Whenever people ask me where the best gelato in the city is, I point them to Otto. The downside of Otto is that it's a sit-down restaurant, not a gelateria where you can easily stroll in and out with a gelato cup in hand (though you can buy pints to go). But if you've never been to Otto, you should check it out now, before pastry chef Meredith Kurtzman's summer flavors go out of season.


Kurtzman's gelatos and sorbets are silky smooth and creamy, with balanced flavors that are enhanced by sweetness, not dominated by it. I've eaten my fair share of gelato—her's are among the few that make me think, "Whoa, this actually tastes like what it's supposed to." She transforms nectarines and plums from the local farmers' markets into smooth sorbets, and local strawberries and sweet corn into gelati. Sweet corn was my favorite—like chomping into a plump ear of corn, but better, because it's sweeter and dairy-based—but I would recommend trying all of them.


Another seasonal dessert is the honeydew and strawberries, made of layers of honeydew granita, prosecco, strawberry granita, and verbena crema. If you don't mind a hint of booze in your sweets, this is a light and refreshing dessert that combines the satisfying crunch of granita with soft melon and cream, and a touch of fizz from the prosecco.

Kurtzman told us that it's hard to get customers to try the lighter seasonal flavors—anything with chocolate in it outsells the others. Take this opportunity to step out of your chocolate zone!

Where the Magic is Born


We stepped into the kitchen to see the birthplace of the gelato magic. The combined powers of the Coldelite and Pastomaster, plus Kurtzman's recipes, result in...


The gelato display case. It's a good thing I don't work at Otto or I'd be sneaking in spoonfuls every chance I got.


1 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10003 (b/n 5th Avenue and University Place; map)


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