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The Zero Gradi Australian gelateria and pastry shop in downtown Dallas – sister store and neighbor to 400 Gradi – serves amazing pastries and desserts. Both Gradi concepts are the work of Johnny Di Francesco, a conductor born in Australia and trained in Naples.

Zero Gradi is located on Ross Avenue near the Arts District across from Sloane’s Corner. The facade of the building is under construction, which makes the entrance difficult to find, but has a bit of persistence. The payoff is worth it.

There is no curbside parking, but you might be able to find a spot nearby. There are a few 15 minute parking spaces in the garage behind the store. If you’ve been planning a trip to the Arts District, this is the place to treat yourself. Or to hide while your family members read the walls.

Zero Gradi offers a full espresso bar, pastries from scratch and over 20 flavors of ice cream.

The real superstars here, however, are the pastries made by local pastry chef Lizzy Ramirez. The veneziana brioche, (middle shelf on the left in the photo above) with a crispy exterior that gives way to a spongy interior filled with vanilla cream, is wonderful. More recently, Ramirez has added fall-inspired flavors like a pumpkin spice and an apple and caramel croissant. The pistachio croissant has swirls of dark green and a dollop of vanilla custard inside.

Click to enlarge Small in size but gargantuan in flavor.  - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS

Small in size but gargantuan in flavor.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

A cup of ‘kid size’ gelato comes with two flavors in a small cup with a teaspoon. When they put mine on the counter there might have been an audible “Oh…” of disappointment because, shamefully, we’re used to Super Big Gulp portions of everything. It was a dollop of gelato in Texan terms, much like a sample size at the Central Market. Like, if I nodded after tasting it, I would get the actual size.

But one bite made it clear why this dessert is served in small increments; that’s a big hit for your dollop of gelato. The flavor concentration is intense and beautiful.

Click to enlarge Two chocolate fountains;  perfect works of art near the arts district.  - LAUREN DREWES DANIELS

Two chocolate fountains; perfect works of art near the arts district.

Lauren Drewes Daniels

As if one of the ice creams could hold more flavor, two chocolate fountains on the counter near the ice cream case pour a continuous stream of milk and white chocolate. We need more continuous chocolate fountains around the world.

Zero Gradi, 2000 avenue Ross, n ° 170. 9 am to 7 pm Monday to Thursday, 10 am to 8 pm Friday, closed Saturday and Sunday.