Whether you like to play it safe with classic vanilla or live life on the edge with more daring flavors like pad Thai or durian, there are plenty of excellent options for ice cream, gelato and soft serve across Toronto, many with fierce followings.
The great news is that in this city, you are never far from a delicious scoop. Here are a few of our favorites.
For fun, Instagram-worthy treats just steps from popular destinations like CF Toronto Eaton Centre mall and Yonge-Dundas Square, this sweets shop’s creations, like the bright blue Cookie Monster cone or toasted marshmallow S’mores on S’mores scoop, are always a big hit.
The 150-year-old Japanese brand’s downtown duplex may be known for its teas, but its matcha soft serve is what draws crowds. Order your creamy green treat straight up or with fixings like yuzu citrus jelly and fresh cookie crumbs to make a fanciful sundae or parfait.
The newest addition to the block is this Big Apple import,where soft serve (black sesame, matcha, red bean or vanilla) is piled high in a fish-shaped cone stuffed with fillings like red bean paste and topped with sprinkles or a colorful kebab of mini mochi rice cakes. For an extra adorable bite, order a unicorn taiyaki to receive your swirl crowned with a golden (and edible) horn.
This downtown mainstay has been perfuming Yorkville Avenue with the smell of fresh waffle cones since 1984. Stop in for a scoop or two of rocky-road-inspired Toronto Pothole (almonds, marshmallows, peanuts and chocolate chunks) or Canadian classic maple walnut and enjoy the people watching in the city’s trendiest neighborhood.
Between exploring Chinatown and hip Kensington Market, make time for a detour to this dessert destination where you’ll find some of the city’s best Asian-inspired gelato flavors. Try unique concoctions like goji berry hazelnut, almond tofu or, if you dare, durian. The fruit is notorious for being malodorous, but it it’s very popular in frozen form here.
While strolling through the reinvigorated Distillery District, don’t miss a visit to this whimsical bakery where fun, nostalgic and seasonal inspirations influence what’s on the menu. Recent frozen creations from chef/owner Michelle Edgar include buttered popcorn, lime leaf and mint, and sweet-salty trail mix made with pretzel-infused ice cream.
This chic sweets shop serves up refreshing items made from specially sourced ingredients. Rotating gelato selections ensure the freshest flavors, including caramel fig, 49th Parallel Epic Espresso and roasted Ontario peach sorbet.
A local favorite since 1981, this no-fills, cash-only staple now boasts a second outpost in the Distillery District. Be sure to stop by for a taste of its ever-popular roasted marshmallow ice cream.
This neighborhood ice cream parlor has four locations around town, but the original sits in The Beaches, a classic summer destination for locals looking to soak up fun in the sun. Whether you’re basking in warm weather or stopping by in the winter, pop in for classic chocolate, French mint or bordeaux cherry chocolate — the shop makes more than 150 regularly rotating flavors for you to try.
Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery
There are few summer nights that don’t see a line outside this Ossington Avenue storefront. Get a taste of vibrant creations like the purple Totaro taro or the green-hued Thank You Very Matcha green tea scoop or create your own ice cream sandwich with a mouthwatering assortment of housemade cookies.
Extreme ice cream enthusiasts won’t want to miss a visit to this seasonal (May through October) venue on St. Clair Avenue West. This small stand offers artisanal gelato, specialty bars and weekly changing soft serve flavors like Ontario apricot and toasted almond.
Adventurous palates will appreciate the creations churned out by this establishment’s newly opened gelato lab on Dundas Street West. While you can certainly indulge in safe bets like Nutella & Cookies, one-of-a-kind flavors like everything bagel, blueberry and Sanagan’s Mustard, grilled cheese & sourdough and pad Thai are worth a leap of faith.