From Mango Chili to Honey and Tahini: The Best Ice Cream Parlors in Israel

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Anita, in the center of the upscale Tel Aviv neighrborhood Neve Tzedek.
Anita, in the center of the upscale Tel Aviv neighrborhood Neve Tzedek. Credit: Oren Ziv
Libby Sperling
Roni Kashmin
Libby Sperling
Roni Kashmin

The summer beats down mercilessly, the jellyfish threaten us in the sea, the heat is intolerable. It’s really hot. Every year more so. On the other hand, we have the best excuse for finding consolation in ice cream.

Arte on Nahalat Binyamin. Here you can find a bread and butter or a fresh fennel ice cream.Credit: Daniela Contini
Anita. A favorite among French-Israelis.Credit: Aviad Herman

We’ve found Israel’s best ice cream parlors — leaving out the major chains, even the good ones, because they’re everywhere.

Audience favorite: Anita

Anita Avital began playing around with ice cream in her home kitchen in Netanya. After eight years of experimenting, and an ice cream stand that became a hit, she opened the first branch of Anita in a small place in Tel Aviv’s Neve Tzedek neighborhood. Since then she’s opened a few other branches in Tel Aviv and even in Australia.

Flavors: dark chocolate sorbet, salted caramel, salted cashew, watermelon sorbet.

3 Florentin St., 40 and 42 Shabazi St, 16 Rabbi David Elazar St. (Sarona), Tel Aviv

Italian desserts: Gelateria

The delicious chocolate ice cream at Anita.Credit: Oren Ziv

Gelateria opened in 2014 in Azorei Chen in north Tel Aviv. The fresh, soft ice cream is made with an Italian machine considered among the world’s best.

Flavors: Catalan cream with walnuts, cheesecake, ricotta with raisins and dates. But we recommend the alcoholic sorbets, including arak and grapefruit, peach and prosecco, Martini and green apple.

25 Uri Zvi Greenberg St., Tel Aviv; 9 Abba Eban St., Herzliya.

Israeli model Hili Bezalel is enjoying Gelateria's cold treat.Credit: Hili Bezalel

Boutique dairy: Jacobs Dairy Farm Ice Cream

The ice cream parlor of the Jacobs Dairy Farm opened only two months ago and has already become a popular spot. The ice cream is made from an Italian recipe, in an Italian machine, from the dairy’s fresh cow’s and goat’s milk and local yogurt.

Flavors: sheep’s milk yogurt with blueberries; Oreo; nectarine, watermelon and mint or pineapple-coriander sorbet. The toppings are generous.

Jacobs Dairy Farm, Kfar Haroeh

Great ice cream: Buza

The first Buza (Arabic for ice cream) was established six years ago. Adam Ziv, a member of Kibbutz Sasa, traveled the world learning to make ice cream. Back home, he joined restaurateur Alaa Sawitat and they opened the first Buza in Tarshiha. Today there are two branches in Tel Aviv and three in the north.

A fresh ice cream at Jacobs Dairy Farm.Credit: Rotem Maimon

Flavors: pecan with brown sugar; cherry sorbet with plums; sour cream with apricots; pine nuts, salt and pepper.

91 Hahashmonaim St., 280 Bnei Ephraim, Tel Aviv; 1 Hashuk St., Tarshiha; Hagomeh Interchange, Hula Valley. Kibbutz Sasa

The secret parlor: Italian Park

In 2005 Mariana, a new immigrant from Romania, opened a small place on Tel Aviv’s Yehuda Hamaccabi Street, making Italian ice cream daily from the finest ingredients — including soy-based vegan and no-aftertaste sugar-free varieties.

Flavors: Madagascar vanilla, Belgian milk chocolate, chocolate mint, lemon pie. Sorbets include mango, lychee, passion fruit.

