Toni Gauthier
Jenna Scatena
September 30, 2015

Summer might be over in most cities across the country, but in San Francisco the best of the warm weather is still to come. As the typical Indian Summer brings warmer climes and less fog and wind, the collective citywide craving for ice cream grows. This year is shaping up to be one of the best batches of locally made ice cream yet, thanks to the city’s critical mass of new (and classic) beloved parlors. Not sure where to start? Our recommendations:

Humphry Slocombe

The ice cream parlor of choice for adventurous eaters, Humphry Slocombe is known for its quirky flavors, like carrot-mango and hibiscus-beet sorbet, ancho chilies, saffron, and cucumber. Some, like foie gras, are borderline absurd—yet still delicious.  

The Ice Cream Bar

The Ice Cream Bar, a 1930s-style soda fountain, serves classics with a modern spin at a kitschy diner-style counter. Items like snickerdoodle ice cream sandwiches and brownie sundaes satisfy all ages, while a section devoted to “adult” fountain drinks remind you that being older can be fun, too. Everything from the waffle cones to the soda syrups are made in-house, and a sequel is opening soon in the Castro.

Little Giant

Across the pond in Oakland, Little Giant just opened their doors this month to dish out homemade scoops in the booming Uptown District. Watch ice cream being made from scratch through a viewing window that overlooks their kitchen, and expect inventive flavors, like lavender ice cream with rosemary lemon cookie. There's even a Negroni option.

Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous

An off-the-beaten-path ice cream parlor in the Dogpatch neighborhood, Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous dishes up high-minded riffs on nostalgic favorites. Their white sesame, honeywine, earl grey, and chocolate malted crunch flavors are so good that even a bad weather day won’t deter you from digging in.


At their new location in Pacific Heights, Smitten (pictured) serves its signature liquid nitrogen churned-to-order ice cream. They balance the complex process of freezing ice cream with liquid nitrogen at -321 degrees with simple flavors from local ingredients, like Blue Bottle espresso and TCHO 60.5 percent chocolate.

Jenna Scatena is on the San Francisco Bay Area beat for Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

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