Dolce Gelateria makes authentic Italian recipes daily and is well worth the short trek from Washington Square during the first week of classes.
Formerly called L’Arte Del Gelateria, the store at 33 Barrow St. has been scooping up frozen Italian treats since 2007. Last summer, the shop underwent a rebranding featuring new menu items.
There are a few main differences between ice cream and gelato. Gelato contains less fat than ice cream and is served at a slightly warmer temperature to allow the flavors to shine. In the case of Dolce, those flavors come from carefully sourced ingredients including olive oil from a grove that belongs to owner Salvatore Potestio’s family in Sicily and fresh fruits to make their dairy-free sorbetto.
The earthy, muted green pistachio is made from nuts imported from Italy and contains no artificial colors. The dolce di latte tastes more toffee-like than its South American cousin dulce de leche. If it is steaming out, you might want to bypass the richer offerings in favor of one of their rotating flavors of sorbetto. The passion fruit is particularly good — intensely fruity and not too sweet.
Not every flavor is perfect, including a vanilla that does not taste enough like its namesake, and a slightly gritty chocolate sorbetto. For those of you who think that the pinnacle of Italian cuisine comes in a glass jar with red letters, try skipping the too-sweet Nutella flavor. Instead, make your own by ordering Dolce’s excellent hazelnut gelato and their milk chocolate side by side. For a finishing touch, any flavor combination you choose will taste better in one of the crisp waffle cones that get made in-house every day.
Dolce Gelateria’s signature dish is the spaghetti gelato, which thankfully does not taste like tomatoes. Instead, its vanilla gelato is shaped into noodles, topped with a mixed berry “marinara” sauce and finished with a meatball made of a scoop of another gelato flavor, topped with chocolate.
Their menu includes affogato, a dish made of vanilla gelato with a shot of espresso on top, along with two nontraditional variations — one with mascarpone gelato and Italian hot chocolate and the other with lemon sorbetto and fresh orange juice. Or try an ice cream sandwich, Mediterranean style. The shop takes brioche rolls custom-made by a local bakery and fills them with up to three flavors of gelato to make this Sicilian specialty ($5.95).
In a city overflowing with gelato shops, it is the attention to detail and authenticity that makes this small store stand out — regardless of the name on the sign.
Dolce Gelateria is located at 33 Barrow St., on the corner of Seventh Avenue South.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Sept. 2 print edition. Email Kendall Levison at [email protected]