My search for the best ice cream in New York continues ….

The well-regarded (and always crowded) Otto used to be one of my favorite date spots. But I didn’t bring the girls here to woo them with Mario Batali’s pizza or pastas. Or to hob nob with the after work crowd hanging at the bar. No, we would come here after dinner to sit at the bar and taste what I thought was the best gelato in the entire city. I remember being amazed that the fresh mint ice cream tasted like the actual herb and the caramel flavor tasted like pure caramelized sugar!! The flavors were rich and intense and… where did my date go?

This time (many years later), we came in for a nice dinner of pizza, pasta, and salad. I will have to return with a larger group to do a full examination of the thin crust Italian pizza, but it was affordable and tasty. The real thing I was after was to see if the gelato stands up to my memory or if my palette has become too jaded and sophisticated in my many years as a food blogger.

The heavenly mint that I remember is no longer on the menu, but along with the caramel, we chose coconut, and the legendary olive oil gelato. You read that correctly: olive oil gelato!

I had heard tell of this bizarre combination, but never got to try it. Either it wasn’t on offer 8 years ago when I was playing Don Juan or I wasn’t game enough to sample it. Oh, what I’ve been missing all these years!

The notes of fruit, grass, and herbs cut right through the rich sweet cream. It’s not too sugary and is garnished with a drizzle of the actual oil. It’s decadent, unusual, but so enjoyable. The coconut was spot-on with pieces of the fruit to chew on. And that caramel was just as spectacular as I remembered. Amazingly, it’s not too sweet but has a light, complex caramelized flavor.

I was right all those years ago when I proclaimed this gelato the best in the city. The only question I have is why didn’t any of those girls fall madly in love with me those years ago when I introduced them to the stuff?

Is Otto the best ice cream in NY? It’s close. But for gelato, I think this beats out all the others I’ve tasted. The flavors are so rich and perfect while the creamy texture can’t be beat. 10 out of 10.

OTTO
1 Fifth Avenue (at 8th Street),
Greenwich Village
(212) 995-9559
ottopizzeria.com
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Category: Ice Cream

About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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