Manhattan, New York – Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream

Restaurant: Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream
Cuisine: Desserts/Ice Cream
Last visited: September 3, 2011
Location: Manhattan, NY (East Village) (2 Brooklyn locations)
Address: 48 1/2 East 7th St, (at 2nd Avenue)
Nearby subway stops: Delancy Street
Price Range: $10 or less

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

Food: 4.5-5
Service: 3
Ambiance: n/a
Overall: 5
Additional comments:

  • Since 2008
  • 3 ice cream trucks in NY
  • Specializes in artisan ice cream
  • Artisan flavours
  • High quality
  • Local, French, Italian ingredients
  • Hormone free milk/cream
  • Cane sugar
  • All natural/no preservatives
  • Not home made
  • Biodegradable utensils/cups
  • Sundaes/Coffee available
  • Pints at fine food stores
  • Mon – Thurs – 8am – 12am
  • Friday – 8am – 1am
  • Saturday – 9am – 1am
  • Sunday – 9am – 12am

**Recommendations: Pistachio, Earl Grey Tea, and Currants & Cream and Vanilla are supposed to be great.

Did you notice the date? Take a look at the date. Unless you Follow Me Foodie very closely you may not have noticed that I visited Il Laboratorio del Gelato (my post yesterday) and Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream truck on the same day… or night. Yes, I tried them back to back. What’s better than one dessert? It’s two!

So to recap, I had just finished dinner with amazing pastrami sandwiches at the famous Katz’s Deli in New York. I had actually walked by the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream truck on my way there and planned to have it after for dessert. Since it was a food truck I was a bit nervous it  would disappear, so I snapped a quick photo of it in case I had to stalk the name later.

However there was an interference with my dessert plan A. I actually ended up getting distracted by Il Laboratorio del Gelato because it was literally across the street from Katz’s, so I ended up getting gelato there instead.

As I was finishing my last bites of olive oil and red beet gelato, I was also approaching the street where the Van Leeuwen Artisan Ice Cream truck was spotted… and low and behold it was still there! Well now, I call that a sign! I quickly tossed out my gelato cup (I didn’t want it to know I had cheated on it) and resorted back to my original plan, which was always to try the ice cream truck! The gelato wasn’t as satisfying as I had hoped too.

It turns out I made the right choice! This isn’t any old ice cream truck, this is one for grown-ups featuring gourmet and sophisticated flavours. The truck started in Brooklyn and has expanded with two new trucks in Manhattan. The chances of me coming across it randomly in New York was more than a coincidence! It was fate! Fate brought us together! The artisan ice cream was excellent and had I come across it in New York again I would have got another one. It’s comparing apple to oranges, but I liked this more than the Big Gay Ice Cream truck.

On the table:

**Earl Grey Ice Cream5/6

  • Cup or cone Small $4.50 Large $6.50
  • Rishi black tea from antique tea tree with Bergamont citrus (Yunnan and Italy)
  • The ice cream is very creamy and rich rather than hard, icy or airy. It has a very natural flavour and texture.
  • It’s not home made but it is made with carefully sourced high quality ingredients and tastes home made.
  • The custard is made with lots of egg yolks, but it wasn’t too eggy either and the tea flavour wasn’t bitter, but well infused, aromatic and flavourful.
  • It was smooth and creamy and not buttery or greasy.
  • The citrus notes from the tea were subtle and it wasn’t too sweet.
  • It was heavy, but not nearly as rich as Marble Slab Creamery which I find too rich and sweet. I’m using that as an example because most people have tried it and can reference back to it. This was much more sophisticated with better ingredients and a balance of them.

**Pistachio Ice Cream4.5/6

  • Cup or cone Small $4.50 Large $6.50
  • Bronte hand picked nuts (Sicily, Italy)
  • To use handpicked Italian pistachios was already impressive since they are significantly more expensive.
  • Again, the ice cream is not hand crafted, but still high quality and I would have guessed it was hand made.
  • It’s creamy, rich, smooth and custardy rather than hard, icy or airy. It has a natural flavour and texture that’s not greasy like some can be.
  • I’ve had stronger pistachio flavour in gelato, but that’s almost comparing apples to oranges.
  • I could tell it was pistachio flavoured, but it could have been stronger with more pistachio paste.
  • I would have loved to have actual pieces of pistachio throughout the ice cream too.
  • I’ve made my own pistachio gelato with Sicilian pistachio before as well – see my recipe here.

Van Leeuwen Ice Cream on Urbanspoon


  • Joanna says:

    I’ve been following your foodie adventures for over a year. Throughly enjoy reading and looking at the photos. I would like to recommened you 2 cameras for crystal clear photos – the Lumix GF2 (a more expensive model) or the Lumix LX5 (cheaper one). I have the LX5 myself and the photo qualities are superb.

  • Mijune says:

    @Joanna – aww you have!?!? Thank you sooo much!! I’m trying to work on my photography and I really appreciate your camera recommendations! I just need to stop spending on food and saving for the camera… and lens 🙂 Thanks joanna! I really appreciate the tip!

  • Bow says:

    Such a block…Katz’s Deli, Il Laboratorio and the Van Leeuwen ice cream truck…there must have been a bakery nearby…let alone a gastropub…The ice cream looks great and tasted great !

  • Mijune says:

    @Bow – lol there was a bakery nearby! But I went for double ice cream and skipped the pastry

  • Linda says:

    hahaha i can’t believe you ate ice cream twice in one night .. AFTER katz no less, VERY impressive mijune 🙂

    this place looks like it has potential.. i really love pistachio ice cream so i’d definitely get that for sure! i’ll be heading here and big gay ice cream truck so i’ll let you know which one i like better 🙂

  • Mijune says:

    @Linda – I can’t disappoint! 🙂 I LOVE pistachio too!!! I hope you comment back on some posts after you try them b/c I’m so curious what you thought about them.

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