Indulgent ice cream. Gourmet gelato. Sweet sorbet. Smooth soft serve. Frosty frozen yogurt. Canada’s Capital is a hotbed of delicious and inventive frozen treats that will satisfy all your cool cravings. Here are some of the best Ottawa-made frosty desserts – including ice cream alternatives – that will keep you licking your way through Canada’s Capital on hot summer days and throughout the year.
Note: The businesses mentioned below are open (yay!) but have altered their offerings due to COVID-19. See notes under the business names for current purchase options (valid as of this page’s publishing date). Please contact businesses individually to confirm.
Moo Shu Ice Cream and Kitchen
PREPAID SCHEDULED PICKUPS
Fun with ice cream is the motto at Moo Shu. Owner and chef Liz Mok creates small-batch ice cream and ice cream truffles using pure Ontario dairy, the best premium dark chocolate and whenever possible, local ingredients from the bountiful Ottawa region. The shop on Bank Street in Centretown offers mainstay flavours like Black Sesame or Ginger Vanilla Bean, as well as rotating flavours like Black Cumin & Chocolate, Red Bean or Vegan London Fog. Visit on Wednesdays to try their famous bubble waffles that come in flavours like Earl Grey and Apricot & Cardamom. The lucky cat logo is the perfect backdrop for Instagram snaps or selfies!
TAKE OUT (DROP IN OR ORDER AHEAD)
Stella Luna’s gelato is as sweet as its backstory. Ottawan Tammy Giuliani traveled to Italy at 19, married an Italian and returned home to start a family. She later trained in Italy as a master gelato maker before opening the original Stella Luna in the Old Ottawa South neighbourhood in 2011. Since then, her artisanal gelato has received awards around the world (including Italy) and she’s opened a second location in Hintonburg which also serves food. The silky-smooth, dense, handcrafted gelato is made with only the best ingredients, and the sorbets are dairy-free, fat-free and many consist of 50% pure fruit! Try classic gelato flavours like pistachio as well as specials like the Fat Elvis (peanut butter, banana, skor, oreo and caramel) or Lemon Curd, Cranberry & Ginger.
Lois ‘N’ Frima’s
The corner of George and William Streets in the ByWard Market area is a dessert destination with two sweet staples: BeaverTails pastries and Lois ‘N’ Frima’s Ice Cream. Lois ‘N’ Frima’s has been making classic, rich ice cream since 1984 using Ontario's farm-fresh milk and cream. Their roster of 60 flavours includes Black Cherry, Chocolate Orange Sunshine and Strawberriana. Non-dairy and sugar-free options are available, as well as Ontario-made Gaylea soft serve. In addition to their ByWard Market kiosk, you can get your Lois ‘N’ Frima fix in Stittsville (West Ottawa).
The Merry Dairy
WALK-UP WINDOW; ORDER ONLINE FOR PICK UP/DELIVERY; PURCHASE AT RETAILERS
In 2012, The Merry Dairy started serving premium soft-serve out of a retro-cool food truck, and in 2017, they opened a storefront location in Hintonburg. The larger brick and mortar space allows them to create more than just their popular soft-serve – such as their unique (and nut-free) Midwest-style frozen custard which is denser and smoother than standard ice cream. Flavours change based on seasons, holidays and the owner’s fancy! Order a scoop or twist in a homemade gluten-free waffle, or one of their other irresistible treats like ice cream sandwiches, floats, fruit popsicles, and cupcakes. Very merry indeed. (Hours vary by season.)
Oat & Mill
ORDER ONLINE FOR DELIVERY; PURCHASE AT RETAILERS
Did you know that you can get protein and fibre in a vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free frozen treat? The folks at Oat & Mill, who grew up in an Ottawa farming community, were inspired to churn Canadian oats into an oat cream. While they don’t have a storefront or scoop shop, their luscious and decadent ice cream alternative is available in satisfying pint format at retail locations throughout the greater areas of Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and Montreal. Get yours at grocery chains like Metro or Fortino’s, at local health food stores like Kardish and at bakeries like Little Jo Berry’s. Visit their website to find the location nearest you.
Share your favourite Ottawa-made frozen treats with us on social media by using #MyOttawa! And if you’re craving the warmth of coffee after all that cool creaminess, check out Six Coffee Roasters in Ottawa to Satisfy Your Caffeine Cravings.