It’s July — let’s all eat ice cream.
This guide is dedicated to all the local shop owners who churn their own ice cream, vegan frozen creams, soft serve and frozen treats.
Instead of just focusing on full descriptions of shops like last year, we’ve arranged this year’s guide by neighbourhood, so you can find your waffle cones, halo-halo, ice cream sandwiches, Korean snow, gelati, shakes, bars or scoops that much quicker. Let’s dig in!
Dug & Betty’s Ice Creamery – 209 Des Meurons Street
We’re starting this guide in St. B because it’s arguably the best hood for house-made ice cream and Dug & Betty’s rules when it comes to variety and quality. Owned and operated by the Kirouac family (of InFerno’s Bistro), this place is not shy when it comes to bold flavours in its small-batch ice cream, like the signature strawberry balsamic with honey and black pepper. They also create all the usual suspects (vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel – all gluten-free), along with many varieties of cookie dough, including vegan versions too. Sorbet, ice cream sandwiches, soft serve cones (and dips), milkshakes, sundaes, parfaits — yup, they have those too.
And while this is an ice cream guide, you may want to get lunch first at Dug & Betty’s. They have nice sandwiches, mains like lobster mac & cheese and bison chilli, and even the salads step it up a notch, like a kale Caesar featuring avocado, radish and asiago with sumac croutons and creamy tahini-miso dressing. They are also doing fancy hot dogs this summer, along with an always fun lineup of treats for dogs (which only makes sense as Dug & Betty are the names of chef Fern Kirouac’s basset hounds). Oh, and it’s licensed and stocked with local beer. Just go, friend, just go.
Here’s the website for hours and a full menu.
Chocolatier Constance Popp – 180 Provencher Boulevard
While Constance is widely known for her sustainably sourced, local ingredient-based chocolates, she and her team also make some pretty spectacular ice cream and cool treats. New for summer 2023 are frozen cheesecake pops available in banana caramel, hazelnut coffee and citrus flavours. When you visit, if they are serving the house-made local birch syrup ice cream, you have to get a scoop on a cone. The texture of the ice cream is so silky, while the deep rich birch syrup flavour is quintessential Manitoba.
Chaeban Ice Cream – 390 Osborne Street
We’d been saying for years that Chaeban’s Salty Carl is about as good as ice cream gets, so it wasn’t a surprise when it was crowned Canada’s Best Ice Cream and Best in Show Grand Champion at the 2022 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. And it wasn’t their only winner either, as Rocky Ricardo took first in the ‘Chocolate with Inclusion’ category, while other ice creams like its signature Abir Al Sham placed well, too, as you’ll read here.
We’ve covered the multiple award-winning owners Joseph Chaeban and Zainab Ali many times on our tourism sites (here’s a short version) for their dreamy ice creams, but we also need to give them additional props on their always lovely staff, who can expertly guide you through ordering flights, affogatos, and all the other delights they sell. Pro tip: You don’t need to order more than one scoop if you are getting a cup at the store, as Chaeban’s single scoop is massive. You can also find a wide selection of their ice creams across the province at fine food shops and grocery stores. Here’s more info.
Black Market Provisions (BMP) – 550 Osborne Street
We could put BMP on just about every guide we do because everything that comes out of the kitchen helmed by the dynamic duo of Alana Fiks and Angela Farkas, rocks so hard. In BMP’s current freezer section, you’ll find four delicious vegan ice creams (the base is usually coconut milk). I do not have any willpower when it comes to the Malted Chocolate Oreo, digging into it in a frenzied state like the cast of Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox evading an excavator. I can’t not buy the Thai-Phoon (gluten-free), which has been a favourite since inception with its lemongrass notes and candied ginger bites throughout. The hibiscus lemonade is refreshing (also gf), and “The” Cookies + Cream is just as outrageously good as the Malted Chocolate Oreo.
If you want something refreshing, pick up some Juice Me Freezies (made by our friend Agata Robb; I have a Juice Me spicy ginger shot every morning, and my kids love the freezies) or a Pop Cart popsicle, which Fiks and Farkas started as a food cart before selling the business. It’s virtually impossible to go to BMP and not load up on big salads (also made in-house; textural sensations and great dressings, too!) and condiments. And, of course, the staff members are also amazing. It’s my six-year-old Sebastian’s favourite store in the city, and it could be yours too, should you follow the above advice. - via Mike Green
Bridge Drive-In – 766 Jubilee Avenue
BDI is a classic, serving up super-rich soft serve since 1957 with no signs of stopping. Tourists should go for something outrageous like The Sleeping Beauty – a half pineapple with a mountain of ice cream on top, while another signature item that is a totally original milkshake-sort of concoction with blueberries, bananas and hot fudge called a Goog. It’s always busy at the BDI come evenings, as who can resist a milkshake or cone paired with a stroll over the Red River? You should also read this insightful article by Alison Gillmor in The Free Press about BDI's storied building.
Corydon Avenue & Osborne Village
Milksmith – 651 Corydon Avenue
As the name suggests, this place knows how to work dairy – often in creative and crazy ways. Mixologist/owner Siuleen Leibl and beverage director Dustin Nguyen dream big and execute Insta-ready molecular gastronomy-style sweet creations at this vibrant spot-on Corydon. Milksmith is known for its ice cream tacos served in waffle cones, while other crowd favourites are waffle pops, milkshakes (of course) and rolled ice cream (also known as Thai ice cream rolls) that you can see being made before your eyes. For the past two years for Cinco de Mayo, Milksmith made elote ice cream shaped like a corn cob – incredible stuff.
