The Upper East Side just got lucky. When Shay Ivan and Adi Adivdal set about bringing Anita Gelato to New York — their parlors are big hits in Tel Aviv — they first considered launching NYC operations in a touristy area like SoHo or Times Square, but decided instead to put down roots in a residential neighborhood. So when this corner spot on 81st and Second came up, they pounced, and, judging by turnout on opening week — with lines literally out the door and down the block every night after dinner — the locals are more than a little excited to welcome them to the neighborhood.
So I guess Ivan and Adivdal got lucky as well. Obviously all the planning for the new Anita was pre-pandemic (their original opening date was set for April, but due to the shutdown they couldn't finish construction as scheduled), and tourist zones are a tough place to do business these days. Win-win then!
As you would expect, the focus at Anita is on the gelato which, judging by the five scoops I ate here earlier this week, is first-rate, a suitably dense and creamy treat with big, "true" flavors. The gelato is made fresh every morning, and although Ivan and Adivdal have some 200 different flavors in their repertoire, they'll only be scooping 24 on any given day, with a foundation of fan favorites like Cookieman, Milk Chocolate Pretzels, and Pistachio, and seasonal (Pavlova with Mixed Berries) or surprise (Salted Bagel) flavors rotating in and out.
Anita also offers two different frozen yogurts, Vanilla and Acai, and there's a huge toppings bar to go with them, with things like halvah chunks, M&Ms, and jelly beans, plus lots of syrups and fruity options. Several types of freshly baked cookies (which I hear are really good) and made-to-order Belgium Waffles round out your dessert options. A full coffee program is available as well.
There is some seating inside which we're obviously not using just yet (there are already enough people in there to be honest, working and ordering and waiting), as well as a half dozen tables set up out on the sidewalk.
Anita Gelato is located at 1561 Second Avenue, at the corner of 81st Street, and is currently open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily (anita-gelato.com)