Like all worthy eatsplorers, our love affair with ice cream stretches far and wide. From the ancient alleyways of Rome where gelato making is the stuff of legend to the streets of Turkey where vendors enthrall customers with interactive performances, stretching their iconic sticky ice cream from a treat to entertainment. So it is only natural that we would take it very seriously when setting out to find the very best ice cream in Cape Town.[Last Update – July 2022]
Lucky for us, Cape Town is no stranger to this delightful frozen dessert. The food capital of South Africa offers a rich menagerie of cool, creamy confections, but of course, not all are worthy to be on a list of the best ice cream in Cape Town. That’s why we set out to discover the crème-de-la-crème (definitely not because we wanted to go on a delicious ice cream bender).
Here are our favourites, the best of the best at the foot of Table Mountain – good enough to melt even the coldest heart.
#1 Moro Gelato
Tucked away in an unassuming little shop in the heart of Cape Town’s lively Long Street, is our very own little slice of Heaven. At the risk of waxing lyrical, there is simply no other way to describe this passion project of two guys whose love for gelato brought them together from worlds apart.
Stefano Moro had a dream. A dream born in the beautiful Mediterranean town of Santa Margherita. A dream that developed as a little boy, watching his nonna magically create delicious gelati every day, always with the perfect recipe for the freshest ingredients of the day. And now, that dream is real. By teaming up with Heine van Wyk, a Capetonian computer programmer turned model, Stefano Moro’s gelato has made its way to sunny South Africa to awe us with its impossible creaminess and divine flavour.
Heine and Stefano met in Milan through the fashion industry and soon started working on their shared vision. Remaining uncompromised on the rich Italian tradition which is the basis of their craft, Moro Gelato is made from scratch using only the best, freshest ingredients South Africa has to offer. A match made in heaven with the result, the ultimate gelato.
To bite into a Moro gelato is to experience a world of carefully crafted ice cream excellence, an unapologetic statement of unfiltered, unforgiving flavour, and a creaminess and smoothness matched only by the legendary artisans of Italy’s storied gelato culture.
The gelato is perfectly finished topped with a thin, crunchy wafer, dipped in rich molten Belgian or white chocolate, which adds a little extra wow factor and a welcome crunch.
No gimmicks, no frills or flowers, Moro Gelato, simply makes the best ice cream that Cape Town has to offer.
Address: 165 Long Street, Cape Town, 85 Regent Rd, Sea Point, also every weekend at the Oranjezicht City Farm Market. visit website.
If you haven’t heard the buzz yet, allow us the honour of introducing you to the (ice cream) name in Cape Town that is on everyone’s lips. Unframed is the picture of modern simplicity, personified in a contemporary take on the traditional ice cream shop. Its clean lines and nearly unbranded feel place the attention exactly where it needs to be, on their melt-in-the-mouth crafted ice cream.
And there is plenty to appreciate about their ice cream. It’s produced the artisanal way, from scratch, in small batches and entirely made from sustainable, all-natural ingredients. The result is smooth, velvety, and delicious. Unframed offers delicious classic flavors, but also surprises with unusual flavour combinations. Furthermore, health-forward pallets are accommodated with a flavourful selection of sorbets and vegan ice creams.
Unframed was spawned from the imagination of enigmatic Frenchman Yann Rey, a banker by trade, who chose to set out into the world and follow his passions. It’s this pioneering attitude that led him to settle in the Mother City, and it’s an attitude that has seen unframed produce world-class ice cream ever since. The saying, ‘the devil is in the detail’ is something Rey understands very well and the love, care, and attention that Yann Rey pours into his art can be tasted in every bite, not to mention that it is also a feast for the eyes.
Address: 45C Kloof Street, V&A Food Market, 187 Sir Lowry Road, visit website.
If there ever was a hidden gem in the Cape Town ice cream scene, it would be Sorbetiere. Blink, and you might miss the shop, but once you taste their ice cream the memory will be lasting. Buried within the belly of Woodstock, a suburb known for its creative energy and grit, it can be easy to miss this artisan’s storefront.
