Food & Drink

The Best Ice Cream in Seattle

Summer means ice cream.

Summer in Seattle is great, but for the sake of this introduction to an article about ice cream, let's just go ahead and agree that the real reason Seattle summers are amazing is that it's the one time of year absolutely no one will judge you for eating entire pints of ice cream. Delicious, artisan ice cream. Preferably from the local shops below that we wholeheartedly endorse.

Sweet Alchemy

Multiple Locations
Opened a few years ago by a UW-grad who also got a food sciences degree from Penn, this small-batch creamery headquartered on The Ave makes their Sweet Cream base daily using organic ingredients, almost all of which are sourced within 100 miles of our storefront. Said base is then turned into a range of creative, or just creatively named, ice creams, including Cookies & Cream, Chocolate Earl Grey, Birthday Cake, and a version of cookie dough they're calling Dough or Die. Currently SA is offering discounted pints for pick up at their three brick & mortar locations, and free delivery.

Frankie & Jo's 

Multiple locations
Started by a former ballet dancer, and the former Canlis chef who started Hot Cakes back in 2008, F&J boasts locations in Capitol Hill and Ballard (the later is actually on the street where the owners first met), serves up about a dozen flavors of plant-based, gluten-free ice cream, like the deep black colored Salty Caramel Ash, and something called Gingered Golden Milk that is, well, golden. They also have more traditional options including Mint Brownie... and that's pretty much it. But who wants traditional?

Street Treats 

Various locations
Seattle's first-ever dessert truck was conceived by a retail vet who has turned her sales experience and "major sweet-tooth" into a mobile ice cream operation after buying a former postal service truck on eBay. Currently ST offers a range of comfortingly familiar flavors like Rocky Road, Mint Chip or Cookie Dough, plus their signature miniature ice cream cookies (peanut butter with chocolate, double chocolate with mint chip, etc.) and a handful of other baked goods. To get your hands on some Street Treats you gotta track down their truck at one of five locations Wednesday through Sunday from 4-8pm, or try their super limited new home delivery service.

Gelatiamo

Downtown
This classic Seattle sweets purveyor has been around for 20 years, but their recipes are still all hand developed by their founder and then crafted daily in small batches, with ingredients like organic milk and seasonal fruits. In addition to pints you can also find cakes, cookies and other pastries at their shop on Third Avenue, but the best way to score Gelatiamo is probably by ordering a pizza -- their gelato is the dessert of choice at all ara Pagliacci locations.

Bluebird Ice Cream 

Phinney Ridge
This oh-so-artisanal "Microcreamy" serves the usual coffee/frozen dairy desserts in creative flavors that rotate quarterly, but since 2014 -- when they were inspired by a beer-flavored ice cream created in collaboration with their Capitol Hill neighbor, Elysian Brewing -- Bluebird has also been brewing its own beer and craft sodas (often in dessert appropriate flavors) and serving them in their shop. So, in other words, screw the root beer float. Sadly, said beverages are not available via their Friday only delivery services, which hits a handful of Seattle 'hoods and is perfect for people still social distancing.

Full Tilt

Multiple locations
Started in White Center in 2008, FT's four locations are worth checking out for the old-school video game/pinball machines lining the walls, as well as the solid selection of Northwest beers on tap, and the eclectic collection of tunes bumping in the background. But then, there is the ice cream: Rich, creamy stuff that’s still light enough to make you eat more than you should, and is available in an array of sometimes-too-creative flavors ranging from Mint Chop to Coffee Oreo, or Birthday Cake to their 107.7 The End, Chocolate To End All Chocolates. Lately they've also started offering "COVID-Packs", like build-your-own-brownie kits you can pick up at one of their locations.

Molly Moon's

Multiple locations
MM's eight, almost invariably tiny, ice creameries are charming. And who can blame people for lining up to shove a scoop of handmade 'Scout' Mint ice cream made with real Girl Scout Cookies (one of the few ingredients not produced locally), or Melted Chocolate flavored with bars bought from Theo, or local Strawberry sorbet in their faces? Note: Their Columbia City locations is still temporarily closed.

Nutty Squirrel Gelato

Multiple locations
Now boasting just two brick-and-mortar spots (their original Maple Valley locations closed at the end of june), plus a vivid red trike they trot out at farmers markets and catering gigs, this gelato operation is named for the nuts (hazelnut, pistachio, peanuts, etc.) found in many of its flavors, which rotate seasonally. In addition to pints, their gelato can also be purchased in milkshake or cake form, or a six-pack of gelato pops, all of which are available for delivery or curbside-pickup in their new online store.

Shug's Soda Fountain

Pike Place Market
This brightly colored spot that's meant to invoke the nostalgia of old-fashioned soda fountains (it even features a restored soda fountain from the '30s) doesn't make its own ice cream, but it'll gladly serve you some from Lopez Island Creamery by the scoop, in a sundae, or float-style with beer or champagne. You can now even get in on the action in the comfort of your own home by ordering one of their Grat & Go Sundae or Boozy Ice Cream Cocktail kits.

Parfait

Ballard
This former mobile dessert operation prides itself on making organic, artisan ice cream with local ingredients sourced almost entirely from a variety of area farms, or even right in the neighborhood (Theo Chocolate, True North Coffee Roasters, etc.), but it also takes pride in serving said ice cream creatively, which is why their novelty freezer is packed with everything from from Ice Cream Macaroons, to Ice Cream Cakes, to Push Up Pops like you used to eat as a kid... only way better. Can't make it to Ballard their pints are also available at PCC Community Markets, Cone & Steiner markets, Kens Markets, and Central Co-op.

D'Ambrosio Gelato

Ballard 
Launched in 2010, and run by a father and son team, this operation combines premium Italian and Northwest ingredients to create an authentic, but uniquely "Seattle" style of Gelato. Made from scratch daily, the can't miss flavors include Chocolate Hazelnut, the signature Pistachio, and mascarpone-based Tiramisu. In addition to the Ballard location, D'A's also available via delivery, and soon in Westlake Center, where their second shop will open by the end of the month.

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Bradley Foster is a former Thrillist editor who has purchased far too many pints of chocolate peanut butter ice cream from the Full Tilt shop in Ballard. Far. Too. Many.