The San Francisco Local

The Best Ice Cream in the Bay Area

Local san francisco

Annie Sheldon

Weekend soccer and baseball games mean outings for that warm-weather favorite—ice cream! We've rounded up our favorite scoop spots in the Bay Area.

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San Francisco

Mitchell's Ice Cream
688 San Jose Ave., open every day from 11:00 am — 11:00 pm.
This long-established Mission favorite has been serving delicious specialty ice cream, sorbet, and sundaes for over 50 years. There's some indoor seating.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: www.mitchellsicecream.com

Bi-Rite Creamery and Bakeshop
3692 18th St., open Sunday thru Thursday 11:00 am — 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am — 11:00 pm.
The ever-popular Bi-Rite Creamery uses mostly organic, local milk products to make its sweet treats. They serve popsicles, sorbet, sundaes, and ice cream sandwiches, as well as cupcakes and cookies. They recently added a soft serve window to the store.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: www.biritecreamery.com

Swensen's Ice Cream
1999 Hyde St., open Tuesday thru Thursday and Sunday noon to 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday noon to 11:00 pm.
This tiny retro-style store in Russian Hill is known for its rich, creamy, flavorful ice cream. The sticky chewy chocolate is one of their best sellers. Counter service only. Parking is tricky, so plan accordingly. Give the kids an extra thrill and hop on the 45 from Union St. and let the bus carry you to the top of the hill.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: www.swensensicecream.com

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
699 22nd St., open Tuesday thru Saturday 11:30 am — 6:00 pm, and Sunday 11:30 am to 5:00 pm.
This newcomer to the cream scene popped up in Dogpatch a couple of years ago. It gets our nod for inventive flavors in big scoops, as well as an industrial-chic decor that makes standing in line less of a chore.
Price: Moderate
Online: Read our review from when it first opened.

Smitten
432 Octavia St.
This newcomer is a high-tech wonder—proprietor Robyn Sue Goldman developed the Kelvinator, which uses liquid nitrogen to make ice cream in 60 seconds. That means kids can watch it go from a liquid to a solid while they wait for their scoop of fresh strawberry, vanilla, chocolate, whatever they please.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.smittenicecream.com

East Bay

Fenton's Creamery
4226 Piedmont Ave., Oakland, open Monday thru Thursday 11:00 am — 11:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 9:00 am to midnight, Sunday 9:00 am to 11:00 pm.
With over 30 flavors of ice cream and sherbet, you'll be spoilt for choice at this super-popular (it was even featured in Pixar's Up) sit-down ice cream parlor. Try one of their yummy mix-and-match sundaes.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.fentonscreamery.com

Gelateria Naia
2106 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, open Sunday thru Thursday noon to 11:00 pm, Friday and Saturday noon to midnight.
You'll love the vast array of scrumptious hand-made all-natural Italian gelati and sorbetti served here. The gelati is made only with rBGH-free milk, and the sorbetti with fresh, ripe, local, seasonal fruit.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.gelaterianaia.com

Ici
2948 College Ave., Berkeley, open Monday 2:00 pm — 9:30 pm, Tuesday — Thursday noon — 9:30 pm, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday noon — 10:00 pm.
Ici is owned by none other than Chez Panisse's former pastry chef Mary Canales. Needless to say their ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet are all fit for a prince (or princess!). Ingredients are all organic, local, and sustainably-raised, plus everything is either compostable or recyclable.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.ici-icecream.com

Scream Sorbet
5030 Telegraph Ave., Oakland. Open until 11:00 pm on weekends.
Bakesale Betty's new neighbor keeps up the culinary tradition establishing this part of Temescal along Telegraph as "gourmet ghetto south." The seasonal flavors change weekly, but pineapple-guava and anything with coconut are sure winners.
Price: Moderate
Online: screamsorbet.com

IScream
1819 Solano Ave., Berkeley
Although it just opened last month, Solano Avenue's new scoop shop has been getting raves for its chocolate and mocha almond ice cream flavors, as well as its lemon sorbet.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: Not yet!

