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The 10 Best Ice Cream Spots In The East Bay, San Francisco

Sundae at Fenton’s Creamery © Clemson/Flickr
Sundae at Fenton’s Creamery © Clemson/Flickr
Picture of Aviva Schmitz
Updated: 9 February 2017
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No matter what kind of frozen treat you’re looking for, you’ll find it in San Francisco’s East Bay. Oakland and Berkeley are home to many ice cream parlors, gelaterias, and more, each offering their unique twist on the quintessential warm weather dessert. Check out our top 10 favorite spots for ice cream in the East Bay.

Ici Ice Cream

“Ici” means “here” in French, and that’s no misnomer. At Ici Ice Cream, located in Berkeley’s Elmwood district, you’ll find 11 delicious, gourmet flavors of ice cream and sorbet, all made fresh on premises. The offerings change daily, but you can find out what’s available each day by checking Ici’s Twitter account. You can’t go wrong with the rich and creamy burnt caramel or the flowery rose-vanilla, and if you’re feeling extra fancy, get it in a cone – Ici’s cones are handmade, and the bottom is filled with chocolate!

Ici Ice Cream, 2948 College Avenue, Berkeley CA USA

CREAM

Ice Cream Parlour, Pastry Shop, Ice Cream, $$$
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Line at CREAM
Line at CREAM | © Sharon Hahn Darlin/Flickr
Located just blocks away from the Berkeley University campus, CREAM is a favorite among college students and anyone else on a budget. It’s cash only, so bring a few dollars and you can get a huge scoop of ice cream sandwiched between two warm, gooey cookies for only two dollars. At peak hours, the line can stretch around the block, but the people at CREAM are experts at serving a hungry crowd with lightning speed. While you wait, you can decide how you’ll customize your sandwich — and with 10 kinds of cookies and dozens of ice cream flavors available, there’s plenty to choose from!
More Info
Sun:
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Mon:
12:00 pm - 12:00 am
Tue:
12:00 pm - 12:00 am
Wed:
12:00 pm - 12:00 am
Thu:
12:00 pm - 12:00 am
Fri - Sat:
12:00 pm - 1:00 am
Sat - Sun:
11:00 am - 1:00 am

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream

This artisan ice cream and sorbet spot, with locations in both Oakland and Berkeley, is perfect for people who are always seeking out new and unique foods. With flavors like oregano orange pepper, molasses, pink peppercorn, and avocado, a trip to Tara’s Organic Ice Cream is sure to be an unforgettable experience. Of course, Tara’s also caters to traditional palates. If you’re not feeling as adventurous, you’ll still love the apple pie ice cream or the mango pineapple agave sorbet.

Tara’s Organic Ice Cream, 3173 College Avenue, Berkeley, CA USA

John’s Ice Cream

Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream, $$$
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Strawberry Ice Cream
Strawberry Ice Cream | © Lotus Head/Wikipedia
If you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, head to John’s Ice Cream located in the heart of downtown Berkeley. This hole in the wall shop has a huge variety of flavors and offers gigantic scoops of ice cream at reasonable prices. From classic flavors like rocky road and cookies ‘n cream to more exotic ones like Thai tea and lychee, John’s is an absolute must for people hoping to satisfy their sweet tooth without emptying their wallet.
More Info
Sun:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Mon:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Tue:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Wed:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Thu:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Fri:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
Sat:
11:00 am - 10:00 pm

Smitten Ice Cream

Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream, $$$
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Smitten Ice Cream
Smitten Ice Cream | © Akihito Fujii/Flickr
Smitten Ice Cream is where the chemical and culinary sciences come together into one creamy, delicious product. This Oakland shop harnesses the incredible power of liquid nitrogen to speed up the freezing process, allowing it to offer ice cream that’s made to order. The daily menu is small – it usually includes only four or five flavors – but with traditional ice creams like chocolate and vanilla alongside more unusual ones like earl grey and blood orange, everyone is sure to find something they like.
More Info
Sun:
11:00 am - 10:30 pm
Mon:
11:30 am - 10:30 pm
Tue:
11:30 am - 10:30 pm
Wed:
11:30 am - 10:30 pm
Thu:
11:30 am - 10:30 pm
Fri:
11:30 am - 11:00 pm
Sat:
11:00 am - 11:00 pm

