Frozen treats to beat the heat
This article was updated on June 28, 2019.
School’s out and summer is in. What’s more perfect than lounging and basking in the sunny, hazy days than with your favourite frozen treat? Whether you’re taking in some of Montréal’s summer street festivals or about to crest the meanest scream machine at La Ronde, nothing says summer like going for ice cream. Here are some of the coolest places to grab a cone in Montréal to beat the summer heat.
Far East flavours
Located in Notre-Dame-de-Grâce (N.D.G), this little ice cream shop offers big flavours. As it’s a local favourite, it’s not unusual to see a lineup that stretches out the door. Asian flavours such as pandan, coconut ash and black sesame, Vietnamese coffee and rosewater-pistachio are on the menu. The soft serve creations change weekly. Get one of everything.
Montréal’s first South-East Asian style ice cream shop serving signature hand-rolled ice cream native to Malaysia and Thailand. Made to order in front of your eyes on an anti-griddle (a super chilled metal surface), this ice cream making technique removes the need of preservatives in the ingredients used. Pandan also sources its dairy and fruit from Québec producers.
This modest ice cream shop is run by a super duo, Vincent Beck and Diem Ngoc Phan, classically trained chocolatier and pastry chef, respectively. The husband and wife team behind Kem CoBa sees lines that stretch the length of a city block where patrons often wait between 20 and 30 minutes to satiate their ice cream cravings. With signature soft serve flavours that change weekly like rosewater, raspberry/lychee and orange/coconut, it’s easy to see why people are willing to wait!
Icy Italian gelato
This Griffintown ice cream oasis is a venture by two former employees of the popular Italian eatery Nora Gray (Dalla Libera and Nick Rosati). Using locally sourced organic dairy products and seasonal ingredients, the flavours change often. Don’t forget to try the ice cream sandwiches.
When you ask Italian Montrealers where the best place for gelato is, chances are they’ll point you in the direction of “Roberto.” A great variety of classic flavours to choose from as well as other pastries and desserts: there’s no wonder why this spot has been around for 37 years!
It’s not exactly gelato, but GEMA’s walk-up take out window has people lining for the frozen custard in Little Italy. Have your cup of the deliciously decadent soft serve topped with sour cherry and crushed bacci or have your cone dipped in dark chocolate ganache.
Ice cream isn’t all about funky flavours that tempt the palates of little ones: grown-ups deserve an icy treat too! Visit Gélaterie Pierino for the boozy wine infused gelato.
This classic neighbourhood ice cream shop offers up soft-serve and hard-packed ice cream, homemade sorbets, banana splits, shakes and ice cream sandwiches.
With seasonal hours that start from the moment the mercury rises in April until the first sign of autumn (mid-September), it’s not uncommon to see lineups at the Main’s favourite ice cream parlour. Try the halavah or blackberry chocolate chunk cheesecake ice cream!
With multiple locations across the island of Montréal, Le Glacier Bilboquet has been a fixture in the ice cream scene for over 35 years. With a promise of only using the highest quality available locally sourced ingredients (milk and cream from the Saguenay, chocolate from the Montérégie, fruits from Eastern Townships), everything is made with love.
Wild Willy’s has been wrangling ice cream cravings for over 20 years. There’s a great selection of homemade flavours, including apple pie and even stout. Try the “King Kong” bowl with five of your friends (it has 15 scoops of ice cream!). They’ve even got icy treats for our four-legged friends.
Cool off with a dip
What started as a modest shop in the Plateau has expanded to over 20 locations across the city. La Diperie offers soft serve with a choice of over 40 different kinds of dips, like cookies and cream, salted caramel or classic milk chocolate. Top your cone with funky additions like crushed pretzels and candies: the combinations are endless.
What began as an artisanal chocolate shop in Lévis (outside of Québec City) 38 years ago has now become a chain of chocolate stores across Canada. It offers 14 varieties of decadent chocolate fondue dips, including chocolate praline, dark chocolate and dulce de leche, for the classic vanilla or strawberry soft serve.
This shop is frozen treat oasis for vegans. Offering hard packed and soft serve ice cream, this spot delivers when looking for a dairy-free treat to cool off in the colourful Hochelaga-Maisonneuve area.
In addition to this Plateau ice cream parlour’s menu of luscious crème anglaise based ice creams, flavourful fruity sorbets and ice soy-milk options are offered as well.
Described as a “a minimal soft-serve shop using nothing but good ingredients,” Swirl is satiating every vegan’s need for a cool treat in the summer heat with non-dairy soft serve. Seasonal flavours will be featured on the menu throughout the summer months.
If you’re looking for a frozen treat that goes outside the cone, check out Le P'tit Creux Du Plateau. Not only does it offer classic soft serve ice cream, but it serves it in a very not-so-classic cone made of churro aptly called, “Papi Churros.” Pick from menu mainstays like vanilla ice cream topped with crushed Oreos and drizzled with chocolate, or weekly specials like vanilla soft serve, bacon bits and maple drizzle.
Cones are so passé. That’s why the folks at Le Blueboy: Artisan Glacier have hopped on board with the current trend of fried confectionary cones (churros) and have also introduced fruit bowls! Have your watermelon-basil sorbet served in half a hollowed-out watermelon.
Unicone is a family-run ice cream shop where sisters Yasmin and Sara Atouk look to flavors from around the globe and their passion for travel as inspiration for their ice cream menu. Think your nonna’s tiramisu from Italy or a New York cheesecake.
If you’re in the Quartier des spectacles taking in some of the summer’s awesome festivals, stop by this spot for a refreshing soft serve. Glace des Arts features a signature flavour that changes weekly.
Artisanal ice cream
What started out as a food truck by popular Québec celebrity chef Martin Juneau, Monsieur Crémeux, is now an actual store front location in Little Italy. Using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients, the concoction of pistachio soft serve topped with Québec raspberries, mint syrup and chocolate crumble had people swooning.
With two locations, one at the Jean-Talon Market and one at the Atwater Market, the team at Havre-aux-glaces changes the ice cream flavours depending on what’s in season and available in the market –the Jean-Talon Market location is open year-round. 12 choices of ice cream, and 12 choices of vegan sorbet.
Located next the majestic Notre-Dame Basillica in the Old Port, Xavier Artisan offers a quaint oasis for a quick bite and frosty treat. Try the tempting Mexican chocolate ice cream or lemon-basil sorbet.
One of Montréal’s finest artisanal ice cream shops, Les Givrés is open year-round. Everything is made in-house, from the specialty ice creams and sorbets down to the cones.
Jason Lee, blogger
Jason is a food eater and picture taker. As the blogger behind Shut Up and Eat, he covers everything food, from recipes to reviews. Jason has vowed that he will not stop until he has officially eaten his way across Montréal. It’s a big claim, and it’s one he’s making.