Thanks to our year-round sunshine and frequent heat waves, ice cream is a delicious pleasure that isn't just reserved for the summer months. And with more artisanal ice cream shops popping up all the time, the options for finding your perfect scoops are endless. From over-the-top sugary concoctions packed with candy to minimalist, fresh, produce-driven flavors, these 5 essential ice cream shops offer a little something for everyone (yes, even the dairy-challenged), which is why we keep coming back when we need a sweet, icy treat.
1. Salt & Straw
A transplant from Portland, Salt & Straw has been growing rapidly ever since opening their first shop on Larchmont. Now in Venice, Studio City, and most recently, the Arts District, this scoops shop is known for its rotating list of monthly flavors, which are planned out a year in advance and conceived as a wholesome menu that tells a story (not just a bunch of unrelated flavors). We recently got to hang with Tyler Malek at the opening of the Arts District location and got a peek into their Downtown kitchen, learning about their dedication to working with local farmers, producers, and creators.
2. Sweet Rose Creamery
One of our original favorites for artisanal ice cream in LA, Sweet Rose Creamery has also expanded from its humble beginnings at the Brentwood Country Mart to Mid City, Santa Monica, the Palisades, and Studio City. Their product-driven flavors are always fresh and authentic, like the Mint Chip that boats a subtle taste of real mint (not that fake minty toothpaste quality). They make their own toppings, sauces, and cones daily and source high quality ingredients, which are evident in every delicious scoop.
3. Wanderlust Creamery
A wonderful (and necessary) addition to Tarzana, Wanderlust has been creating whimsical, travel-inspired ice cream ever since taking over the former Cold Stone space. The flavors are often unexpected, but always light and fresh, like their signature Sticky Rice (which used to be Mango, but is now Jackfruit) which is incredibly delicious. Their purple cones have also become one of the trademarks of the small, minimalist shop, making it a modern, cool place to grab a sweet bite in the Valley.
4. Rori's Artisanal Ice Cream
A popular spot hailing from NorCal that's expanding its LA presence, the Montana shop is opening a second Los Angeles location later this month in West Hollywood (the 4th shop in California). Rori's also focuses on artisanal ice cream and spends time developing their flavors as well as their candy, cones, and cookies. Their partnerships with creameries and organic farms have proved key in crafting their offerings, like Peanut Butter Candy Swirl and Honey Lavender.
5. McConnell's Fine Ice Creams
Like Salt & Straw and Rori's, McConnell's is another transplant from the North. The Santa Barbara favorite has expanded Downtown to Grand Central Market and to Studio City (who knew that Studio City has all these amazing ice cream shops?). Like the other spots on this list, McConnell's creates their ice cream from scratch and in small batches using local, sustainable, organic, and raw ingredients. With creative flavors like Boysenberry Rosé Milk Jam and Cardamom & Gingersnaps, McConnell's is as successful with the classics as they are with their whimsical creations.