Price: portion 16-19 shekels; kilogram 89 shekels

67 Yehuda Hamaccabi St., Tel Aviv

For the love of chocolate: Valrhona ice cream parlor

An ice cream parlor using the French chocolate brand Valrhona recently opened in the visitors’ center of the Tishbi Winery. Golan Tishbi imports dozens of types of Valrhona chocolate and makes a variety of ice creams, all based on chocolate.

Price: portion 10 shekels

Tishbi Winery, Route 652 between Zichron Yaakov and Binyamina; 33 Hameyasdim St., Zichron Yaakov.

Old-school: Shfaram Ice Cream

For three generations the Zeitoun family of Shfaram has been making ice cream, and in particular elastic, soft and perfumed mastic ice cream, in three flavors: milk, lemon and pistachio. In truth the heady flavor of mastica, the resin from the mastic (pistachio) tree, which is very common in Greece, is all you need. That’s why there are only three flavors.

42 Gibor St., Shfaram

Uri Buri’s ice cream: Endomela

Endomela is a small, modest but terrific ice cream parlor in Acre, opened by Uri Jeremias, the man behind the nearby Uri Buri fish restaurant. It began with a small workshop where they made the ice cream served in the restaurant, but due to the great demand they opened an ice cream shop, with a small but excellent and surprising selection.

A Belgian chocolate ice cream at Valrhona.Credit: Afik Gabay

Flavors: nut halvah; salted caramel; cinnamon, rose or cardamom and dates; sorbets include mandarin orange, orange and red grapefruit.

Hahagana, the lighthouse plaza on the western promenade, Acre

Homemade and high-quality: Eissalon

On the second floor of a commercial center in Haifa’s Savyonei Danya neighborhood in, you’ll find Eissalon, opened by Adva Barak-Liani and her husband Sion. Adva fell in love with ice cream making in Germany, studied in Bologna, and the couple returned to Israel and about a year ago opened the shop. Everything is made fresh from scratch on site, from natural ingredients. The reasonable price is surprising in light of the excellence of the ice cream.

Flavors: labneh and za’atar; Austrian wheat beer; poppy seed, marzipan and Amarena cherry; sorbets include blueberry, chocolate, lemon and basil or orange and mint.

7 Oskar Schindler St., Haifa

Pink parlor from the R2M Group: Crème

On northern Dizengoff Street a small ice cream parlor from the R2M Group opened a month ago, with fresh ice cream combined with fragrant pastries. It offers only four flavors, but it is not to be missed.

Flavors: vanilla, chocolate, pistachio, mango sorbet. You can turn the ice cream into a small dessert such as “apple pie” (vanilla ice cream with caramelized apples and streusel), or a dessert that is like a lemon meringue pie, among others.

Endomela, a must visit in Acre.Credit: Rotem Maimon

262 Dizengoff St., Tel Aviv.

Pride of Givatayim and Ramat Gan: Freezer

Tal Fernheimer and Eran Prizant are two childhood friends from Givatayim who love ice cream. The former is a Cordon Bleu chef and the latter a lawyer. Four years ago they opened Freezer in Givatayim, and a year ago they opened a branch in Ramat Gan.

Flavors: apple ricotta crumble; poppy seed cream; halvah, honey and tahini. For sorbet, apricot is the best choice.

33 Weizmann St., Givatayim; 61 Bialik St., Ramat Gan

A take away at Eissalon.Credit: Sion Liani

Italian done right: Arte

In the Nahalat Binyamin pedestrian mall in Tel Aviv two Italians (Stefania Pagani and Marco Camorali) opened Arte about two years ago. There they produce homemade Sicilian ice cream and granita. There’s a large selection, made from fresh ingredients only.

Flavors: a wonderful bread and butter ice cream or Arte cake, a cheesecake with berries and almond crumble.

11 Nahalat Binyamin St., Tel Aviv

Emek Hefer’s ice cream: Dida

The crème de la crème at Crème.Credit: Roni Kashmin

Ten years ago the Dida boutique ice cream parlor was established at the Ruppin interchange, with fresh ice cream produced daily using traditional methods. There is now another branch in Kibbutz Yakum. The ice cream maker is Vered Ben Yakar, who every day produces a large number of flavors. Including pastry flavors such as tiramisu and malabi.

