6 Shanghai’s coolest spots for ice creams, gelato and shaved ice

Because who doesn’t like ice cream?

Photograph: courtesy Gelato Bello
I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Not only is this 1920s song deeply embedded within Western pop culture, there’s now an element of truth to it here in the East given Shanghai’s current heatwave. Luckily, the gelato trend has swept through our city, leaving behind a wealth of choice for anyone in search of a store serving up summer’s biggest benefit. But which shops are the ones to check out this year? Amongst others, we’ve picked out an authentic, Italian-owned Gelato store, shops offering experimental flavours, Insta-perfect designs and even a hidden laboratory.

Corner Cone Gelato

corner_cone
Photograph: Meng Lingyu
But what better place to begin than at the modern face of the city? Located in what is arguably Shanghai’s most iconic building, Wukang Mansion, is an equally imperious ice cream parlour. As can be expected from such a locale, style here surpasses all else. This emporium of fun has long been internet-famous thanks to the cartoonish decorations which bring their ice creams to life. Corner cone regularly unleashes new designs upon their menu, with favourites including Dinosaurs, Mermaids, Mickey and Minnie, and a whole range of other creative inventions ripe for a social media posting.

📍Corner Cone Gelato, Wukang Mansion, 1852 Huaihai Zhong Lu, near Wukang Lu. 30-40RMB.

Gelato Bello

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Photographs: courtesy Gelato Bello

Ah, beautiful ice cream! This quaint gelato boutique is located on the uber-trendy Yongkang Lu and perfectly balances style with authenticity. Open for less than three weeks, it’s not only the freshest gelato shop in town but possibly the only shop in Shanghai serving gelato made by an Italian. The shop embraces a spirit of neo-classic 1970s stylings, from the angular neon logo adorning the wall to the art deco bowls used to serve customers. But it is what’s in the bowls which are of greatest interest. Lovingly crafted by the owner, Alberto, the gelatos on offer here amaze with intense flavour. From the Baijiu-tinged coffee liquor to the sweetly sharp Lemon Grapefruit sorbet and the Tiramisu which has a texture that simply must be tasted, this is a very welcome addition to the city.

📍Gelato Bello, 126 Yongkang Lu, near Xiangyang Nan Lu. Single scoop from 25RMB (cups); 40RMB (cones).

Stefanie’s Gelato

stefanie's
Photograph: Meng Lingyu

For refinement, good taste and a splash of beauty, there are few better places to visit than the Shanghai Centre. Sitting on the forecourt as you walk past is a twin set of serving windows which supply just that. The small but adequate menu is filled with expected classics such as Salted Caramel, or Pistachio, while the Stefanie Special is less special and more strawberry. All taste as they look, above average and perfectly satisfactory. So why have we chosen this gelato shop ahead of others you ask. The Maotai50 (80RMB) and Chocolate cone… wow.

📍Stefanie’s Gelato, A07, Shanghai Center, 1376 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Xikang Lu. Single scoop from 35RMB.

Gelato Dal Cuore

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Photograph: courtesy Gelato Dal Cuore

One of Shanghai’s more successful ice cream stores, Dal Cuore has been serving up frozen treats since 2018. Despite looking like a branded chain, this is actually an independently run business which now has another two locations beyond its initial shop here on Shanxi Bei Lu. The secret to their success? Dal Cuore means ‘from the heart’ and it certainly shows through their never-ending quest to rotate new experimental flavours through the menu. With more than 20 original recipes to choose from in-store at any given time, you can find a mix of Italian-inspired flavours such as the Campari, Grapefruit, and Lemon concoction which melts into a fine summer spritzer, more locally-inspired creations such as the Pineapple and Sichuan Pepper, or the Shanghai Scallion Oil Noodle flavoured gelato and an ever-popular Oatly Earth cone. Single scoop starts from 38RMB for cups and 45RMB for cones. Tubs are available from 160RMB (500g).

📍Gelato Dal Cuore, 600 Shaanxi Bei Lu, near Xinzha Lu.
📍Gelato Dal Cuore, B262-1, B2, Réel, 1601 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Changde Lu.
📍Gelato Dal Cuore, K24, Fifth Floor, Xintiandi Sun, 181 Ruihong Lu, near Feihong Lu.

Igloos

igloos
Photograph: courtesy Igloos

If you have a taste for something other than sculpted gelatos, then a Kakigoori is exactly what you’re in need of. These shaved-ice desserts originate from Japan and are sweetened with flavoured syrups and blended fruits and berries. Set inside a bright and cutesy small shop in a leafy part of the Old French Concession, there are nine flavours to choose between, including Bayberry, Mango, Soy Milk, and the topically themed Luma Kakigoori (matcha-flavoured) which comes topped with crushed nuts and a small green edible horse, as well as a green horse (Lu Ma绿马) rubber keyring.

📍Igloos, 251 Yongjia Lu, near Jiashan Lu. From 32RMB.

MyLab

MyLab
Photograph: courtesy MyLab

At the opposite end of our creamy spectrum, MyLab swaps out the saccharine to bring science to the table. As the name suggests, there’s a laboratory-like feel to proceedings in store with sleek white designs and hi-tech equipment in plain sight. And for good reason too. Unlike other gelato shops, MyLab uses liquid nitrogen to freeze its creations, providing a unique (and very cold) scoop to feast upon. There is, however, some mad science at play here too with a special menu that features the likes of Chips & Wine, and Pork Floss & Seaweed for those feeling more adventurous. Like all secret laboratories, this shop is also a little trickier to find. Tucked away in the back corner (Building No 10) of the art and culture space known as THE INLET, MyLab lies unadvertised inside an art institution called Press Matter. The frozen scoop is served in bespoke tin from 35RMB.

📍MyLab, Room 107-110, Bldg 10, THE INLET, 10 Sichuan Bei Lu, near Wujin Lu.

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