Ice cream is an important part of Buenos Aires’ culinary life, especially during the hot and humid summers when hordes of people line up at heladarías (ice cream parlors) to receive some respite from the punishing heat. The tradition comes from an influx of Italian immigrants who descended on the city in the 19th century, bringing their love of gelato with them and slowly evolving their recipes to adapt to Argentine tastes. Keep an eye out for local favorites dulce de leche (sweet caramel) and sambayón (egg yolk, milk and cream infused with wine) as we take a tour of the finest ice cream parlors Buenos Aires has to offer.
A longtime favorite Buenos Aires heladería, Saverio has been serving up scoops of the creamy good stuff since 1909. Located on the historic Avenida San Juan, this massive store has seating for over 150 people and boasts 55 different flavors alongside an excellent selection of sundaes and desserts. Famous tango singer Carlos Gardel used to come here in the 1920s and order his favorite lemon flavored ice cream, the recipe of which remains the same today.
Another historic classic, Cadore is the creation of an Italian family who have been in the ice cream business since 1881. They migrated to Buenos Aires in 1957 and set up shop in the city’s version of Broadway, becoming particularly popular with the sophisticated late night theater crowd. Cadore have over 50 ice cream flavors on offer, but those who only have time to sample one should try their famous dulce de leche. It’s been rated best in the world, having a refined flavor that is achieved through a process of boiling sweetened milk for over 16 hours.
The king of the Argentine ice cream business, Freddo is a massive chain boasting a whopping 150 branches throughout Argentina and around the world. Consistency is obviously an important factor as each locale contains the same modern decor and flavors, including dozens of varieties of chocolate and dulce de leche. A more creative alternative is the wonderful Malbec infused passion-fruit cheesecake, definitely worth a try. Freddo has become increasingly popular in recent years for offering a user-friendly online delivery and pickup service.
With a mere 19 franchises around Buenos Aires and more interstate, family-run Persicco doesn’t quite have the stranglehold on the industry as their competitor Freddo. But they are expanding quickly thanks to a reputation for providing high quality ice cream at reasonable prices as well as more stylish interior design which makes it an attractive place to dine in. Persicco are particularly well loved for their delivery service which runs until 4 am on weekends, the perfect solution to those late night munchies. One of their more interesting creations is called Crema Persicco which is comprised of vanilla, dates and Mistela wine.
Those not so interested in big franchises should pay a visit to a local neighborhood parlor instead, one of the best of which is Fratello right on the edge of Palermo. This cozy little heladaria features a pleasant outdoor section where ice cream enthusiasts can devour any of the 50 different flavors on offer. Their tramontana comes particularly recommended for having the perfect blend of cream and dulce de leche.
Get a taste for how ice cream is done down south with this delightful little Patagonian ice creamery. Their produce is made in El Bolsón and shipped to Buenos Aires in large refrigerated trucks, meaning it’s as Patagonian as they come. For a true gaucho experience, try their maté infused ice cream, although it probably won’t appeal to everyone. Another unique offering is Maqui Pata flavored ice cream, which is a fruit native to Patagonia.