Quick Bites: Tom’s Dairy Freeze, Soma Chocolatemaker, Nani’s Gelato

Tom's Dairy Freeze
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.

Soma
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.

Nani's Gelato
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.

Nani’s Gelato: Still the Best Gelato in the City

Nani's GelatoLocation: 6 Charles Street East, Toronto
Website: https://www.nanisgelato.com/

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.

Nani's Gelato

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.

Checking out the Summer Scoop Series at Eataly

Summer Scoop Series at EatalyLocation: 55 Bloor Street West (in the Manulife Centre), Toronto 
Website: https://www.eataly.ca/news/housemade-gelato/

Eataly is currently doing a promotion they’re calling the Summer Scoop Series; every month, they’re collaborating with a different local gelato-maker on a special flavour.  This month, they’re working with Nani’s Gelato, and the flavour is pistachio ricotta kulfi.

Summer Scoop Series at Eataly

The Eataly website describes it as “an Indian-inspired flavour with an Italian twist, featuring Italian pistachio paste, chopped pistachios, steeped saffron, cardamom, and whipped ricotta.”

As you’d expect from Nani’s (and the gelato at Eataly is no slouch, either), it’s superb.  The pistachio flavour is pronounced, and it’s perfectly complemented by the saffron and cardamom.  The bits of sweet ricotta interspersed throughout are a nice touch.  It’s top-notch gelato.

Quick Bites: Nani’s Gelato, Fishman Lobster Clubhouse, and Bakerbots Baking

Nani's GelatoPumpkin Pie and Chocolate gelato from Nani’s Gelato

I’ve written about Nani’s Gelato a couple of times for this blog, and it continues to be fantastic.  Both flavours were top-notch, and the gelato itself is as rich and creamy as ever.  Alas, they’re currently closed for the season; apparently a permanent location might be in the cards, so fingers crossed that they’re able to make this happen.  Clearly, gelato of this calibre needs to available all year round.

Fishman Lobster ClubhouseLobster mountain at Fishman Lobster Clubhouse

I don’t have much to add about this place since I wrote about it last — but come on.  Look at that thing.  That’s a photo you have to share.  And that’s the impressive thing about this place: it seems like it’s expressly designed to impress on social media (and yeah, it clearly is), but it’s also surprisingly delicious.  It’s meaty and perfectly cooked, and the way they fry it makes it a bit more interesting than standard boiled/steamed lobster, but still allows the meat be the star of the show (it’s fried in the shell, so the majority of the meat isn’t battered).  It’s so good.

Bakerbots Baking (Bang Bang)Orange Cardamom ice cream from Bakerbots Baking

Hot tip: Bakerbots Baking serves a decent assortment of Bang Bang ice cream flavours, so if you ever feel like a scoop of Bang Bang without the line, head to Bakerbots.  And the orange cardamom was exactly what I was hoping it would be: creamy and orangey like the best creamsicle you’ve ever had, but with a nice hit of cardamom flavour.  It’s a quality scoop of ice cream.

A Couple More Delicious Flavours at Nani’s Gelato

Nani's GelatoLocation: It’s a truck; check Instagram to see where they’re parked
Websitehttps://www.nanisgelato.com

Did I go right back to Nani’s Gelato after trying it for the first time the other day?  Why yes, yes I did.  What can I say; it’s really good.

This time I was able to try two flavours — pistachio, and tahini and black sesame.  Both were absolutely outstanding.

Nani's Gelato

Pistachio is a classic gelato flavour, and Nani’s knocks it out of the park.  It has a vibrant pistachio flavour that, unlike so many other places, actually tastes like real pistachio — not pistachio flavouring.

The tahini and black sesame is just as good, with a toasty, intense tahini flavour, and a restrained amount of sweetness that lets the nutty sesame flavour shine through.

I really hope this place opens a permanent location soon, because I think it’s easily a contender for the best gelato in the city.