Down in Old Town among the several gay clubs and next to Old Town Pizza, this little hole in the wall, literally, reminds me of an Italian ice place I went to a couple times in Chicago. It's worth keeping in mind just for the fact it's so close to the Max, but it's also a fun location for freaking out your homophobic friends with comments like, "I think he wants a taste of your cone. Wink, wink. Nudge, nudge." (And yes, the friend who visited this place with me is indeed one of these people, but also a sincere ice cream lover so worth it for him.)
Like I said, it's tiny. There was a table out front on the sidewalk and then a step or two up to the case. That's it. The case is about half the size of most gelato places, maybe a third. But they have about a dozen or so flavors, most of which are gelatos, but a couple are sorbettos. The menu didn't exactly match what he had, but listed were: hazelnut, vanilla bean, coffee, pistachio, chocolate, chocolate chip, and tiramisu gelatos, plus raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, and peach sorbettos. I think the day I was there, the peach wasn't available but there was a blackberry. Actually, I know there was blackberry, because I got some.
Smalls are $2.25, mediums $3.25, and larges $4.25. They use the spades rather than scoops to shove ice creams in the cup, so you actually get more than you would get at other places, I would say. And I know some will prefer this more "authentic" method.
I got a medium with vanilla, pistachio, and just a touch of blackberry. The vanilla's flavor was too...supermarkety. It's flavor was no better than Tillamook. My friend and I both got the pistachio, which we both thought was their best flavor. I do like those nutty flavors, but I thought it was better than the hazelnut that I tasted. The blackberry was a little weak, but not bad like Staccato's usually is. My friend got the pistachio and chocolate.
Texture is pretty nice, though my friend and I disagreed on whether it was airier or denser than most gelatos. I thought it was a bit airier and creamier. It reminded me of some Argentinian gelato I've had. (Not in Argentina, dammit.) Didn't notice any ice crystals. Also didn't notice anything texturally, like chunks of pistachio.
Overall, it was decent, definitely acceptable. Flavors were the weak point, but varied. They're making their stuff from mixes and I'm not sure if they do any flavorings from scratch. But at least the stuff wasn't gummy like Parisi's. And it seemed like a better value than other gelato places. But I don't think, just on quality, it's as good as Delizia, Mio, or Alotto. And the flavors aren't as interesting as Staccato. But if you're in the nabe, or on the Max, it's worth a stop.
As an aside, they also sell panini, caprese, Italian sodas, espresso, etc.
Old Town Gelato
212 NW Davis
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