Frozen Favourites: The Best Ice Cream in Northern Ireland Revealed

Ice cream being enjoyed by a group of friends

Updated On: May 08, 2024 by   Rebekah McCaigRebekah McCaig

Northern Ireland is home to some incredible and iconic ice-cream parlours and shops with a variety of flavours and creations in each one.  

Read on to uncover some of our top ice cream spots in the region, and what we consider to be the best ice cream in Northern Ireland. From the nostalgic and classic Morelli’s Ice Cream in the stunning coastal town of Portstewart to the bustling and busy streets of Belfast where Mackle’s, Nugelato, Al Gelato, and Rossi’s beckon, we’ll be giving you the scoop on our favourites.

Morelli’s Ice Cream, Portstewart

No list of the best ice cream in Northern Ireland would be complete without mentioning the iconic, award-winning Morelli’s Ice Cream in Portstewart. This family-owned shop makes it onto our best ice cream in Northern Ireland, as a well-established location that has been serving Italian-style gelato since 1911. Over a century later, Morelli’s remains a local favourite and tourist destination along the Causeway Coast.

Classic options like raspberry ripple, honeycomb and mint chocolate chip have been popular for generations. But Morelli’s definitely likes to innovate its options with new flavours such as Irish Black Butter, Unicorn and Parm Violet as well as offering their infamous “321” sundaes. Morelli’s also serve a great brunch, so if you’re not in the mood for ice-cream, there’s still plenty of menu options!

Ice cream by the beach
Enjoy an ice cream on the beach by the sea

Located along the beautiful Portstewart Promenade, this spot is bustling in the peak summer time months. Enjoy the ambience within Morelli’s that features a vintage charm; the shop’s interior is adorned with retro signage and vibrant colours that invites customers to step back in time. 

Or, if the weather’s nice, take a seat outside and enjoy your cone while overlooking Portstewart Strand. Morelli’s unwavering popularity comes from generations of perfecting quality Italian-style gelato. 

It’s no surprise that Morelli’s Ice Cream continues to be a beloved destination by both North Coast locals and tourists alike, where delicious frozen treats meet the timeless allure of the Irish coastline. 

Morelli’s Ice Cream Sits on Portstewart Promenade

Mackle’s Ice Cream, Belfast

Now with five locations across Ireland, including Armagh, Tyrone, Monaghan, Donegal, and Belfast, Mackles makes it onto our best ice cream in Northern Ireland list as a sister-run company that has grown to be the ice-cream destination for Gen Zers since rising to fame on the popular app, TikTok.

Mackles not only serves ice-cream but also milkshakes, specialty drinks, and other baked goods like cookies and brownies. Whilst it may be a struggle to pick your order, with such a massive menu and selection, everyone in your party will be sure find something they like! Mackles has gained recognition for having exceptional customer service as well as having an Instagram-worthy aesthetic for your foodie photos.

best ice cream in northern ireland - ice cream in belfast sundae
There are plenty of top ice cream spots in the city of Belfast

Some of our favourite menu items are the hot chocolate and the strawberry and white chocolate sundae!

Nugelato, Belfast

Nugelato is an award-winning artisan gelato producer with stores in Newcastle, Newry, Ballymena, Bangor, and Belfast. Nugelato first opened its doors in Newcastle in May 2015, and have been expanding successfully ever since. They are passionate about making gelato the traditional Italian way, using fresh, local ingredients and time-honoured techniques and so it’s one our top places to go for the best ice cream in Northern Ireland. 

Nugelato offers a wide variety of flavours including classic favourites like vanilla and sea salted caramel as well as more contemporary flavours like Kinder Bueno and Strawberry Cheesecake. We highly recommend taking a trip to Nugelato to try out their infamous Nuggy Pots, a sundae-like ice-cream made with some of your favourite chocolates including Kinder Bueno and Oreo.

Nugelato, whilst largely known for its ice cream and sundaes, also has expanded its menu to include delicious crepes and churros. The menu also caters to allergens and special dietary requirements, so it’s a great spot for everyone to enjoy some ice cream.

Al Gelato, Belfast

Al Gelato Belfast is a small, independent gelateria, with the original shop being located on the Ormeau Road in Belfast. They are passionate about making fresh, handmade gelato using only the finest natural ingredients. 

Their gelato is made daily in small batches, ensuring that every scoop is packed with flavour. Al Gelato Belfast offers a wide variety of classic and innovative gelato flavours, as well as sorbets, milkshakes, and coffee. 

Al Gelato serves up some classic flavours including dark chocolate, coffee chocolate chip (our favourite!), and raspberry, as well as more experimental flavours like coconut and lime, Bailey’s, and Nutella.

Al Gelato Belfast is a great place to enjoy some of the best ice cream in Northern Ireland – a delicious and authentic Italian treat that definitely serves as the ideal spot for your dessert fix.

Ice cream being enjoyed by a group of friends
Uncovering the best ice cream in Northern Ireland

Rossi’s Ice Cream, Belfast

With its vibrant decor, friendly staff, and bustling atmosphere, Rossi’s Ice Cream makes it onto our list for some of the best ice cream in Northern Ireland. Established in 1888 as a family business, Rossi’s is Belfast’s oldest ice-cream manufacturer.

Catering to a wide range of tastes, preferences, and dietary requirements, Rossi’s offers Italian ice-cream with flavours like Biscoffi and Guinness. They also are considered to be specialists in dairy-free gelato, offering a wide range of vegan options on their menu.

Other menu items include waffles, brownies, sundaes and milkshakes, and slushees. Rossi’s can get busy as it’s such a popular spot, so we recommend visiting during the week or in quieter months outside of summer to avoid waiting in queues.

Image of ice cream in a bowl
The Best Ice Cream Spots in Northern Ireland

Key Takeaways on the Best Ice Cream in Northern Ireland

Iconic locations, enticing toppings, and flavours ranging from nostalgic and classic to experimental and innovative, there are so many spots with the best ice cream in Northern Ireland, it’s been difficult to narrow the list down. Morelli’s legendary gelato is still enjoyed generations later in the seaside town of Portstewart whilst quirky Mackle’s has become a social media sensation with its contemporary twist on creations and aesthetics. 

Nugelato, an award-winning gelato showcases a commitment to quality and has expanded rapidly over the past decade. Al Gelato epitomises the passion for fresh, handmade gelato while Rossi’s Ice Cream, Belfast’s oldest ice cream manufacturer, caters to a wide range of tastes, including dairy-free, ensuring that there’s something on the menu for everyone.

From the coast to the city, we’ve covered some of the best ice cream in Northern Ireland.

If you enjoyed this article, check out some more of our top food picks in Northern Ireland: Common Market Belfast: 7 Stalls of Delightful Foodie Heaven | Asian Food in Belfast: 11 of the Best Places for Hard-to-Find Asian Dishes | The Best Food Guide to Belfast

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