We challenge you to find a smooth, creamy dessert as indulgent as fresh gelato. Although very similar to ice cream, gelato is made more slowly and with less fat than ice cream, resulting in a creamier texture and more intense flavors. Finding authentic gelato made the traditional Italian way isn’t an easy task—that’s where we come in. The following establishments are known for their fresh, high-quality gelatos and outstanding flavors. Here are the 10 best gelato places in Illinois.
This small joint is a south-side favorite, serving up delicious gelato and other frozen treats like soft serve and Italian ice. They make gelato in dozens of fresh, delicious flavors ranging from the regular chocolate or vanilla to premium flavors like butter pecan and black cherry. They also offer super premium and season flavors such as Italian cheesecake, sweet basil, and ginger bread to name a few.
For 100 percent handmade gelato, look no further than FRÍO Gelato in Evanston. This cute little shop only uses fresh and natural ingredients in their gelato, ensuring mouth-watering flavors that never fail to please. Choose from fruity flavors like banana, pina colada, and frutilla (strawberry) or opt for a decadent chocolate mousse. They also offer unique flavors like cheese and honey, fig with cognac, and egg custard with marsala wine.
Massa Cafe serves some of the best traditional gelato in the Chicagoland area. This quaint Italian cafe is known for their gelato sandwiches, sundaes, and shakes. Their creamy, delicious gelato is made in-house daily and comes in numerous authentic flavors, pleasing even the pickiest gelato lovers.
Paciugo’s is passionate about offering the freshest, most delicious gelato possible. With natural ingredients and traditional recipes from Italy, this popular gelato chain is worth the visit. They rotate between 300 different flavors, depending on the season, but some year-round favorites include banana cream pie, pistachio, and chocolate peanut butter.
Experience an authentic taste of Italy at Manny’s Gelato and Cafe. This little cafe also makes their gelato in-house and offers generous portions with a decent selection of flavors. Customer favorite gelato flavors include the chocolate, salted caramel, and Belgian waffle. But you really can’t go wrong with any flavor at Manny’s.
The long lines are worth it at Frost Gelato in Naperville. This modern cafe features genuine Italian gelato with just the right amount of creaminess. They offer dozens of addicting flavors such as honey lavender, toasted marshmallow, and peanut butter crunch. Check out their flavors of the month, as well.
Black Dog Gelato is another favorite gelato joint in Chicago. Known for their innovative and intriguing flavors, Black Dog offers a wide selection of freshly-made gelatos. Some unique flavors include goat cheese cashew caramel and sesame fig chocolate chip. Unfortunately, they seem to run out of flavors toward the end of the day and they don’t offer a public restroom.
Experience a real taste of Italy in Wicker Park at Caffe Gelato. They prepare their gelato fresh every day and offer a great selection of flavors such as pistachio, hazelnut, mint chocolate chip, and rum raisin. You can also get fresh sorbet and coffee, shakes, and pastries here.
For friendly customer service and amazing gelato downtown Chicago, look no further than Ge Pa De Caffe. They have a wheel of gelato featuring creamy, not-too-sweet gelato in flavors like cookies and cream, mango, licorice, and pistachio. It’s a great spot to frequent away from the masses of tourists.
All Chocolate Kitchen is an intimate, sophisticated restaurant serving up authentic, homemade gelato using fresh, local ingredients and the finest ingredients imported from Italy. They make their gelato fresh every day, eliminating the need for preservatives. Choose from flavors such as tartufo, coconut, and Amarena.