We all deserve a little sweetness in our lives, and summer is the best time for it. The thrill of getting ice cream and a cold dessert on a hot day are some of our most treasured childhood memories. In Shanghai, there are dozens of cafés, dessert bars and on-the-go spots for you to treat your own little ones. Here are nine of the best spots from around town, including both tried and tested favorites and some new entrants too.
1. Stone Fresh
This awesome shop in Xintiandi’s Hubin Dao mall sells freshly churned frozen yoghurt in a variety of tasty flavors (apple pie and vanilla being our favorites), and offers a huge selection of toppings like fresh fruit, nuts, cereals and candies to choose from. Kids will love choosing the toppings themselves, and the fun swing seats at the front of the shop.
See a listing for Stone Fresh.
2. Mr. Waffle
After three years of pop-ups, Belgian import Mr. Waffle finally has their own brick and mortar shop near People’s Square. We love the ‘Brussels’ waffle with cream and Belgian chocolate (RMB26). There’s also seating inside, and a range of imported beers for mom and dad if they’re in the mood.
See a listing for Mr. Waffle.
No dessert list would be complete without a mention of Gracie’s, which also shares its location with Al’s Diner. Not only do they have lots of flavors to choose from (the mint choc chip is the best in town), you also don’t have to line up for over an hour to get it! Also a great choice for their smaller ‘one scoop’ serving sizes, which is better suited for younger children.
See a listing for Gracie's.
4. Strictly Cookies Ice Cream Sandwiches
We’re enormous fans of Lexie Comstock’s homegrown brand Strictly Cookies. In fact, the only thing that improves them is a wedge of ice cream in the middle! Get them at Strictly Cookie’s shops on Xiangyang Lu and Metrobank Plaza, or order them straight to your house via their website and WeChat account.
See a listing for Strictly Cookies.
We definitely don’t fancy the hour-long queue at Wukang Lu’s WIYF ice cream window (especially not with summer heat and little ones in tow), but Franck Pécol’s newest concept offers excellent savory galettes and sweet crêpes (French-style pancakes). The latter can be topped with the same ice cream served at WIYF next door.
See a listing for Far-West Crêpes & Galettes.
Got a little chocoholic on your hands? Treat them (and yourself) to a dessert at this Singaporean dessert brand’s Jing’an location, just a few steps from Nanjing Xi Lu Metro station. We’re particularly big fans of their chocolate mille crêpe cake, which is lighter than some of their richer offerings. Opt for their luxurious ‘hēi’ chocolate ice cream if you need to cool down.
See a listing for Awfully Chocolate.
7. La Fantasia
This fun café, lounge and patisserie shop in Xintiandi serves a variety of elaborate sundaes and dessert plates, which we reckon are good for sharing. Their ice cream sundaes rival those found at Gracie’s, and there’s plenty of seating (and air con) inside. Best suited for older children and teenagers.
See a listing for La Fantasia.
8. The Peninsula Ice Cream Cart
Having trouble coaxing your kids away from their screens for a walk by the Bund? We reckon the promise of some ice cream ought to sweeten the deal a little. Operating from a cart situated outside the hotel on Yuanmingyuan Lu (where the Rockbund is), grab one of four flavors to go and enjoy.
See a listing for The Peninsula.
9. Lab Made
Tianzifang’s winding alleys and shops are another fun place for a weekend stroll and a popular spot to bring out-of-town visitors. Situated right by the entrance is Lab Made, a Hong Kong export serving made-to-order ice cream, where the ingredients are flash frozen using liquid nitrogen. Kids will enjoy watching the servers churning each batch, which produces billowing clouds of nitrogen gas and dissipates within seconds. Flavors change regularly, but always include a selection of classics as well as more unique flavors like Hong Kong milk tea with toast crumble topping
See a listing for Lab Made.