FOOD & DRINK
Food Tour: International-Inspired Ice Cream Shops in LA
Ice cream is one of the best-loved snacks for warm, sunny days. In Los Angeles, a city with about 284 sunny days per year, ice cream is practically a staple. With an overwhelming amount of ice cream options available, it can be tempting to always get the same flavor from your preferred shop. As great as a classic ice cream cone can be, sometimes it’s good to mix it up. Los Angeles is home to many different cultures, reflected in the local ice cream shops. Here are four of the best internationally-inspired ice cream shops in Los Angeles to add to your food tour itinerary.
Saffron & Rose
Photos via Saffron & Rose
Saffron & Rose is a shop specializing in Persian-style ice cream, also known as Bastani. The founder of Saffron & Rose originally began making ice cream in Tehran and brought his skills to Southern California in the 1970s. This shop has over 30 unique, authentic flavors, such as Saffron and Pistachio, Jasmine, and Guava. Saffron & Rose also offers several vegan options. Saffron & Rose is located on 1387 Westwood Boulevard in the West Los Angeles area.
Mateo’s Ice Cream & Fruit Bars
Mateo’s is one of the best places in Los Angeles to find paletas, which are milk or fruit based frozen treats similar to a popsicle. The ice cream, beverages, and paletas found at Mateo’s feature a variety of tropical flavors authentic to the region of Mexico where the founder grew up, such as Mango con Chile, Pineapple, and Guava. There’s a fresh treat for everyone’s palate at Mateo’s. Mateo’s has four different locations in Los Angeles, which can be found on their website.
Mikawaya Mochi Ice Cream
Mikawaya specializes in a frozen treat called mochi ice cream. If you’re not familiar, mochi ice cream is a ball of ice cream wrapped in sweet rice dough. This shop has focused on creating Japanese desserts since 1910, and mochi ice cream is their signature item. Mikawaya has many flavors, ranging from sweet to savory, including Green Tea, Plum Wine, Red Bean, and Island Coffee. Mikawaya is located at 118 Japanese Village Plaza Mall in Little Tokyo.
No international ice cream compendium (or Los Angeles food tour) would be complete without including gelato. Gelateria Uli is a shop known for its vegan sorbets and rotating assortment of flavors. There is an amazing variety of flavors at Gelateria Uli, including not only the classic gelato flavors, but also seasonal and locally-inspired flavors, such as Horchata, Pistachio, and Roasted Poblano. The founder of Gelateria Uli has quality in mind and makes delicious gelato flavors with seasonal fruit, locally grown ingredients, lower fat content than typical ice cream. Gelateria Uli is located at 541 S Spring St #104, near the downtown area of Los Angeles.