Gallery: Staff Picks: Best Ice Cream in Chicago

Allium
Allium

Savory and sweet is the name of the game when it comes to the Miso Butterscotch milkshake at Allium. Featuring Homer's vanilla ice cream (Wilmette, IL) and homemade butterscotch, this decadent dessert is finished with miso paste, giving it a little je ne sais quoi (read: umph and umami) that excites the palate sip after sip. I just can't get enough! —Huge Galdones

[Photograph: Huge Galdones]

Allium, 120 East Delaware Place, Chicago, IL 60611 (map); 312-799-4900; alliumchicago.com‎

Scooter's Frozen Custard
Scooter's Frozen Custard

There really aren't many frozen custard places in Chicago, so Scooter's is more than a bit of a gem, at least for me. The first time I had custard was in college (I know, I'm a bit of a late bloomer) at Jarling's Custard Cup in Champaign, and my life hasn't been the same ever since. I know you University of Illinois folks are feelin' me on this one. —Dennis Lee

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Scooter's Frozen Custard, 1658 West Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657 (map); 773-244-6415; scootersfrozencustard.com‎

Snookelfritz
Snookelfritz

When Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream from Ohio started selling in select Chicago shops, I basically lost all motivation to eat any other brand. (It's so, so good.) The only place that has me rethinking my alligence is Snookelfritz. It's wonderfully thick and smooth, with a genuinely interesting range of flavors (the sweet mint is especially good). Sadly, you can't buy it in stores, but it is at the Green City Market every Saturday and some Wednesdays. It's worth seeking out. —Nick Kindelsperger

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Snookelfritz; Every Saturday and limited Wednesdays at the Green City Market; snookelfritz.com

Original Rainbow Cone
Original Rainbow Cone

I was a much pickier eater as a kid—it was most definitely not okay for the mashed potatoes to touch the sweet corn, thank you very much. So the literal mash up of five flavors in the Original Rainbow Cone made no sense to me (although now I think it makes sweet, sweet sense). I always went for a scoop of the cookies and cream instead, and I still occasionally pass up the five-ice cream pileup in favor of the fantastic cookie-heavy ice cream. Plus, when I order in the perpetually-crowded shop, I kind of feel like I know a secret that I hope the tourists will overhear. —Lindsey Becker

Original Rainbow Cone is one of my first memories of a real ice cream cone. As an adult, the ice cream cone is huge; as a kid, it's so big that you never forget how overwhelming it was when you first ate it. Eating a few spoonfuls of Rainbow Cone at the Taste of Chicago this year reminded me of why we love ice cream so much as kids: it tastes good, and it's colorful. Rainbow Cone will always have my vote in some way. —Carol Hilker

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Original Rainbow Cone‎, 9233 South Western Avenue, Chicago, IL 60643 (map); 773-238-7075; rainbowcone.com

Black Dog Gelato
Black Dog Gelato

To be completely honest, I'm not a huge ice cream fan. In theory, ice cream always sounds like sweet release on an unbearably hot day. But after eating it, I ultimately feel even more dehydrated and bogged down than before. Maybe I have bad genes or something. That's for me to figure out. However, if there's one place in Chicago I'll gladly suffer the consequences of ingestion for, it's Black Dog Gelato. Hand-making their gelato every day, Black Dog always serves up unique flavor combinations (goat cheese cashew caramel, sesame fig chocolate chip) that are as intriguing as they are delicious. And for those who, like me, maybe aren't the biggest ice cream fans, there's always a smattering of sorbet options that are equally worth sampling. —Michell Eloy

Butterscotch Bourbon Pecan Gelato at Black Dog Gelato [Photograph: Lindsey Becker]

Black Dog Gelato, 859 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-235-3116; blackdogchicago.com

Margie's Candies‎
Margie's Candies‎

When I want something cheap, cheerful, and close, I have to go with a chocolate dipped vanilla cone at Tastee Freez. But when I want to throw caution to the wind and go all out, I have to go with Chicago's classic ice cream parlor, Margie's. I don't think every single item is a winner here, but my absolute favorite sundae to get is the Famous Raspberry Fudge Sundae. It hits all the right spots for me with a sweet, tangy raspberry sauce with chunks of fruit, rich fudge poured from a gravy boat, and generous scoops of vanilla ice cream. I even really like the generic wafer cookie that comes with it. My strategy is to use the cookie to scoop up a bit of ice cream, sauce, and fudge for the perfect bite. —Debbie Carlos

[Photograph: Nick Kindelsperger]

Margie's Candies‎, 1960 North Western Avenue Chicago, IL 60647 (map), 773-384-1035

David Burke's Primehouse
David Burke's Primehouse

Thanks to pastry chef Jove Hubbard's deep well of creativity, the dessert menu at David Burke's Primehouse is always evovling. But I hope his outstanding housemade coconut-water sorbet becomes a permanent fixture. It's light and refreshing, with a restrained sweetness that comes from using the juice rather than the pulp of the coconut. Earlier this year Hubbard used the pearly white stuff to great effect with blood orange, crispy coconut dacquoise, and coconut sponge cake. —Roger Kamholz

[Photograph: Roger Kamholz]

David Burke's Primehouse, 616 North Rush Street, Chicago, IL 60611 (map); 312-660-6000; davidburkesprimehouse.com‎

Forever Yogurt
Forever Yogurt

I'd like to say that my favorite ice cream in Chicago is the bacon and chocolate chip soft serve at Belly Shack, or any of the great selections at Scooter's Frozen Custard. But I've only been to each of those places once. So I'm coming clean: the ice cream-like treat I eat the most in Chicago (and by default, my favorite) is the design-your-own froyo at Forever Yogurt in Wicker Park. My wife and I made the mistake of taking our daughter there once after dinner at Piece across the street, and now it's an unavoidable family tradition. Still, French vanilla topped with busted up candy bar pieces and chocolate sauce is hardly anything to complain about. If familiarity really does breed contempt, self-hatred never tasted so good. —Joe Roy

[Courtesy of Forever-Yogurt/Facebook]

Forever Yogurt, 1924 West North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 (map); 773-772-4770; foreveryogurt.com‎

Butcher and the Burger
Butcher and the Burger

I never had frozen custard until I moved to the Midwest, and now I have a big crush on it. The cookies and cream custard at Butcher and the Burger is a great version—it's dense without feeling heavy, and the cookie pieces break up the custard's smoothness and add texture. —Amy Cavanaugh

[Courtesy of ButcherandtheBurger/Facebook]

Butcher & The Burger, ‎1021 West Armitage Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60614 (map); 773-697-3735; butcherandtheburger.com‎