Are you wondering where to eat the best ice cream in Lisbon? We provide the scoop on our favorite Lisbon ice cream shops in this spoon-worthy Lisbon gelato guide.
But what about Lisbon? Before we moved to Portugal’s capital city in 2019, we weren’t sure if we’d find great ice cream in our new home city. After all, the pastel de nata is the number one Portuguese dessert in Lisbon, one of Portugal’s most culinary cities.
Our worries were unfounded….
Lisbon has great ice cream if you know where to find it. After licking cones all over the city, we found six spoon-worthy ice cream shops.
Eating Ice Cream In Lisbon
After three years and many scoops eaten for ‘research’ purposes, we’re happy to report that Lisbon’s ice cream and gelato scene is booming. Locals and tourists queue for sweet treats both on weekends and during the week after eating brunch at Lisbon cafes, pizza for lunch or dinner at one of Lisbon’s best restaurants.
When we think about it, this popularity makes sense. Not only does an ice cream cone make an ideal treat after a day of walking up and down Lisbon’s hilly streets, but it also serves as a cooling antidote to warm Lisbon temperatures.
The Portuguese translation for gelato is gelados. This translation is as easy to remember as it is to pronounce.
The Best Lisbon Ice Cream Shops
While the city has more pastelarias (bakeries) than gelaterias (gelato shops), finding ice cream in Lisbon is the opposite of a challenge.
The key is knowing where to achieve gelato bliss while avoiding wasted calories.
Daniel Rivolta brought his family’s gelato traditions to Lisbon when Nivà opened in Lisbon in 2015. An Italian gelateria with serious craft and sourcing behind its wonderful creamy gelato, it wins our title of best ice cream in Lisbon.
Nivà’s roots are in Turin and date back to 1988. Lisbon’s original shop, located in Lisbon’s upscale Príncipe Real neighborhood, channels the family’s Italian heritage with its serene al fresco ceiling and serious approach to the craft of making gelato.
As Rivolta explained to us, Nivà’s hand-crafted gelato is more expensive due to the cost of importing quality products to Lisbon. These products include milk from Trentino, chocolate from Switzerland, hazelnuts from Piedmont, pistachios from Sicily and coffee from Turin. Trust us, the small extra cost is worth paying.
We became fans after tasting flavors like Chocolate Ganache and White Chocolate with Crocantes. Just to make sure, we’ve since returned to try additional flavors like Pistachio and Fig.
With the exception of Coconut, Nivà’s fruit sorbettas are dairy-free. Seasonal flavors include Lemon, Mango, Melon, Peach and Fig.
Nivà has two locations in Lisbon. We typically visit the gelato shop located at Rua da Escola Politécnica 41, 1250-099 Lisboa, Portugal.
2. Unico Gelato
Despite the 1,400 mile distance between Lisbon and Bologna, Unico Gelato faithfully follows the recipes and traditions of Bologna’s popular Cremeria Funivia. Not only is the resulting gelato some of the best in Lisbon, but it’s also some of the best gelato we’ve ever eaten outside of Italy.
The team at Unico Gelato uses fresh local milk and Cattabriga gelato machines to create their world-class gelato. Resulting flavors include simple pleasures like Pistachio and Mango as well as fun combinations featuring quality ingredients like hazelnuts, Sicilian pistachios and mascarpone cream.
Open since May 2020, Unico Gelato is a haven for ice cream lovers like us who live in or visit Lisbon. However, we must warn that deciding which flavors to order from a menu that features more than 20 tempting options can be daunting.
After tasting a half dozen flavors for ‘research purposes’ during our inaugural visit, we settled on a fantastic trio of Bologna (amaretto cream with crunchy caramelized almonds), Stracciatella (chocolate chip) and Cioccolato (dark chocolate). We’re on a mission to taste every single flavor and will update the guide when and if we find any new favorite flavors. It’s a challenge that we were born to conquer!
Buy a container of gelato to enjoy in your apartment if you have access to a freezer. The flavors will taste just as good as in the shop if you follow the container’s simple instructions.
Unico Gelato is located at Avenida Dom Carlos i 92, 1200-815 Lisboa, Portugal.
3. Gelato Daverro
Gelato Davvero lives up to a name that directly translates to really gelato. This gelateria stands out thanks to the quality of its traditional Italian-style gelato served with a spatula into crunchy cones. Free whipped cream and a comfortable dining room are two more reasons why we return again and again.
Expect to choose from dozens of flavors ranging from the traditional (Chocolate, Pistachio and Stracciatella) to the sublime (Basil, Cassata and Ricotta with Walnuts and Fig). Since Davvero sources fresh fruit at the nearby Mercado Ribeira, fruit flavors like Strawberry, Melon and Avocado are also worth a try.
Filippo Licitra, an original partner of Nannarella (see below) opened the original Davvero with partner Riccardo Farabegoli in 2015. The duo now has several locations in Lisbon (including one at the Time Out Market) and beyond.
Not sure what to order? No problem. This gelateria doesn’t limit the number of flavors regardless of the size of your cup or cone.
