Temperatures in the Philippines are already hitting an unbelievable 40 degrees, and summer’s just starting. Luckily for the city dwellers, there are a ton of places where you could hunker down with some frozen treats. Battle the warm weather by chilling out at these ice cream and gelato hotspots across the Metro!
F 133 Forbestown Rd., Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
Life is indeed sweet at Bar Dolci: This dessert spot’s macarons and fruit jellies are sought-after, but it’s their gelati that really take the cake. Freshly produced daily in each store and made from all-natural ingredients, you’re going to want to go back to try out all their flavors!
Must-tries: We got small cups (P120 each) of two of their bestsellers. Their Ferrero really tastes like its namesake treat: smooth, nutty chocolate, expertly churned to achieve prime silkiness.
Another bestseller is their Salted Caramel, a luscious treat with a hefty dose of crunchy toffee bits. Drop by one of their places for a delicious nightcap!
Other branches at Eastwood City, Quezon City and Roxas Boulevard, Pasay City
Netlima Building, 4th Avenue Cor. 26th Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City
A bit of ice cream makes everything better, and at Farmacy, you’ll get just what the doctor ordered. This place offers a smorgasbord of premium ice cream and sorbet flavors, which you can also get in sandwiches, sundaes, shakes, and floats. Farmacy is also an Instagrammer’s delight: This grown-up ice cream parlour’s wooden paneling and bar stools give the store a cozy old-fashioned air.
Must-tries: Their Banana Salted Caramel (P130 for a single scoop) offers an interesting twist to a traditional flavor. Instead of the usual vanilla base, this one uses freshly made banana ice cream, which carries the salted caramel swirls nicely.
If sugar alone won’t suffice, get the Pick Me Up sundae (P280): a combination of hazelnut, vanilla, and coffee ice cream served with a shot of espresso on the side. Creamy and rich, it works just as well as your favorite cup of coffee!
CARA MIA GELATERIA
Upper Ground Floor, SM Megamall Building A, Mandaluyong City
Cara Mia’s founder was an Italian priest, so you can count on them to have some of the best gelati in the Metro. They have a wide variety of options, all of which are made with natural ingredients and are packed with flavor. The best part? Their gelato is pretty affordable, and they have lots of stores all over the city so it’s very easy to get your fix from them!
Must-tries: Their Pistachio (P90, single scoop) is a best-seller for a good reason: Perfectly sweet and creamy, riddled with real pistachio nuts, we can easily eat a whole pint of this in just one sitting.
The Mango Berry Medley (P90, single scoop) is another gem: The mango flavor is refreshingly sweet without being overwhelming, and the generous sprinkling of berries compliment it perfectly. We’d love to see this more of this flavor!
Other branches at Don Bosco, Makati; Tomas Morato, Quezon City, SM Megamall Atrium, Mandaluyong City; Greenhills, San Juan; Ayalan Triangle Gardens, Makati City; Robinsons Galleria; Robinsons Place Manila; Venice Piazza at McKinley Hill, Taguig City; UP Ayala Technohub, Quezon City; Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City; TriNoma, Quezon City; Ayala Fairview Terraces, Quezon City, Estancia Mall, Capitol Commons, Pasig City; SM Fairview, Quezon City; and Lucky Chinatown Mall, Manila
BONO ARTISANAL GELATO
G/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City
We had high expectations at Bono, whose owners went all the way to Italy to learn the fine art of gelato making from the masters at the Carpigiani University in Bologna. The result: creamy, all-natural gelati, all freshly churned at their stores. This gelateria’s so good, their Mango Ube Symphony flavor made it to the Top 16 flavors from the Asia Pacific region at last year’s World Gelato Tour (yes, that’s a real competition!).
Must-tries: Of course, we had to try the award-winning Mango Ube Symphony (P150, single scoop), a gorgeous yellow concoction with real mango bits and a smattering of ube halaya. The mango flavor is very refreshing—just the thing you need on a sweltering summer afternoon.
Their Butterbeer (P150, single scoop), meanwhile, tastes as magical as the Harry Potter brew that inspired it: The sweet butterscotch base is contrasted by salty pretzel bits, while a faint kick of beer keeps the flavor profile interesting.
Other branches at The Podium, Mandaluyong City; SM Aura Premier, Taguig City; and SM Makati, Makati City
G/F Mega Fashion Hall, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City
If you’re looking for a great dessert date spot, look no further than Japanese favorite St. Marc Cafe. Its interiors are dim and cozy—very conducive for intimate conversations with your woman. As for food, one glance at the mock-up of the cafe’s offerings, which greet you as you enter their cafes, and you know you’re in for a treat. Their pastries and specialty drinks are all delicious, but their ice cream creations are unparalleled in terms of presentation.
