For the true cafe experience, check out this cute shop just a few blocks from the canals along the Kreuzberg/Neükoln border. The interior boasts a large space for rainy days and the outside sidewalk patio is a great place to relax for a few hours on a sunny Sunday. The fairly traditional ice cream menu is spotted with bright options like orange-carrot, chocolate-ginger, buttermilk orange, and quark-sour cherry. The popular GuZiMi (cucumber-lemon-mint) is refreshing and herbal, while Mango Lassi is incredibly creamy.
Fräulein Frost: Friedelstrasse 39, 12047 (Neükolln) (map); 030 95595521
Glücklich am Park
This Prenzaluer Berg favorite is the perfect spot for a shopping/ice cream double date; on the street level you'll find the scoop shop and up the stairs there's an eclectic fashion boutique. The ice cream is whipped into a fluffly texture and tends to come in traditional flavors like chocolate, strawberry, coconut, and cinnamon. There are a few kid-friendly choices, including M&Ms and shortbread cookie. Although there are a handful of tables inside, the real draw is the sprawling outdoor café area, which takes over the entire sidewalk with its retro patio decor.
Glücklich am Park: Kastanienallee 54, 10119 (Prenzlauer Berg) (map); 030 41725651
This eis cafe is by far one of the most popular in the city. The tiny, hallway-sized shop in Mitte is tucked on a side street just off busy Tor Strasse, and despite its size it constantly draws a crowd. The double chocolate is just the right amount of bitter, the latte macchiato is creamy and bright, and the sorbets, like strawberry mint and guava, are intense with fruit flavor. And with five locations in Berlin, this shop makes it all the more easy to get great eis in the city.
Eismanufaktur: Auguststraße 63,10117 (Mitte) (map), plus 4 additional locations; 151 24237879; http://www.eismanufaktur-berlin.de/
Vanille & Marille
The weekend line for this tiny walk-up cafe generally runs around the block and for good reason—it's often been called the best in the city. Along with the namesake Marille aus der Wachau (apricot from Austria), the cafe offers a few dozen flavors, including bright and tangy yogurt, sinfully rich chocolate, and a complex, nutty sesame that slipped under my radar on my first visit, but that I'll now ride across town specifically for a scoop. Right off Kreuzberg's busy Mehringdamm, it's a convenient place to satiate your ice cream craving, if you can beat the crowd. The shop also has three other locations, making their very in demand flavors slightly more attainable.
This charming shop offers some real wild flavors and a taste of Southeast Asian sweets. Alongside the typical mango, yogurt, and apricot, you'll find the pale green pandan, an herb used similarly to vanilla; the bright purple and funky ube; and a tonka bean and poppy seed combo. Although the flavors are super bright, this gourmet producer only uses natural ingredients and no flavor additives or dyes. Located on a quite street in Kreuzberg, the shop offers visitors a few benches inside and out to relax and enjoy their ice cream. Just make sure you check the time before heading out; Die Eismacher is only open for a short period of time, daily between 2p.m. and 6p.m.
Eispatisserie Hokey Pokey
There are many Brooklyn-Berlin comparisons to be made with this Prenzlauer Berg café. Besides the vintage-y décor and artisan approach to production, the shop offers funky and fun flavors, including the American-approved Rocky Road, their namesake Hokey Pokey (vanilla packed with crunchy caramel), and a rotating selection of seasonal scoops including Rhubarb, Strawberry Mascarpone, and Peanut butter Banana. Located on the pretty, tree-lined Stargarder Strasse, it's a wonderful place to take an afternoon break, and the shop stays open till 11 p.m., offering an excellent after dinner treat as well.