The 5 best ice cream shops in Buenos Aires: A chilled journey

The 5 best ice cream shops in Buenos Aires? But isn’t the Argentinian capital famous for tango, steak, and wine? Indeed, but not only that… it’s also known for its delicious ice creams (the helados!), a true cultural and gastronomic heritage of the country.

Today, I’m going to share with you a little of the history of this icy pleasure, so loved by the porteños and by this northeastern Brazilian woman who is writing to you, and declare (according to little ol’ me here) the 5 best ice cream shops in Buenos Aires. Join me!

From the Cordilleras to the City of Silver

First of all, the origin of ice cream in Argentina didn’t start on the streets of Buenos Aires, but in the altitudes of the Andean provinces. Over there, people cooled off with “raspadillas” and “cremoladas”, desserts made from crushed and flavored ice, taken directly from the cordilleras. Ah, those good times of connection with nature, right?

However, it was in Buenos Aires where the ice cream had a more… let’s say, “chilled” history. The hielo (ice, for those not proficient in Spanish), only arrived in the capital in 1824. Brought by an Italian from Genoa, Caprile, who transported blocks of ice directly from the Italian Alps to Buenos Aires, wrapped in sawdust so they wouldn’t melt. What a trip, huh?! (literally)

Conquering Buenos Aires, One Ice Cream at a Time

Firstly, it’s important to remember that ice cream began to be savored in Buenos Aires’ cafes around 1855. It was a time of elegance and tradition, with ice cream being served in long cups, called barquillos. Luxurious, isn’t it? Above all, it’s surprising to learn that even the old Teatro Colón had refrigerators to store a thousand tons of ice to supply cafes and restaurants.

The Taste of Italy in Buenos Aires

Above all, we must understand that all this European influence didn’t come by chance. The real Argentinian ice cream we love today was brought with Italian immigration. The Italians, primarily, improved the ice cream, which was first created in Sicily and enhanced with cream in Veneto.

Names like El Vesubio, created in 1902 by Alfonso Cositore, and Saverio, created by Francesco Saverio Manzo in 1909, are responsible for the two oldest ice cream shops in Buenos Aires. They were places with spacious halls for customers to enjoy their products. Just imagine the charm of all that!

Frozen Delights: The 5 Best Ice Cream Shops in Buenos Aires

Finally, now that you have embarked on the incredible historical journey of porteño ice cream, it’s time to experience today’s Buenos Aires. In short, a city full of frozen flavors that take us back in time. After all, what would history be without the present, right?

Each ice cream shop in this city plays an essential role in perpetuating this sweet and refreshing tradition. And that’s exactly why I want to share with you my favorite ice cream shops in Buenos Aires. So, get ready for a mouthwatering journey of unique flavors and textures. Let’s together discover what makes Argentinian ice cream a true cultural heritage. Hold onto your spoon, because here we go!

Lucciano’s | @luccianos_

Finally, we come to Lucciano’s. This is a little piece of frozen paradise that makes us travel at the first spoonful. Founded in Mar del Plata by the guys Daniel and Christian Otero, father and son, this ice cream shop stole my heart (and my belly!) with a variety of flavors that, oh, are out of this world!

The whole thing is so serious that they bring ingredients from Italy and chocolates from Belgium to create a gelato that’s not only delicious, but makes us feel the love and care they put into every detail.

And hey, there’s ice cream for everyone, okay? Chocolates, dulce de leche, creams, fruits, more luxurious, and even vegan ones! But if you want to know which one is my darling, it’s the mascarpone! This super exclusive recipe is made in Italy with mascarpone cheese and combined with Patagonian wild berries. It’s something surreal, I can’t explain, you just have to try it!

Would you like a “vaso chico” of mascarpone?
I had to capture the beautiful facade of Lucciano’s

And there’s more: they have these ice cream popsicles, the icepops, that are super fun! Even some in the shape of Minions, can you believe it? Guaranteed fun for the kids and adults too, because let’s face it, it’s irresistible!

You know what else I find cool? Lucciano’s started as a hobby and look where it got! Today they have more than 50 stores worldwide, even in Europe, the United States, and Uruguay. This just shows that when we do things with love and dedication, success comes! So, you know what to do, right? When you pass by Lucciano’s, brace yourself because it’s more than just ice cream, it’s a real frozen adventure!

One of the branches, this one in Palermo Soho: Honduras 4881, C1414 CABA, Argentina

Rapanui | @chocolates_rapanui

Right after the session of Argentina’s Senate, an open microphone caught Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in a candid moment: ”¿A qué hora cierra Rapanui?” (“What time does Rapanui close?”), the then Vice President asked. The favorite treat of Argentine personalities couldn’t be left out, with its ice creams, chocolates, and alfajores that have won many hearts (mine included…).

