Ice cream sundae

Ice cream sundae

A selection of the best places in the city to get the scoop.

MANHATTAN

Ronnybrook Farm Dairy They don't get too exotic around here, but there are plenty of people who call theirs -- fresh from an upstate dairy -- tops in the city. The vanilla disproves the canard that vanilla is somehow bland, and the chocolate is truly decadent. (75 9th Avenue; 212-741-6455; $2.75 per cone)

il laboratorio del gelato This cool blue and white cafe serves up about 12 flavors every day. The coffee is a perennial favorite, but there are also intense fruit flavors, depending on what's seasonal. Besides the cones there are shakes and sodas, too. (95 Orchard Street; 212-343-9922; $3 per cone )

Shake Shack Danny Meyer's homage to all-American snack food dispenses the kind of frozen custard that's the stuff of memories. Go plain and simple with a single dip ($2.75) or get a little more elaborate with a sundae, $4). There are shakes, natch, and floats, too. Not to mention the Pooch-ini, a canine treat of frozen custard and peanut butter topped with a dog biscuit. (Madison Square Park, Madison Avenue at 23rd Street; 212-889-6600)

Lexington Candy Shop. This traditional luncheonette sells one of the best ice creams in town -- Bassett's. Its home ground is Reading Terminal in Philadelphia, and it's a reminder of what old-fashioned American ice cream is supposed to taste like. The flavors are classic: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry , coffee, and butter pecan. If you're looking for something a little more newfangled, you might try the ice cream sandwich. ($1.50 per sandwich; $3 per cone; 1226 Lexington Avenue; 212-288-0057)

Ciao Bella. Who doesn't love this place? On a summery evening, it's the perfect place to wind up an evening downtown. If they have the grapefruit sorbet, don't pass it by. ($5.15 for a small cone; 285 Mott Street; 212-431-3591)

Sedutto. There's a range of 25 or so flavors, among them cake batter and moose tracks. There are also fruity sorbets, and if all this sounds too fattening, they also sell Tasti-Delight, a diet ice cream concoction. ($3.75 per single scoop; 1498 First Avenue; 212-879-9557)

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. It isn't really a factory -- it's more a small store where they make their own ice cream. In addition to American classics like butter pecan, there are almond cookie, ginger, mango, and red bean. Green tea, too. (65 Bayard Street; 212-608-4170; $3.75 per cone)

Coldstone Creamery. Among the more exotic offerings here are Butterfingers fumble and black forest dream, but whatever flavor you choose, you can mix it up with add-ins like Heath Bars, Almond Joys, M&Ms -- even apple-pie filling. (34-20 Broadway, Astoria, 718-204-7298;. In Manhattan: 253 West 42nd Street, 212-398-1882; 2 Astor Place, 212-228-4600. Starting at $5.95 for a cone)

QUEENS

Lemon Ice King. They've been here for 60 years, which means they've sold a lot of ice. Every day there are somewhere around 35 flavors, which range from the traditional lemon to cherry and orange-vanilla, and on through exotica like peanut butter or chocolate-chip. For dieters, there are sugar-free choices. 52-02 108th Street, Corona; 718-699-5133; $1.250 per small cup)

Eddie's Sweet Shop. This traditional sweet shop makes its own ice creams and serves up a mean sundae or ice cream soda. If it's a cone you want, you can have that, too. Flavors include vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, plus pistachio-pineapple, peach, blueberry, and banana. (105-29 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills; 718-520-8514; $2.50 per cone)

BROOKLYN

Almondine. Brooklyn's great bakery has branched out into ice cream, with flavors that change daily. On a recent day, there was the standby vanilla, but there were also fruit sorbets and gelatos. (85 Water Street; 718-797-5026; closed Tuesday. $2 a scoop)

Uncle Louie G's This chain spreads its tentacles throughout the five boroughs, and serves classic cones and cups. But the real specialties are the sundaes: old-fashioned banana splits as well as the more newfangled "Jungle Jive" (banana and coconut with wet walnuts, strawberries and pineapple) or the Brooklyn Bridge (cookies and cream, chocolate fudge brownie, pineapple, strawberry, hot fudge, whipped cream and sprinkles). For locations all over town, log on to www.unclelouieg.com

L & B Spumoni Garden. They're famous for their spumoni, but they also have ices and ice creams. (2725 86th Street, Brooklyn; 718-372-8400; $3.25 per cup)

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory. The classics reign here. Each day, they offer a few flavors, with vanilla the most popular. Other choices: chocolate, peach, butter pecan, and coffee. Even without getting exotic, there is a loyal following who call theirs New York's finest (ice cream that is). (2 Old Fulton Street; 718-246-3963; $3.50 per cone)