Germans love ice cream. I mean, we all love ice cream! Who doesn’t LOVE ice cream!? As a result, Berlin is full of ice cream places, many of them with lines out the door, because ice cream is one of the rare things in life, Germans (everyone) willingly queues for. Thanks to this wild love, the local scene is thriving with excellent places spread all over, who’ll serve you frozen treats in all their varieties. I made this guide to help you find the best places with the finest ice cream in the city.
In preparation for this guide, I tasted over 20 new and old places from Wilmersdorf to Friedrichshain, to bring you the parlors worthy of your time and money. With the help of a couple of ice-cream-enthusiastic friends, I tried everything from classics like pistachio to Korean shaved ice cream with red beans and soy sprinkles. An important criteria was intense and authentic flavors as well as smooth and light texture. The places who made it on this list managed to deliver both, and (mostly) without the help of additives or artificial flavors. Unfortunately, none of the fully vegan places I tasted were convincing, most of them are quite soy-heavy in taste, and / or don’t manage to create a good texture. So for this year, I’ll refer vegans to the excellent sorbets at the spots on this list. (Update, I tried Tribeca and it’s really quite good – more infos in the list below.) Once again, I ordered this list by alphabet, these places are too different to give them click-bait-y top-ten list treatment.
You might miss one or two household names with shops all over the city – this growth could very well be the reason they didn’t convince me this time. One more note before we go, ice cream parlors change their opening times according to season, while all of them are open mostly every day from noon until late in the evening during summer, many shut down or reduce their opening times drastically when the weather changes to cold and uncomfortable.
If you’re still dreaming about ‘that best gelato you ever had while in Italy’, try this cutesy place in Kreuzberg. Just a short walk away from the canal, this small shop serves big scoops of its signature flavor ‘Anna Durkes’: a mixture of vanilla ice cream with peanuts and chocolate bits amongst the classic Italian flavors and specials like licorice. Some might say their ice cream is quite heavy with cream, but while this might not be super refreshing, it certainly is seriously delicious.
Berlin Homemade Ice Cream
A bit off the beaten track, this small parlor tucked away in a side street in Schöneberg serves the blackest black sesame ice cream in all of Berlin and a whole other range of no-bullshit-ice-cream with no artificial flavors or other additives. The owner is taking ice cream very seriously, in fact, many signs in his shop will remind you that he doesn’t allow tastings, sprinkles, sauces, pink spoons, or bright blue Schlumpfeis. However, there’s almost always a line (in part owed to the unpractical design of the shop), and the ice cream itself is delicious with surprising flavors like corn and caramel, raspberry rose, and Turkish yoghurt, and I for once had a laugh when watching him scoop the happiest treat of all with the grumpiest of demeanors.
Artisanal popsicles are a bit of a trend in Berlin right now (let’s all hope they won’t befall the same fate as bubble tea and froyo). California Pops serves pure and natural popsicles in a ton of flavors with reduced sugar content (without you being able to taste the difference) in their shops in Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg.
10997 Berlin Kreuzberg
Eberswalder Straße 32
10437 Berlin Prenzlauer Berg
Cuore di Vetro
Cuore di Vetro is close to my heart thanks to their beautiful Affogato, an espresso poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream. But this Mitte parlor can do much more: everything’s made in house in a true Italian style, you can even watch them do it in the back of the shop – outstanding are their pistachio flavor and the dark chocolate sorbet. Some say it’s the best dark chocolate ice cream in Berlin.
This is not only a neighbourhood favorite, but attracts people from all over the town thanks to their delicious creations without any additions or artificial flavors. The organic ingredients only add to the flavor of strawberry-mint or Tonka bean, or 70% grand cru Cluizel chocolate. Extra special is their saffron with orange blossom flavor, sold by the gram, not by scoop. Their scoops are certainly on the smaller side, and their staff is not always friendly, but their flavors are spot-on.
10623 Berlin Charlottenburg
Have you ever heard of ice cream flavors like Ube or Pandan? Me neither until I found this place in Kreuzberg, which specializes in unknown tastes like the Philippine sweet potato Ube (pictured above) – and I’m so glad they do! Don’t worry about the rather unusual and very strong violet color, this is nothing like the artificial Schlumpfeis. Ube has a very natural, creamy and nutty taste, incomparable to anything I’ve tried before. And if you’re not that courageous, try their Tahiti Vanilla, Quark or Valrhona chocolate flavors. No wonder this one’s high on the top-list of most ice cream lovers in Berlin.
Erste Sahne – Otivm
Hidden beyond the Tempelhofer Feld in a quiet side street is this unassuming Italian parlor serving all the Italian classics. I was convinced by their lemon sorbet, which managed to balance on the fine line between sweet and sour so gracefully. If you like lemon ice cream, you know this is a challenge not many conquer which means you’ll more often than not end up with a sticky sweet scoop instead of the most refreshing flavors of all. By the way, something being erste Sahne, (or, prime cream) translates to being of the finest quality.
As mentioned, there is great ice cream all over the city, even far out west in Charlottenburg, where Faldon creates delicious flavors, that are not as inventive, but they don’t need to be: they are very delicious and the texture is spot-on. Take the chance and explore the Schloss Charlottenburg, once you’re there.
10585 Berlin Charlottenburg
This place is always crowded with loads of kids. So if you’re looking for a quiet ice cream enjoyment, this is not really your spot. However, their ice cream is worth it. Their flavors like Guzimi (cucumber-citron-mint), Caramel beurre salé, or semolina and apple butter (a personal favorite) are intense yet not overwhelming. And they do Spaghetti Eis, which is vanilla ice cream in spaghetti noodle shape on top of (slightly frozen) whipped cream, topped with strawberry sauce and white chocolate shavings that you should have right now if you have no idea what I’m talking about.
