On a recent weekend trip to Boston, I had a single objective in mind – to try the best cannoli the North End had to offer. Everyone I asked said the same thing – Mike’s Pastry. Two locations in the greater Boston area and one heck of a reputation, I started walking north only to find…….one of the longest food-related lines I’ve ever seen. Seriously – out the door and wrapping around the building. I had mere hours to see the best that Beantown had to offer, and there just wasn’t room in my trip for that line. So while I’m sure the cannoli live up to the hype – because let me tell you, there was no end to the recommendations I received – here are a few places to load up on this iconic Italian treat without the line around the block.
Maria’s Pastry Shop
A bit off the beaten path, this little shop might not look like much from the outside, but man oh man is it worth a visit. Whenever I told people that I ate here, their faces simply lit up with excitement, and I completely understand why. Maybe not as popular as Mike’s, this little shop has earned itself a reputation as having the best cannoli outside of Italy, and I have to say, I can’t remember the cannoli I had in Italy after trying Maria’s. There’s not much room to sit and eat, so swing by the shop and get your cannoli to go—the service is fast and the food is just exquisite.
If you’re looking for a little more atmosphere than you might get at Maria’s – a nice place to sit, enjoy your cannoli, and have a cup of coffee, check out Caffé Vittoria. Established in 1929 and hailed as the first Italian café in Boston, this is the perfect place to stop whether you’re looking for just a quick coffee and dessert, or you’d rather settle in for a while with a few cocktails.
It’s not hard to find a great place to drink in Boston, and if you plan to spend the night putting back a few (or more), you better have a great 24 hour food joint in mind before heading home. Enter Bova’s Bakery. Family owned and operated since 1926, Bova’s boasts that it serves the best Tiramisu in the country – and their cannoli is nothing to scoff at either! Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Bova’s is always going to be there when you need, or want, them – and in the late night / wee morning hours, there is no other sight quite as sweet.