Jul 5, 2023 - Food and Drink

Food Fight: Where to find the best ice cream in Portland

An image of a hand holding up an ice cream cone with the words Salt and Straw on a wooden board in the background.

There's plenty of ice cream to choose from in Portland. Photo: Meira Gebel/Axios

Summer means cold treats, served in a cup or cone or on a stick — and in Portland, there are many, many options, from gelato and sorbet to soft serve and shave ice.

Driving the news: Original, full-fat ice cream is the classic choice. We asked readers to weigh in with their favorites, and we're sharing our own too.

Salt & Straw

Multiple locations

Meira's pick: In this town, there's nothing more reliable than Salt & Straw. Overrated? Maybe, but I've never been let down.

A scoop of the sea salt with caramel ribbons is the perfect blend of salty and sweet. Usually I buy this by the pint, but the first time I ever tasted it was after a meal at Caffe Mingo (two blocks east from the location on NW 23rd) shortly after I moved to Portland.

  • I paired it with a scoop of lavender honey as I walked down the street, marveling at my new hometown.
A paper bowl with three scoops of ice cream, one pale yellow, one speckled tan, and one white with chocolate chips, sits on a wooden table.
Beaux Berry's churro sabroso is the scoop on the right. Photo: Emily Harris/Axios

Beaux Berry

3707 NE Fremont St., Beaumont

Emily's pick: This challenge is bittersweet, because the best ice cream I've ever — ever — tasted, anywhere, disappeared with Portland's once-legendary Genoa on SE Belmont.

  • At the end of an extravagant, delightful prix fixe dinner I'd had to save money to try, the dessert course arrived: orange blossom ice cream flecked with bittersweet chocolate bits.

Yes, fancy ice cream was relatively new, and I was also new to fancy food.

  • But I can still close my eyes and inhale its heavenly sweet scent, savor the rich creaminess and relish the zing of pungent chocolate.

Today, my favorite is churro sabroso from Beaux Berry, a cart on NE Fremont.

  • It's sweet and cinnamony, and I particularly enjoy the texture. Specks of churro blended throughout spice up the smooth cream.

Handel's Homemade Ice Cream

13539 NW Cornell Road, Cedar Mill

With over 100 flavors, including sorbets and ices, this ice cream parlor has been serving sundaes and shakes since 1945.

  • While there are locations across Oregon, you'll find the closest at the Sunset Mall.

Denise W. recommends the Red Skies at Night flavor. "The chocolate chunks are decadent, hidden in the rich raspberry ice cream."

Cloud City

4525 SE Woodstock Blvd., Woodstock

This Woodstock mainstay almost always has a line wrapping around the building outside, and for good reason: Flavors are crafted with regional ingredients in mind, as well as partnerships with local businesses.

  • The Oregon strawberry ice cream is made with Willamette Valley Fruit Company, and the Earl Grey blueberry is a partnership with the Jasmine Pearl Tea Company. Plus: There's a flavor inspired by every horoscope each month.

Derek B. is a fan of the bourbon vanilla.

Kate's Ice Cream

3713 N Mississippi Ave., Boise

Vegans, rejoice! Kate's Ice Cream on N Mississippi makes ice cream that is gluten-free and plant-based, made using coconut milk.

  • Signature flavors include marionberry cobbler, orange creamsicle and cafe au lait, as well as rotating seasonal specialties.
  • Reader Vanessa M. says Kate's "will not disappoint!"

Doe Donuts

4110 NE Sandy Blvd., Hollywood

Another recommendation from Vanessa: This vegan donut hotspot also has ice cream year-round. The rotating seasonal menu includes maple coffee, made with Heart Roasters coffee, strawberry milk, chipped mint and birthday cake with bit of yellow cake swirled throughout.


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