You know we still have months of hot weather ahead of us, and there is truly no better treat to help cool you down than ice cream. Luckily, we have an over-abundance of options here in Tampa Bay including some totally over-the-top ice cream shops. Our picks include shops with an Insta-friendly aesthetic alongside seriously delicious concoctions to enjoy with someone special.
Revolution takes intense flavor combos to the next level, and they’re not all for the faint of heart. I recommend The One That Started it All — goat cheese habanero ice cream with a raspberry ribbon. The heat is no joke so I like to pair it with Grandma’s Oreo Ice Cream. Other unexpected combos include vanilla ice cream with bacon and bacon brittle (Porky’s Delight) and mint ice cream with Andes Candies, chocolate chip cookies and cookie dough (Mint Want Cookies). There are three locations in the area, the original in Brandon, one in Seminole Heights and the newest location in South Tampa.
Can't pick just one? This ice cream shop also offers Insta-worthy ice cream flights to share…or not.
Name a better combo than waffles and ice cream — I’ll wait. Urban Creamery in St. Pete makes that happen for you. First they make one of five flavors of Belgian waffles for you, then you choose from a rotation of homemade ice cream flavors and top it off with the toppings of your choice and any of the six sauce options (including Nutella and marshmallows, yum).
Bake'n Babes' real over-the-topness comes from the monthly rotating special, dubbed “The Works.” Somehow, each month’s offering is more over the top than the last. The Works always has a vanilla soft serve base, but the toppings get pretty wild. Each month has a theme, but I’ve seen cupcakes, light up wands, cotton candy, SUNGLASSES, lollipops…really anything and everything. Bake‘n Babes also has super tasty milkshakes where you can mix in one of their signature cookies or brownies.
Tampa has been lucky enough to see two new Jeni’s locations open up recently. One in Tampa Heights, just outside Armature Works, and one in Sparkman Wharf. I love the unexpected combos and overall vibe. Many of the wilder flavors are strictly limited edition, but you'll love the classics too, like brambleberry crisp or a dairy free cold brew with coconut cream. You can also get pints of Jeni’s delivered, along with extras like cones and sprinkles.
Not only is the location super cute, but the sky is truly the limit here. There is an unbelievably extensive menu of items you can mix into your ice cream, and they turn it into soft serve right before your eyes. Mix-ins like cereal, fruit, nuts, candy, chips, pretzels and even some spice options (like matcha, yellow curry and ube) mean you can dream up any flavor combo you desire.
Pick your base from vanilla, chocolate or the flavor of the month. Vegan chocolate and vanilla are available too. Then, pick your mix-ins and toppings. While you can certainly play it safe with traditional mix-ins, why not go all out and try something wacky? On a recent visit, we tried ube, lavender and pistachio with vanilla soft serve. Finally, your custom flavor will then be mixed up and served in a cup, waffle cone or a photo-ready waffle cup.
I cannot offer a sincere review of this place just yet, as its Hyde Park Village location remains under construction, but the hype is very real. Oddfellows is originally from Brooklyn and this will be their first location in the south. I’ve got my eye on the Dirt McGirt (chocolate ice cream with cookie dirt and Baileys caramel swirl), Ricotta Lemon Spongecake, Olive Oil and the Vegan Matcha and Black Sesame. But you can expect some Tampa-themed flavors at our location as well.
If you’re more of a by-the-scoop person, Astro (located inside of Armature Works) has you covered. Ybor Spiced Rum Toasted Coconut Meringue Pie (that’s all one kind of ice cream), Tampa Guava Cream Cheese, Creme Brulee Cafe con Leche –this menu oozes with Tampa flavor. But the signature creations are what takes Astro into over the top territory. My favorite is the Patience Grasshopper — chocolate brownie cake ice cream topped with chocolate mint cookie crumbles, brownie ites, mint and a syringe of chocolate syrup nestled in the bowl. I also love the Cuban ice cream sandwich — two generous scoops of ice cream expertly squished between two pieces of pressed Cuban bread.
Looking for something a little more traditional?
Try these classic gelato and ice cream shops around Tampa Bay:
- Haze Ice Cream Maderia Beach (we wrote about this spot in our guide to Three Perfect Days in Indian Shores)