The Sweetest Dozen: Top 12 Ice Cream Shops in Vancouver

18 Min Read
Feb 11, 2023

Vancouver is a city that has it all: breathtaking scenery, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. When it comes to sweet treats, the city's ice cream scene is no exception. From classic flavors to unique creations, there is a variety of ice cream shops in Vancouver that offer something for everyone.

The warmer months in Vancouver are the perfect time to enjoy a cold and creamy scoop of ice cream, and with so many fantastic options, it can be tough to know where to start. That's why we've compiled a list of the top 12 ice cream and gelato places in Vancouver that are sure to satisfy your sweet tooth. Whether you prefer classic flavors like chocolate and vanilla, or you're looking for something more adventurous, you'll find it all here.

From trendy parlors to old-fashioned shops, each of these ice cream destinations offers its own special twist. Some are known for their locally-sourced ingredients, while others have a wide selection of creative and unique flavors. Whether you're a fan of sorbets, gelato, or soft-serve, there's something for everyone on this list.

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For those who are health-conscious, there are also plenty of vegan and dairy-free options available. And for those who want to enjoy their ice cream in a unique setting, some of these shops also offer outdoor seating, perfect for a sunny day.

So whether you're a local resident or a visiting tourist, be sure to add these top 12 ice cream places in Vancouver to your must-try list:

1. Motoretta Gelato

Motoretta Gelato is the latest addition to the thriving food scene in Vancouver, British Columbia. Located on West Cordova Street, the artisanal Italian gelateria is tucked into the street-side spot at the Fairmont Pacific Rim. Motoretta is the newest restaurant concept from the Kitchen Table Group, led by the celebrated gelato maker Salvatore Boccarossa.

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At Motoretta, you can expect to find a wide range of handcrafted gelato and non-dairy sorbetto flavors, made with the highest quality ingredients. Inspired by the playful and adventurous spirit of Italian motor scooters, the shop endeavors to share the joy of savoring gelato and sorbetto with the Vancouver community. Whether you opt for a cone or a cup within the tastefully updated interior, or prefer to take your refreshing treat outside to Coal Harbour, Motoretta has something for everyone.

Popular flavors include the fruity Amarena CherryStracciatella, and Matcha Green Tea. However, the real star of the show is the Crema Motoretta, which contains vanilla gelato with a touch of lemon. This flavor is highly recommended for anyone visiting the shop.

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Motoretta features more than just gelato and sorbetto; they also serve Granita, a regional Italian specialty that originates from Sicily. Granita is a semi-frozen dessert that is sweet and creamy, created by blending fresh winter snow with lemon juice or fruit syrup making a refreshing treat that is perfect for hot summer days.

Salvatore Boccarossa, who was born in Naples and grew up in a warm Italian family, is a graduate of the Carpigiani Gelato University and co-winner of the Grand Title of North America Champions. With his expertise and passion for handcrafted gelato, Motoretta is sure to impress.

2. Amato Gelato Café

Amato Gelato Café is a family run business that specializes in producing high-quality desserts using locally sourced ingredients. The founder of the company, Gaetano LoScerbo, started selling gelato from a small cart in Southern Italy in 1929. Mario, his great-grandson, brought the same delicious gelato to Vancouver in the late 70s, where their wholesale gelato company Mario's Gelati became an instant hit. 

Amato Gelato Café began in response to the challenge that the general public faced in accessing the wholesale gelato that they had been enjoying in restaurants and hotels for years. The cafe offers a range of gelato flavors, all made daily on-site using genuine Italian methods and the freshest, highest quality ingredients such as real fruit, natural flavorings, and premium dairy.

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There are over 72 rotating flavours of authentic Italian gelato, sorbetto, and specialty desserts. Each and every one is crafted using traditional Italian family recipes and the finest handpicked ingredients, ensuring a truly delightful taste experience. The extensive menu at Amato Gelato Café features a range of classic and contemporary gelato flavors, including everything from fruity sorbets to creamy, indulgent gelato. 

There are options for those with special dietary needs, including vegan and gluten-free options. In addition to gelato, the café also offers a range of coffee, tea, and other beverages, as well as a selection of pastries and other sweet treats.

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Amato Gelato Café is known for its friendly and welcoming atmosphere, with staff who are passionate about gelato and eager to help customers find their perfect flavor. The cafes are inviting spaces, decorated with bright colors and modern furnishings, making them popular spots for families, couples, and groups of friends.