Pair this with the fact that the entrance to the shop is hidden in a private courtyard and you will understand why Sorbetiere can be a little difficult to find.
Sorbetiere is the creation of French chef Beran who used her childhood memories of eating homemade strawberry sorbet as inspiration. After 10 years in the kitchens of various restaurants in France, she settled in Cape Town in 2013, adding some much-needed oh-la-la to the Cape Town ice cream offering.
Chef Beran started by producing fresh sorbets from scratch, using only the best local fruits and ingredients. It didn’t take long for the fledgling artisan to build up a reputation, and soon interest from the restaurant trade started flooding in. Today Sorbetiere has a growing list of premier restaurants they supply, quite understandable when you experience their tantalizing and bespoke flavours.
Now visiting Sorbetiere will have you uncovering not only sorbet but also a delicious mix of ice creams, all created with freshly sourced, all-natural ingredients and is completely free of additives, or artificial flavouring. They pride themselves on doing things the right way. And it shows.
We would highly recommend poking your head in, even if it can be a little hard to find! Word on the ground is, try the toasted brioche ice cream sandwich.
Address: 48 Albert Rd, Woodstock, Cape Town, Cape Town, visit website .
The team at Popco has been making it their mission since 2018 to create the very best popsicles using only the freshest South African whole fruit and not a drop of artificial colourants or preservatives. Crafted by hand in Cape Town there’s no lack of creativity and new flavours are continuously added before you can say ‘Banana Split’.
Their Selection offers healthy and vegan alternatives with the promise to pop with the flavour of granadilla, strawberry, and watermelon, and boy do they deliver. Literally!
This is the ultimate anywhere-you-are ice cream! Yes, you can buy Popco at many spots in Cape Town (and further afield), such as at the cool Okja Cafe in Camps Bay, or heck, even at some Spars, but the real beauty of this bit of sunshine on a stick is that you can have it delivered to your door.
You can build a box with a selection of your choice and pop it in the freezer for when that unstoppable ice cream craving grabs you. They make the perfect no-fuss dessert after dinner placed on a platter laden with a bed of ice.
Or just follow our lead and squirrel some in an icebox to enjoy at the beach, during a hike, or strolling along the boardwalk – you get where we are going with this?
Address: Various addresses in Cape Town and further afield, visit website
#5 Kristen’s Kickass Ice-cream
Nestled at the foot of the mountains, in the heart of the Constantia Winelands, you will find a little slice of Americana named Kristen’s Kickass Ice cream. It’s ice cream borrowed directly from the great plains of the new world.
Owner and founder Kristen flows against the grain. Whilst most ice-cream fanatics swear by the tried and tested artistry of the storied French-Italian school of ice cream making, Kristen says to hell with that and instead looks to her own heritage for inspiration, earning her ice-cream-stars-and-stripes by proudly doing things the American way.
Kristen, born in the Midwest, spent most of the last ten years as a New York City nurse, hopping the globe, enjoying the food as any true eatsplorer would. In the end, her heart led her to settle in the shadow of Table Mountain, and her passion drove her into the world of ice cream. We couldn’t be happier, as the Cape Town ice cream scene has been the richer and a whole lot sweeter ever since!
So what is American-style ice cream, I hear you ask? American-style ice cream also called the Philadelphia-style due to its origins in this dairy-rich area, is made with milk, cream, and sugar and not with a custard base as in the French or Italian version.
The result is a slightly lighter, more textured ice cream, which compliments certain combinations, such as fresh fruits, even better.
As you would expect, Kirsten’s Kickass Ice cream perfectly nails some typical American flavours such as cookies and cream and peanut butter but also does not shy away from interesting combinations such as fresh basil and praline pine nuts.
We love the pure, unabashed taste sensation, the delicious freshly made cones, and the fact that all of this can be enjoyed with the enrapturing vista of Constantia Uitsig farm as a backdrop.
