors like ube, funfetti, pear jam swirl, and apple pie, it's clear that Brown Butter Creamery is splitting from the mold of traditional Italian-style gelato to create something that's much more American (and much more fun). Structurally, this gelato is more similar to ice cream, which means that, unlike most traditional gelato, this frozen delight can hold itself upright if you opt to get your scoops served in a cone. (Much less messy that way.)


Amorino is a French chain that was founded in 2002 by childhood friends Cristiano Sereni and Paolo Benassi. The coolest thing about Amorino, and likely the thing that launched its international fame, is the presentation. At this gelateria, gelato is formed into a flower shape when served on a cone — the gelato servers use their paddles to scoop up petal-shaped gelato slices, and then painstakingly manipulate those petals to encircle the cone, ending up with a result that looks surprisingly like a rose. 

At Amorino, if you order the rose-shaped cone, you can stick with just one flavor, mix and match (see above), or even choose a different flavor for each petal. You can also top the cone with special, gelato-filled macarons to add some extra, posh style. There are just shy of 30 flavors offered on the website; in the store, you'll find them displayed in beautiful, colorful heaps behind a glass counter.

il laboratorio del gelato

il laboratorio del gelato — in English, the "laboratory of gelato" — takes the science behind gelato seriously. This shop in the Lower East Side has the ability to create hundreds of flavor combinations. Yes, you read that right: At this gelateria, which refers to itself as "the Lab," gelato experts are cooking up (or should we say chilling out?) more than 300 flavors. To mirror the shop's scientific pursuits, the Lab serves its gelato in decidedly sterile-looking rectangular cups.

Founder Jon Snyder is an entrepreneur first, and this is his second gelato business. He opened the first one instead of going to college, inspired by a trip to Italy and his grandparents, who operated a location of Carvel in Westchester County; after selling his first business, he ended up spending seven years working on Wall Street before coming back to the business of gelato. Now, he's intense about making not just the best gelato in NYC, but also the most varied — the flavors range from basic to incredibly specific. For example, there are four varieties of lime gelato and five types of fig.

Ferrara Bakery & Cafe

Ferrara Bakery & Cafe has been operating since 1892. This Little Italy staple was originally named "Caffè à Ferrara," or "coffee in Ferrara," after the smaller Italian city just North of Bologna, but now it's just called Ferrara. It's one of the earliest-established pasticcerie and espresso bars in America. In fact, back in the late 1800s, this space was used by operagoers to gather and discuss the arts. 

Luckily for big Ferrara fans, the gelato from Ferrara Bakery & Cafe will soon be available to order online; according to Goldbelly, soon you'll be able to get a delivery of four gelato pints in the most classic flavors, along with all the accouterments necessary to pretend that you're actually at the real Ferrara, like stamped napkins, serving cups, and plastic spoons. Unfortunately, the price is staggering and you don't get to choose which flavors you get, so it's probably still a better bet to come in yourself and breathe in a little history as you enjoy your gelato.

Playa Gelato

Playa Gelato is the first gelato shop in the South Bronx. Playa, the Spanish word for "beach," might be a confusing name for a gelateria, but it makes more sense when you realize it speaks to the roots of the owners, one of whom is from Puerto Rico. On the Playa Gelato website, founder Amir Chayon, who also owns nearby Asian-fusion restaurant Ceetay, explains the choice: He "always dreamed of owning a business that gives customers the feeling they get from a day spent at the beach." 

Playa Gelato is located on Alexander Avenue, and it opened up in the summer of 2022. Even as the business continues to establish itself, it's clear that staying connected to the South Bronx community matters a lot to this gelateria. Playa Gelato is constantly partnering with various schools, putting on events, and giving out discounted gelato. Each five-star review someone writes about the place goes up on Instagram with a word of thanks.

L'Albero Dei Gelati

It was a foregone conclusion that L'Albero Dei Gelati would make it to this list — after all, it made our list of the best ice cream shops in America first. This Park Slope gelateria's name translates to "tree of gelatos," and its space is tiny, consisting of just a small counter that opens onto Fifth Ave. 

L'Albero Dei Gelati was founded by a family with roots in Lombardy, a Northern region of Italy. What's particularly great about L'Albero Dei Gelati is that its gelato is made in a highly traditional manner, but the creators aren't afraid to experiment with Italian ingredients to create new, radical flavors that are often savory. For example, the burro e sale flavor here is made with butter and salt — it's not a flavor you'd ever see in another gelateria, because it isn't naturally sweet, and doesn't actually sound that appetizing. Yet it's fantastic, especially when paired with a deep chocolate or a bright fruit flavor. The same goes for the olive oil gelato and the saffron gelato. These are old-school ingredients repurposed in a savory way that breathes new life into the tradition of gelato.

