This Opinion article is part of a Narcity Media series. The views expressed are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Narcity Media.
Ice cream may be the best — and most delicious — way to handle a hot day in Toronto, and the city's neighbourhoods are full of great spots to grab a scoop.
But which places are actually worth what can often be a too-long lineup?
We asked our Instagram followers what they consider to be the best ice cream in Toronto, and the flood of responses showed how passionate locals are about their cones.
The answers varied from Dutch Dreams by Casa Loma to Ice Cream Creamonology on Toronto's waterfront — and there were a few repeat mentions.
I decided to check out the three most popular responses — that are also highly rated on Google — to see for myself which Toronto ice cream spots are truly worth the hype.
I Ranked The 3 Best Ice Cream Spots In Torontowww.youtube.com
I went to Nani's Gelato in the Yorkville area, Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery on Ossington and Mizzica Gelateria & Cafe on Queen Street West, and one of them has already had me going back for more.
The weather in Toronto on the day I set out was hot and humid, and all the locations were trying to say afloat — but some handled the heat better than others.
The three spots I checked out varied in their specialties — some were serving ice cream while others offered gelato.
Not only is gelato the Italian word for ice cream, but it also uses milk rather than cream as a base, making the texture more dense.
Despite these differences, I decided to rate each ice cream parlor out of 10 based on the price, taste of the ice cream and cone, and overall experience.
Here's how the taste test played out — and what I now consider to be the best ice cream in Toronto.
3. Nani's Gelato
Price: $6.99. Total of $8.04 with tax and tip.
Address: 6 Charles St E, Toronto
Nani's in many South Asian languages means grandmother, and their story says: "In every batch of gelato that we produce, we infuse the love and passion of our mothers and grandmothers."
Their gelato, which is influenced by Asian, Indian and Italian cultures, has earned them more than 800 Google reviews and a 4.7-star rating.
The storefront is small and can only fit a few people, but the gelato flavours are endless and available in a cone or cup with other varieties available by the pint.
Unlike the other spots I tried, Nani's has a rotating menu that changes every two weeks, which is excellent for people who live in the neighbourhood because they can try different flavours all summer long.
While there, their best sellers were Salted Dark Chocolate Chip and Brown Butter Pecan, two flavours I hadn't tried before.
Nani's scoops are not small, and you can get two flavours for the price of one scoop, which I'd recommend doing in a cup.
I got both flavours in a waffle cone, which was my only option because that was the only one I was offered.— but the minute I walked outside, the heat meant I was fighting to keep the ice cream from melting all over my dress.
They don't have a seating area, but there are a couple of benches on the street, though they were all occupied when I visited.
The ice cream became soupy quite quickly, but the flavours were decadent and rich — the Salted Dark Chocolate Chip was my favourite.
The cone itself at Nani's was my favourite out of the three spots, and I don't usually enjoy waffle cones with ice cream because I usually feel they make the dessert much heavier. However, this one wasn't too sugary but still sweet and was also a bit softer than those I've had before, so it didn't crumble everywhere.
The melt factor was the worst at Nani's out of the three (see the video above for evidence). I wish I could've sat down with a table and napkins to get a hold of the ice cream, which is why Nani's isn't higher on the list for me.
It's still a great option and worth a try, but I suggest going on a cooler day.
2. Bang Bang Ice Cream
Bang Bang Ice Cream & Bakery.
Price: $5.25. Total $6.06 with tax and tip.
Address: 93A Ossington Ave, Toronto
Bang Bang Ice Cream has been a fan favourite for as long as I can remember. It's located on Toronto's Ossington strip, close enough to all the restaurants for a post-meal dessert and within walking distance from Trinity Bellwoods.
With over 3,700 Google Reviews and a 4.6-star rating, Bang Bang is loved by many.
Without a doubt, this ice cream spot will always have a line, but the service is so fast you hardly wait in it — so don't feel intimidated when you pass it.
Not only does this ice cream spot have delicious cones to choose from, but you can also get your ice cream in a freshly baked cookie, cinnamon bun, brownie and a full-on waffle — not your typical waffle cone.
When I asked what the most popular ice cream flavour was, I was told to get the Burnt Toffee. There were so many other flavours I wanted to try, but as soon as I tasted it, I understood why it's so in demand.
It tasted like something I would have found at my grandmother's house growing up.
I really enjoyed the creaminess of the ice cream, especially when it started melting a bit because there were bits of caramel that were soft and stringy when bit into it, also the burnt toffee pieces gave it a great crunch.
Their regular cone tasted a bit stale, so next time I'd go for another baked good with the ice cream, which all smelled fresh AF.
There was no seating area at all for this one, and people were just huddling around the parlour while licking their ice creams, which also put this one a bit lower on the list — but overall, Bang Bang is delicious and creative.
1. Mizzica Gelateria & Cafe
Mizzica Gelato & Cafe
Price: $5.50. Total $7.22 with tax and tip.
Address: 307 Queen St W, Toronto
Mizzica Gelateria & Cafe has recently gained a lot of attention on social media thanks to its endless gelato varieties.
The spot has over 1,000 Google Reviews and a 4.8-star rating, with a recent comment suggesting the gelatos are "really worth lining up for!"
Every time I've passed Mizzica after work, I've noticed a line that builds up by the TTC shelter — I had wrongly assumed it was people waiting for the streetcar.
When I tasted the Bacio-flavoured ice cream, one of the more popular ones, I fell in love instantly — and I've been to Mizzca twice since.
If you're a Ferrero Rocher fanatic like I am, imagine that ball of goodness made into a chilled and lickable dessert, perfect for any summer day.
The gelato did melt, but it was controllable, and I had somewhere to sit so the chocolate didn't ruin my dress. I was happy.
Their regular cone was simple and tasty — like the ones you would get on a cruise ship, which brought back happy childhood memories.
Mizzica was only the second spot I tried, but l had a feeling before I left that it would be my hands-down favorite.
A bonus was the indoor and outdoor seating area that's also dog-friendly — the perfect place to bring a date or catch up with friends.
They also have a bathroom to clean off all the sticky ice cream that melts on your hands.
If you haven't been, make time to go before the summer ends. Trust me, it's worth it.
All three ice cream spots were unique in their way, but my experiences at the parlors themselves (rather than the taste of the ice cream) had the biggest impact on my ratings.
If you're a fast eater or looking for a grab-and-go kind of ice cream adventure, Bang Bang Ice Cream and Nani's are great options and are also located in fun areas to walk about.
But if you want more of an experience, Mizzica is the way to go. Get the Bacio — you won't regret it.
The main lesson I learned from this experience? Always have wet wipes in your car.