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Friday, October 9, 2009

Sweet Beat: Italian Gelato (in Some Very Un-Italian Flavors) at Marco Polo

Posted By on Fri, Oct 9, 2009 at 3:23 PM

click to enlarge Durian (left) and mango gelati. - RANDY F./YELP
  • Randy F./Yelp
  • Durian (left) and mango gelati.
A gelato craving might make you think of heading straight to North Beach this weekend, but Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream in Parkside provides authentic, homemade gelato with an array of unique flavors, minus the trek across town. The tiny, no-frills shop serves gelato made daily in its kitchen with fresh ingredients. You won't find shiny displays, cute cups, and uniformed employees, but you will have some of the best gelato available in San Francisco. Flavors offered include the traditional: vanilla bean, pistachio, chestnut, cantaloupe, coconut, guava, dark chocolate, and banana walnut -- we particularly like the vanilla bean and pistachio. Both pack a lot of natural flavor and have just the right amount of sweetness, and the texture isn't overly smooth. Marco Polo's best flavors, though, are the ones made with Asian ingredients. Popular choices include green tea, lychee, red bean, soursop, taro, black sesame, and everyone's favorite stinky fruit, durian. Try the red bean and black sesame, naturally sweet and tasting like the real-world ingredients that flavor them -- the red bean even has piece of bean in it. Don't be put off by the sesame: It has an interesting grainy texture, and isn't too sugary. And even though it looks like wet cement, it definitely doesn't taste like it.

Marco Polo Italian Ice Cream 1447 Taraval (at 24th Ave.), 731-2833

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Gene Miguel

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