Colourful scoops take over our hearts in summer, cooler weather or not. The salty kiss of the ocean on our skin, gelato from a winning local brings just a bit more joy. These days, no matter where you go in Sydney, it’s easy to find a top take on the frozen treat.

Our city's hottest chefs and restaurateurs join snaking queues just like the rest of us: as early as is allowed (10am is a perfectly respectable ice-cream time), in the arvo pre-service or after dinner for a nice cool down.

But where do these taste experts go for their scoops? And what do they order when they get there? We went straight to the source.

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Rhiann Mead, The Charles Grand Brasserie & Bar
Hands-down Mapo Gelato. Being a Bondi local, there’s nothing better than grabbing a gelato and heading to the beach. I love Mapo because the ingredients are natural and seasonal, so the flavours constantly change. The gelato is made fresh every day and the texture is incredible. My favourite flavour is the salted pistachio, but I love that every time I go there are new flavours to try – apricot sorbet, black sesame, banana and lemon … minimum two scoops, always.

Brendy King, Derrel’s
Bubble O’Bill.

Will Mahusay, Sydney Cebu Lechon
At Anita’s, my partner Chris and I love anything hazelnut and chocolate, but my personal favourite is two scoops: the Belgian chocolate and the Loacker hazelnut wafers. Every creamy lick is bliss and dangerously good! But, most of the time I really just want chunks of textural elements, which always brings me back to the Philippines, [so if we’re in Melbourne] that’s Kariton Sorbetes’s halo-halo flavour – its chunky fruit pieces go so well with the creamy vanilla, a perfect balance of sweetness and cream.

Junda Khoo, Ho Jiak
These days we go to Gelato Messina in Miranda, because it’s close to home and it’s our kids’ favourite. I don’t have much of a say or a choice when it comes to where to go for gelato – the kids always win!

Elizabeth Mitchell, Alberto’s Lounge
I love the passionfruit and cream gelato from Cow & the Moon in Enmore. Their gelatos are some of the best I’ve ever eaten. Not too sweet. Perfect mouthfeel.

Elise Honeybrook, Grumpy Donuts, Valentina’s
Without a doubt my number-one for quality has to be Ciccone & Sons. Those guys make a killer gelato and are so passionate about their product, which shines through every flavour. My favourite would be honeycomb – the balance of bitterness in the honeycomb pieces with the delicate sweetness from their jersey milk gelato is incredible.

Sometimes I really just want to dig for chunks of hyper-sweet, textural elements, which always brings me back to Anita Gelato’s Cookieman flavour, which is just a vanilla gelato loaded with Nutella and meringue pieces – my (not so) guilty pleasure.

Amber Doig, The Butler
My fave gelato spot is Messina in Rosebery. It’s generally pretty chaotic, with kids screaming and running amok, but the kind, passionate staff there have so much patience to spare, and all the awesome equipment behind the glass makes it look like a Wonka factory. My favourite flavour is the yoghurt and berry, because I’m a sucker for anything froyo-related. Otherwise it’s gianduja, baci or any other choc-hazelnut hybrid.

James MacDonald, Odd Culture
My go-to gelato is Mapo in Newtown. I love that they only make their gelato from scratch with what’s in season and good at the moment. For that reason, I love to get something different each time, but their pistachio is hard to beat. My daughter is obsessed with the banana limone, and taking her for a quick scoop is one of her most common requests (among many others).

Sarahjane Brown, Cafe Sydney
Mapo in Newtown is my go-to for the Nocciola del Piemonte [hazelnut]. It reminds me of my childhood, when I spent a few years in Germany. Nutella was a treat from my parents (when me and my sister where good).

Jez Wick, Refettorio Ozharvest
Mapo, Newtown – it’s gelato that is made simply and sustainably using only a few ingredients, and it’s yummy. [I order] vegan chocolate or salted caramel.

Nicholas Hill, Porcine
Hands down, for me it’s Messina – Surry or Darlo if I’m out, or Tramsheds for closer to home. I love that Messina do it all, from producing their own milk, to making their own chocolate and dulce de leche. Plus, they have some slick merch.

I’m normally a choc-mint kid, but I panic and stray when I’m in the shop. Nicky Glasses (coffee with salted caramel) is a fave.

George Woodyard, Bart Jr
I can’t say I’ve been hitting the ice-cream too hard – but when I do it’s always Ciccone & Sons for me. It’s the Redfern summer hotspot. They change their flavours all the time, but anything with nuts and caramel and I’m sold.

This article was published on December 9, 2021, and updated on December 19, 2023.