Just imagine: the year is 1948 and Aldo Fenoglio, an Italian immigrant laden with dreams and delicious recipes, decides to open the first chocolate shop in Bariloche, naming it Tronador, just like one of the region’s most beautiful mountains. The quality and taste of his chocolate quickly began to spread across Patagonia, making the chocolate shop a must-visit for both locals and tourists.

But the saga doesn’t end there, quite the contrary. In 1996, Diego, Leticia, and Aldo, all heirs of this delicious tradition, started to inject freshness and innovation into the family recipe, turning Rapanui Chocolates into the best chocolate shop in the country. Yes, you heard right: the best in the country!

Rapanui has an incredible variety of chocolates, ranging from dark to semi-sweet (with cocoa percentages from 60% to 90%), going through milk chocolate and even white chocolate. Alright, China, you’re going on and on about chocolate, where’s the ice cream? Easy there, little grasshopper, they cleverly decided in 2009 to take this passion to the world of our frozen delights.

And, above all, they have such delicious flavors: classic cream-based ones that are so smooth and creamy that you’ll undoubtedly want to stock up for life. Obviously, Argentina’s star couldn’t be left out, right? So, the dulce de leche flavors are of an irresistible sweetness that ultimately win over any palate. But, if you love the refreshment of fruits, like I do, you’ll fall in love with the “frutales” flavors, especially on a warm summer afternoon. And, OF COURSE, how could we talk about Rapanui without mentioning the chocolate ice creams? When I say that these flavors are wonderful, I am being super modest! It’s a creamy and sweet experience that you won’t be able to resist.

And since I’m talking about this incredible brand, I couldn’t leave out this tip. Do you know where to find the best alfajor in the world? You guessed it, it’s at Rapanui.

Let’s talk about one particular alfajor: the raspberry sweet one covered with icing. Oh, what a delight! This is an entirely new level of alfajor, creating a perfect combination that causes a flavor explosion that is simply divine. And, honestly, to me, this alfajor is one of the wonders of the world!

But if I mentioned this alfajor, I have to share a brief and tragic little story. I was with Gil and Ananda, walking around the Parque de La Memoria, a beautiful place teeming with history. Intending to enjoy the walk, we brought a box filled with Rapanui alfajores. All perfect, right?

Our tour in the Parque de La Memoria moments before the “event”

Guess what happened? Yes, the box disappeared! In the midst of our admiration for the park and surrounded by the history of the place, somehow, we lost the box. It’s tragic, I know. I still dream about those lost alfajores. So, learn from my story: always keep your eyes (and stomach) wide open for your alfajores!

Head over to Rapanui, order ice creams, alfajores, and chocolates, and enjoy every flavor. But, please, be careful not to lose any of them! Believe me, every piece is worth it.

One of their various branches: Malabia 2014 Palermo Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires 1425 AR

Isla Negra | @islanegrachocolates

Now let’s sail to another sweet paradise island of Buenos Aires: Isla Negra. Located in the vibrant heart of Palermo Soho, this ice cream and chocolate shop is a hidden gem among bohemian streets filled with street art, charming boutiques, and a laid-back energy that instantly makes you feel a part of the locale.

A record of our visit there! Notice the Willy Wonka art on the facade ????

Imagine a place where tradition and innovation meet, producing ice cream flavors that take you on a gastronomic journey. That’s Isla Negra! Although the place’s name indicates a tradition in chocolates (and they truly are delicious), I must tell you about the highlight there: the dulce de leche ice cream, one of Gil’s favorites.

Argentina is famous for dulce de leche, right? They put this delicacy on everything, from churros to alfajores, and it’s no different with ice cream. Isla Negra’s dulce de leche ice cream is simply a spectacle apart. Made with all the care and tradition you can expect, the result is a unique and velvety experience that makes your palate dance with happiness.

What struck me the most, besides the wonderful taste of the ice cream, was the super friendly service. I had the chance to chat with the chocolate and ice cream master there, a guy who makes all the shop’s products in a masterful way.

So, when you’re strolling through Palermo Soho, drop by Isla Negra. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, try an ice cream (or two, or three, who’s counting, right?) and savor each bite. And don’t forget to chat with the people there.

Unique store at: Gorriti 4485, C1414 CABA, Argentina

Gruta | @heladosgruta

It was 1977, and Héctor Ambieni began working in this charming ice cream parlor, Helados Gruta, tucked away on bustling Avenida Sucre, almost hugging the iconic Avenida Cabildo in Belgrano. In those days, Belgrano was still far from being the bustling meeting point it is now.

