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After a heavier meal our group was looking for an easy dessert. Something sweet to cleanse the palette; and something easy to eat, to lighten the last savoury mouthful. After a quick search with google we found the closest ice cream shoppe to us. Our deciding factors were they must have parking and a place for us to sit in. With free cafe parking in the back and slower traffic closer to their closing hour at 9pm this was the front runner.

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Driving to you identify cafe from the giant cone at the corner of the intersection. Hanging off the building on the corner, spun with UV lights, this 3D cone certainly catches the eye. Walking up to the glass entrance you could see the trays of gelato to come. We were the only ones in after 8:30pm. Immediately the staff greeted us with energy. Both women manning the ice cream counter were equally inviting and equally courteous in that we try whatever we wanted. Often insisting over us asking. We were not limited in our samples and the use of disposable clear plastic scoops. At other places you are made to feel guilty for sampling, that doing so is a hinderance to the staff; as appose to a benefit to the store, to help encourage sales bd return trips.

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We came for ice cream, and took note that the cafe also served Vietnamese style street food. Vermicelli rice rolls and “banh mi”, French style subs, as advertised on their enlarged decals on the exterior. Given the time of night, the counter to order the above was left unmanned. Instead the staff took a seat in the empty area towards the back. The cafe featured gelato anyways.

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The room was an open space centred by a round counter. Divided into three sections, each was lined with metal trays. Bright colours and fun flavours labeled in two rows. Though the down side of coming in later at night, most of them were more than half empty. Not as impressive of a sight, though the variety in flavours some what made up for this. Tart fruit sorbets, creamy chocolate-ful flavours, and fan favourites tastes transformed in to ice cream. Some of the more unique ones that caught my eye: “Cola” with a fizzy nature and an accurate taste. The bold colour of “blue sky”, with its indescribable taste was a fun one to try. The “salted caramel” was drizzled in thick chocolate. And the “guava rosa” had a light floral taste that matched its peachy to pink tone.

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My editor was too indecisive, he tried numerous flavours and couldn’t commit to just one. So to alleviate his tedious decision making, and his back and forth between the two (that he managed it to narrow it down to), the clerk was kind enough to split a single scoop for him. What great service. Two flavours, two halves, to make one scoop. He ended up with a cup of “raspberry cheesecake” and “tiramisu”. Shame none of us were given this option.

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As a group we each got a scoop, some in cones others in cups:
Strawberry sorbeto, Mango sorbeto, Raspberry sorbeto, and Strawberry cheesecake. As a group we all agreed that the gelato was average at best. Each of our portions had been sitting in the freezer for a while, you could tell from their icy nature and their concentrated cold taste. The texture was like dried up ice cream, not the creamy whipped smooth texture typical of an airy gelato. And overall 3/5 of us found things too sweet. The two who had berry sorbetos found their portions just fine. The mango was more cream than fresh fruit. You expected the fragrance of the tropical fruit, and the juiciness that accompanied it. This fell flat. The cheesecake was more cream cheese with berry jam than a cheesecake infused ice cream. It was like eating a brick of cream cheese. The addition of a graham cracker crumble and the fruit better blended throughout would have improved both the strawberry and raspberry versions of their cheesecake gelato. And when I lapped up a pocket of strawberry syrup, I found it far too sweet to be enjoyable.

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The waffle cones were good, they were crisp enough, but didn’t offer that freshly baked smell. And sadly the single scoop didn’t extend to the depths of the cone, instead it sat balance at the lip. As a result of not one lick too many and a lick too strong resulted in my one scoop rolling off my cone and into my reactive palm.

With our cones and cups in hand we sat at one of the cast iron and titled tables by the front. They were clearly meant for outdoor seating, pulled in for the evening. We sat here not wanting to invade the space of the before mentioned staff, they wore frowns on their faces and were clearly counting the minutes down to close. I couldn’t help but notice their eyes watching us. 5 minutes after 9pm and we knew our stay was no longer appreciated, so without finishing my portion we left.

Would I come back? – No.
Would I line up for it? – No.
Would I recommend it? – No.
Would I suggest this for someone visiting from out of town? – No.
Having been spoiled by the ice cream scene in Vancouver: local organic, all natural, and homemade ice creams in a variety of unique flavours, most gelato just doesn’t cut it anymore. Here the gelato was ok, but not worth the $4 per scoop price point. I could get a similar quality ice cream from my local grocery store. A whole tub for a couple of dollars more. As for the extent of flavours, most were enjoyable to taste, but none you could commit a whole serving too. Great for kids who still love flavours like bubble gum and cola. But for the adult, with a palette that has matured you are left wanting more. I don’t necessary need my ice cream to be sweet or too out there, instead I am looking for depth and interest. Even a simple vanilla done right can be rewarding. If you decide to visit, be prepared it’s cash only. Don’t deny your cravings.

BELLAGIO’S GELATO
3075 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V5T3G5
604-871-9110
Bellagio's Gelato on Urbanspoon