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Mia Gelato

In May, Mia Gelato opened just a few doors down from White Mountain. Prior to this, it was a shop owned by a Lebanese family who sold ice cream and shawarma. An interesting combination. I really enjoyed the shawarmas at 1am after going out at Joy.

What I like most about Mia Gelato is that it is a stark contrast to the philosophy used at White Mountain. White Mountain is a bit of a legend in Kingston and I often hear of ex-Kingsonites craving pizza at Woodenheads and a cone from White Mountain. Don’t get me wrong, I like the ice cream at White Mountain. But I’ve never really been to an ice cream shop where you don’t get to look at the ice cream. They have 2 lists on the wall, one with chocolate based ice cream and the other with a vanilla base. The names don’t really describe what is in the cone (White Knight, Mountain Mix etc etc). The servers happily offer samples but how am I supposed to choose what ice cream I want if I don’t see it? And there is always a big lineup so you feel a lot of pressure to try one bite and buy that same flavour. This model of ice cream selling doesn’t work for me because I think ice cream is a really visual experience as much as it is a flavourful one.

Mia Gelato does the opposite. They serve gelato as well as sorbet but there model is to show you everything they have. The gelato speaks for itself.
Mia Gelato, 178 Ontario Street, Kingston, OntarioThis is just one cooler of the gelato that they offer. The servers are really attentive and let you sample many flavours. One touch that I like is that they offer their samples in metal washable spoons so you don’t waste the plastic ones.
Mia Gelato, 178 Ontario Street, Kingston, OntarioThis is the small (Piccolo). The strawberries and cream is fantastic (foreground). Creamy, smooth, cold, and not too sweet. The raspberry sorbet (background) was tart and refreshing.
Mia Gelato, 178 Ontario Street, Kingston, OntarioThis is the medium size with mango sorbet and pistachio gelato. The mango was a bit sweet but had that wonderful Cebu dried mango flavour. The pistachio was rich and pretty refreshing.

There are some misses though. Some of the sorbet (watermelon in particular) was basically pure ice when I got it. As they have just recently opened, I anticipate that the kinks will be sorted out soon. I love how they take chances on flavours too. They made a Jalapeno Cherry Chocolate gelato. I thought it was interesting but not particularly tasty. They stopped making this flavour because of poor demand. But they respond to the public! I have high hopes for this place.

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24 thoughts on “Mia Gelato

  • June 29, 2010 at 4:28 pm
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    Great review! I've only been to Mia Gelato once and agree with everything you say. I too found a couple of the flavours icy or grainy (not quite smooth enough) but I think the kinks will be worked out once they are open longer.

    I do like White Mountain but you're right about not really being able to see the ice cream. I had to laugh when you also mentioned the pressure to buy the flavour you sample, especially when there is a long line-up behind you.

  • June 29, 2010 at 12:40 pm
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    While I'm not sure I would enjoy jalapeno cherry chocolate, I would definitely give it whirl. Also, great points regarding the ordering system, and product visibility at White Mountain. I never know what to get there, however when my cousin worked there, she would always hook us up with free ice cream so deciding what flavor to get didn't really matter. We'll definitely be checking out Mia Gelato this weekend.

    • June 29, 2010 at 6:22 pm
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      I chatted with J about it for a while last night. I was saying that under the new pressure from Mia Gelato, I'd like to see White Mountain renovate just a bit. They should keep the wood trim and the rope barriers but move the ice cream to the front to showcase them. J adamantly disagrees. She feels that White Mountain is a local legend BECAUSE of the way it is. The change any part of it would result in a loss of its loyal fanbase. We'll have to see what happens over the summer! Things are looking pretty good for Mia Gelato though.

      • June 29, 2010 at 2:26 pm
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        A reno or freshening up at White Mountain wouldn’t hurt. That said, we won’t see it happen over the course of the summer. Further, if their business doesn’t suffer too much as a result of Mia Gelato, I doubt they’d consider doing anything at all.