The interesting thing is that Gruta is not just an ice cream shop; it’s a family story. Héctor Ambieni, who had worked in various ice cream shops in Buenos Aires, brought his passion and experience to Gruta. And guess what? His children, Silvana, Marcelo, and Oscar, along with other relatives, continue this legacy of love for ice cream and warm service.

Entering Gruta is like stepping into a time machine. The place has maintained the same aesthetic since it opened its doors, and the ice cream? It’s as authentic as it can get. Old equipment, ice cream manually extracted, these people really stick to tradition, and trust me, you can feel it in every bite among the more than 50 flavor options.

Now you might tell me: “China, that’s too many flavors! I’m lost among so many delicacies” and I agree with you, human being… But that’s why the blog’s name is that, isn’t it? Take your notebook and jot down! Marroc, Tramontana, and Chocolate with Rum Raisins.

If you are a fan of chocolate and peanuts, Marroc will enchant you. It’s like you’re biting into the famous Argentine candy, only in ice cream form! Tramontana is for those who like a hint of surprise. The creamy vanilla base mixes with sweet cookie pieces and a delicious crunchy caramel. Last but not least, Chocolate with Rum Raisins. Imagine the creamiest ice cream in the world, then add to that soft and sweet raisins that have been delicately soaked in rum. With every bite, you get a touch of chocolate, followed by the sweetness of the raisins, and then, bam! The warm and enveloping flavor of rum.

Yes, I shared my secret! These are the best, I guarantee it. They serve extremely generously, so it’s good to leave a big space reserved in that little belly of yours.

The book “Heladerías de Buenos Aires”, written by Horacio Spinetto and directed by Liliana Barela, has undeniable historical and cultural relevance, as it was published by the Dirección General Patrimonio e Instituto Histórico, important cultural preservation institutions in Argentina. This publication adds even more weight and depth to the narrative of the book, showing that the ice cream parlors of Buenos Aires are not just commercial establishments, but valuable cultural heritage.

One of the highlights of the book is the section “Heladerías barrio por barrio”, where Gruta is presented as more than a place to enjoy delicious ice creams, it is, in fact, a living cultural monument, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the history of Buenos Aires while enjoying its icy creations.

In conclusion, the next time you are walking around Buenos Aires and want a taste of local history, step by step, or rather, lick by lick, be sure to visit Helados Gruta. I’m sure you will love it as much as I do.

Helados Gruta is located in Belgrano: Mariscal Antonio José de Sucre 2356, C1428 CABA, Argentina

Tienta (Tienda de Helados) | @tientahelados

Ah, my friends, Tienta… Or as it was called at the time of my first visit: Tienda de Helados. This place, with its Porteño charms and a festival of flavors, is a must-visit spot in our sweet Buenos Aires.

Now, sit back, here comes a story… Remember my unconditional love for the tramontana that I mentioned earlier? Well, it was here, between the cozy walls of Tienta, that my passion was born. And look, I miss this flavor every single day here in Brazil. Another suggestion comes from our dear Ananda, who fell in love with the pistachio, so you know what to do, right? Order without fear!

Shall we talk about the ambiance? It’s like being in the living room of that dear aunt of yours who always had a little sweet in her bag. A modern touch, but with the warmth and coziness of home. And there’s the cherry on top: shops scattered all over the city, each one more inviting than the other.

When we visited, it was still called “Tienda de Helados“!

But, I must confess something. If you go to Tienta, you will come across a flavor that is an Argentine landmark: Sambayón. And look, I’m going to be honest with you, as a friend. My experience was not the best. However, you know how it is, taste is subjective, and what may not be my favorite flavor, could be your next ice cream addiction. So, I challenge you to try it and then come back here to tell me what you thought! So, do you accept the challenge?

Get to know the “Tienta” in the Recoleta neighborhood: ACB, Vicente López 1844, C1128 CABA, Argentina

For me, these are the 5 best ice cream parlors in Buenos Aires, and what about you?

Therefore, with a heart full of love and a mouth full of ice cream, I first invite you to embark on your own icy adventure. And remember, above all, there’s no better way to explore Buenos Aires than with a spoon of ice cream in hand.

After spending this time here, I hope that, as a result, you are inspired to explore the wonderful ice cream shops of Buenos Aires. Who knows, perhaps you will find, in the midst of this journey, your own favorite ice cream parlor that I haven’t discovered yet. If this happens, share your discovery in the comments below! I would love, in this sense, to hear your experiences and recommendations.

And, of course, if you liked this article, don’t forget to share it. Together with you, we’ll spread the love for Argentine ice cream!

Buenos Aires is waiting for you, as is, your ice cream.

Now that I’ve shown you the 5 best ice cream shops in Buenos Aires, see you in the next gastronomic adventure!

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