Flavors: yogurt with seeds and honey; birthday ice cream; marshmallow; rum raisin, sugar-free white chocolate.

Paz gas station, Ruppin interchange; Yakum commercial center.

100 Shades of sweet: Aglida

In the Ramat Yishai industrial zone you will find Aglida. With 100 changing flavors, 32 of them always available, based on ingredients imported from Italy, the special attraction is the huge selection. We recommend the yogurt with an endless number of toppings, a goats’ milk version and a vegan version from soy milk.

Apple ricotta crumble, poppy seed cream, halvah and honey at Freezer.Credit: Rotem Maimon

Flavors: chocolate, with or without nuts; vanilla, cookies, apple crumble, lemon meringue pie, tiramisu.

Ramat Yishai

Best in Jerusalem: Mousseline

Orit Vardi studied the secrets of ice cream in France, and 12 years ago opened a small shop in the Katamonim neighborhood. Since then the shop has wandered among the alleyways in Mahaneh Yehuda and two years ago it landed on Ha’armonim Street, with another place downtown.

Flavors: The most popular is coffee. There are also unique flavors like black sesame, aromatic saffron and chai masala. Sorbet: grapefruit and basil; cherry, coconut or mango.

From Milan to Tel Aviv, the owners of Arte bring the highest quality Italian ice cream to the Middle East.Credit: Daniela Contini

2 Ha’armonim St., Jerusalem

Fine Italian: Mimi

The Nono Italian restaurant is in Hod Hasharon’s Sportan sports complex. There was always homemade gelato, and now there’s Mimi, a cafe-bakery-ice cream parlor.

Flavors: caramel with Rice Crispies; vegan marzipan; mascarpone and Amarena cherries; sugar-free Madagascar vanilla. Sorbets: pear with chocolate pearls, peach, mango.

2 Jabotinsky St., Hod Hasharon

A yogurt with seeds and honey ice cream at Dida.Credit: Roni Kashmin

The best: Glidat Be’er Sheva

In 1950, when most Israeli ice cream was made with vegetable fat, Yulia Rotenberg used cream. A partner in a Viennese ice cream factory, she fled to Israel and turned the ground floor of her Be’er Sheva home into an ice cream shop. Once there were branches throughout Israel, now there are six — with unforgettable ice cream.

Flavors: The original Be’er Sheva location has a huge variety: carrot yogurt, vanilla nut raisin, Russian cream, blueberry yogurt.

50 Hadassah St., Be’er Sheva

The closest to Italy: Otello

Diet? What diet? This one really likes her Aglida ice cream.Credit: Agamedia

You could think you were in Italy. A large ice cream parlor with Italian ice cream made with cream, very soft and smooth, with innovative flavors. The owners, Matan Sela and Guy Baron, also make chocolate and other sweets.

Flavors: milk cream, salted caramel, unbelievable pistachio. Mascarpone with berries and crumble, smooth yogurt ice cream, along with sorbets of seasonal fruits. Bonus: Taps of white and milk chocolate that combine in the cone and create an interior chocolaty coating. No extra charge for toppings and upgrades.

165 Dizengoff St., Tel Aviv

Italian surprise in Ashdod: Barbarini

Pizza and ice cream are the favorite foods of owners Shai Amar and Gon Raveh; inspired by Italy, they decided to open a small neighborhood place.

Flavors: banana brownie, salted caramel and peanuts, Bamba nougat, Belgian hazelnut chocolate, vegan bittersweet chocolate, mango chili sorbet.

74 Rogozin St. Ashdod

Banana brownie and salted caramel and peanuts ice cream at Barbarini.Credit: Rotem Maimon
Balls of pleasure at Mimi.Credit: Daniel Lailah
Glidat Be’er Sheva.Credit: Rotem Maimon