STAFF PICK: Lucky for us, Bernardo Buontalenti lived up to his name. Although the 16th-century Renaissance man tinkered with everything from architecture to military engineering, as far as we're concerned the apotheosis of his inventions was the prototype for gelati. No mere pedestrian ice cream, gelati's the creamy quintessence of Italian panache and good taste in a cup. Happily, we can enjoy the wonders of gelati here at home, thanks to the kids at Brooklyn Pizza. They only offer two rotating flavors, but that hardly matters when one of them is nocciola. This silky delight of super-smooth chocolate texturized with flecks of hazelnut is pure ambrosia. The biscotti flavor, another taste-bud tour de force, combines gorgeous vanilla gelato with the eponymous broken biscuits.
For the calorie conscious, the Brooklyn freezer case boasts a selection of gelati's less fattening cousins. We vouch for the tart lemon ice and pistachio pocolatte. The former's fat free, while the latter draws its name from its "little milk" recipe. We recommend going whole hog for the gelati, though. As the saying goes, cream rises to the top.