I’ve been living on the border of Koreatown and Mid-City for almost a decade, and only recently made my first visit to Mateo’s Ice Cream and Fruit Bars. One visit is all it took for me to become a regular. I’ve started going almost once a week for ice cream and fresh fruit smoothies (sorry Jamba Juice, I gotta support small business).
I don’t feel bad about eating all the ice cream at Mateo’s Ice Cream because they offer fresh fruit, non-dairy flavors in addition to traditional milk-based ice cream and bars. Sure, everything contains sugar, but it’s doesn’t seem like they add too much in addition to the natural sugar in the fruit. On my first visit I went savory/sweet with two scoops: 1) mango Chile and 2) soursop, so delicious together.
Mateo’s has ice cream and paletas (fresh fruit bars) in every flavor imaginable, like tequila and smoked milk. Beyond that, they serve smoothies, fruit bowls, and sandwiches. It’s the kind of place you go to satisfy a hangover or sugar craving, with ingredients indigenous to Mexico and Central America. If you’re into local food, there are three locations in LA: Mid-City, Downtown LA, and Culver City. If you need a fix, check them out.