April 5th, 2017
The Best Ice Cream in SF, according 2 SCH
It doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or cold outside, San Francisco takes its ice cream very seriously - and very often. From classic ice cream shops to crazy concoctions, even the pickiest eaters and biggest foodies will find something they like in the City by the Bay. Here are the best ice cream shops in San Francisco
Easily SF’s most beloved ice cream shop, Bi-Rite makes their ice cream from scratch, using local ingredients. Although their claim to fame is the salted caramel, there really isn’t a bad flavor at Bi-Rite. Each is bursting with flavor. For starters, try the roasted banana and balsamic strawberry and the honey lavender.
For the strangest ice cream in all of San Francisco, go to Humphry Slocombe. With flavors like bacon and foie gras alongside chocolate smoked sea salt and candied ginger, Humphry Slocombe is a cross between gourmet and shock value. But that’s part of the appeal. Secret Breakfast is a must, and so is Blue Bottle Vietnamese Coffee.
Swensen’s is the epitome of the old-fashioned ice cream parlor, because it is San Francisco’s old fashioned ice cream parlo. Opened in 1948 in Russian Hill, Swensen’s has made a name for itself all over the world serving up tried and true flavors. No judgement here when you order plain ol’ vanilla, Turkish coffee, or strawberries, bananas ‘n’ cream. In fact, it’s encouraged.
Another great spot in the neighborhood, Baked Bear has taken the SF ice cream scene by storm with its elaborate scoops and toppings. Here you can choose from freshly-baked cookies, brownies, or a combination, and Baked Bear does have quite the selection of cookies and ice cream to choose from. Think chocolate chip and red velvet, peanut butter and macadamia nut, and more. You can also add toppings like Heath Bar and M&Ms to your ice cream, which makes all the more delicious.
The only ice cream to truly rival Bi-Rite in the hearts of San Franciscans, this Mission District mainstay has one of the creamiest selections of ice cream in the city - and also some of the most exotic flavors you’ll find. Think flavors like ube (purple yam) and buko (young coconut), imported from the Philippines, as well as plenty of varieties featuring Madagascar Bourbon vanilla and chocolate made from a mix of cocoa from Brazil, Indonesia and the Ivory Coast. That said, it’s no surprise Mitchell’s has been around since 1953.
Smitten Ice Cream is like no other - that’s because it’s slow-churned with liquid nitrogen. This technique actually makes Smitten Ice Cream creamier than most, as the liquid nitrogen creates crystals tinier than the average ice cream. But that’s not the only unique thing about Smitten. Then comes their unique flavors. Think Earl Grey with Mint Chocolate Chips, Lemon Gingersnap, and Bee Sting (Orange Blossom Honey, crushed chili flakes, and handmade honeycomb candy).
Here’s one SF food truck that was so popular, it opened its own brick-and-mortar location at 20th & Lexington. With tons of flavors from SE Asia, semifreddo pops, and one of the best selections of vegan ice cream in all SF, Garden Creamery is a must on your ice cream list.
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