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BEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Ice Cream

BEST OF OTTAWA 2018: Ice Cream

With over 20-years writing about Ottawa life we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this new weekly summer series we’ll share it with you.
From our top picks of hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more, check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every week!

Photo credit: Anna Jonas

Sundae School

The decor of this cutesy shop is all about nostalgia, with chalk boards, children’s toys and vintage décor outfitting the space as though it were a hip urban classroom. The flavours rotate regularly and range from simple to indulgent, with a few dairy-free options included in the mix. Taste one of the kooky combos on offer with punny names inspired by schoolyard lingo or try out “free play” and make your own, with toppings like popcorn, nerds or hot fudge homemade in-house.

Photo courtesy of Pure Gelato 

Pure Gelato

This bright Elgin street store, founded in 2000, strives to create an authentic Italian vibe right in the heart of Canada’s capital. Their staff is as cheery as the sunny yellow façade. While they specialize in high-quality homemade Italian style gelato with natural ingredients, they also dish up delicious paper-thin crepes and coffee.

Photo credit: Anna Jonas

Stella Luna Gelato Cafe

Having been named one of the Top 3 Gelato Shops in The Americas at the 2016 Gelato World Tour, you could say that Master Gelato Chef and Stella Luna founder Tammy Giuliani knows her stuff. Trained at the finest school in Bologna, her gelato is made from scratch each day using only the freshest ingredients. You can also find their gelato cart traveling around the city.

Photo credit: Anna Jonas

Moo Shu Ice Cream & Kitchen

If you’re searching for somewhere offering a slightly more artisan approach, look no further than Moo Shu. Having recently celebrated their second birthday, they are all about creativity, always testing new ingredients and unique flavour pairings inspired by the founder’s childhood in Vancouver and Hong Kong. They also offer some incredible vegan options. Stray from the usual cup or cone and try your treat in a bubble waffle cones or an ice cream cookie sandwich.

Photo courtesy of Lois n' Frima

Lois n’ Frima’s

Though it may seem like a tourist trap, this family business earned its fame for a reason. The company was established in 1982, but their kiosk in the center of the Byward Market has been scooping homemade ice cream for just over 30 years. They have since concocted over than 60 ice cream recipes using Ontario dairy and typically have more than 20 flavours on deck during the summer at their three locations, including many that are non-dairy, sugar-free and nut-free.

Photo credit: Anna Jonas

Piccolo Grande

Walking into the Murray Street location of this little gelateria feels like stepping straight into an Italian vacation. Their high-grade gelato is low over-run, making it thick and smooth, and is made in flavours customized to fit a North American palate, often with flavorings imported directly from Italy. They also serve sorbet and specialty drinks.

Photo courtesy of The Merry Dairy 

The Merry Dairy

Originally starting out as a food truck in 2012, locals and tourists alike flocked to the travelling old-school ice cream truck for their superiorly creamy custard. They became so popular that they opened an additional brick and mortar location on Fairmont, which often features lines out the door no matter what the season. Their treats are handmade made fresh each and every day based on an original recipe.

Photo courtesy of Mantovani 

???????Mantovani 1946

Get a taste of real deal Italian gelato without leaving the Byward Market. A franchise of the Mantovani brand, this shop gets their gelato made from top-notch ingredients from surrounding regions according to their peak standards of craftsmanship and sent straight from the Montovani laboratory in Italy. Devour it plain or in a gelato pastry. They also offer coffee and pastries for the full Italian experience.

Photo courtesy of Beachconers


This charming shop in Britannia serves full flavour ice cream made from scratch in small batches. They use only the best local ingredients and the difference in taste is palpable. Lots of dairy-free choices make it a great place for everyone to enjoy a cone. Spend some time chatting with the fabulously friendly owners and then sit and stay awhile at one of the outdoor tables. The Lime Basil Smash is to die for.

Photo credit: Epicuria 

???????Pascale’s Ice Cream

Dense, creamy and all-natural, brand founder Pascale Berthiaume has definitely achieved her goal of making the perfect ice cream. The highest percentage of butterfat cream and fresh ingredients combine to make seasonal flavours, dairy-free options, popsicles and even must-try goat cheese ice cream. Find pints of her delectable creations at select local farmers markets and food shops around the city. We particularly love her brown bread flavour.