Top Ice Cream Shops to Try in Israel

Ice cream scene in first Hebrew city gets more decadent yet with tastes from Tuscany and Sicily.

Tomer Appelbaum

After they learned the secrets of ice cream making in Tuscany and Sicilian granita (like Italian ices) making in Sicily, Stefania “Sissi” Pagani and Marco Camorali moved to Israel last November, and opened the Arte ice cream shop in central Tel Aviv. Their shop, designed in a homey Italian style, offers many flavors of ice cream made from all-natural ingredients, with no artificial coloring or emulsifiers. They even make the cookies that go into some of their flavors, mostly from rice flour, so that almost all of their offerings are gluten free – including their tiramisu flavor, in which the dough is also made from rice flour. The current heat wave in Tel Aviv is a perfect excuse to check out their ice cream shop, and some of the other new ice cream parlors that have recently sprung up in the city.

Aside from tiramisu, Arte, located at 11 Nahalat Binyamin, features flavors like “Arte cake” (cheesecake with berries and almond crumble), zabaione ice cream flavored with amaretto and peach, caramel milk chocolate, and the very interesting sweet potato chocolate-flavored ice cream. Their granitas are offered in various fruit flavors, as well as coffee, of course, and the shop features a wide array of sorbets for the vegans among us, as well as vegan chocolate ice cream. Every week, the shop will reveal new flavors, based on the season and the available ingredients.

Arte, Tel Aviv. Photo by Daniela Contini

Those who find themselves in Kfar Saba during the heat wave should definitely check out Rolaglida, a shop that prepares your ice cream in front of you, using a method imported from Thailand by two Israelis. The base for the ice cream – vanilla, chocolate, or vegan base – is spilled onto a frozen platform and after a few minutes of hard work, it turns into solid ice cream, and you can then choose from almost 300 different toppings, including fresh strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, raw tahini, Lotus cookies, Oreo cookies, Kinder Bueno and malabi, to name just a few. When the ice cream is ready, it is served in small rolls with a particularly soft texture that quickly melt in your mouth. If you can’t make it to 14 Weizmann in Kfar Saba, there’s no need to worry. New locations are set to open this summer in Hod Hasharon, Herzliya, Rishon Letzion and Haifa.

Rolaglida. Photo by Courtesy

When the owners of the old Metzada Bistro on the beach in Tel Aviv decided to open an ice cream shop, they picked a place very close to home, just above their restaurant at 83 Hayarkon. So if your summer dream is to enjoy ice cream by the sea, then Americana, their new shop, is your place.

Made to order

The ice cream is made to order on location with machines imported from the United States. You can choose one of eight flavors, including pistachio, strawberries and cream, Kinder, mascarpone halva, yogurt, ice cream sandwich or pavlova (a meringue-based dessert), and your ice cream comes out of the machine in a texture reminiscent of American soft-serve (hence the name). You can then pick from a wide array of toppings including various fruits, pecans, jam, Oreo cookies, cornflakes and more. Here, too, vegans can cool down with great sorbets, including acai, lychee, or passion flower-mango, or soymilk-based ice cream in flavors like banana, chocolate or coconut.

Americana. Photo by Boaz Lavi

Another place to check out is Gelido, an ice cream shop run by a young Tel Aviv local, Ido Lavi, who felt the urge to start making ice cream while studying baking. After going to Italy and learning the secrets of ice cream making in Bologna, he began working at Anita, a well-known Tel Aviv ice cream shop. A few years later, he decided the time had come to go out on his own, so he opened Gelido in Ramat Hahayal, at 24 Raoul Wallenberg.

Gelido in Ramat Hahayal, Tel Aviv. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum

At Gelido, you’ll find flavors like cheesecake with berry crumble, coconut-espresso-almond-dark chocolate or caramel apples, and unique sorbet flavors like orange-carrot. Gelido also offers sugarless ice cream in flavors like hazelnut, halva or pistachio. Lavi also brought with him two special dishes from Italy. One, tartufo – a scoop of ice cream condensed in a special machine (similar to a machine for making falafel balls), and then dipped in chocolate and nuts. The other is a croissant filled with ice cream. Both are worth the time and calories.