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The verdict is in: Berkeley’s best ice cream (and gelato)

July 27, 2011 9:00 am by Lance Knobel

And the winner is… Lush Gelato. It received 22 votes from our readers. Photo: Lance Knobel

When we asked our readers last week to tell us where the best ice cream is in Berkeley, we knew you’d respond in numbers. And you certainly did: last night there were 112 comments, numerous tweets and a healthy number of Facebook Likes. What we didn’t quite expect was the distaste some people had for combining ice cream and gelato in the same survey (we do know the difference), or a significant thread on that old chestnut of why Berkeleyside works hard to avoid straying outside the city borders.


In any case, most of you concentrated on the task at hand — where can you find Berkeley’s best ice cream and/or gelato? And, in an intriguing side stream of observations, what’s the single best flavor to be found?


There were two clear winners, and appropriately, one of them is a gelateria and the other is an ice cream store.


Lush Gelato, in the Epicurious Garden on North Shattuck, garnered 22 votes and a decidedly healthy number of exclamation marks. Typical was commenter Jennybluetooth: “Lush! Oh, how I love thee… Let me count the ways! Their orange zest cardamom and ‘mint chip’ made with fresh mint. Scrumptious!”


Second place goes to College Avenue’s Ici, with 16 votes. Many people, even Ici fans, lamented the long lines (and more than a few felt the prices were too steep). Ici aficionados tended to the terse, like commenter Dan Alpert: “Ici, duh!”


Ici on College ranked second in readers' votes


The top two were way out in front for our readers, but strong opinions favored a number of others. Two downtown gelateria jostled for third place. Naia, with nine votes, narrowly edged out Almare with eight (although only Almare’s website comes with a soundtrack of an Italian crooner warbling about gelato al limon). Each had their partisans. Tim: “Almare is the real deal.” Kathyw: “I like Naia on Shattuck Avenue. They have so many wonderful flavors, my favorites are canteloupe and honeydew melon.”


Beyond those top four, a number of places received three or four votes: Tara’s, Three Twins, Chocolatier Blue, iScream and Ben & Jerry’s.


Perhaps most unusual were the five votes captured by Sketch, which closed on Fourth Street a couple of years ago. Some people really miss Sketch.


What about the flavors? The names alone should make you salivate. Here are some favorites: Orange Zest Cardamom from Lush, Caramel Balsamic at O Chame (the only restaurant named by our commenters), Lemon Cookie and Strawberry Je Ne Sais Quoi from Three Twins, and Flying Goat Coffee from Chocolatier Blue.


Did we miss anything?


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