If you love Italian food and you haven’t been to Eataly at the Century City Mall, you need to go. This marketplace, which the LA Times calls “Disneyland for Italian food lovers,” contains pasta, pizza, and seafood restaurants; a bakery; a butcher; an espresso bar; a grocery store; a gift shop and more. If that sounds overwhelming, I sympathize. The first time I went in there, I got a glimpse of the eight hundred or so kinds of olive oil and went into tilt mode. I left without getting anything.
So I’ll make it easy for you. Head straight for the gelato shop on the first floor.
Being lactose-intolerant, I can’t eat gelato (sad face). But I can eat sorbet. Sorbet does not contain dairy; instead of milk or cream, water is the base. The best sorbets, however, don’t taste watery or icy. They have a creamy texture like ice cream.
Most of Il Gelato’s sorbets have that delectable creamy texture. Their standout sorbet, in my opinion, is the chocolate. I get very excited about sorbets that aren’t fruit-flavored because they’re rare. It’s much more common to get a mango or lemon sorbet than a chocolate or vanilla one.
Il Gelato’s is, hands down, the best chocolate sorbet I’ve ever had. It’s super rich, chocolatey, smooth and creamy. If I didn’t know it was sorbet, I’d assume it was a high-end dark chocolate ice cream like Berthillion in Paris. It’s better than the one at Treats in Santa Monica, which has a lighter mousse-like texture.
As you can see in the picture above, we had a scoop of the chocolate and a scoop of the mixed berry — they were having a two-for-one special and my husband loves a bargain. The mixed berry sorbet was fantastic, with a very strong, tart flavor.
I’ve been to Il Gelato several times to check out their selection, and it seems like they have a few flavors all the time and a few that rotate. Of the sorbets I’ve tried, I recommend, in this order:
- Mixed Berry
- Passion Fruit
The ones I didn’t care for were:
- Lemon & Basil (strangely herbal tasting)
- Pear Vanilla (more pear-like than vanilla)
- Blood Orange (icy, not smooth and creamy)
- Chocolate Banana (just gross)
- Apple & Celery (Celery in ice cream? Who thought that was a good idea?)
I wouldn’t make a special trip to Eataly just for sorbet, but if I were already at the Century City Mall, I would highly consider swinging by for a scoop. Especially when the weather gets hot. The fact that Il Gelato has so many dairy-free options is enough reason to celebrate its existence.
IL GELATO, Located at Eataly, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90067