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3. Gusto A Taste of Italy

Gusto A Taste of Italy is a relaxed counter-serve eatery located in Olympic Village. The restaurant specializes in Italian cuisine and offers a variety of pasta dishes, paninis, Roman-style pizza, gelato, and pastries. The servers are friendly and efficient, ensuring that the food is served quickly and to the guests' satisfaction. The decor of the restaurant is lovely and creates a warm and inviting atmosphere for diners.

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One of the standout features of Gusto A Taste of Italy is their gelato and ice cream bar. Maestro James, the former owner of Bella Gelateria, is the master of gelato and his passion for using high-quality ingredients is evident in the flavour and texture of each scoop. James has spent years perfecting his recipes and it shows in the unique and delicious flavours available at the gelato bar.

Some of the most popular flavours include Vegan Hazelnut, Water Buffalo Milk, Sicilian Lemon, and 72% Single Origin Chocolate. Each flavour is carefully crafted to bring out the nuances and subtleties of the ingredients, creating a memorable taste experience for the guests.

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The restaurant is also known for its good wine selection, which complements the Italian cuisine perfectly. Along with the wine, guests can enjoy a variety of espresso-based drinks such as cappuccino, latte, and espresso. The staff at Gusto A Taste of Italy are professional and provide excellent service, ensuring that each guest has a positive dining experience. The prices at the restaurant are considered to be medium, but the high-quality food, ambiance, and service make it well worth the investment.

4. Passione Gelato

Passione Gelato, located on Smithe Street in Vancouver, is a specialist gelateria that offers a range of micro-batch artisan gelato and sorbetto. The founder, Salvatore Boccarossa, honed his skills working at Bella Gelateria before starting his own venture. The result is a gelateria that is both creative and traditional, offering both classic and unconventional flavors while preserving the traditional Italian craft of gelato making.

Passione Gelato is known for its creamy, silky, and smooth artisan gelato. The flavors are inspired by seasonal ingredients sourced from both local and international sources, with a focus on using the freshest and finest ingredients. The gelato is also made to be inclusive, with dairy-free options available on the menu.

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The micro-batch process is a unique aspect of Passione Gelato. The gelato is made from scratch in their 250 square-foot storefront, with each batch produced in limited quantities of only 25 scoops or 8 pints. The team takes pride in making everything by hand, from peeling the fruits to steeping the tea. This process takes around 1-2 days to complete, but it ensures that each scoop of gelato is of the highest quality.

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Customers have raved about the smooth and refreshing quality of the gelato, with a favorite flavor being the white chocolate pistachios. The panettone flavor is a unique option that is a little sweeter than some customers may prefer, but still worth trying. The hojicha flavor is described as having a strong roasted tea flavor. Whether you're looking for classic flavors or something a little more unconventional, Passione Gelato is sure to impress with its commitment to quality, creativity, and tradition.

5. Earnest Ice Cream

Earnest Ice Cream is a popular ice cream shop with 4 locations around Vancouver including Fraser Street, Quebec Street, Frances Street, and North Vancouver. Founded in 2012, the shop quickly became known for its handcrafted ice creams made from locally sourced, organic, and all-natural ingredients. The shop's commitment to using only the finest ingredients and sustainable practices has earned it a reputation for producing some of the best ice cream in the city.

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Earnest Ice Cream is a warm and inviting space, with its bright and cheerful decor, friendly staff, and a welcoming atmosphere. The shop's menu is extensive, with a wide variety of flavors to choose from, including classic favorites like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, as well as more unique and innovative flavors like Earl Grey, honey lavender, and matcha green tea. All of the ice creams are made on-site, in small batches, to ensure the freshest and highest quality product.

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The ice cream is creamy, smooth, and full of flavor, with a rich and satisfying taste that leaves you wanting more. The shop's commitment to using only the best ingredients is evident in every scoop, with a perfect balance of sweetness and creaminess that makes for a truly indulgent treat. The shop also offers a range of dairy-free and vegan options, made with coconut milk, for those with dietary restrictions or preferences.

In addition to ice cream, Earnest also offers a variety of other treats, such as ice cream sandwiches, waffle cones, sundaes, and milkshakes. The shop also has a range of toppings and sauces to choose from, so you can customize your treat to your liking.

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6. La Glace

La Glace ice cream is a Parisian-themed ice cream parlor, is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for the best ice cream in Vancouver. The store, located on 16th and Macdonald, offers a unique and elegant atmosphere that is both whimsical and inviting. It was started by Mark Tagulao in 2014 as a pop-up business and became a permanent store in 2017. La Glace quickly became a popular destination among ice cream lovers in Vancouver.

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They produce delicious French style deserts,using heavy amounts of cream and egg yolks which creates a silken and indulgent flavor that sets it apart from other ice cream shops. The wide variety of flavors offered at La Glace, including fun choices like Cookie Dough and Halo Crunch, and traditional options like Vanilla Bean and Raspberry White Chocolate. The ice cream is well balanced, consistent, and made to perfection, making it a true treat for the taste buds.

