Location: 14B Brookers Lane, Etobicoke
I’ve been back to Lola’s a couple of times since my first visit in 2018, and I think they’re just getting better and better.
On my first visit I found the gelato to be above average, but nothing that’s worth getting too excited about. Now, on the other hand, I think maybe you should be getting a little bit excited. It’s very, very good.
I had Peach Blueberry Sundae, which features a really delightful combo of fresh peach and blueberry flavours. It hadn’t even occurred to me that those two fruits would work so well together, but clearly they do because the flavour is delicious.
And the texture is just right, with a really satisfying level of creaminess and absolutely none of the iciness that you sometimes get in fruity ice creams. It’s top notch.
Location: 160 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Kensington Market seems like the kind of area that should have a whole bunch of ice cream shops, but it’s surprisingly slim pickings. There’s a location of Dolce Gelato, a temporary outpost of Good Behaviour, and now this place — but that’s about it.
(There have been other shops over the years, of course, but the turnover in this area is bad even when there isn’t a pandemic to deal with.)
Boho Gelato has a pretty standard assortment of flavours, though there are a couple of unique ones. Rosewater particularly caught my eye; I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in gelato before. It’s a common ingredient in Middle Eastern desserts, with a very unique flavour that’s somewhat of an acquired taste (I hated it with a passion as a kid, but it eventually won me over).
The gelato itself is definitely above average, though it didn’t knock my socks off. But that rosewater flavour is clearly a winner. I got it with a scoop of pistachio, and not surprisingly, the two flavours go perfectly together.
Cherry Sundae at Tom’s Dairy Freeze
I mean, come on: if you go the whole summer without going to Tom’s Dairy Freeze at least once, was it really the summer? I submit that it was not. It’s certainly not the most exciting ice cream joint in the city, but they’ve been pumping out consistently great no-frills soft serve for decades, and it’s a million times better than the stuff you’ll find at chains like Dairy Queen or McDonald’s. On this particular visit I got a sundae with chocolate ice cream and cherry sauce, and yeah, that’s a great combo. The sauce is excessively sweet (it tastes like maraschino cherries in a thick syrup), but then that’s kind of the charm of a place like this.
Roasted Almond and Sicilian Pistachio at Soma Chocolatemaker
I’ve mentioned before that Soma serves some of the best gelato in the city, and yeah, it’s still top notch. I recently tried roasted almond and Sicilian pistachio, and both flavours were rich, creamy, and deeply flavourful.
Malai Kulfi and Mango Chocolate Chip at Nani’s
I don’t think I need to spend more time on this blog on the greatness of Nani’s Gelato. I’ve thoroughly covered that. So I’ll just say that on a recent visit I tried malai kulfi and mango chocolate chip, and both flavours were unsurprisingly fantastic. Malai kulfi, in particular, had that perfect Nani’s balance of a unique flavour and amazingly creamy gelato. As for mango chocolate chip, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical about the combo of mango and chocolate, and… to be honest, I’m still skeptical. But the mango ice cream was so delicious that I thoroughly enjoyed it, despite the flavours not working particularly well together.
Location: 6 Charles Street East, Toronto
I wrote about Nani’s Gelato a few times before this blog went on hiatus; back then they were operating out of a truck, and I mentioned that I think they might serve the best gelato in the city.
They upgraded to a permanent location near Yonge and Bloor last year, and there’s no longer any “might” about it. It’s easily the best gelato in the city.
The combo of delightfully unique flavours (they come up with a new assortment every couple of weeks) and top-notch quality ice cream is irresistible. On this particular visit I went with salted olive oil candied pecan and toasted coconut, and both flavours were perfectly creamy and intensely delicious. Some of the flavours here sound odd in theory, but always work — you never, ever get the sense that they’re odd just for novelty value. The flavour combos are as tasty as they are unique.
Location: Stackt Market (28 Bathurst Street, Toronto)
Solato is a new gelato place in the Stackt Market with a pretty distinctive gimmick — the gelato itself is made on the spot in a process that’s basically like coffee pods, but for ice cream. It’s very slick.
The menu is relatively limited; when I went, it was just vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, and a couple of fruity flavours. You can either get the gelato by itself for six bucks, or pay an extra dollar and get a couple of toppings.
I went with hazelnut sans-toppings, and the whole process was pretty seamless; they put a pod in one of the machines, and within a couple of minutes it was dispensing soft serve gelato.
It’s fine. It’s a fun gimmick, I guess, but it’s hard to deny that there’s better gelato in the city.
I was afraid it might taste artificial, but it has a pretty clean hazelnut flavour, albeit a weak one (the nutty taste is far from robust). It’s very smooth, which I guess is the advantage of making it right on the spot, but otherwise it’s nothing special; it’s a bit of a shrug, especially for the price, but if you’re in the Stackt Market anyway it might be worth a shot just for the novelty value.