Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gelateria Barbara 4.75 Stars

The Details:
Gelateria Barbara
602 West 18th Street, Erie, PA 16502
(814) 452-4363‎
Price: A little complicated read on

The Disclosure:
This review may be a little biased as Gelateria Barbara is one of my favorite stops around Erie, and I find myself stopping in sometimes 2 or 3 times a week for a taste of the Italian treat.

The Overview:
Gelateria Barbara is a small gelato shop on the corner of 18th and Cherry streets, The store front is all glass and makes the establishment very welcoming. They sell some homemade pastas and other culinary delights, however this review will focus on the gelato, I'll be doing a further review of their culinary adventures later. If you were to stop by the gelateria you will usually find it with a costumer inside, neighborhood families frequent the shop from my observations as well as a slew of drive in customers, the shop seems to have a steady stream of business but this does not take away from the intimate feeling one gets in such closed quarters, the staff is always very friendly and the proprietor is usually up front serving his homemade confections to the patrons. On this day we were greeted with a new selection of flavors which we had not experienced in our previous visits. The staff is more than happy to allow you to taste every flavor, After trying 4 selections I decided on cioccolata, at $1.50 for a small cone ($1 on Wednesdays) the value is better than any ice cream shop in Erie.

The Rating:
The Food: 20/20
I spent a summer in Rome trying cioccolata gelato at a variety of establishments across the city, after sampling nearly every purveyor of the cool treat I came upon the conclusion that Tre Scalini, in Piazza Novona had the best gelato in all of Rome. What does this have to do with Gelataria Barbara? Upon returning to the States I heard of this location and decided that my now addicted taste buds needed a fix so I headed downtown. I asked for the cioccolata, which was even label in Italian, and my first impression was this was a near competitor to the Tre Scalini gelato, right here in Erie, Pa. In summary I'm saying if your first impression of gelato is Gelataria Barbara and you go to Rome and get a cone at a Local establishment don't be too shocked if you find the Gelato from America to be better.
Tim Brown, Owner

Service: 20/20
Upon entering the establishment you will be greeted with a buongiorno and immediately asked if you want to sample any flavors, or all of them. The service is always spot on and prompt, the staff is all very friendly and seems genuinely happy to be sharing this little piece of Italy with each and every costumer.
Ambiance: 18/20
The lose of a point here comes from the location. The busy streets lead to an awkward relaxation when sitting out back in the small garden provided for customers to eat outside. The pluses in this catagory are the names being in Italian and the idea that the Italian feel is honest and not cheesy. The quick service and family atmosphere leads to a pleasing experience every time.

Cleanliness: 19/20
The place is clean in a non-institutional way. Altogether the establishment presents itself in a very positive light. The outdoor garden area is a little untidy and cords and hoses were laying out on my last visit, this untidiness is an easy fix and should be worked on. Overall the place is clean and well kept.

Pass/Fail: 17/20
The points lost here are unfair and I adjusted as much as I felt was fair. Most of the criteria in this category does not apply to this small venue.

So Overall we have 94/100
A 4.75star rating.
Overall the taste and authenticity of the gelato is what really matters. The service compliments this superior confection and every experience is amazing. This is a major must stop for any local resident or anyone traveling through Erie.

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