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Restaurants

La Paloma

Posted by Beverly Cheng / Reviewed on June 17, 2009 / review policy

lapaloma_gelato.jpgLa Paloma, in the west end of Corso Italia, sits across the street from a cemetery and strikes me as an odd place for a gelateria. However, one taste of their gelato is enough to make me realize that location is of little importance.

The spacious store is flooded with sunlight, which reflects off of the smiling faces of patrons young and old. Porcelain gelato sculptures are placed beside soccer memorabilia, which clutter the shelves behind the wall-to wall display case housing the rainbow of goodies. Everything is a tribute to the Motherland and a testament to the great gelato legacy.

la paloma gelatoMy love affair with gelato began years ago in Florence. Under the advice of a local, my travel companion and I wandered tirelessly through the narrow backstreets of the city on the hunt for Perchè No, said to be the best gelateria in Tuscany. Our search led to the creamiest, most intensely flavourful gelato that I have tasted to date. I continued to seek out my initial "high" back home in Canada, but was disappointed time and time again.

That is until I meet Sal, the gelati genius behind La Paloma. Trained as a tailor, Sal quickly realized his passion for gelato and spent a good part of the past forty years trying to capture the tastes from his Sicilian childhood. Along with his son, he achieves just the right balance of creaminess and authentic flavour in his variety of classic favourites to keep customers flocking at all hours of the day.

gelato toronto

When I ask whether gelato is just Italian for ice cream? Sal quips: "North American ice cream? Nooo!" I learn that since ice cream is made from whipping cream, air gets trapped during the churning process rendering the consistency much lighter. Gelato on the other hand, is made from milk and natural ingredients, which makes it substantially denser. According to Sal, gelato is much "healthier", because it's made from all natural ingredients.

I'm not sure about the health merits of gelato, but I am willing to suspend my disbelief for the moment being as I devour a mountainous pistachio-coffee mixed cone ($4). The pistachio's distinct buttery quality compliments the aromatic tartness of the coffee. It is rich, velvety and bold in taste. Between the three of us, we try both variations of Pistachio (Siciliano & Real), Walnut, Lemon and Coffee. There is a unanimous moment of silence in our huddle. We are all in a frantic rush against time to consume every last lick before it becomes a wasted, drippy mess.

With over seventy flavours including many sorbet and soy options to choose from, my memories of Florence begin to fade. I will definitely head straight to one of the four La Paloma outlets across the GTA for a bit of Italian nostalgia and my next "pick-me up" treat!
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Discussion

17 Comments

over here / February 19, 2009 at 01:03 pm
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Great spot for Gelato, cold weather notwithstanding. Last time I was there the owner had the business up for sale. Looking for a franchisee.
Rikk / March 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm
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The place looks great, but the prices are too high.
apetimberlake / April 4, 2009 at 11:06 am
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I didnt find the place $$$$ at all.
Get a 1/2 litre and hit up the parrk and watch a soccer game.
Gloria / June 18, 2009 at 10:58 am
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That's a great note about Florence ... I'm heading there at the end of September, and will definitely check it out.
Diana / June 18, 2009 at 12:04 pm
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I once got yelled at by one of my Nona's friends for daring to bring that into her house. She claimed they used powder mixes, which is like saying store bought sauce to an old Italian lady.

Last time I went it was like $7 for a cup. Ridiculous.

I love Sicilian on College. Far better gelato, and they have dangerous desserts as well.
Tim / June 18, 2009 at 01:55 pm
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I like Paloma.....Dolce is good too. As is Ed's Real Scoop in Leslieville.
Jo / June 18, 2009 at 11:13 pm
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This place is awesome!!! I go out of my way to make it here once a year for some Italian gelato. As far as the prices go, it ain't cheap but I am willing to pay for this luxury. Bacio gelato is by far one of my favourite flavours!!

Oh btw, "over here on" your comment..."selling the business" is not the same at "looking for a franchisee"...the latter means they are looking to expand the business to another location, which is indicated on the storefront window...I almost had a heart attack when I read your comment about the business being sold!
misstdot / June 19, 2009 at 12:21 am
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It had a for sale sign in the window about 5 months ago which has now been replaced by the franchisee sign.
Carla / June 19, 2009 at 12:38 am
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I'm Italian, and believe me, the prices are worth the investment. Sicilian's is great, but Paloma is just fantastic.
Juliet James / October 21, 2009 at 09:41 am
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Let's get this straight...La Paloma's gelato is marginal...not made with fresh ingredient and way too expensive...In the hood Novecento is surpassing them on every count. Better, cheaper gelato and way better atmosphere...including the most gorgeous patio on the strip. Outside of the neighbourhood try Il Gelateri on Mount Pleasant...really good and love their take out boxes!
Juliet James replying to a comment from Diana / October 21, 2009 at 09:42 am
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Always listen to your Nona...she knows what she's talking about!
Shaye / April 27, 2010 at 01:46 am
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I don't find the prices high.

You get what you pay for!!! It's worth every cent!!!

I love the Rocher Caterina!!!
Sasha C. / April 18, 2011 at 04:45 pm
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Institution, compared to others throughout the GTA more flavours than anywhere else. Great vibe in the summer - happy people, lots of people, line-ups, festive.
Steven / June 8, 2011 at 11:02 am
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I have to agree that this is one of, if not the best, Gelato places in Toronto. Being Italian, this is the best gelato I have had outside of Italy. I have tried many of the others from the "best of" list and none compare. A smidge more expensive that the rest, but worth the investment. Try limone and cioccolata (a combo to die for).
Curly lox / June 27, 2012 at 04:34 pm
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Just got back from Italy and believe me I had my fair share of gelato while I was there from Venice all the way to Milan and I have to say I prefer la Paloma! Don't get me wrong Italy is THE place for gelato but la Paloma is Italy in the t.dot!!!!
jesse / February 25, 2013 at 11:04 am
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got to correct all you saying the ingredients are not fresh and powder mixes.. i use to work there and i saw the owner make everything before and help him.. everything is made from scratch my hands use to hurt from peeling pistachios sooo.. im pretty sure their fresh..
Ashley / March 19, 2013 at 01:58 am
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Don't let this gels terai deceive you. The owners are money hungry and do anything for a buck. In my eyes doesn't matter how good the gelato is I would never enter a store with owners like those. Karma, Carm.

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