I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Summer is here, or almost, technically it’s not for another few weeks, but here in the United States, Memorial Day Weekend marks the start of the summer season. For many of us that means vacation time, beach days, and of course that sweet summer staple in a myriad of flavors and colors: ice cream.
This isn’t a best of list, because although some spots do stand out as being exceptional, is there really such a thing as bad ice cream, or for that matter dessert? I’m an equal opportunity dessert eater, so this list won’t just include the cool sweet stuff, but some other fun treats as well. I’ve shared a few of these before, but how nice to have all of these delicious options in one convenient spot.
While not technically in Los Angeles, I am starting with my most recent ice cream discovery, Black Tap, which is located in Downtown Disney in Anaheim, so almost LA. I’d been hearing about and seeing photos of Black Tap’s gigantic milkshake concoctions for years, and as soon as they opened I made a beeline straight for it. There are multiple combinations available, and there were three of us, so we decided to share…
Taiyaki is a fish shaped pastry with a texture somewhere between a waffle cone and a pancake and we do our best to enjoy it whenever possible. Traditionally filled with red bean paste, custard and Nutella are other popular options. Somi Somi in Koreatown is a great place to enjoy Taiyaki.
Stray Cat & Poke
Another great place to enjoy taiyaki is Stray Cat Poke & Dessert, which is located in Old Town Pasadena, a great place to spend an afternoon.
The Milk Shop, located in Silver Lake, is an old fashioned ice cream parlor and bake shop with a modern day twist. Not only were the treats Insta worthy, but they were delicious. Even though I enjoyed my macaron ice cream sandwich immensely I couldn’t resist the cookie dough to go, yes please!
Churned to order and paired with delicious toppings we are smitten with Smitten. You’ll find Southern California’s only Smitten location in El Segundo.
Salt & Straw
Salt and Straw’s ice cream is delicious, but don’t take my word for it, the ever present line around the block should speak for itself. One reason the line is so long… you can sample as many flavors as you want!
Rori’s has multiple locations around town, and lucky for us, one of them is within a mile of our home. If I had to pick a favorite Rori’s would be very near the top.
Sprinkles Cupcake ATM & Ice Cream Shop
Wait, what? A 24 hour ATM that only sells cupcakes and cookies? Where can I find that? Beverly Hills of course! We discovered that Sprinkles also has an ice cream shop, and we couldn’t resist. This was some incredible ice cream, and the red velvet cones were amazing. You’ll find the Sprinkles ice cream shop just next to the Cupcake ATM.
Little Damage is a family owned soft serve ice cream shop in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles. With trendy black cones and unique flavor choices, Little Damage, is not your average ice cream… its ice cream with a Goth twist. We sampled Unicorn Tears, a lovely blue color, which actually tasted like vanilla birthday cake. A scoop is $6 and comes with one free topping. The trendy black waffle cone (made from activated charcoal) is $1 extra.
Sidecar Doughnuts is one of our favorite Westside doughnut shops. We aren’t the only ones who love them, so be prepared for a long line. I promise you it’s worth the wait their uniquely original and very delicious flavors are baked fresh all day long.
We love Astro Doughnuts, and their fried chicken is delicious too. They recently opened a new location on Main Street in Santa Monica, so now we can bike there.
Pictured here is a cream cheese champagne glaze 24k gold donut, which if you’re feeling spendy will set you back $100!! Yes, $100 for one donut! At a mere $3.50 the other donuts seemed like real bargains, so we got two… Elliot chose a panda donut, because… panda! The strawberry donut was so delicious we wasted no time on a proper photo.
Offering unique flavors like Habanero PB&J, trendy flavors like maple bacon, and the more traditional like lemon poppyseed you’ll find something for everyone at Blue Star. Elliot loves the Meyer lemon & key lime curd, but the crisp edges of the lemon poppyseed make it my personal favorite. Maybe it reminds me of the crisp edges on beignets?
Canter’s, an LA institution, has been serving up their award winning pastrami sandwiches and other deli fare since 1931. Beyond pastrami, other favorites on my list are the Mish Mash Soup, and the High Hat, which is basically a cupcake married to a ding dong! Delicious!
Would you like a free cupcake? Georgetown Cupcakes is giving you one! All you have to do is check out their online fridge cam for the secret cupcake of the day. Tell them the flavor when you walk in and they’ll give each member of your group a complimentary cupcake!
Whether you like it savory or sweet you’ll be guaranteed a unique and tasty treat at the Pie Hole. With 5+ locations throughout the greater LA area you have no excuses!
Lark Cake Shop
We stopped in Lark Cake Shop at the request of the kids, and thankfully we were in the mood to say yes! The Ice Box Cake was so delightful we considered going back for a second round.
The Milk Tavern is my kind of bar with unicorn crepe cakes, cotton candy burritos, rainbow grilled cheese sandwiches, and ping pong! Video games too, if you fancy them. Not only is it an instagrammers dream, but the food is delicious too.
Bottega Louie is known for it’s colorful and photogenic macarons, but it isn’t just about the sweets and treats, it’s also a full service restaurant, bar and gourmet market. @laweekly listed Bottega Louie on their 10 best macarons in LA list! We enjoyed chocolate mint, raspberry, salted caramel, birthday cake and coconut. My favorite was coconut!