Must-tries: St. Marc’s milky, creamy soft-serve ice cream is the perfect base for their dizzying array of too-pretty-to-eat creations, which are displayed in their mock-ups. If you’re dining solo, get their Waffle Cones (P150). We tried the Madonna, which had frozen strawberry chunks, and chocolate drizzle. The choco-strawberry combination, like the diva it’s named after, is a classic that just can’t go wrong.
For a date, go with their parfaits (P250), which are good for at least two people. We got the Choco Berry Celebration, which tasted like the Madonna’s older, more sosyal sister. Aside from frozen strawberries and swirls of chocolate, it also had pudding, cake bits, and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, crowned with a chocolate wafer stick. Who would’ve thought soft-serve could be this fancy?
Other branches at Greenbelt 3, Makati City; UP Town Center, Quezon City; SM North EDSA, Quezon City; and Robinsons Place Manila, Manila
8 Missouri Building, Missouri Street, Greenhills, San Juan City
Choosing an ice cream flavor has never been more fun—or more difficult—than at Carousel Creamery. This ice cream spot in the heart of Greenhills has been getting a lot of hype, mainly due to its having a whopping total of 101 (!!!) handcrafted flavors, ranging from staples like Chocolate, Pistachio, and Strawberry, to the more intriguing Butter Pecan, Honey Lavender, and Spiced Pumpkin, to the downright weird Chewie Baka, Tamarind Chili Sorbet, and Beer and Chicharon.
Must tries: Carousel was riding on the Batman V Superman train when we visited, so we tried the “Superman” (P85, single scoop). This, as it turns out, was S’mores-flavored ice cream—a regular bestseller here. It amazingly tasted like real smores, and the marshmallows and graham cracker bits were impressively generous.
Since you just can’t visit Carousel without trying their more unusual flavors, we also got a scoop of their famed Beer and Chicharon (P85, single scoop). The beer-flavored ice cream tastes like an ice-cold lager, and this could easily be a hit as is. The chicharon bits, however, were a slight disappointment: We found the chunks too large, and while generous add-ons are usually a plus in our book, it was a miss this time since the chicharon’s crunch was long gone (and who likes non-crunchy chicharon?). We think it could’ve been better with smaller bits that are easier to down, but that’s just us!
COLD STONE CREAMERY
2/F UP Town Center, Diliman, Quezon City
Cold Stone’s ace lies in its jolly, accommodating staff, who really go the extra mile to make you have an unforgettable experience there. They perform song-and-dance numbers, cheer while whipping up your ice cream, and throw your order to you from their side of the counter. Their showmanship may be impressive, but their ice cream creations remain the star of the show. Each order is created on a frozen granite stone, and it’s fascinating to watch the servers mix them up on the spot.
Must-tries: Their signature creations are a definite must-try. Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chips (P228 for their “Gotta Have It” size, good for sharing) combines mint ice cream, chocolate chips, chocolate fudge, and a whole brownie in one refreshing concoction. The ice cream’s mintiness is pretty strong, and the generous, chocolatey bits provide a good foil to the ice cream.
If you just want a single scoop, their Chocolate Hazelnut (P188 for their “Gotta Have It” size, good for sharing) flavor is oozing with scrumptious Nutella goodness. Chocolate lovers should have this at least once in their lives!
Other branches at SM North EDSA, Quezon City; Mall of Asia, Pasay City; Serendra, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City; Ayala Fairview Terraces, Quezon City; Eastwood City, Quezon City; Alabang Town Center, Muntinlupa City; Robinsons Galleria, Quezon City; SM By The Bay, Pasay City; SM City San Lazaro, Manila; Evia Lifestyle Center, Las Pinas City; Trinoma, Quezon City; Glorietta 3, Makati City; Circuit Makati, Makati City; and Greenbelt 3, Makati City
MAD MARK’S CREAMERY AND GOOD EATS
2/F UP Town Center, Diliman, Quezon City
Mad Mark’s is known for their big sandwiches and affordable steaks, but their ice cream selection is nothing to scoff at either: Their creations are handmade using nothing but the finest ingredients, and their impeccable flavors really shine through in each hefty scoop.
Must-tries: If you’re lucky enough to chance upon their famous Half-baked Madagascar (P95 for a single scoop), don’t miss the chance to taste it. The combination of creamy Madagascar vanilla and cookie dough bits is such a hit, they only let customers buy just one scoop (no double scoops!).
Not a fan of the sweet stuff? Their Javan Hot Chocolate (P95 for a single scoop) should do the trick. This deep, dark, chocolatey treat is so intense, it teeters on the edge of being bitter—parang sawing pag-ibig lang.
Other branches at Bonifacio Central Square, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; Kapitolyo, Pasig City; and Glorietta 5, Makati City
Photography Majoy Siason