Gelato isn’t ice cream, OK? Certainly, you sophisticated Oakville and Burlington residents know the difference. Regardless, gelato, or Italian ice, is silky, smooth, and less fattening than ice cream. It’s also an amazing spring/summer/fall treat which instantly transports one to Italy and all of its guilty pleasures. Flavours can be tart, such as raspberry or lemon, or wildly sweet, including one of my favourites, Ferrero Rocher. We’ve searched far and wide to narrow down the top contenders. Here’s the top 5 gelato in Oakville and Burlington.
This adorable resto offers up a variety of unconventional gelato flavours such as avocado, charcoal, and blueberry basil sorbet. (Get a large and try all three flavours!). This cute bistro is a hidden gem when it comes to dessert and pizza alike. Located in downtown Oakville’s Towne Square, the restaurant is inspired by piazza culture. With everything from cappuccino to handmade pizza, to wine, there’s something or everyone. They’ve got plenty of seating, plus two patios (one for dining, and the red seats for gelato and other cafe items) Service is friendly.
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Must try: Avocado or Blueberry Basil Sorbet.
This cute little gelato, dessert and coffee shop in Bronte Harbour attracts kids (and big kids at heart) in spades. It’s taken over the former Cool Liks D-lite ice cream shop just south of Lakeshore Rd. Flavours range from Birthday Cake to Lemon to Nutella to Strawberry Cheesecake … and you might find a concoction using Bailey’s. The student-based operation features fresh gelato made in-house, daily. There’s also hot chocolate flavours (mint chip, dark chocolate, white chocolate, peanut butter, or regular) made with real chocolate. Young staff are constantly discovering and making new gelato flavours, plus researching and setting up the POS system. Burlington peeps can find their gelato among the dessert offerings at Beldeni’s.
Must try: Chocolate or Pink Grapefruit
Location, location, location. This long-time east-end favourite has a (posh, not kitschy) nautical theme, and it’s elegant and fun all wrapped in one. Plus, it’s located in the Oakville Entertainment Centrum – which we know isn’t an easy location for restos, or patrons trying to park. But this one is still going strong, making it the optimal place to start your night (dinner and a movie, everyone? … try driving into the Centrum around 8 p.m. on a weekend!) Head chef/owner Michel Fronteddu’s team uses the freshest, finest ingredients to hand-craft artisanal cuisine. Churning gelato is no exception. The pistachio flavour is unbelievably delightful and makes me want to order another scoop before leaving … because there’s always room for house-made Italian treats. The resto also has a dedicated bar/lounge area, making it the perfect spot for martinis and appetizers, with plush seating throughout. A massive renovation has only made this place better. Service is stellar, and so is essentially everything on the menu.
Must try: Pistachio.
I love gelato — especially when it’s steps from the Burlington waterfront. I Love Gelato is in the former Crema di Gelato location at 1477 Lakeshore. Gelato is made fresh, in-house and they also have a yummy vegan flavour (dark chocolate is outstanding). If you recognize the owners, you might recall them from Salvatore’s next door – which is now operating as a different Italian restaurant -but they’re now running a sweet shop. Prices for gelato run from $4.45 to $5.95 to $6.95. There’s also an option to take it home for $16 or $30. The location doesn’t get better than this — you can grab your treats and head down to Spencer Smith Park or saunter along Lakeshore Rd. As far as the menu goes, there’s also the option to buy cheesecake, such as pistachio, nocciola, or carrot caramel, and items such as tiramisu, lemon mousse, and coppa crema amarena (a sponge cake with cherries). Gelato flavours include the usual suspects: cappucino, vanila, crema de leche, coconut, lemon, cookie caramel, Ferrero, mango, Oreo, hazelnut. Then there’s whisky ice cream, mixed berries, and my favourites, blood orange, cassata, and the aforementioned dark chocolate that’s also gluten-free and vegan. The shop accepts debit and cash.
Must try: Cassata or Dark Chocolate
Never, ever have I seen a gelato shop with soooo many vegan options. And it tastes absolutely amazing. La Dolce Vita (named after Fellini’s classic 1960 flick? It’s one of my all-time favourites!) offers up a taste of the sweet life for regular, dairy-loving folks and those on that plant-based lifestyle. The menu includes high-quality artisanal gelato, specialty coffees, freshly made paninis and decadent Italian deserts. Each time I go in, there are different vegan offerings, such as soup using Nonna’s recipe (created using substitutions, of course). The lineup at this Lakeshore Rd. shop is always out the door, even when it’s cold outside. Get down there and try some delicious vegan gelato!
Must try: Blood Orange or Fig