Food & Drink

All the Cannoli in the North End Worth Eating

Published On 08/17/2015 Published On 08/17/2015
Mike's | Flickr/Navin75
Flickr/Valerie Hinojosa
Flickr/Randy Robertson
Flickr/Adam Fagan
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1. Maria's Pastry Shop 46 Cross St, Boston, MA 02113-2201

This pastry spot allegedly has one of the best cannolis outside of Italy, and has been given the honor of best cannoli in Boston before. They have all the other classics too, like lobster tails, torrone, and marzipan treats. The tiny spot isn't great for sitting, but the waterfront is only a short walk away.

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2. Taranta 210 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

This restaurant blends together Italian and Peruvian flavors and meals to bring something different to the North End. The meal will be incredible, but make sure you save room for one of their decadent desserts.

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3. Modern Pastry Shop 263 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

Though there's always hoards of people buzzing outside rival pastry shop Mike's just down the block, real Bostonians know that generations-old Modern is the real winner of the city's best cannoli. At any given time, there's a sizable line for its flaky, deep-fried pastry tubes hugging velvety ricotta, which you can customize with add-ons like chocolate chips, pistachios, and chocolate-dipped shells. Despite the line, this cash-only spot isn't nearly as crazed as Mike's, because guests here form an orderly queue (instead of a swarming crowd) as they ogle at tons of treats like handmade Italian cookies, lobster tails, and cakes in display cases. Pro tip: if you're pressed for time, skip the line and slip inside Modern's next-door cafe that's oft-overlooked -- it serves the same cannoli without the wait.

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4. Bricco 241 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

This Italian restaurant is nothing unique in the North End, but that doesn't mean it's not special. Between a menu with dishes like Ricotta Pillows with truffle butter and wild mushroom, a killer late night & pizza menu, and one of the better cannolis in the city, we can easily recommend a visit.

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5. Bova's Bakery 134 Salem St, Boston, MA 02113

If you’re craving a cannoli at 4am, this tiny North End bakery, which is open 24-hours, is the only place to go. Grab one of several flavors (and bring cash!) or make yourself a to-go box of assorted cookies and pastries from the giant glass display cases up front. In need of something more savory? Bova's also makes calzones, Sicilian-style pizza, subs, and spuckies. It’s a little cramped, so you’ll probably want to head outside to eat.

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6. Caffè Paradiso 255 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

This authentic, family run, Italian caffe has a few very important features. It's open 7am-2am seven days a week, they serve Italian pastries, gelato, & coffees, and they have a cocktail menu. Yes, that's right: cannolis and martinis in the same place.

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7. Caffe Vittoria 296 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

Sprawling is a very seriously used word in the case of this North End spot. It was the first Italian café in Boston, and covers four floors, between which is has three bars. They serve Italian classics like gelato, cannolis, coffees, and cocktails.

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8. Mike's Pastry 300 Hanover St, Boston, MA 02113

Mike’s Pastry, the Hanover St. mainstay, has been drawing crowds of cannoli-craving hopefuls (read: lines down the block, at all times) to its North End storefront since 1946. Mike’s features nearly 20 different flavors of il cannolo, as they call it, piped into crunchy, fried pastry shells (that somehow don’t crumble at first bite), and dusted with powdered sugar. The options are vast, but when you hit the pastry case, time is of the essence: pick your poison, fill your iconic white and blue pastry box, and move along -- there are dozens of others waiting to do the same.