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In addition to its incredible ice cream, La Glace has a stunning aesthetic that makes it a great destination for kids and adults alike. With its small meringues decorating the scoops of ice cream and its Parisian-themed decor, the store offers a unique experience that is both fun and sophisticated.

7. Bella Gelateria

Bella Gelateria is a renowned gelato shop with 3 locations: Robson StreetEnglish Bay and Metrotown. The shop is seen as haven for gelato enthusiasts and anyone who loves the taste of handcrafted, artisanal gelato. The gelato shop prides itself on preserving the traditional art of making gelato and ensuring that every scoop is made with the same level of care and attention to detail as was done in Italy hundreds of years ago. The result is a range of rich, creamy and delicious gelato flavors that are loved by locals and visitors alike.

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The interior of Bella Gelateria Gelato is designed to evoke the feel of an old-world gelateria, with classic décor and a relaxed, welcoming atmosphere. The gelato bar is the centerpiece of the shop, where guests can sample the many different flavors and choose their favorite. The gelato is displayed in beautiful glass cases, making it easy to see the rich colors and creamy textures of each flavor.

Bella Gelateria Gelato has won numerous awards and accolades, including the International Gelato Master of the Year at the MIG Exhibition in Italy, and the Gelato Master Canada award for the best in North America. They have also been designated as the official gelato provider for several high-profile events and festivals, further solidifying their position as one of the best gelato shops in Vancouver.

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The gelato flavors at Bella Gelateria Gelato are truly unique and memorable. From classic favorites like vanilla and chocolate, to more adventurous flavors like green tea and lavender honey, there is something for everyone. Some of the most popular flavors include the dark chocolate, which is made with 72% single-origin chocolate, and the vegan hazelnut, which is light and creamy and full of flavor.

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One of the things that sets Bella Gelateria Gelato apart from other gelato shops is their commitment to using only the finest and freshest ingredients. They source their ingredients from local producers and organic suppliers, ensuring that every flavor is packed full of flavor and nutrients. They are also proud to use environmentally friendly packaging, helping to reduce their impact on the planet.

8. Dolce Amore

Dolce Amore is a gelato shop located on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. With 20 years of experience in the gelato-making industry, the shop has built a loyal following for its outstanding Italian gelato. The gelato shop was first opened in 2002 on the corner of Commercial Drive & Graveley Street and is known for its unique and whimsical flavours.

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The shop is a family-owned business, and it started as a babysitting service for the 9 kids in the Grippo family. Daughter Daniela and husband Giancarlo started the next chapter in 2017 and rebranded the shop as Dolce Amore, also known as "The Gelato Mafia". Embracing the stereotype of a family-run business, the rebrand added a tongue-in-cheek personality to the brand, and the shop's slogan is "Naturally Made, Criminally Good."

One of the hallmarks of Dolce Amore's gelato is its commitment to using only high-quality, natural, clean, organic, and local ingredients. The gelato is made with a minimum of 80% organic ingredients, and the dairy used in the gelato is organic grass-fed milk, making it one of the first gelato or ice cream makers in BC to use such milk. The shop works closely with local farmers and producers to showcase their dairy, fruits, herbs, and other ingredients, making sure that their gelato is always fresh and of the highest quality.

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Dolce Amore's gelato is known for its light and fluffy texture, and the shop has an array of traditional and more eclectic flavours that excite different palates. Some of the popular flavours include Lemon Meringue, Brown Butter Brownie, Cinnamon Cereal, Apple Pie A La Grippo, and Cold Brew Moves Like Jäger. The gelato is made in small batches to ensure that it is always fresh and packed full of flavour, leaving the customers with a unique and memorable experience.

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9. Uno Gelato

Uno Gelato is a gelato shop founded by James Coleridge, a gelato maker with a passion for producing high-quality, delicious gelato. They currently have 3 locations in Vancouver, False Creek and Kitsilano.

James incorporates a blend of sugar substitutes, such as birch syrup, instead of solely relying on white sugar. Additionally, he has joined forces with the nearby Avalon Dairy to source organic milk exclusively for his dairy-based gelato flavors. This dedication to quality is what sets Uno Gelato apart and makes it a must-visit for gelato lovers in Vancouver.

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In addition to the use of top-notch ingredients, Uno Gelato is also leading the way in terms of gelato-making technology. This shop boasts being the first gelatto shop in North America to produce a smoother and warmer product thanks to using the Italian Cattabriga machone to pasteurizire and homogenize their gellato. This machine produces a . This technology, combined with James' passion and expertise, results in gelato that is not only delicious but also of a higher quality than what is typically found in other gelato shops.

