Divine treats at Gelato Bar & Espresso Caffe, Studio City

Divine treats at Gelato Bar & Espresso Caffe, Studio City

photo by Pauline Adamek

Tujunga Avenue in Studio City (just south of Moorpark) is rapidly becoming LA”™s very own Little Italy (at last!), what with Caioti Pizza (the original Cali-style pizza) and old-skool red-sauce Italian joints like Vitellos. Village Gourmet has an array of wonderful imported goodies too.

Hopefully you”™ve already discovered a cozy little breakfast and dessert place called Gelato Bar & Espresso Caffe, from the creative brain of Gail Silverton, sister to Osteria Mozza and creator of La Brea Bakery”™s Nancy Silverton. Featuring some of the best espresso in LA, they serve locally roasted, Italian-style Ecco coffee. You can have a cappuccino or latte plus a muffin or pastry from sis”™s bakery here in the morning, then return in the afternoon or evening to sample their superb gelati, hand made by an Italian guy named Alessandro, whose family has reportedly been in the gelati business for the past century.

Italy has a long tradition of ice creams and frozen ices. “˜Gelati”™ simply means “˜frozen stuff.”™Â  Apparently Catherine de Medici, of Florence, introduced this novelty to the French and then the luscious fad took off in Europe.

photo from their website

Here at Gelato Bar, they”™ve gone to great lengths to achieve a friendly, neighborhood trattoria vibe, with its gaily painted striped walls, funky light fixtures and indoor plants on terra cotta tiled floors.

With twenty four flavors on display at any one time, they actually rotate twenty five of some of the creamiest and tangy tastes you could ask for. Coco (coconut) is so pungent, it makes you feel light-headed, just like when Keith Richards fell out of a coconut tree.  Tiramisu competes with Zabaglione for creamy sweetness. Their Caffe e Ciccolato (chocolate and coffee mixture) is sinfully dark and rich. The Stracciatella is vanilla laced with chocolate chips and they have a few chocolate ones with nuts, such as hazlenut (Nocciola). They have a sherbetty Aranciata Rosso (blood orange) flavor which is delectable and various other fruit flavors such as Ananas (pineapple), Fragiola (strawberry) Banana and, of course, Limone (lemon). Mango is delicious too (if only they had Passionfruit *sigh*).

I was seduced by their Dulce de Leche (caramel) in a sugar cone ($4.50).  Pricey but delicious, I”™m going back for a pound (a pint) of four flavors in a styrofoam container — $16. That might work out cheaper than the little plastic cups and cones ($3.50 and up), but my waistline may hate me in a few week”™s time.

Actually, they say gelati is less fattening than ice-cream, seeing as it is made with water or milk (but loads of sugar, naturally) rather than cream or buttermilk. So there is 50-60% less butterfat and a third fewer calories. Also gelati generally has 35% less air than ice cream, which means you get a dense and extremely flavorful product that melts faster.

If you don’t see Pistacchio (pistachio) at Gelato Bar (their most popular flavor) it”™s probably out the back waiting for a free spot in the case.

So creamy, so divine – so damn close to where I live…

Gelato Bar & Espresso Caffe

4342 ½ Tujunga Ave

Studio City, CA 91604

818 487 1717

Open from 8am “™till 10pm, “™till 11pm on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Be advised, parking can be tough in the evenings so take care not to park in the restricted zones.

review by Pauline Adamek

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Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.



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