The Best Ice Cream and Shaved Ice in the Bay Area 2022

it’s hot. But here in the Bay Area, we have some great places to lower your core temperature with ice cream and shaved ice (not shaved!). Here is a sampling of places to go:

Hawaiian Drive Hostel, San Jose

Anyone who’s been to Hawaii has probably tasted shaved ice, a smooth blend of finely cut ice pellets and super-sweet syrups in every color of the rainbow. This restaurant serves shaved ice flavored with watermelon, fruit punch, sour apple and tiger’s blood, a strawberry combo with a hint of coconut. They’ll even top it with condensed milk, if you like, so you can enjoy a taste of heaven while numbing your head!

Open 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily at 1095 Tully Rd., San Jose; hawaiiandriveinsanjose.com

The icy offerings of Rita’s Italian Ice and Frozen Custard. (Doug Duran/Bay Area News Group)

Rita’s Italian Ice & Frozen Custard, Fremont (and other locations)

At the other end of the icy spectrum is soft gelato, which features a mixture of coarser ice particles. Rita’s offers a fancy version with classic flavors like Cherry and Lemon or, depending on where you’re visiting, weirder flavors like Sour Patch Kids and “Unicorn.” They can also mix it into an ice-cold drink or (Philadelphia folks cover their ears) top it with rich dollops of ice cream.

The Fremont location is open 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. Friday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, and 12:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday at 39006 Paseo Padre Pkwy., Fremont, CA 94538; for other locations, check out ritasice.com

A Milkbomb ube flavored ice cream donut sandwich in downtown Berkeley.
A Milkbomb ube flavored ice cream donut sandwich in downtown Berkeley. (John Metcalfe/Bay Area News Group)

Milkbomb Ice Cream, Berkeley

What’s better than an ice cream sandwich? How about a donut with ice cream? Milkbomb obliges with a selection of top international donuts – glazed, brioche, Portuguese malasadas, Filipino ube pandesal in the color of Barney the dinosaur, and more – stuffed with ice cream. You can top them with sweetened children’s cereal and torch-toasted marshmallow fluff. The owners are getting creative with their rotation of ice cream flavors, having toyed around with activated charcoal, coffee-mint mojito and imported durian from the Philippines.

Open Thursday-Sunday (check Yelp for current hours) at 2079 University Ave., Berkeley; milkbombicecream.com

Trueburger, Oakland

This much-loved joint has made a name for itself with classic burgers and garlicky fries, but what some may not realize is that its milkshakes are great too. These are heavy, hand-spun, frozen dairy bombs that you can make even more sumptuous with a variety of blends. Some swear by peanut butter and fresh bananas, others Oreo cookies and toasted marshmallow, but for a unique experience, opt for the shake topped with everyone’s favorite post-apocalyptic snack, Twinkies.

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