      • June 30, 2010 at 12:01 pm
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        Not sure who J is (owner?), but as someone who goes there once in a while, with kids, I beg to differ. It is good ice cream, expensive, and a pain in the arse cuz of the long wait. The one HUGE drawback is that you cannot see the various flavours in front of you. The notion that it is a local legend because of the 'way-it-is" is absurd. I'll certainly be giving Mia Gelato a try, but undoubtedly, I will still hit White Mountain here and there too, despite the issue mentioned. I, for one, concur with Dee!

        • June 30, 2010 at 3:39 pm
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          I think White Mountain's ice-cream is overrated (it is all too sweet and lacks any really distinctive flavours IMHO), and given the queues you get in the place and the absolute snail's pace of the service on every occasion I have been there, I have to say that it is just not worth it for me.

          So I will check out Mia Gelato. One question though. Do they actually make their own gelato in-house or just buy it in from some anonymous supplier?

          • June 30, 2010 at 11:29 pm
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            Truth be told, J and I liked the ice cream at the little shawarma place more than White Mountain when it was still around.

            To answer your question, they make the gelato in house. I talked with the owner once. It is quite a nice store. Long overdue in Kingston!

  • June 29, 2010 at 2:56 pm
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    Is the name of the restaurant inspired by a person named Mia? If not, in Italian "gelato" is a masculine noun. The possessive pronoun would therefore be "mio", not "mia"…so the store should really be called "Mio Gelato"!

    • June 9, 2011 at 10:50 am
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      I went by there today, they changed the name to Mio Gelato! I guess they read Kingstonist :)

  • July 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm
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    I've been a fan of White Mountain for years, but on my last two visits, was pretty disappointed with the lack of chunks in the White Mountain Mix and in a couple of the other flavours that were supposed to be chock full of chunky goodness in the form of marshmallows, caramel, nuts, etc.

    I think Mia Gelato is a welcome addition to the frozen tread offerings in Kingston. I had the chocolate and the raspberry and they were both fabulous.

    Also, a head's up that Old Farm Fine Foods is now carrying Kawartha Lakes Dairy ice cream! I see a creme brulee cone in my near future.

  • July 5, 2010 at 9:17 am
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    Well, we stopped by Mia Gelato on the weekend and, whatever their language errors, the more important thing is that they can certainly make Italian-style ice cream; it was several times better than White Mountain. The lemon sorbet was properly sour, and the hazlenut was rich and had plenty of real nuts. Add super quick service on a hot and busy day, a nice counter and a huge selection of freshly-made flavours, and you have Kingston's new best ice-cream joint. Easily.

    • July 5, 2010 at 12:03 pm
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      Well said! Agreed. Went back a second time myself and Mia Gelato was even better.

  • July 5, 2010 at 5:57 pm
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    I'll have to ask my mother in law what the correct spelling should be. She speaks pretty decent Italian, so she'll likely know.

    I tried to check this place out on Saturday. After a long walk to build up our appetites we ended up there, no line, great atmosphere and me without a penny in my pocket. Although I realized that before ordering and coming to an embarrassing realization, all I can think about is gettin' me some gelato! Tonight's the night!

  • July 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm
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    Really? Am I the only one who thinks this place is really sub-par? The key lime I had one night tasted like the lime from one of those squirt bottles. Another night it tasted more like granita it was so granular. The last time I was there the pistachio really wasn't good. Just looking at the pictures should scare people off. Real fresh ice cream and gelatoo should not be so bright. Banana should be approaching gray and . Just like when you leave bananas out ….pistachio should be pale green not neon (like reids mint chip)

    And worst of all are the prices. I think people are just telling themselves its really could cause we are supposed to think that Gelatto is good all the time. This really isnt. Ive lived in Italy for a year and travelled there 1/2 dozen times in the last ten years. Mia Gelatto is marginally better than Metro. And there you get air miles for over-priced ice cream. Harvey if your mother likes it, Ill reconsider, but again if this were called anything but "gelato" we would call it what it is, fine, but nothing special, ice cream.

    I dont think White Mountain is anything special either The place needs a makeover and being able to see the ice cream as mentioned above would be a great start. But if I am going to choose between a small bowl of average gelato and a large cone of average ice cream which both cost $3.50 ill take the big one.

