Rita’s Italian Ice (Santee)


Rita’s Italian Ice is starting to take over San Diego. They opened their first store in SD just last year and now have eight locations up and running. On their website they list seven more coming soon, with others I’m sure to follow shortly after. Time will tell if demand can keep up with their pace.

We went to try the location in Santee to see what everyone was talking about. There was a line, but we got through it pretty quickly.


One of their more popular offerings is the Gelati. It features a layer of frozen custard on the bottom, Italian ice in the middle, and another layer of frozen custard on the top. IMG_3573 IMG_3575

They have all kinds of Italian ice flavors to choose from and often change their flavors. What’s nice about Rita’s is they allow you to sample as many flavors as you like and even encourage it. It makes you more comfortable sampling multiple flavors when they audibly reassure you as eager eyes gaze your way. IMG_3576

In the event of a zombie apocalypse, Anh will surely head to the closest gummy bear factory. She can survive off of these things and has been known to test the limits of gummy bear consumption on the human body. So naturally, when swedish fish was offered the inclination was to sample it. To my surprise, Anh thought it was too sweet and too much swedish fish flavor for an entire cup. I agreed it was a little much. We instead opted for the mango Italian ice with vanilla custard. These flavors were not bad together. The key for me is to have the custard be secondary and be as neutral as possible so the Italian ice can shine. Tons of people love the combination, but Anh and I both agree we like the Italian ice separate from the frozen custard. The best frozen custard I’ve had was in Ohio and Maine. Maybe because they didn’t serve it with anything else at those places is why I like them separately. We just had a Bomb Pop flavored sorbet at Yogurtland and it blasted me back to my childhood. I’m hoping Rita’s comes out with a Big Stick flavor!


I thought it would be fun to see how fast their Instagram feed worked on their flat screen tv while we were enjoying our dessert. Our picture came up fairly quickly, hah!

Rita’s Italian Ice
9490 Cuyamaca St.
Santee, CA 92017

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About Darren

Fooood! I love it if you can't tell already. I love everything about it. The taste, the smell, the look, the feel, the satisfaction, the gratification, and ultimately: the fun! I've been in San Diego for about 10 years now and it amazes me that there are still places to uncover. Traveling, eating, and taking pictures of food has always been a hobby of mine. So naturally Michael and I thought it made sense to share what we found with all of you. I tend to side with the savory but never shy away from a knock out dessert. If you have a place you think we haven't tried let us know! We're always on the lookout...

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