Tucker's Supercreamed Ice Cream
1349 Park St., Alameda, open Tuesday thru Thursday 11:00 am — 9:30pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am — 11:00 pm, and Sundays and holidays noon to 9:30 pm.
Tucker's set up shop in 1941 and has been here ever since. They serve over 33 flavors of ice cream, sorbet, and sherbet. Their 'Tornado Machine' will custom-blend frozen yogurt flavors — try one in a freshly-baked waffle cone.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: www.tuckersicecream.com

Contra Costa

Loard's Ice Cream
3080 El Cerrito Plaza, El Cerrito, open Monday thru Thursday and Sunday noon — 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday noon — 9:30 pm, and in Orinda at 230 Brookwood Rd, open Sunday thru Thursday from 11:00 am — 9:00 pm and Friday and Saturday 11:00 am — 10:00 pm.
Loard's ice cream parlors have been a Bay Area favorite since the first one opened in 1950. They're a small chain but feel more like a mom-and-pop store, and serve over 40 flavors of rich and creamy ice cream, as well as sorbet, sherbet, and a 'lite' version of their ice cream. Check out their website for a full listing of northern California stores, with a few now open in the Peninsula.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.loards.com

Peninsula

Romolo's Cannoli and Spumoni Factory
81 37th Ave., San Mateo, open Wednesday thru Saturday 11:00 am — 6:30 pm, Sunday 11:00 am — 4:30 pm.
If you love all-natural, authentic Italian desserts, this is the place. Try their famous ice-cream-filled cannoli, or opt for a fresh fruit sorbet or granita with a couple of cucidati (sugar cookies).
Price: Inexpensive
Online: www.romolosfactory.com

Rick's Rather Rich Ice Cream
3946 Middlefield Rd., Palo Alto, open Monday thru Thursday 11:30 am — 9:00 pm, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11:00 am — 9:30 pm.
This gourmet micro-creamery offers no less than 48 flavors of hand-made ice cream, as well as their version of a popsicle, called 'frozen ice.' Their newest creation is the Whoopie Ice Cream Sandwich. Try a white chocolate ginger or fudge marble cone. They also make yummy sorbet, floats, and sundaes.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.ricksicecream.com

Preston's Candy and Ice Cream
1170 Broadway, Burlingame. Open Monday 11:00 am — 6:00 pm, Tuesday-Thursday 11:00 am — 8:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am — 9:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm — 6:00 pm.
Love to support local old-timey businesses? Then Preston's is the place for you! They organize annual contests like "guess how many jelly beans in the cookie jar" with cool prizes, and are always a hit with kids.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: www.prestonscandy.com

Powell's Sweet Shoppe
1166 Howard Ave., Burlingame
Yes, it's a bit gimmicky, but your kids will explore the place with wide-eyed wonder at the candy piled to the ceiling. Grab a scoop of gelato and hit the row of movie seats to view some of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. P.S. There are Powell's locations in Los Gatos, Novato, Berkeley, and Lafayette.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.powellsss.com/go/

Marin

Three Twins Ice Cream
641 Del Ganado Road, Terra Linda, north San Rafael, open Monday thru Thursday 1:00 pm — 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday noon — 9:30 pm, Sunday noon — 9:00 pm.
You can't go wrong no matter what you order here — it's all absolutely delish. Everything is organic, and their cups and spoons are compostable. Sit inside, or out on the patio on warm days, or order a pint of ice-cream or sorbet to go.

NOTE: Three Twins Ice Cream has opened a little store in San Francisco at 254 Fillmore St. It's open Monday thru Thursday noon — 10:00 pm, Friday and Saturday 11:00 am — 11:00 pm, and Sunday 11:00 am — 10:00 pm.
Price: Moderate
Online: www.threetwinsicecream.com

Fairfax Scoop
63 Broadway Boulevard, Fairfax; open every day from noon to 10:00 pm, Cash only.
This tiny place always seems to have a line outside. It serves scrumptious, all-organic ice cream, soy ice cream, and sorbet, and makes its own waffle cones.
Price: Inexpensive
Online: Not yet!

Noci
17 E. Blithdale Ave., Mill Valley. Open everyday 11:30 am — 10:00 pm.
OK, we know it's gelato, but it's so rich, delectable, and creamy (love the chocolate) that we had to include this artisanal scoop shop. They cater to people with nut and gluten allergies, too!
Price: Moderate
Online: nocigelato.com

Photo caption: Scoops from Mitchell's Ice Cream in SF. (Red Tricycle)

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