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Photo by Susanne Nilsson on flickr, used under Creative Commons license.

Best Of: Seven local ice creams to try this summer

By Hannah Manning on June 9, 2016


There are few things better than ice cream on a hot summer day. Ask anyone in Ottawa where to grab the best cone and the answer will be as varied as the choices available. Not to mention the ice cream vs. gelato debate!

In order to find the best ice cream in Ottawa, it’s helpful to first understand the difference between the two. Ice cream is typically made with milk, cream, and eggs. Gelato, on the other hand, is usually made with milk and no eggs. The two are churned differently which incorporates different amounts of air. Ice cream gets more, leaving gelato a denser product.

With that knowledge in mind, I happily set off to “research” the best ice cream in Ottawa and Gatineau by way of taste testing. In no particular order, here are some of the best places to grab a cone. Enjoy!

Lois ‘n’ Frima’s

Made with dairy from local farms in Northern Ontario, where their ice cream is carefully crafted, they have a rotating menu of over 60 flavours. Conveniently located in the Byward Market, Lois n Frima’s has been serving up hand scooped ice cream since the early 80’s.

What makes it the best: Without compromising quality for convenience, this place hits the mark with delicious ice cream steps away from some of Ottawa’s most popular tourist spots. Next time you’re in the market, head to Lois ‘n’ Frima’s!

Located at 71 George Street in the Byward Market, Lois ‘n’ Frima’s serves ice cream, milkshakes and ballpark hot dogs. They also have a second location in Stittsville. Check them out on Facebook or Twitter.

Photo by Hannah Manning.

Photo by Hannah Manning.

Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream

I visited Pascale’s kitchen to learn how ice cream is made and try a few flavours along the way. Pascale went into business 8 years ago to meet the demand of patrons who wanted take out containers of ice cream from the Wellington Gastro Pub, where she was filling in for a pastry chef on vacation.

With pints of ice cream and ice cream bars, Pascale’s ice cream is both flavourful and creative. I tried goat cheese ice cream (super delicious), white chocolate lemon pound cake (cake in ice cream? Yes please!) and strawberry lemon (so fresh). Other popular flavours include salted caramel, avocado honey lime and vegan toasted coconut.

What makes it the best: Fresh local ingredients and collaborations with other local foodies – supporting 613 all the way! Try the strawberry lemon ice cream, made with Michael’s Dolce lemon marmalade.

You can find Pascale’s All Natural Ice Cream at the Ottawa Farmers’ Market every Sunday, or at other local shops around the city. Check online for a list of location or follow along on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Photo by Hannah Manning.

Photo by Hannah Manning.

Chocolat Favoris

When a friend told me about a place just across the river that serves chocolate dipped cones, I knew I had to give it a try. We weren’t the only ones– even on a Monday night, this place had a line to the door. But don’t be deterred… the line moves quickly and it’s worth the wait!

After selecting your soft serve flavour of vanilla, chocolate, maple or orange, place your order and wait to be called up to the dipping bar. With 12 different options for dipping, it was a hard choice but I went with maple dipped in dark chocolate. My friend chose to forego the chocolate and had his dipped in colourful sprinkles instead. Everyone in the shop was enjoying their cone as there really isn’t a bad choice to make.

What makes it the best: endless options! I’ll definitely be back to try the other chocolate flavours. They also have takehome ready melted chocolate for chocolate fondue chez vous.

Chocolat Favoris has locations throughout Quebec, including Gatineau, and has recently opened in Orleans. You can check their hours online or follow them on Facebook or Instagram.

Photo by Hannah Manning.

Photo by Hannah Manning.

Moo Shu Ice Cream

Using local dairy, premium dark chocolate and creative flavours with a Japanese twist, Moo Shu ice cream truffles are a treat for the taste buds. And you just haven’t lived until you’ve tried an ice cream taco! Moo Shu truffles come highly recommended – check out our interview with Moo Shu creator Liz Mok here.

My personal favourite is black sesame. Described as being almost peanut butter like, the flavour has much more depth and nuttiness than your typical peanut butter treat.

What makes it the best: Creative flavour combos and delicious chocolate. It’s a win-win.

Moo Shu pops up at various markets and events around the city. They can also be found at Tomo Japanese Restaurant or SEN Lansdowne. Check their calendar online, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Photo by Hannah Manning.

Photo by Hannah Manning.

Honourable mentions go out to Holland’s Cake and Shake (homemade soft serve cones with toppings galore), The Merry Dairy (there’s just something about an ice cream truck) and La Cigale (the scent of fresh waffle cones hit as soon as you walk in the door).

If we missed your favourite ice cream spot, let us know in the comments!  Got an idea for a “Best Of Ottawa” list? Email us at