"Enjoy a flavourful ice-cream from either 3 of Siciliana's locations. Soy-based, refreshing sorbets options and other desserts to try out. Admire the vintage 1950's-feel parlour or sit outside and catch some rays, careful not to let that ice-cream melt ..."
*Stunning images all courtesy of Jessica Bruning
Spring is upon us folks (though it felt like summer on the particular day of this outing). What better way to cool down and indulge in some good quality ice-cream? The heat lead us to Gelateria Siciliana, on the buzzing street of Ben Yehuda. The alfresco seating welcomed us into a quaint and very dashing, late 1950’s vintage-feel parlour, with its neutral colour palette of light tan hues, large geometric mirror, white half-wall paneling and clean-design ceramic tiled wall. Some antique prints on the opposite wall blend in with the neutral colour scheme. We loved the cute spot lights that hang over the ice-cream counter, the geometric floor tiles and the awesome 2-blade belt-driven ceiling fans (don’t fear, these are supplemented with 2 very efficient air conditioners!).
Onto important matters: The ice-cream, Semifreddo (more of a mousse consistency) include flavours like Ferror Rocher, Alfajores and cookies. Ice-cream ranging from tiramisu, expresso, Nutella and almonds, banana and pecan, 70% dark chocolate, Ferror Rocher, Nocciola (hazelnut) and Raffaello (white chocolate and coconut). Refreshing sorbets of chocolate, grapefruit, pina colada, strawberry, passionfruit, lemon sorbet and a blend of melon, lychee and mint. Great for vegans (and those with lactose intolerance) with their soy-based alternatives like French vanilla, coconut and hazelnut. The parlour also offers other desserts like chocolate balls covered in coconut, chocolate souffles, ricotta treats and Belgian waffles – or be extra naughty and combine them with your favourite ice-cream or milkshake.
Jess and I arrived at their branch on Ben Yehuda Street, it was unclear whether we were served by the manager or casual working staff, perhaps the heat of the day was too much for her or she had lost all patience with indecisive customers; she came across as icy (if not more so) than the ice-cream itself! I was intrigued about their ice-cream sundaes that usually feature on their Facebook page. I inquired about their sundaes that were displayed in the glass cabinet located by the shop window front – she was very unhelpful and pointed the obvious as was written – that it was just a display [do they not serve sundaes as was advertised?], she continued to get even more impatient when I inquired about her ice-cream recommendations. At the time of this incident the parlour was not buzy, eventually Jess and I decided on 3 flavours in the traditional Sundae glass – sadly it was just the ice-cream, no fancy wafer or sprinkle here and there of nuts or chocolate as was displayed in the window … I was a bit of a sad, spoiled child, whose parents finally gave in and rewarded them ice-cream after finishing their dinner, only to realise that their mom had forgotten all the exciting sprinkles and accessories that go along with their Sundae.
We sat inside, as the attendant rushed outside for her cigarette (maybe we were keeping her from her clearly much-needed ciggie break?) Luckily their ice-cream melted away the poor service and treatment we received. Though I have seldom ever received bad service from waiting staff in Israel (I’d like to think we are courteous and not obnoxious towards waiting staff), I can suggest to choose your ice-cream flavours fast if you have the honour of being served by this lady But, on the other hand, Jess has been to both of the other locations and told me that their staff were all very friendly and nothing like what we had just experienced. The 2 other locations: In Tel Aviv on Ibn Gvirol 63 (a short walk away from their Ben Yehuda branch, seconds anyone? ;)) and in Herzliya Pituach, 14 Arie Shenkar Street.
So in a Sundae-style glass (but not quite the sundae we had hoped for) we had the Amarena variegate which is a mix of amaretto, cherries and chocolate chips, it was surprisingly light and the crunchy chocolate chips gave it an added edge with the sweet-tart cherries. The double chocolate fudge was delicious and dense, with chunks of brownie for added chocolatiness. Our third and favourite of our choices was the melon, lychee and mint sorbet – probably the best sorbet, the mint and fruits are zingy and incredibly refreshing. I always like to add a sorbet with rich, creamy ice-creams and leave the sorbet for last, it also cleanses the palette but in a nice way Israeli sorbets are incredibly refreshing, usually they combine seasonal summer fruits and range from watermelon with mint, pear, pineapple or guava. Sorbets make the summer more than bearable and are indeed great rewards after a day at the beach or simply the best way to end a meal.
Skip dessert at a local restaurant and head to either of the nearby branches and choose either a waffle cone, takeaway cup or sit and enjoy in a sundae glass or have their sundae special [if it truly exists ;)]! The portion size and price are fair in terms of Tel Aviv pricing, many people have recommended the pistachio and the 70% dark chocolate.
It was especially hard to tell with our server at the time, but the best ice-cream and service are the parlours that will give you unlimited samples to try, before making your final decision.