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Uno Gelato is also committed to offering a wide range of flavours, including at least five vegan options made with raw coconut milk and water, locally crafted kombucha from Biota in East Vancouver, and Canadian Springs water using activated charcoal. This variety makes Uno Gelato a great destination for everyone, regardless of dietary restrictions.

10. Mister Artisan Ice Cream

Mister Artisan Ice Cream is a premium ice cream shop with two locations in Yaletown and Kitsilano. Since its establishment in 2016, Mister has been dedicated to providing its customers with a unique and delicious ice cream experience. The shop prides itself on sourcing its ingredients from local farmers and supporting the B.C. community wherever possible.

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The key to Mister's exceptional ice cream is its use of liquid nitrogen in the production process. Nitrogen is a natural element that makes up approximately 78% of our atmosphere and has an extraordinarily low boiling point of -196 degree Celsius. By using liquid nitrogen, Mister is able to rapidly freeze its product at ultra-low temperatures, resulting in ice cream with much smaller ice crystals and less air than traditional ice cream.

Mister's ice cream is made from scratch in-house using pure, natural ingredients. The shop rotates its flavour combinations based on season and demand and is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve its product and customer experience.

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The creamy, smooth, and dense texture of Mister's ice cream is a result of its liquid nitrogen process, which doesn't require stabilizers or fillers. This results in a richer, creamier, and denser ice cream that customers are sure to love.

Mister is more than just an ice cream shop; it's a friendly neighbourhood spot that strives to create meaningful relationships with its community. The shop is constantly looking for ways to make a positive impact and bring people together through its delicious, all-natural food. Whether you're a first-time customer or a regular, Mister's goal is to provide you with a premium quality experience every time.

11. Rain Or Shine Ice Cream

Rain Or Shine Ice Cream has become a staple in the Vancouver community with its three locations in Kitsilano, Cambie and UBC. Known for its commitment to local, sustainable and seasonal ingredients, Rain Or Shine partners with some of British Columbia's finest suppliers, including Birchwood Dairy, Hazelmere Organic Farms, Vancouver Olive Oil Company, and JJ Bean Coffee. 

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The variety of flavours at Rain or Shine is what sets it apart, with options ranging from classic favorites like chocolate and honey lavender to seasonal offerings like strawberry earl grey and watermelon margarita. There are various options available for customers to choose from, such as cups, waffle cones, and gluten-free cones, as well as different serving sizes like single or double scoops, kids sizes, flights with four flavors, and even pints to take home.

In addition to their wide range of flavors, Rain Or Shine also caters to those with dietary restrictions by offering gluten and egg-free options. Whether it's a cone, sundae, or taco on Tuesdays, this classic Vancouver ice cream shop has got you covered.

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The waffle cones are also noted for being fresh and having a solid build that doesn't easily become soft. Although the lineup tends to be busier after dinner, wait times of 10 to 15 minutes are considered normal. Customers can also opt to get a pint to go, which doesn't require waiting in line.

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12. La Casa Gelato

La Casa Gelato is a renowned gelato shop in East Vancouver that has been serving quality gelato to loyal patrons for over 30 years. With a world-record-winning 238 flavours on-site, La Casa Gelato is known for its diverse and ever-changing selection of gelato, which makes it a perfect place to indulge in a sweet treat.

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La Casa Gelato combines traditional quality with unique, natural flavours, using a unique Italian “no air” process that produces silky smooth gelato. This gelato shop is a great place for those who are health-conscious and have dietary restrictions, as it offers non-fat, non-dairy, low-fat, and sugar-free options.

The gelato at La Casa Gelato is available in every colour of the rainbow, making it easier to choose from its diverse range of flavours. Whether you prefer fruity or chocolatey, traditional or contemporary, there's a flavour for everyone. In addition to their exceptional gelato, this shop is known for crafting their own delectable waffle cones and indulgent treats, including, pretzels, cannolis, and various types of candies.

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La Casa Gelato is open seven days a week from 1:00 pm to 10:00 pm, making it a perfect place to go to satisfy your sweet cravings, whether it's for a midday treat or an after-dinner dessert. 

To Sum It All Up

In conclusion, Vancouver is home to a wide array of ice cream shops, each offering its own unique take on this classic dessert. From traditional gelato shops like La Casa Gelato to artisanal parlors like La Glace, there's something for everyone in this city. Whether you're in the mood for something sweet and simple or want to try something more adventurous, these top 12 ice cream shops are sure to satisfy.

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