Rollesque – 117 Osborne Street & 605 Sterling Lyon Parkway
Winnipeg’s first Thai-style rolled ice cream shop can be found in two Pho Hoang locations — the newest spot in Seasons of Tuxedo, and the cool Osborne Village location. The flavoured creams are spread out and mixed right before your eyes on the super cold surface before being rolled up and assembled in a cup – a joy to watch. While there, you can treat yourself to some of Winnipeg’s best Vietnamese food courtesy of the hospitable owners, Tom and Heather Hoang.
Chocoberry Dessert House – Unit B – 470 River Avenue
Everything from the tiny kitchen at this Osborne Village café is almost too precious to eat. The milkshakes are magical and piled-high with whipped cream, you can get sensational sundaes (go for the peach or matcha), and the waffles are a world all their own. Chocoberry also has plenty of cool drinks and shakes, all of which come in compostable containers should you take them to go.
Corydon Avenue is also the capital of gelato/gelati in the city, and you can’t go wrong with either GG’s Gelati, Eva's Gelato or Nucci’s Gelato, all of which have stood the test of time and offer a wide selection of flavours to take to the streets for a stroll down the strip.
Downtown & The Exchange District
Fête Ice Cream & Coffee – Unit B-300 Assiniboine Avenue
This charming little spot located beside a dog park excels at making super smooth ice creams and all manner of cool treats. Owners Élise Page and Teri-Lynn Friesen serve a number of exciting and flavourful options, many of them gluten and dairy free, while using bases like oat milk and coconut cream. They make their waffle cones in-house, an affogato is a must, and the ice cream sandwiches are pretty special. You've also come to the right place if you love ice cream cake and if you like eating ice cream while watching dogs play (the shop looks out onto Bonnycastle Dog Park). Here's the website.
Neon Cone – The Forks Market
Scoops, soft serve, or pints – Neon Cone serves it all. This bustling spot has a variety of flavours using Manitoba-made products from spots like Tall Grass Prairie (its neighbours at The Forks) and De Luca’s. It now offers other fun treats like ice cream-filled s'mores and ice cream flights, perfect for enjoying on the huge outdoor patio. Having been a staple at The Forks for over 30 years, Neon Cone is a must-try for the perfect scoop.
Cake-ology – 85 Arthur Street
Cake-ology is as perfect as you would expect, given chef/owner Austin Granados’ pastry background. While not known as an ice cream place per se), come summer, the team often will sling ice cream sandwiches that can’t stop, won’t stop. The cookies alone (like the miso chocolate chip) are sensational, and they will even do ice cream sandwiches on the signature kouign-amann pastries if you really want to indulge.
Maples & North End
The Supreme Ice Cream – 1295 Jefferson Avenue
Last year The Supreme, the home of 'halo-halo,’ which translates to 'mix-mix' in Tagalog, started serving The Big Daddy, a four-litre version brimming with shaved ice, ice cream, sweetened beans, fruits and evaporated milk. If that’s too much to handle, they also do individual portions for with all manner of toppings, from Ube to banana. Supreme also does numerous bubble tea flavours, iced lattes, gelati and hot savoury Pinoy dishes.
9 Below – 2494 Main Street
In the mood for a juicy burger and creamy ice cream? 9 Below and Charlie Burgers is the perfect combo of sweet and savoury. Its storefront offers a selection of hard and soft ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes and banana splits, including iconic flavours like the cinnamon bun sundae and birthday party ice cream. 9 Below also offers the option to build a perfect ice cream treat! Choose the size, sauce and toppings to make it just right!
St. Vital & South Winnipeg
Lick’s Ice Cream Patio – 20 Britannica Road
For over 25 years, Licks Ice Cream Patio has served Winnipeggers hard scoops and soft serve from south St. Vital. With an enormous patio and a massive variety of flavours, there's something for everyone. While Licks is known for its ice cream, please don't sleep on its variety of frappes (a cool and tasty way to recharge). And let's not forget the irresistible birthday party dip for cones. Trust us – it's a game-changer and a whole new level of indulgence that will leave you speechless.
Snow & Moon Dessert Café – 1727 Kenaston Boulevard.
Snow and Moon’s Korean street-style dessert is made entirely of crystallized milk flakes, looking identical to snow (unless you try the matcha flavour) and loaded up with fruity toppings, chocolate slivers or an entire slice of tiramisu and honey bread (grilled homemade loaf with honey butter covered with whipped cream and caramel sauce topped with almonds). They also do savoury brunch dishes at this gem of a spot.
Sub Zero- 298 Jamison Avenue
Three words: Bacon. Doughnut. Sundae. Beyond the three words that make up that beauty, Sub Zero has always been known for its parfaits, many of which use local ingredients – like fresh rhubarb in early summer, while you can’t go wrong with the ice cream sandwiches filled with their vanilla soft-serve. It's been a local staple for years with its quality, service, and largest selection of ice cream in Manitoba. Find all those sweet parfait pics in that Instagram link above.
Sweet Tops – 949 Henderson Highway
This place excels at soft serve, particularly the pumpkin flavour put out every fall. Pretty much anything you can think of from Dairy Queen has a doppelgänger here, but made-in-house and better, including whole ice cream cakes. The logo, featuring a bowtie-wearing ice cream cone gets us every time – we just want to go hang with that guy.
Sargent Sundae – 2053 Portage Avenue
People have been picking up a cone or some other elaborate creation (malt, shake or sundae) at this classic Winnipeg spot, then strolling across the bridge into Assiniboine Park since 1984. This summer it’s your turn to do the same.