Slideshow SLIDESHOW: NYC's Best Ice Cream Neighborhood: A West Village Ice Cream Crawl

We have a working theory at Serious Eats that the West Village is the best single neighborhood in New York for ice cream and gelato. Okay, we might grant the East Village soft-serve superiority, between Big Gay Ice Cream and Chikalicious; and Sundaes and Cones is great, too. But between the phenomenal gelaterie Grom and L'Arte, the crazy goat's milk soft-serve at Victory Garden, and unbelievable ice cream and gelato on restaurants' dessert menus, the West Village would be our choice for an ice cream crawl that covers barely more than a few blocks—but gets you some of the best frozen treats in the city.

Get your stretchy pants ready.


View West Village Ice Cream Crawl in a larger map

The Kickoff: Otto

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

We're starting you at Otto with a word of warning: you will want to eat every bite of Meredith Kurtzmann's gelati bowls. And then you will want to order another. And then your plans for an ice cream crawl are pretty much over.

Still, if you can deal with the temptation, kick off your mission at Otto, where any gelato flavor is memorable, but the spectacular olive oil is a true can't-miss. Head to one of the standing-up bar tables, place your order, and prepare to be amazed. Plus, it's a happy place to spend half an hour while you psyche yourself up for the rest of the journey.

Recommendation level: Don't miss.

Otto: 1 5th Avenue, New York, NY 10003 (map); 212-995-9559; ottopizzeria.com

Also-Great Gelato: Amorino

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

This Paris-based gelato chain does sorbets especially well, with vivid, bright fruit flavors (we like the passionfruit and mango) that look especially pretty in that flower-petal shape that's their trademark. Or, as an alternative, try out a few flavors in a gelato-stuffed brioche focaccina or opt for a refreshing granita.

Recommendation level: Quite good.

Amorino Gelato:60 University Place, New York, NY 10003 (map); 212-253-5599; amorino.com

Bonus: Savory Course

Need something savory to hold it together? Pop over to Taïm across the street, our favorite falafel bar in the city.

L'Arte Del Gelato

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

We've probably written more about L'Arte Del Gelato than any other sweets shop in the city, for an obvious reason: their ultra-rich gelato is incredible. Pistachio or panna cotta gelato; ginger, rice pudding, or olive oil; from what we've seen, they can do no wrong.

Recommendation level: Don't miss.

L'arte del Gelato: 75 Seventh Avenue South, New York, NY 10014 (map); 212-924-0803; lartedelgelato.com

Optional Frozen Kefir: Treat Petite

[Photo: Dave Katz]

Look across the street and you'll see Treat Petite, which sells frozen soft-serve kefir—technically different from most frozen yogurt, but ending up pretty similar in taste and texture. Tons of toppings to choose from, and while I don't generally love flavored tart frozen yogurts, they do pomegranate and peanut butter quite well.

Recommendation level: Tasty and inexpensive, if you want a lighter "course" to mix things up.

Treat Petite: 61 Grove Street, New York NY 10014 (map)

Cones

While not quite at the level of L'Arte or Grom (still to come!), Cones is an Argentinian gelato shop that turns out some unique and memorable flavors; we'd recommend the obviously Argentine ones (a not-too-sweet mate, a deeply rich dulce de leche) and the corn gelato, a vibrant yellow with the sweetness of summer corn. Try it with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

Recommendation level: Get the corn and the mate.

Cones: 272 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014 (map); 212-414-1795

Bonus: Restaurant Ice Cream at Wong

Duck a la Plum ($9)

[Photo: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The Duck à la Plum ice cream at Southeast Asian restaurant Wong is sweet and savory with an intense roast duck aroma—they actually steep the duck carcasses in the cream that ends up in this dessert. Trust us on this one: it's an experience worth having. Pop into the bar (or even grab a table, at slower hours); it's worth it for this dessert.

Recommendation level: If there's room at the restaurant, do it.

