Too Cool: San Diego’s Best Gelato Shops

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In Italian, “gelato” is the word commonly used for “ice cream.” However, there’s nothing average about the sweet treat. Though it’s now officially fall, it still feels like summer at the local shops that whip up gelato with care and careful adherence to authentic Italian processes. Check out these delish dessert businesses, highly-rated by reviewers on Yelp.

Dolce Italia (San Marcos)
Chef Salvo brings his mouth-watering desserts and gelato recipes straight from his childhood and a Sicilian seaport village named Porticello to this spot in San Marcos. Here, the newly-up-and-running gelato machines churn out homemade flavors on-site that are to die for. Reviewers report the gelato is perfect in both texture and flavor – a combination that’s not easy to master. Bottom line, Dolce Italia is an inland empire gem in an unassuming strip mall that you absolutely must visit and judge for yourself.

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Bubby’s Gelato

This local joint is a beach town favorite in Encinitas that’s open daily until 9 p.m. for your after-dinner delights. All the gelato flavors you crave, including a lovely lavender honey, a fantastic pistachio and a subtle vanilla rose are all made in house. It’s located in the Lumberyard complex off the 101 Highway. Debit cards and cash only, so pack your pocket book accordingly.

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Real Food & Spirits (Solana Beach)
You might not even get to the main menu when you walk in and see the selections of gelato available in the case right near the front door! This hidden business tucked into a shopping center amongst chain retailers and services has a wide range of tasty options, all locally-produced. You can even top your gelato with espresso and make it an Italian “affogato.”

Bobboi Natural Gelato (La Jolla)

This five-star shop is a must mention with its 100 percent natural and organic creations made fresh daily. One of the newest sweet selections on the menu is called “Abbamele," a gelato made with Sardinian honey, pollen and citrus zest. According to Yelpers, the Italian owners produce flavors that can’t be beat and, more importantly, an authentic product that will please discerning palates.

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Pappalecco (Hillcrest and Little Italy)

This shop’s cheeky website claims gelato doesn’t make you fat with the recommended once a day consumption. Okay, Pappalecco, we’re believers! The gelato display case offers an amazing array of options, made in authentic Italian fashion, and served in traditional cups and cones in the “piccolo, medio and grande” sizes. You can also get it within a croissant: That’s right, a croissant stuffed with gelato, for the win.

Gelato Paradiso (Downtown San Diego)

Traditional flavors like Stracciatella (Chocolate Chip), Dulce de Leche and Noce di Cocco (an Italian cream base infused with real toasted coconut), rank high among reviewers. Gelato Paradiso is so committed to making fresh San Diego Gelato with an Italian authenticity, the business even flies its employees over to the oldest “gelateria” in Italy to make sure their technique and their stuff is up to snuff.

Trish Sanderson is the community manager and marketing director for Yelp North County San Diego. She leads the local community of Yelp reviewers both online and off.

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