For some ice cream enthusiasts I’m friends with, it doesn’t get any better than this when it comes to true Italian ice cream in Berlin. And I have to agree – their flavors and textures are amazing. Especially the pistachio flavor is one of the finest in the city – the roasted nuttiness of pistachios needs to be combined with just the right amount of sugar to really pop. Many also say their yoghurt is very close to perfection, but basically everything in their vitrine is.
10119 Berlin Mitte
This Korean ice cream variation is Pat Bing Su – shaved ice, topped with red beans, sweet condensed milk, and (in this case) soy powder. You can have it at this unusual Korean place (that looks more like a vintage furniture shop on first sight) in Prenzlauer Berg. I recommend sharing this serving with at least one other person, it’s definitely more like a meal than a quick treat.
Schwedter Straße 2
10119 Berlin Prenzlauer Berg
By adding “patissier” to their title, this shop in Prenzlauer Berg prepares you for its elaborate treats: their gelato is the most razzle dazzle in Berlin – fancy flavors like tonka bean, and cinammon lemon sit right next to sugary treats like Rocky Road (caramelized pecan and para nuts, marshmallows and chocolate) and Hokey Pokey (vanilla with crunchy caramel). Opened until late at night this is also recommendable as dessert option, if you’re eating out in the area, but expect long lines…
Stargarder Strasse 73
10437 Berlin Prenzlauer Berg
Jones Ice Cream
If you’d force me to decide for one parlor only, it’d have to be this one. Not only are their flavors mouthwatering just when you read them: full fat organic yoghurt, whisky & pecans, salted butter caramel, apple crumble, peanut butter and jam, cucumber & tonic, and so many more. They are on point, bold, authentic, and original. Gabrielle Jones is a true wizard when it comes to packing all the flavor into one scoop. And they even do their own waffle cones! Which is a ton of work (but only 50 cents extra), and so amazingly delicious, you will never want anything else. Obviously, there are no additives or artificial flavors allowed, and the ice cream melts extra slowly because there’s barely any air in it. I’m actually happy their shop’s not closer to my house or office otherwise I wouldn’t eat anything else. And one more thing, their parlor is one of the most beautiful, and not entirely designed to please kids, which is so refreshing! Ah, another thing – they’re currently doing roasted chicory which might sound off-putting at first, but is sooo goood with its not too sweet, almost coffee-like flavors, you need to try it.
What might look like your average ice cream shop around the corner is in fact a lot more – founded in 1928 and allegedly the oldest, still existing ice cream shop in Berlin, this parlor doesn’t rest on its historic laurels – their chocolate ice cream is so creamy and rich in flavor, it’s out of this world! The rest is equally solid, and the service is swift.
Can you imagine anything more beautiful than ending a summer’s day by watching the sun set over the Tempelhofer Feld? Yes, enjoying the sunset with some delicious ice cream in your hands. Mos Eisley’s owner learned from the best in Italy and serves up classic Italian flavors and spins like creamy Cheesecake. Read the full review here.
Oak & Ice
New to the scene is this ice cream café in Prenzlauer Berg, managed by a couple from Poland. Focussing on no-fuzz, no-additives, no-artificial-anything ice creams, they also venture into risky territory with flavors like smoked sheep milk or beet root and apple, both of them super delicious and the only worthwhile (almost) savory ice cream I’ve had during all the tastings. Their other varieties are equally bold and fantastic, don’t miss out on their sorbets – the guava really tastes like a guava, as does their kiwi!
The most popular of local popsicle brands is readily available in the whole city. You can shop their pure and natural creations in a myriad of shops and cafés. But they also have a shop of their own in the heart of Friedrichshain, where you get all the flavors like strawberry lime, buttermilk, orange rosemary, raspberry lemon, and many more
This fully organic ice cream parlor serves super natural scoops full of flavor – be sure to try some of the rhubarb ice cream, so natural you can actually see the pieces of rhubarb in your scoop. They aren’t super experimental with their flavors, but do have some trusted favorites like Vanilla with pumpkin seed oil, black sesame and a super good chocolate ice cream. With their two shops in Prenzlauer Berg, and one inside of Kreuzberg’s Markthalle Neun, they’re on the forefront of solid ice cream making in Berlin.
10407 Berlin Prenzlauer Berg
10997 Berlin Kreuzberg
Tribeca Ice Cream
It’s quite tough to find vegan ice cream in Berlin, that doesn’t primarily taste like the non-dairy of choice. Tribeca Ice Cream uses a mix of native coconut oil and rice milk – which makes the ice cream also gluten-free! – which doesn’t mess up the flavour balance, and still has the creaminess everyone’s looking for. And while the scoops are a bit more expensive than usual, they definitely deliver all the deliciousness. Try their black sesame, banana and peanut, and raw chocolate. But also don’t miss the cold-brew coffee and the many sorbets!
Zwei Dicke Bären
Last but not least, there’s Zwei Dicke Bären. Although they don’t serve traditional ice cream nor have their own place, I just couldn’t leave them out of this list. Because: ice cream sandwiches. Who can resist the combination of homemade cookies and ice cream made by Mos Eisley. Keep an eye out for them at the foodie events all around the city like Street Food Thursday or Bite Cub, and – of course – Burgers & Hip Hop!