ISTANBUL - The tough and chewy Kahramanmaraş style ice cream is probably the most popular frozen dessert in Turkey. Yet in Istanbul, Italian style gelato ice cream parlors are making a big splash this summer. Here is a list of a few to enjoy.
Cremeria Milano’s café seating area is a bit narrow, thus it might be better to get gelato to go and continue strolling İstiklal Avenue. The most popular flavors are bitter chocolate, fior di latte (kaymak), tiramisu and Baileys. Fruity flavors mix well with creamier chocolate and nut flavors, such as the Turkish raspberry, frambuaz, and other seasonal fruit essences.
Recently Cremeria Milano opened their first branch in Nişantaşı. Although this petite parlor on Maçka Street has no seating area, the businessmen, socialites and shoppers of the area seem to immensely enjoy this creamy and caloric Italian frozen dairy dessert.
Asmali Mescit Mahallesi Istiklal Caddesi No 164/A Beyoğlu, Tel: 0212 245 5064
Situated between Bahar Patisserie and Bodrum Manti near Arnavutköy’s Police Station is La Girondola, the new comer of Italian-style ice cream parlors right on the Bosphorus waterfront. Owner Aslı Eraltan specialized her training in ice cream at university in Italy. Thus, she hand makes the frozen desserts, cooking the milk and syrup and using only seasonal ingredients. During the summer months, one finds flavors such as fresh sour cherry, melon and strawberry in addition to classics such as chocolate, caramel and the Turkish version of plain ice cream, "kaymak," or clotted cream. Other original variations include mascarpone, chocolate brandy, mojito, créme brûlée, and during the wintertime pumpkin, fig, green apple and chestnut. In terms of making a selection, the fresh gelato choices are so tempting that one feels they have to return soon to sample the other variations. While La Girandola’s indoor and outdoor seating area has a pleasant view of the Bosphorus, it is recommended to savor this gelato on the lovely waterfront walk from Arnavutköy to Bebek.
La Girandola, Arnavutköy Caddesi 109, Arnavutköy. Tel: 0212 265 2629.
The trendy and jam-packed Bosphorus waterfront neighborhood of Bebek hosts two of Istanbul’s most popular ice cream parlors: Mini and Güneş. While not exactly gelatories, the ice cream shops, since their establishment in the 1970s, have stayed true to Roma-style ice cream making.
Mini Dondurma, hence the name, is a petite miniature ice cream "hole in the wall" on Bebek’s main road. Around over 38 years, this parlor with no seating area is the legendary summer sweet treat stopover. Many people getting their quick "ice cream fixes" continue strolling toward Bebek Park while carefully licking their creamy cones and inspiring passers by to get a scope of their own. Among Mini's 21 flavors, the most adored are chestnut, caramel, pistachio and melon.
Güneş Dondurma and Waffle House, established in 1975, is considered a favorite ice cream spot in Istanbul for "hot chocolate and pistachio dipped" homemade ice creams. Open from 9 until 4 a.m. everyday with 18 seasonal flavors, Güneş’s warm homemade waffles fit delightfully with their frozen dessert. The most popular and well-liked ice cream flavors are lemon, chocolate and blackberry.
But be aware that although Mini and Güneş Dondurmacısı both a fantastic locations in the heart of Bebek, this might be a huge disadvantage for ice cream fans trying to drive there on weekends.
With many new restaurants and cafes opening up in Bebek, roads are filled with Range Rovers and "seen and be seen" crowds cruising the Bosphorus. The ice creams may eventually be well worth the struggle though!
Cevdet Paşa Caddesi Bebek, Istanbul Tel: 0212 263 2770