New Restaurant Alert: Rita's Italian Ice at V-Mall, San Juan

Cool down with ice cream made of custard from this Philadelphia favorite.

Rita's Italian Ice
G/F V-Mall Greenhills Shopping Center, San Juan
Contact: 650-5859
Open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (Monday to Friday) and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (Saturday to Sunday)



( What can you make from ice and custard? It turns out, a lot. So much that you can actually be awarded for it. Rita's Italian Ice, which was selected Best Ice Cream in 2012 by Zagat, opened this November at V-Mall, replacing the old Milkway Deli.


"There's nothing like it in the country," says co-owner Ted Castro. Rita's started in Philadelphia-on a porch window in 1984 ironically by a former firefighter named Bob Tumolo. The concept is simple: freshly made Italian ice, custard, and a variety of ways of presenting it.



The annex is currently being constructed for more seating.


Rita's Philippines uses Italian ice machines from the US, and the result is fine grains of ice that tickle the taste buds. Don’t worry, though: as the sweet ice melts in your mouth, your enjoyment won't be spurned by large lumps.


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Sizes and varieties


Flavors include Cookies 'n’ Cream, Rootbeer, Watermelon, Cherry, Strawberry-Banana, Mango, and Cotton Candy, an intriguing Mint Oreo, and Blue Raspberry. Though you can order it on its own (P100 to P250)-the Frozen Lemonade, by the way, has its own category-it's much more fun to mix and match the ice with the custard. There are six: Chocolate, Light Vanilla, Vanilla, Coffee, Orange Cream, and Strawberry.



Light Vanilla and Strawberry-Banana Ice


Ted recommends the Gelati (P130 to P160): a triple layer of a custard base, an icy middle, and a final coif of more custard on top. The custard, whichever you choose, is like velvet: creamy, smooth, and luscious. "It doesn't melt (easily), too," Ted points out. Perfect for walking around in the year-round sweltering heat.


Chocolate and Sugar-free Peach-Mango


Or you can just order the custard and marvel at its silky richness. The Frozen Custard comes in a cone (P125 to P160) or as a sundae (P160 to P195) complete with toppings and a cherry. There are the Misto Shake (P140 to P160) and Blendini (P130 to P160), where you get your pair of ice and custard already blended into a delicious smoothie-like drink, except that the latter gets an extra benediction of a topping.



A sample of Ted’s Blendini


Ted, in fact, has his own signature Blendini developed for him in the US: sweet mango ice balancing out the dense vanilla custard, with a smattering of chopped walnuts to give it some texture.


Ways to have your ice and custard


Just a few weeks after opening and it's already a full house almost every day at Rita's Italian Ice. They're also converting the former fruit store in a nearby corner (just behind the current location) for more seating. Still, sitting, standing, walking, Rita's Italian Ice doesn't take too much to enjoy.

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