Amato Gelato Cafe (Mario’s Gelati)

Restaurant: Amato Gelato Cafe (Mario’s Gelati)
Cuisine: Desserts/Ice Cream/Gelato/Coffee/Tea
Last visited: July 16, 2011
Location: Vancouver, BC (Mount Pleasant/Main Street)
Address: 88 E 1st Ave
Price Range: $10 or less

1: Poor 2: OK 3: Good 4: Very good 5: Excellent 6: Tres Excellent!!

Food: 3
Service: 1.5
Ambiance: 3
Overall: 3
Additional comments:

  • Since 1929
  • Popular retail/wholesale product
  • Started in Vancouver
  • Family owned
  • City’s most recognized gelato
  • Gelato manufacture
  • Extensive menu/flavours
  • Gelato/Sorbets/Frozen Yogurt
  • Some cookies/biscotti available
  • Pre made gelato cakes
  • Gelato to go
  • Custom flavours available
  • Eat in/Take out
  • Limited seating
  • Accepts Interac/Visa/MC
  • Free parking
  • Open late

**Recommendations: Gelato

Mario’s Gelati, which goes by the store font name of Amato Gelato Cafe at their gelato factory, is probably Vancouver’s most recognized brand of gelato. However just because it’s been here since 1929 and it is one of the most well known, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. That could be stating the obvious, but they do what they do, and people obviously like it.

You may have seen their gelato at your local grocery store, Italian restaurant, or even Vietnamese restaurant. Vietnamese restaurants are notorious for retailing Mario’s Gelati products as their dessert. I actually don’t mind their pre-assembled and pre-packaged gelato desserts, although it is mass produced and easily available. I mean it’s no Bella Gelateria, and the quality isn’t nearly as high, but they are consistent and convenient since they’re everywhere. I guess you could call it the GFS or “Sysco” of gelato.

They offer a lot more than just 100+ flavours of made in house gelato. With a selection of premade frozen gelato treats, gelato cakes, and cartons of gelato to-go, it’s pretty much a freezer of infinite gelato options. These are the same desserts you’re likely to find at restaurants that retail their products. They also have a smaller freezer by the cashier that offers discounted gelato treats. Although it’s a limited variety, they taste fine and I think they just might be the overly produced products, or the slightly mis-shaped ones, aka “the rejects”. They have a large variety of sorbettos and gelatos and easily 100 flavours that rotate often. What I don’t like here is the service. I find it uncomfortable and corporate and you’re allowed a maximum of four tries before you have to decide what you want. Yes, I’m the type that likes to try my flavour before I order it, it guarantees the investment. Anyways they’re not cool with that here and I’m not cool with that either.

I had just finished authentic Neapolitan pizza at Verace Pizzeria Napoletana and Enoteca and I wanted to continue my Italian theme. I passed on dessert there since they were offering similar desserts to what I’ve already tried before. I assumed their tiramisu would be similar to the one at Nicli Antica Pizzeria and the Nutella Pizza perhaps similar to the one at The BiBo. This is because two chefs at each of the restaurants are now at Verace, so I imagine some cross over in menu items and style. I’m not sure though, and there were a few other options, so maybe I’ll give it a go next time. For now, I was craving gelato and Amato was nearby and parking is easy there.

Amato Gelato Cafe does have a few interesting flavours like apple pie and honey, but the quality and flavour is not nearly that of high end gelato, although the prices suggest it is. It’s good if you haven’t been exposed to better, but I’d opt for Dolce Amore and of course Bella Gelateria before either. And if I want to sit down in a fancy place I’d go to Cin Cin, Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill or Miku Restaurant for some great house made gelatos, sorbettos and ice creams. The YEW at the Four Seasons actually offers a giant sundae Martini Glass for 2 featuring six house made gourmet ice creams – see here.

On the table:

Mandorla Tostada (Toasted Almond) Gelato – 3/6

  • About $3.75 for single scoop in cup or cone
  • There’s plenty of sliced almonds throughout the gelato, which I loved, but they were very soft and I would have preferred crunchy slivered almonds.
  • The gelato itself was quite creamy and soft, but I couldn’t really taste the almond flavour in the gelato alone.
  • I enjoyed it, but it’s not premium quality. I’d still possibly order it again.
  • The cone wasn’t stale, but it was a basic cone.

Mango & Vanilla Marble Gelato – 2/6

  • About $3.75 for single scoop in cup or cone
  • I wasn’t a fan of this one. It was still very creamy and soft, and the texture is not bad, but the flavour wasn’t great.
  • The mango tasted really artificial and the vanilla kind of did as well.
  • I prefer vanilla bean seeds in vanilla flavoured gelato and the mango just didn’t taste like it was made from fresh mangoes.
  • It wasn’t like a mango sorbetto, but more like an average quality mango ice cream.
  • It wasn’t too sweet, but the aftertaste of the mango wasn’t so pleasant.
  • The cone was your basic cone and not stale.


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