    • July 7, 2010 at 8:41 am
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      Since Harvey's mother in law is my mom, I'll speak to that. I tried a bunch of the flavours the other night and was thoroughly impressed. When I was growing up, my grandma always had gelato around and when I tasted the lime at Mia the other night, I was transported right back to that time. Perhaps it's not quite what you got in Italy, but it's definitely what Italian Canadians are eating!

  • July 6, 2010 at 9:59 pm
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    I don't think I am saying it's up to the standards of what you would find it Italy because there's no way that it is – I still remember a fantastic organic gelateria in Bologna… but it is certainly the best Kingston has to offer right now. Mind you, there's plenty of worse gelato in Italy these days too. The commercialisation of gelato-making certainly resulted in the same kinds of bright-coloured gelato as here, and this is also what you will find in most gelato you buy there, outside of the artisan types. And, by the by, I really don't understand this North American idea that large amounts of decidedly average product, whose main appeal is massive over-sweetness, constitute 'value' – I guess this has something to do with why obesity is so prevalent though, and why a lot of people are overweight. Personally, I'll have smaller amounts of something more interesting every time.

  • July 7, 2010 at 9:44 pm
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    Just tried it yesterday…must say the atmosphere blows White Mountain away. I was glad to see it was busy- I hope it is here to stay. And despite the crowd the line moved quickly.

    While I agree that it is not as fab as the gelato in Italy, they're also not using milk from Italian cows or European chocolate, etc. so we'll have to be happy with a good Canadian version. I do agree that the colours are a bit inauthentic, however.

    I did find it a bit pricy (2 medium cups cost me over $10) so it'll have to be a once in a while treat. I'm thinking about asking them if they would try making cinnamon gelato. Sounds gross, but it was the most amazing flavour I tried in Italy. Creamy vanilla full of real, fresh cinnamon. Heaven!

  • July 8, 2010 at 11:51 am
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    It's not the best gelato I've tried either. However, it's the best Kingston has to offer in terms of icy treats, IMHO, so I'm happy. I'd rather lick average gelato than none at all, all the while enjoying the "experience" of strolling around one of the prettiest parts of Kingston. I'm willing to support a business that is trying to offer something new, even if pricey. Mia and White Mountain are homemade, I'm guessing, so I'm also willing to pay for that–as long as they continue to try to offer a quality product. I think Mia is still working on that so I'll give it more time.

    • July 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm
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      I think that considering it's a new business it's quite impressive. It takes time to make changes and accommodations based on what your customers are saying. Hopefully Mia is listening and recognizes that people really enjoy the stuff but some tweaks here and there would keep customers coming back.

  • September 27, 2010 at 11:16 am
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    My hazelnut gelato was pasty tasting. Why can't we expect gelato to be as good here as it is in Italy. NYC has LOTS to offer on that score and so do other cities around the world not in Italy. If you are going to make gelato make it up to the best standard no matter where it is. Kingston included. That said, I'm willing to give this place another shot. There used to be a great little Italian bakery that had gelato here that was better than this current offering. However, I've been one time and I will not judge them solely on that one visit. White Mountain could be better too but, so far I prefer it to this place…so far.

    We need to demand the best of the best here as consumers. Kingston is the perfect venue for top notch eateries of all kinds. . Instead many times we get "it's good for Kingston" This little gelato place has potential …I hope they become what they are capable of! No more of this "It's good for Kingston" with a price tag to match what is best of the best elsewhere around the world.

  • February 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm
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    I tried the phone number abd uit was not listed. HAs it gone out of business?

    • February 15, 2011 at 1:39 pm
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      Similar to White Mountain, I believe they close to all/part of the off-season. Not much demand for frozen treats when it's minus twenty outside.

  • June 6, 2011 at 2:09 pm
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    It's very much open again now! And just as good as it was last year…

  • June 6, 2011 at 8:50 pm
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    They are making their own ice cream this year too, in addition to the gelato and sorbet. Love Mia Gelato!

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