Stellina's Top-Notch Gelato | Lower East Side, New York

Top-notch gelato returns to the LES

Sorella has a little sister–and she's got quite the sweet tooth.

Her name is Stellina, and she is primed to fill the LES gelato void created when Il Laboratorio del Gelato decamped to Ludlow Street.

At this bright new café, Stellina chef and co-owner Emma Hearst tips an ice cream paddle to Italian culinary tradition while wielding a distinctly American accent. For example, the Bananimal embellishes banana gelato with Animal Crackers, while La Strada upends Rocky Road by paving milk chocolate gelato with pieces of brownie, marshmallow and almonds.

Similarly untraditional is Stellina's stracciatella, in which Italy's version of chocolate-chip ice cream gets a coconut infusion, and its Cinnamon Toast, which tastes exactly as its name suggests.

Plus, there's excellent news for late-night cravings: Stellina's gelatos will soon be available for delivery thanks to a bicycle that ferries pints throughout the neighborhood (Starting in April, the café will stay open until midnight during the week and 1 a.m. on the weekend).

Gelato is certainly the center of Stellina's universe, but it's far from the only item on the café's menu: There are also cookies, cakes and milkshakes, and for those with more savory leanings, salads and sandwiches served on house-made bread.

And don't leave without a box of grissini ($6 for 20): These savory, pencil-thin breadsticks (the same served at Sorella) are snack food at its best and ruinously addictive.

Stellina, 95 Allen St. (between Delancey and Broome sts.); 212-274-9555 or