Fenton’s Creamery

Ice Cream Parlour, Restaurant, Ice Cream, $$$
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Sashimi at Shimizu Japanese Cuisine
Sashimi at Shimizu Japanese Cuisine | © Elsie Hui/Flickr
Fenton’s Creamery has a distinct 1920s ice cream parlor feel and is famous for its over the top sundaes – think massive scoops of ice cream swimming in sauces and toppings. If you think you can handle it, chow down on the Fenton’s Special, a tall glass filled with alternating layers of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry ice cream, along with generous helpings of hot fudge, caramel sauce, and strawberries. If you’re not quite that hungry, try a simple sundae with one or two scoops of ice cream and your favorite topping.
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Sun:
9:00 am - 11:00 pm
Mon:
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Tue:
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Wed:
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Thu:
11:00 am - 11:00 pm
Fri:
9:00 am - 12:00 am
Sat:
9:00 am - 12:00 am

Chocolatier Blue

Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream, $$$
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Chocolatier Blue
Chocolatier Blue | © Sharon Hahn Darlin/Flickr
Chocolatier Blue is, as the name suggests, a spot mostly known for its decadent chocolate truffles — but don’t let that dissuade you, because Chocolatier Blue also offers a range of delicious gelatos and sorbets at its North Berkeley location. With deep, rich flavors like dark chocolate, pumpkin pie, butterscotch, and more, the shop is sure to delight even the most discerning of palates. Best of all, toppings are completely free with the purchase of any frozen dessert.
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Powell’s Sweet Shoppe

Patisserie, Bakery, Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream, Pastries
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Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
Powell’s Sweet Shoppe | © Rojer/Flickr
“Remember Yesterday, Today.” This mantra is what the creators of Powell’s Sweet Shoppe want you to think about every time you step through their doors. This old-fashioned, whimsical store has a large variety of candy, both modern and vintage, but it also offers heavenly ice cream, sorbet, and gelato. It’s worth stopping by just for a scoop or two of mint chocolate chip, salted caramel, strawberry, or dark chocolate. If you come in on your birthday, your ice cream is free.
More Info
Sun:
11:00 am - 8:00 pm
Mon:
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Tue:
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Wed:
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Thu:
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Fri:
11:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sat:
11:00 am - 9:00 pm

Gelato Firenze

Ice Cream Parlour, Ice Cream, Italian, $$$
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Gelato at Gelato Firenze
Gelato at Gelato Firenze | © _e.t/Flickr
If you want to feel decadent without shelling out a lot of money, head to Gelato Firenze, located just a short walk from the Oakland’s popular Grand Lake neighborhood. With flavors like pomegranate, lavender, hazelnut, and amaretto, this place represents a perfect mix between classic Italian flavors and new inventive ones. If you’d rather enjoy Firenze’s gelato in the comfort of your own home, you can even buy a pint.
More Info
Sun:
1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Mon:
1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Tue:
1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Wed:
1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Thu:
1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Fri:
1:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Sat:
12:00 pm - 10:30 pm

Nieves Cinco de Mayo

Nieves Cinco de Mayo, a family owned ice cream spot located in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, offers mouth-watering treats with a Mexican twist. If you’re in the mood for a traditional Mexican dessert, try the Mangonada, with fresh mango, chili, and lime with mango sorbet, shaved ice, and a straw coated with mango-chili paste. If spice isn’t really your thing, you can’t go wrong with a snow cone or milkshake, both of which come in common varieties like vanilla and strawberry as well as Mexican flavors like hibiscus, tamarind, and sweetened milk.

Nieves Cinco de Mayo, 3340 East 12th Street, Oakland CA USA

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