Gelato Davvero has multiple Lisbon locations. Our personal favorite is located at Rua Ribeira Nova 36, 1200-377 Lisboa, Portugal.
Popular with locals since it opened in Lisbon’s São Bento neighborhood in 2013, Nannarella achieved international fame when Phil Rosenthal filmed a segment of Somebody Feed Phil at the gelateria in 2018. The opposite of a hidden gem, crowds queue all day, every day to eat this popular gelateria’s Italian-style gelato
The gelato here rivals the scoops served at Gelato Daverro (see above), which isn’t surprising since Constanza Ventura opened the shop with former partner Riccardo Farabegoli who now co-owns Daverro. The two shops are similar in many ways including their natural flavors, spatula serving techniques and complimentary puffs of panna montata (Italian whipped cream).
We’ve never eaten a bad flavor at Nannarella whether we’ve ordered Italian classics or seasonal flavors. During our most recent visit, seasonal flavors included Chocolate Sorbet, Cheesecake, Banana, Blueberry and Fig. Not surprisingly, many locals consider Nannarella’s ice cream to be the best gelato in Lisbon.
Although Nannarella has a small dining room, you can enjoy your gelato on a bench at nearby Praça da Constituição de 1976.
Nannarella is located at Rua Nova da Piedade 64A, 1200-299 Lisboa, Portugal.
Known for its red and white striped decor, Gelados Santini has been a local ice cream favorite since Atillio Santini channeled his Italian heritage and opened the original Estoril location in 1948. Yes, Santini is yet another Portuguese ice cream operation with Italian roots.
Today, Santini has multiple Portuguese locations in the Lisbon metropolitan area and as far north as Porto. Each shop serves a dizzying number of artisanal flavors, all of them 100% natural and prepared without preservatives. And, as a bonus, all fruit flavors except coconut are dairy free.
Pulled like a magnet by the shop’s distinctive red and white stripes, we first tried Santini’s ice cream in Cascais and have since returned multiple times to the shop located a few blocks from our Lisbon apartment. Our nephew Max gave Santini a big thumbs up during his inaugural visit, validating Santini’s inclusion in this list. He liked it even more when he returned for his second and third visits.
Sample a few flavors before you decide what to order. Word on the street is that Strawberry is Santini’s most popular flavor, our personal favorites include Honeydew Melon, Pineapple, Raspberry and Marabunta (i.e. chocolate chip).
Santini has multiple gelaterias. Our go-to is the shop located at Rua do Carmo 88, 1100-581, Lisboa, Portugal.
6. Gelados Conchanata
Summertime is a happy time in Lisbon’s Alvalade neighborhood because this is the season when Conchanata is open for business. It’s true. The popular Lisbon ice cream shop takes an annual winter break every year.
Quintilio and Alfo Tarlattini (a father and son duo of Italian descent) opened the Italian-style gelateria more than 70 years ago. Still in the same family, Michele Tarlattini runs the shop today.
Conchanata’s flavors skew traditional compared to flavors found at other Lisbon gelato shops. Guests can choose from wholesome varieties like Chocolate, Vanilla and Hazelnut as well lactose-free varieties like Strawberry, Pineapple and Mango.
Splurge and order a Conchanata Cup. A party in a bowl with four ice cream scoops and lots of strawberry syrup, this dish is Conchanata’s signature sundae. If you don’t like strawberry syrup, splurge on a Banana Split instead.
Gelados Conchanata is located at Avenida da Igreja 28A, 1700-237 Lisboa, Portugal.
Additional Lisbon Ice Cream Shops
We totally get if you want to eat even more ice cream in Lisbon. If that’s the case, check out these additional sweet spots:
Bonus – Alba Gelato In Sintra
Most visitors to Lisbon eventually take a day trip to Sintra to see sites like the Pena Palace (Palácio Nacional de Pena) and the Moorish Castle (Castelo dos Mouros). We did the same during our first visit to Lisbon. However, we didn’t eat ice cream in Sintra during our initial Lisbon trip in 2007.
Read our Sintra food guide.
Now we know to take an ice cream break at Alba Gelato when we visit Sintra. Owner Maria Borga learned traditional gelato skills at Bologna’s Carpigiani Gelato University before opening her Sintra gelateria in 2018.
Popular flavors include Cinnamon, Salted Caramel and Pistachio as well as White Coffee and Dark Chocolate. Try two or three flavors in a cone, cup or crêpe if you’re overwhelmed by the options.
End your Sintra day trip with ice cream at Alba Gelato. The ice cream shop is a short walk from the train station.
Alba Gelato is located at Alameda Combatentes da Grande Guerra 4, 2710-246 Sintra, Portugal.
Hungry For More In Lisbon?
About The Authors
Daryl & Mindi Hirsch
Saveur Magazine’s BEST TRAVEL BLOG award winners Daryl and Mindi Hirsch share their culinary travel experiences and recipes on their website 2foodtrippers. Since launching the site in 2012, they’ve traveled to over 40 countries in their quest to bring readers a unique taste of the world.
Original Publication Date: July 4, 2020
Republish Date: August 11, 2021