If there’s one thing that can be said about Kristen’s Kickass Ice cream, it’s that they never do anything halfway. And neither will you when you finally get the opportunity to enjoy every last bite of one of their cones.
Address: Constantia Uitsig Heritage Village, Spaanchemat River Road, Constantia, Noordhoek Farm Village, Village Lane, Noordhoek, visit website
Truth be told, on any given day come rain or shine, noon or night, summer or winter, if you would invite us, ‘Want to go to Icezeit’s?’ we will be there in a flash. See, this little unassuming blue and white painted ice cream hut on the pier in Sea Point has a special place in our hearts.
The location is great, directly next to the ocean with seagulls squawking and the sea breeze tugging at your hair. The service is always delivered quickly with a flashing smile and the choice of gelato is varied, with 12 out of a selection of 100 flavours of gelato available daily. But that in itself is not what attracts us here.
For us, it is all about that simple, plain cone, choc ’99 vanilla swirly goodness. With one of those in our hands, this is all of a sudden the coolest place in Cape Town and we wouldn’t have it any other way!
Address: Sea Point Pavillion, Beach Road, Sea Point, visit website
#7 The Creamery
The Creamery was one of the first artisanal ice creams to pop up in Cape Town back in 2012. First tasted at The Old Biscuit Mill Market The Creamery has stayed true to its roots and to this day you can still find this frozen dessert at many of The Mother City’s popular food markets.
It has done a lot of growing up since its humble beginnings and has blossomed into a distinctive brand, branching out to a handful of self-owned and managed outlets throughout Cape Town.
What sets the Creamery apart is their way with interesting combinations and flavours that often tap in local classics for inspiration such as Milktart, Lemon Meringue, and Carrot Cake.
Other regular favourite flavours include Salted Caramel, Rosetta Roastery Coffee limited-editions such as Naartjie Choc Chip and Cornflake Milk. Ice cream for breakfast, anyone?
The texture of their ice creams is sadly not as smooth and creamy as some of the other Cape Town ice cream spots that top this list and tend to be a little icy for our taste.
Their freshly baked gooey cookie topped with ice cream however totally makes up for that and will always keep us coming back.
Address: Various markets and positions around Cape Town, visit website
#8 The Dairy Den
Yes, we know, this is not an artisanal gelato shop. But step into The Dairy Den, a small shop in Cape Town’s popular suburb, Sea Point and you step right back into childhood.
A fond memory of a sunny day at the beach, toes in the sand, salty seawater on your lips, and a sweet melting soft serve ice cream in your hand. Dairy Den’s retro aesthetic and classic soft serve ice cream are fun, really delicious, and sure to put a smile on your face.
This is exactly what super sister team Tasia and Lexi set out to do. Their story started in 1948 when their Grandfather first came to South Africa from Greece to make ice cream. Unwittingly, setting in motion the journey that would end in a beloved ice cream shop decades later.
Tasia and Lexi grew up with ice cream in their DNA. Pair this with their belief in the value of treating the family, and making happy memories, and you’ve got the recipe for an iconic, warm-hearted Ice Cream shop.
To treat yourself at The Dairy Den is a game of mix and match, and they let you play it your way. The Dairy Den’s trio of classic soft serve flavours can be enjoyed alone, mixed, dunked in Belgium chocolate, or a caramel shell, with sprinkles or even a mini donut on top. Or you could simply settle for a classic. Choc 99 anyone?
Oh, and did we mention the donuts? Delicious, fluffy doughnuts? Be careful, or these divine confections might just steal the show. Be sure to pick some up to take home when you pop in for some Ice Cream.
Address: 148 Main Rd, Sea Point and Shop 121, Kenilworth Centre, 1 Doncaster Road, Kenilworth, visit website
Photography: Liezel Norval-Kruger, Micky Hoyle, Unframed, The Dairy Den, Kristen’s Kickass Ice-cream, Sorbetiere, PopCo, The Creamery.