Wong: 7 Cornelia Street, New York NY 10014 (b/n West 4th and Bleecker; map); 212-989-3399wongnewyork.com

Grom

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[Photo: Robyn Lee]

From this Turin-based chain comes some of the best gelato in New York, with bright, vivid flavors and a classically silky texture. The downside? Even a small (and that's a small small) will set you back about $6. But we'll go on record telling you it's worth it. Maybe not as an everyday dessert, but hey, you're ice cream crawling today.

Recommendation level: Expensive, but don't miss.

Grom: 233 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014 (map); grom.it‎

Optional Novelty (Pun Intended): Popbar

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[Photo: Kathy YL Chan]

They're neither our favorite popsicles nor our favorite gelato in the city, but Popbar is still quite fun: Grab a densely creamy gelato "popsicle" from the case and have it dipped, or topped, however you like. Chocolate and chopped pistachios? Coconut shavings and a chocolate dip? The choice is yours.

Recommendation level: Fun, not necessary.

Popbar: 5 Carmine Street, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-255-4874; pop-bar.com

Amazing Soft-Serve: Victory Garden

We can't say enough about this goat's milk soft-serve (!) shop, where flavors rotate such that you might encounter a rich salted caramel (with just a faint goaty tang), or you might see a vanilla tinged with orange blossom, or perhaps date and yogurt. Toppings and flavors both lean toward the Mediterranean; we love just about anything crowned with crumbles of sweet, nutty halvah.

Recommendation level: Don't miss.

Victory Garden:31 Carmine Street, New York, NY 10014 (map); 212-206-7273; victorygardennyc.com

Japanese Beef and Soft-Serve, Too: Takashi

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[Photo: Dave Katz]

This awesome grill-your-own-beef Japanese restaurant in the West Village has very limited tables and long waits on many nights for dinner, so you can't just stroll in off the street and sit down for dessert. But you can order takeout, and it's worth doing, as this is easily some of our favorite soft-serve in the city, strongly flavored with Madagascar vanilla, creamy and supple. The real fun, though, is in the different toppings—including rice flour dumplings (shiratama), black sesame soy bean flour (kurogoma kinako), and sweet red azuki beans, plus either green tea or salted caramel syrup.

Takashi: 456 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014 (map); 212-414-2929; takashinyc.com

Recommendation level: Don't miss.

If You Need a Drink With Your Ice Cream: Buvette

Okay, maybe I'm the only one who'd want to stop for a glass of wine in the middle of an ice cream crawl. (They do espresso, too, if that's more your speed.) But I want to stop in the terribly charming Buvette anytime. Their gelato comes from Capogiro in Philadelphia (one of our very favorite gelato spots in the country), and we'd recommend it in two forms at Buvette: either the almond-Nutella sundae at right, pictured with a crown of rich whipped cream; or the lemon sorbet with prosecco poured over the top. A refreshing little pick-me-up if ever there were one.

Buvette: 42 Grove Street, New York, NY 10014 (map); Open Until: 2:00 AM, 7 days; 212-255-3590; ilovebuvette.com

The Meadow

[Photo: Dave Katz]

Nope, this isn't an ice cream parlor; it's a specialty salt shop. But we love the sense of humor of a place that'll take a classic Klondike ice cream sandwich ($3) and let you sprinkle it with high-quality salt. (And we're suckers for just about anything both salty and sweet.) Pick your own salt from the "salting station" —lemon flake, rosemary flake, fleur de sel, or Halen Mon Gold (Welsh oak tree smoked salt).

Recommendation level: If you can possibly handle another bite, go for it.

The Meadow: 523 Hudson Street, New York NY 10014 (map); 212-243-4633; atthemeadow.com

And Now, Digest

Any other favorite ice cream spots in the West Village? Where do you go for an ice cream or gelato fix?

About the author: Carey Jones is the Senior Managing Editor of Serious Eats. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones).

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