Best of Miami

The Ten Best Ice-Cream Shops in Miami

In many states, ice-cream sales come to a grinding halt in the fall. Fortunately for Miamians, that's not the case in South Florida. With the mercury still hovering around 80 degrees, Magic City residents tend to keep cool by double-fisting an ice-cold boozy beverage in one hand and a sweet frozen treat in the other.

If it's the latter you crave, here's the inside scoop on ten of the best cure-all desserts in town. Ice cream and gelato shops sprinkled throughout Miami-Dade County have melted our hearts with their handmade flavors that range from traditional to wildly inventive. So enjoy a scoop or two of the Frieze's Cappuccino Chip or chow down on Azucar's beloved Abuela Maria. These frosty confections are perfect year-round.

10. Ben & Jerry’s
From concocting Half Baked and Chunky Monkey to Phish Food and Karamel Sutra Core, America’s favorite ice-cream guys have been cranking out cult-classic flavors with crazy names since 1978. The Coral Gables outpost (80 Aragon Ave.) never fails ice-cream connoisseurs seeking a sweet treat like your parents' favorite, Cherry Garcia, mixed with cherries and fudge flakes.

9. Emack & Bolio’s
This Boston ice-cream import offers South Beach denizens freshly made mix-ins, including fan favorite Space Cake, cake batter ice cream with shortbread cookie pieces and chunks of red velvet cake. Praised by the New York Times and Good Housekeeping, E&B’s ice cream can also be served in outrageous cones dipped in sinful treats such as Rice Krispies and M&Ms Minis. Live-culture yogurts, smoothies, and chocolate barks are also available at 1915 Purdy Ave.

8. Gigi
Get more bang for your buck at midtown’s favorite meet-up spot, known for its great food at great prices. Stop by for some of Gigi’s mini nondairy soft-serve cones for just $1 each. The Asian-fusion diner also proffers ice cream, served in a cup ($4) or sundae ($6), as well as sorbet ($5) in a rotating daily menu of in-house flavors. And just like all the other dishes at Gigi, these flavors won’t disappoint. Perfect for the season, the maple soft-serve topped with frosted pecans is a must-try.
7. Latteria Italiana
Make your way to midtown for a taste of Italy at this cozy little gelateria (3301 NE First Ave., #101), serving espressos, piadinas, lasagnas, and its top-selling item: gelato. Nobody ever really needs an excuse to indulge in generously portioned Italian flavors like hazelnut, salt-and-pepper pistachio, and strawberry-lime. These decadent creations, served in a shop with blue-tiled walls and antique family photos, will have you singing "That's Amore" all day long.

6. The Frieze Ice Cream Factory
A perfect midday or late-night pick-me-up, the Frieze’s Cappuccino Chip is a coffee lover’s dream, made with blended coffee, cinnamon, and chocolate flakes. If coffee isn't your thing, this Miami Beach storefront located off Lincoln Road (1626 Michigan Ave.) serves other euphoric kosher ice creams and sorbets, including Indian Mango, Key Lime Pie, and real liquor flavors such as Red Wine Sorbet and Rum Raisin. Hey, it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

5. Chill-N
Science has never looked or tasted this good. Watch your made-to-order ice cream freeze in a blast of liquid nitrogen. This speedy process not only eliminates the use of artificial preservatives but also produces the creamiest ice cream. A list of flavors and add-ons is creatively displayed on a giant periodic table to match the scientific theme of this freeze shop. For a taste of hazelnut heaven, try Nt, Nutella, at either Dade location: Pinecrest (8271 SW 124th St.) and Aventura (17831 Biscayne Blvd.).

Ditch your diet for Argentina’s premier and all-natural helado emporium that has been sweetening up South Florida since the launch of its flagship store in South Beach (610 Lincoln Rd.) in 2014. With the opening of its second location in Brickell (1100 S. Miami Ave.) last month and a third slated to open in Doral in 2016, Freddo continues to garner devotees who have fallen in love with iconic gelato flavors, imported from Argentina’s headquarters daily. Delight in the dulce de leche or the ultimate fan favorite — the gelato panini — because that’s a thing.

3. Azucar Ice Cream Company
Nestled in the heart of Little Havana stands Miami’s legendary creamery Azucar (1503 SW Eighth St.), home of iconic Cuban and tropical flavors like flan, plátano maduro, passionfruit, and the trademarked Abuela Maria, classic vanilla ice cream with guava, chunks of cream cheese, and Maria cookies. The giant ice-cream cone above the entrance may be what lures in tourists and locals alike to this Calle Ocho sweet shop, but its Azucar’s use of high-quality, handmade ice cream — the kind abuela used to make — that keeps them coming back for more.

2. Bianco Gelato
Step back in time at this old-fashioned ice-cream shop that prides itself on simplicity and churning out Italian gelato the traditional way, handmade and GMO-free. Patrons of this Coconut Grove ice-cream parlor (3137 Commodore Plaza) enjoy Bianco's unique flavor combinations and delectable vegan options for every kind of sweet tooth. For a refreshing treat on a hot day, which in our case is every day, the avocado-and-caramelized-nuts flavor is every bit of perfection.

1. Lulu’s Nitrogen Ice Cream
Offering fresh, locally sourced ingredients, cute barn-like décor, friendly staff, and a one-of-a-kind experience, Lulu’s humbly welcomes guests to its downtown Miami home at 2001 Biscayne Blvd. Each flavor is made from scratch and is finished off with a splash of liquid nitrogen, ensuring the smoothest and richest ice cream you’ve ever tasted. It’s part magic, part science, and a whole lot of deliciousness. Just take a bite of the Hint of Mint or cinnamon, and you’ll taste the difference.

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Maureen Aimee Mariano is a freelance food writer for Miami New Times. She earned a bachelor of science in journalism from the University of Florida before making her way back to the 305, the city that first fueled her insatiable appetite.