FIGO il Gelato Italiano

"Figo" has two meanings in Italian: It can mean "fig," as in the fruit pictured in the logo of this gelateria, or it can be a slang word meaning "cool." FIGO il Gelato Italiano certainly aims to deliver on the expectation its name creates. The FIGO website, which is charmingly translated into English, offers up a manifesto for how gelato should make you feel; it argues, "It must know how to give you emotions, it must make you feel like when you were a child, [when] you enjoyed it in a hot afternoon."

The flavor to try here is definitely the figo itself. Made with ricotta, caramelized figs, and amaretti, which are almond-flavored cookies, this fig flavor is refreshingly sweet. Other menu highlights include a nerone that is made from 80% dark chocolate and a Ferrero Rocher flavor. You can get your hands on FIGO gelato at its Mulberry Street location in Little Italy.


Let us spell this one out, for those of you who don't want to zoom in: That's A-v-r-i-l-i-l-i-l-l-y, pronounced Av-ril-i-lil-ly. Avrilililly's is a Harlem-based gelateria that also specializes in elaborate, flowery cakes. This shop came into being because, like so many other American gelateria dreamers, founder and co-owner Avril Lekic traveled to Bologna, got hooked on gelato, and decided to bring a little taste of Italy back to Harlem with her. The shop, which is named after both Avril and her daughter Lilly, opened in February of 2022, and has been churning out very-Instagrammable gelato scoops and cake slices ever since.

The presentation here is showy, which is part of the charm here. The fun flavor names like "Sugar Mama" and "Pick me Up Harlem" combined with the ostentatious look of this gelato as it drips out of a cone ... Avrilililly's gives you everything, including more letters than you bargained for.

Sant Ambroeus

Sant Ambroeus is not just a gelateria, it's also an upscale Milanese restaurant. In SoHo, there are two Sant Ambroeus establishments located next to one another: The corner spot is where you access the restaurant, and then a little farther up the block, you'll find the space dedicated to the gelateria. Unlike most gelaterie, Sant Ambroeus is aiming for quiet luxury with all deep green marble counters and plush velvety seating. Aesthetically, the interior looks like the dentistry chain Tend if it actually invested in all the pieces it bought and then dimmed the lights. In other words, if you have young kids in tow, this is not the right gelateria for them. 

Still, Sant Ambroeus is absolutely worth a trip, even if you have to get a sitter to make it happen. This is one of the only places in New York where coppe, or Italian-style ice cream sundaes, are on the menu. You can also get espresso drinks and cakes. 

Biddrina Gelato

Biddrina Gelato isn't quite a full gelateria. Rather, this Prospect Heights gelato is sold straight from a cart located right outside its mother restaurant, Locanda Vini e Olii. The gelato cart made its debut in May of 2023, after slyly experimenting with adding gelato to the dessert menus at Locanda. Its name, Biddrina, is a reference to a mythical creature that resembles a mix between a crocodile and dragon that was thought to live in Caltanissetta, Sicily.

Come to Biddrina's cart for its innovative flavor combinations. We've all had watermelon sorbet, but have you ever had watermelon with fennel and smoked sea salt mixed in? How about chocolate gelato with green cardamom and marshmallows? Or, if that doesn't float your boat, how about turmeric with Amarena cherry? Each combo is more bizarre than the last, yet somehow it works. There are six dairy options and three vegan sorbetti on offer, and you can't really go wrong — we just wouldn't recommend mashing up two flavors and accidentally creating a monstrous Biddrina of your own. 

Arcobaleno Gelateria NYC

"Arcobaleno" is Italian for "rainbow," and Arcobaleno Gelateria NYC is definitely trying to hit every color of the arcobaleno in its gelato. This Queens gelateria is the most recent brainchild of Valerio Marchi, Gina Mastrovito, and Manuel Gregorio, three restauranteurs who already operated two other restaurants in the immediate area. Arcobaleno, which opened in 2022, sits right next door to one of the group's other restaurant concepts, a wood-fired pizzeria called Sotto Le Stelle.

At Arcobaleno, gelato flavors aren't overly sweet, and scoops are very fairly priced. Try opting for the light blue gelato that the menu refers to as "Puffo," the Italian word for Smurf — it's a flavor that was very popular in Italy in the '80s and has since fallen out of favor, but is making a comeback. (Typically, it just tastes like vanilla.)

Gelateria Gentile

"Gentile" means "nice" in Italian, and this gelato is very nice, indeed. Gelateria Gentile is an Italian chain that has been open since 1880, originating in the southern Italian city of Bari. Today, there are several NYC locations: three in Lower Manhattan and one in Williamsburg.

The gelato at Gelateria Gentile isn't placed out showily, unlike its treatment at most other American gelaterie. Instead, stored in those silver jugs that are considered synonymous with good gelato for real Italians. As a result, the gelato is kept at the perfect temperature to retain the ideal consistency — this gelato is perfectly creamy and just on the point of melting, and when you pick it up with your spoon, it stretches. The flavors on offer aren't translated from the original Italian, so you might have to ask for a bit of clarification on what you're ordering. The cioccolato here is quite good, as are the sorbetti.