Shanghai's best ice cream

Your ultimate guide to the city's best chilled treats

Photograph: Anne-Sophie Heist, Buco

Even though we rate Family Mart soft serve, sometimes a convenience store ice lolly just won’t cut it. Upgrade your family’s ice cream game this summer with these top scoops, cups and cones.


Gracie's

Gracie's

What’s the vibe? An ice cream counter inside American comfort food joint Al’s Diner. Ice cream enthusiasts in town are likely to be familiar with Gracie’s where high-quality ingredients and TLC are used to whip up popular flavours: the shop’s Strawberries and Cream uses fruit imported from France and for their Roasted Black Sesame, ingredients are hand-ground in house. Depending on what’s on rotation, other popular varieties include Mint Chocolate, Mango Coconut and Malt Sea Salt and Chocolate (30RMB per scoop). Delivery is also available via food delivery services.

Signature Scoop For a nostalgic treat opt for Gracie’s banana split (108RMB). With generous helpings of strawberries, banana and sea salt caramel and hot fudge sauces sat atop scoops of vanilla bean and dark chocolate ice cream, it’s an over-the-top treat that's big enough to share.

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204 Xinle Lu
Bonus

Bonus

What’s the vibe? A once-seasonal pop-up next to The Avocado Lady, gelato shop Bonus proved so popular it now has an additional permanent location on Huaihai Zhong Lu which opened last autumn. Kids will love the bright coloured decor of Bonus’ original shop, but the other offers more space to sit down and chill out in the AC. At both spots, find eight great flavours on offer at a time based on seasonal inspirations. For a summery twist, try the floral gardenia and fruity sake scoops.

Signature Scoop Salted egg yolk is the shop’s most popular, but we rate the ‘chocolate soul’ combo: one scoop chocolate alongside one scoop salted caramel for 35RMB.

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276 Wulumuqi Zhong Lu
Spoooon!

Spoooon!

What’s the vibe? It’s a DIY experience from start to finish at this Yongkang Lu frozen yogurt spot. Top tart yet creamy froyo with 12 fresh fruit options, as well as sweets, muesli and granola, or crumbled cookies. The cheery, bright green shop also makes fresh and Greek yogurt in-house. DIY a parfait to eat in or take a tub home for later. (Greek yogurt, 500ml for 75RMB).

Signature Scoop A grande frozen yogurt cup comes with two fresh fruit toppings and two crunchy toppings for 37RMB.

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59 Yongkang Lu
Pree
Photograph: Pree

Pree

What’s the vibe? Gelateria meets swanky lounge. All shiny gold metal and white marble, Pree is hardly your casual neighbourhood scoop shop but if you need an ice cream break in the middle of bustling Xintiandi, it works in a pinch. It’s not cheap (a good-sized cup hovers around 58RMB) but it’s quality stuff that comes in unexpected flavour combinations like fig and black pepper or bourbon and roasted cherries that you'll definitely find intriguing.

Signature Scoop Don’t miss Pree’s boozy ice pops. Pick from four different homemade fruit popsicles plunked in a generous glass of prosecco (68RMB). Ideal for when you don’t want to choose between a cocktail or dessert.

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No 15, Xintiandi North Block, Lane 181 Taicang Lu
Buco

Buco

What’s the vibe? An itty-bitty walk-up window attached to Donghu Lu pizzeria Gemma (appropriately named, in Italian buco means hole and is commonly used for gelato windows in Capri). For gelato this authentic, the team blends together imported ingredients in a Carpigiani gelato maker, the ‘Ferrari of gelato machines’ according to the team’s gelato master Salvatore Naselli. Currently Buco has eight flavours on offer but we’re told lots of exciting new varieties are coming later in May.

Signature Scoop Don’t miss the crunchy hazelnut or pistachio gelato, or the dairy-free peach and fig sorbets. 25RMB for one scoop; 40RMB for two.

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20 Donghu Lu
Ice Monster
Photograph: Ice Monster

Ice Monster

What’s the vibe? A popular Taiwan shaved ice shop that gets pretty packed, especially on weekends. Here huge bowls of fluffy ice come topped with everything from fresh fruit and sorbet to red bean and rice jelly. Individual scoops of sorbet are also available.

Signature Scoop The Mango Avalanche (68RMB) comes piled high with ice shavings, sweet syrup, fresh mango chunks and sorbet. This one’s best for sharing.

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288 Shimen Yi Lu,

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