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Denver's five best restaurant scoops of ice cream and gelato

The warm weather has us constantly craving ice cream, and yesterday, we listed our five best Denver parlors. While those are the places we're most likely to go for a double-scoop cone, ice cream parlors aren't the only places in town that turn out the dessert we crave: there are quite a few Denver restaurants that deliver a worthy scoop.

And so, as a follow up to yesterday's list, here, in no particular order, are our five favorite scoops of ice cream and gelato that come from restaurants.

Spuntino, 2639 West 32nd Avenue Like any good neighborhood Italian cafe, Spuntino features a case full of house-spun gelati and sorbetti, and we can't get enough. Ethereally light and decadently creamy, the rotating flavors are made with seasonal ingredients and good chocolate. We love the amaretto, which is buttery smooth and lightly almond-y. We swoon over the chocolate orange, a perfect match of bitter and sweet. And we'd go out of our way for the tart raspberry sorbet on any warm afternoon. But the sea salt chocolate caramel is one of the best things we've ever put in our mouths, period: a sweet, milky caramel base topped with a thin layer of soft dark chocolate and sprinkled with flaky sea salt. Each bite is a decadent explosion of sweet, salty and bitter, and by the time we scrape our tiny silver dishes clean, we only want more. Le Grand Bistro & Oyster Bar, 1512 Curtis Street While we make obsessive trips to ice cream parlors around town when we're craving a frozen scoop, there are certain ice cream cravings that send us, instead, to Le Grand. The restaurant doesn't exactly tout its ice cream prowess -- in fact, scoops are just served on the side of another dessert. But it shouldn't be overlooked: Le Grand turns out delicious flavors like basil buttermilk and orange caramel. One of our favorites is the walnut-praline ice cream, served in the colder months: sweet and creamy, lightly caramel-y and studded with crispy, sugared nuts, we eat a vat of it. Jax Fish House, 1539 17th Street We're not scoop purists when it comes to ice cream; we'll take our frozen treat in just about any fashion you care to serve it, including a la mode, in a sandwich or blended into a shake. Or in a root beer float -- we love the root beer float. And the best root beer float we've ever had comes from Jax Fish House, where a frosty mug comes with two scoops of, say, salted caramel ice cream topped off with the spot's house made root beer. Please pass the straw. And quickly.
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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk

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