The top 10 under the radar gelato in Toronto
Gelato in Toronto ain't exactly tough to find, so you hardly have to travel to Italy to have an Eat, Pray, Love-like experience. There are numerous hidden gems around Toronto that might not specialize exclusively in the frozen Italian treat, but make the good stuff in the authentic way: by hand, in small batches, with top notch ingredients. Expect to find some unusual flavours too, not just the Italian standards but bold and unique variations that'll have you licking the bowl.
Here are the top 10 under the radar sources for gelato in Toronto.
The College Street cafe does more than just espresso. A selection of house made gelati and vegan sorbets come in unique flavours like roasted banana, Japanese matcha, kalamansi mint, and coconut lime. Order a single ($2.62), double ($3.90) or triple ($5.20) scoop, or by the half or full litre for takeaway ($13-$23).
The Italian bakery cafe on Royal York makes this cool treat exclusively in the summer months. Made fresh daily, choose from flavours like chocolate, bacio (a chocolate hazelnut kiss), nocciola (hazelnut), torrone (roasted almonds), wild berry yogurt and stracciatella, plus lemon, raspberry and mango sorbetto.
Located on West Queen West, this Terroni offshoot offers house-made gelato in flavours like cioccolato, nocciola, pistachio, crema, limone and frutti di bosco. While a single scoop (in a cup, sugar cone or regular cone) sells for $4.25, everyone knows that gelato is best when matched with a complimentary flavour, so opt for two scoops for $6.
Peruse this Etobicoke cheese shop with a scoop (or two) of gelato in hand. Among the range of 28 flavours, the most popular are peanut butter, salted caramel or pistachio available to stay ($3.75/small, $4.86/medium, $5.75/large) or in to-go packs ($16/litre, $10/half litre or $7/quarter litre).
Order a signature crepe ($6-$6.75) a la mode with a scoop of house-made gelato at this Kensington Market creperie that melds French and Japanese influences. By the cup ($3.50/single, $5/double) flavours like mango, hazelnut, vanilla, green tea, blood orange or chocolate are available, or opt instead for a gelato parfait ($6) topped with fresh fruit, cornflakes and whipped cream.
With four locations across the GTA, this Italian bakery carries 16 flavours at a time from its roster of 35 house-made gelati. Tiramisu, pistachio, lemon and chocolate are among the top picks available by the cup or cone ($3/small, $5/medium, $7/large)
Pizzeria via Mercanti
Best known for awesomely tasty wood-fired pies, two locations of this pizzeria also excel when it it comes to living La Dolce Vita. Finish off a pizza dinner with scoops of artisanal house-made gelato ($7) in flavours like creme brulee or nutella crostada.
Capitano Burgers & Gelato
Made fresh daily in small batches, this burger shop and gelateria makes all-natural gelato along with dairy-free and vegan versions. Inventive flavours like Nutella pound cake, German rice pudding, cereal milk, and PB&J can be had in a cup ($4-$6), to-go pack ($14-$25) or sandwiched between a sweet bun ($5).
Love or hate the pizza from this fast-casual chain, it's the exclusive source for gelato from Calgary-based Fiasco Premium Artisan Gelato, which is undeniably good. The authentic Italian ice cream is handcrafted in small batches with fine ingredients to produce unusual and seasonal flavours like burnt sugar banana chocolate, blueberry basil and blood orange creamsicle. Order a single scoop for $3.75, a double for $5, or a whole pint for $9.
Zsa Zsa Espresso Bar
Four locations of this Italian espresso bar are now prospering since the first Yorkville location opened over 10 years ago. While the coffees are the major draw, the 18 flavours of gelato are exceptionally good too. Sample classic flavours like cioccolato (chocolate) and bacio (chocolate hazelnut). Ranging in size from small to medium, cups sell for $4.65 to $9.65.
Be Good Gelato
Toronto's only mobile gelateria sells gelato sandwiches ($5) and half pint ($5) cups from its cargo bike at markets and pop-ups, at catering events or by special order from its production kitchen, located at the Paintbox Bistro. Small batches of all-natural from-scratch gelati come in refreshing creative flavours like tart tatin, maple buttertart, and pineapple basil.
Two boutique locations (in the Distillery District and on King West) stock a dozen or so house-spun gelati and sorbetti in rotating flavours like lemon sour cream, blood orange and mascarpone. Of course, chocolate, being the shop's raison d'etre, is the specialty - don't ignore the dark or milk chocolate flavours. A single scoop sells for $4.55, while a pint goes for $12.
Did we miss any low profile gelato spots? Leave your favourite restaurants or cafes that serve great gelato in the comments.