Cheetos flavored cookie anyone? Trust me, it’s delicious. Not your thing? Don’t worry Cookie Good, has “normal” flavors too. The cookies here are so delicious we bought a dozen different flavors and took a bite of every single one
Compartes chocolate bars are literally bursting with deliciousness. An LA institution since the 1950s these fabulous chocolate bars are a mixture of art, style, and design. Often partnering with other iconic LA brands these are some of the most luxurious and fashionable chocolate bars you’ll ever have the occasion to eat.
If you love bubble tea (I do!) and cute things, then you’ll want to stop in at Mini Snow Monster, with locations at Universal City Walk and Koreatown. Their delicious boba is served in your choice of unique and reusable jars in various fun shapes, and if you fancy it a halo of cotton candy and fruity pebbles.
Disneyland and California Adventure
There is no way I can put together a list of Los Angeles area treats without including Disneyland. I love Disneyland, the rides, the cheer, the gorgeous surroundings and most especially the TREATS!
We do our best to limit our treat intake in our everyday lives, but this is most definitely not the case when we visit the Magic Kingdom, where we do our best to cram as many treats into our faces as possible. We especially love the seasonal treats, which often have a fun twist.
Do you have a favorite dessert? Have you been to any of these places? Have I missed any must try dessert spots in the LA area? Let me know in the comments, so I can add them to my list. Happy Summer!
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Ok, I should not have read that and looked at all of those pictures…. I’ve got some MASSIVE cravings now, lol! Gosh everything just looks so darn pretty!
Ha ha! Sorry!
Ugh, just gained 10lbs reading this! How on earth do you manage to stay so thin eating all this delicious food!? And that 24k gold donut is just absurd and I don’t even want to know how much it cost! This is my biggest fear about moving back to the US is splurging in all of this over the top food, but I want to be able to try some of it! #FarawayFiles
The trick is to share! Also we aren’t going out for treats every day, though we certainly could with so many choices!
I have just drooled all the way down this post. I need to visit the Astro Doughnuts pronto! #farawayfiles
Astro is one of our favs!
OMG!!!! You can’t do this to me. I want to taste them all!!! Drooling all over the place. Not helping that I’m starving, and the dinner’s in the oven 🙂 #farawayfiles
Ha ha! Sorry, not sorry!
Bright Lights of America
My wedding is a week and a half away and you’re torturing me! LOL. So I was wondering why everyone was saying that it’s summer this week (especially since it’s been raining, windy and freezing in SF), so thanks for letting me know that Memorial Day is the marker for the beginning of summer! You learn something new every day as an expat.
Now, to spend the rest of the day staring longingly at all of the ice cream, donuts and deserts. #FarawayFiles
Happy Wedding! Also, we always share when we get treats so we don’t have to feel the guilt.
So many yummy treats! I’ve been eyeing Black Tap ever since I found out about it. I think I need to plan a trip to LA just for that. #farawayfiles
And it’s just steps from the magic kingdom!
Oh, this is terrible to look at, all I want now is Ice-cream, they all look delicious. I never used to have a sweet tooth and as the years have ticked by that’s all changed. #farawayfiles
Ha ha! Sweet treats are so pretty aren’t they? Makes you want to take a taste. 🤗
I feel like I’m gaining weight just by reading your post. There is so much to choose from but I think my favourite would be the macaron ice cream sandwich at the Milk Shop. Then again, the colourful milkshakes at Black Tap have me wanting more.
The best part about a post like this is that you don’t gain weight just by looking!
Ladies What Travel (@LadiesWTravel)
Oh my god, all those colours! I have a sweet tooth so this post was right up my street. I have a tonne more reasons to come back to LA now lol! #FarawayFiles
Yes! We have lots of options you just can’t go wrong!
I admire your dedication in researching this post!
Don’t think I have ever seen so many colourful deserts in one place. Definitely a feast for the eyes. #farawayfiles
Very cheerful aren’t they?!
WOW! I didn’t know life could be like this. Ice cream in the UK is usually involves some fat man, who’s indulged in far too much of his own produce, presenting you with a half melted tasteless slop in a stale cone. We get nothing like this which has made me very envious. Except for the “red bean paste, custard and Nutella” hmmmm…. not sure about that one. But, hats off to you, it looks like you’ve really done the research for this one.
Wow, you do not paint a pretty picture. Ice cream should definitely be pretty and never served in a stale cone. It’s not Nutella, red bean paste and Nutella in one serving, that would be off putting wouldn’t it? Choose one! 😂
Caity Pfohl | The Pamplemousse Papers
All of these look so delicious! Love how colorful and creative they all are. I am so intrigued by taiyaki, I’ve never had it and would love to try it.
Oh wow this place is really like being a kid in a candy store!! Everything you can dream off, I wouldn’t know where to start!
Ice cream is my favorite dessert! You have given me so many ideas for my next ice cream adventures. If you are out on the Culver City/Palms area, I strongly recommend Ginger’s Divine Ice Cream and Scoops west side.
Oh! Thank you I’ll go check it out!
This is awesome, thank you so much for sharing.
If you have a chance, I would really appreciate if you could check out my art/music blog.
it’d mean a lot!
I love these recommendations! I can’t wait to try Black Tap… I have a couple cool food recommendations for food in LA on my blog you should check it out!
I will take a look thanks!
I have recently started baking macarons so the ice cream sandwhich macaron caught my eye. Interesting!
Interesting and delicious! 🥰
This list of places is great! I’ve been to a a lot of these places. I loved reading this. If you live in LA, try out Ample Hills in Los Feliz. 💕
Thanks! I do and I will!
Wow – what a great round-up! I’ve only been to 5 of those places – time to go back (and get fat)! 😉