On a nice day, the line for the Mission location stretches around the corner and sometimes up Dolores Street, and though the new Divisadero outpost isn't quite that popular yet, it still inspires a wait. Pro tip: For quicker access, go inside the markets for a pint of the nearly perfect salted caramel or spicy Mexican chocolate. 3692 18th, 626-5600 or 550 Divisadero, 626-5600. BiRiteCreamery.com.
The small storefront is as famous as much for the personality of owners Jake Godby and Sean Vahey as it is for Secret Breakfast, a brilliantly named and totally delicious flavor made with corn flakes and a slug of bourbon. We're also partial to the Vietnamese iced coffee, made with Blue Bottle brew. 2790 Harrison, 550-6971, HumphrySlocombe.com.
Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous
What sets the ice cream at this quirky Dogpatch shop apart is the texture and complexity: There's no need for toppings or mix-ins because they're already in there. Flavors include candied violet, Pink Squirrel (almond liqueur), and Ballpark (Anchor Steam porter with peanuts and chocolate-covered pretzels). 699 22nd, 970-0750.
Known for its tropical flavors, Mitchell's has been an S.F. staple since 1952 and claims to be the first to serve mango ice cream in the city. It has all the normal flavors as well as exotics like avocado and purple yam. 688 San Jose, 648-2300, MitchellsIceCream.com.
DeLise Dessert Café
An anomaly in the tourist traps and chain restaurants of Fisherman's Wharf, this unassuming storefront is known for its macarons, pastries, and ice creams in all manner of Asian-influenced flavors. 327 Bay, 399-9694, DeliseSF.com
Storied home of the ice cream wheel that you can spin to randomly choose one of nearly 50 flavors that range from conventional to adventurous (red bean, durian). 3138 Noriega, 664-2472.
Smitten Ice Cream
Over in the "cargo-tecture" Proxy project in Hayes Valley, this ice cream shop has a built-in gimmick: Machines patented under the name "Brrr" use liquid nitrogen to transform scoops from liquid to frozen form in 60 seconds, resulting in intensely creamy ice cream with smaller ice crystals than the normal churn 'n' freeze methods. 432 Octavia, 863-1518, SmittenIceCream.com
The Ice Cream Bar
Cole Valley's old time soda fountain and ice cream emporium has rotating flavors for scoops and cones. Even better, you can order cocktails with ice cream in them. 815 Cole, 742-4932. TheIceCreamBarSF.com.
Earle Swensen opened this, his first ice cream shop, on Russian Hill in 1948, and by now it's an international franchise. This is one of the few locations allowed to make ice cream on-site using Earl Swensen's original recipes. 1999 Hyde, 775-6818. Swensens.com.
This old-fashioned shop scoops up classic flavors for families in the Outer Richmond. 5420 Geary, 751-1950. JoesIceCream.com.