There is always a line out the door at Ici Ice-Cream in Berkeley – it is just a question of how long the line is (don’t let that deter you, you won’t regret the wait). There are times when the line is better – weekday afternoons which works great if you want to take the kids on a summer adventure to Berkeley or after school. Having grown up in Singapore I have come to associate long lines with great food and I never walk away from an establishment that has a crowd trying to get in. Drives my hubby insane but he is starting to buy my theory.
This little gem of a shop is one of our favorite places to get ice-cream. Even my father who is opposed to fancy gourmet (read: pricey) food loves this place and actually professes his admiration out loud. What we like best is that this ice-cream, aside from having great flavor, texture, the perfect amount of sugar, feels kind of light. No after ice-cream heaviness here and no regrets for having eaten it.
We love the interior of the shop (once you finally get in) – it’s white, cool, immaculately clean and simple and almost a “reward” for enduring the line. They are happy to let you sample and then decide what you want. I am known to get to the front of ice-cream lines and freeze (words literally don’t come out of my mouth) because I can’t decide what I want (it’s tough when you want everything!). Ria is steadfast in her love of chocolate concoctions .
Ici is run by a former chef from Chez Panisse and features fresh market flavors and some unique twists. On our last visit they had orange-rosemary toffee and candied meyer lemon. We went for the relatively “safe” options of milk chocolate caramel and caramel pecan. Ici always has a couple of ice-cream sandwiches, bons-bons and bombes – how can you go wrong with bons-bons and bombes! The best part and worth every extra penny and then some are the home-made cones – thin, crispy, light and with a little chocolate surprise at the bottom. Ria and I shared one and towards the end I forgot I was her mother and we were fighting over the last bites with the chocolate. My parents had to intervene and remind me that I was an adult and it was okay if she ate a little bit more cone than me. Maybe, you shouldn’t go to Ici with your kids. 🙂