Best cannoli in Boston's North End?

  • Mike’s Pastry
  • Modern Pastry Shop
  • Maria’s Pastry Shop
  • Other (please specify in a post)

0 voters

Oh, oh, wars have started over less controversial topics!

For me, it is:

  1. Maria’s Pastry Shop – the best cannoli, and zero lines

  2. Mike’s Pastry – a massive line of tourists, the weakest cannoli, but the killer pistachio macaroons make it worth the wait sometimes, despite the fact that you’ll look like a tourist walking around with a string-tied box from Mike’s

  3. Modern Pastry Shop – a very good cannoli (but why go here when Maria’s is just around the corner, unfortunately tourists now seem to have discovered it

I used to stand in line at Mike’s for their lovely pistachio macaroons, but I guess I’m getting too old and grumpy (turning into a real Bostonian?) and those macaroons would now have to be free for me to brave a line of 50+ annoying tourists stretching down Hanover St.

So I changed my allegiance to Modern just down the street. A smaller, crisper, better cannoli. But unfortunately, over the past 5 years tourists seem to have suddenly discovered Modern (not as long a line as Mike’s, but remember I’m grumpy).

Thankfully, a discussion several years ago on that once-great online food board that is currently undergoing death throes turned me on to Maria’s Pastry Shop. Old-school Italian in the way Modern is too (an oxymoron?), but around the corner from Hanover St, so the clueless tourists can’t seem to find their way there. So never a line!

Maria’s cannoli may not come in the infinite varieties of Mike’s, but their fresh, crispy shell, and creamy sweet ricotta filling are vastly superior to Mike’s, and at least as good if not better than Modern’s.

There are a couple of small tables out front, but not much of a view other than parked cars and the street with downtown Boston in the background. However, a 50 yard walk puts you on the edge of the Rose Kennedy Greenway, with fountains, benches, swings, walls, and grass to sit on while you enjoy your cannoli.

A great place to stop for dessert after grazing through the new indoor Boston Public Market, which is a short walk across the Greenway.

Cannoli warmongers who feel differently, feel free to flame away…


I’ve only had the ones at Parziale’s (on Prince St.), but they’re cheap and good, and it’s usually after a stop at Neptune’s Oysters down the street on Salem.

Yes, I fall into the tourist traps.

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Maria’s on the rare times we are still hungry after dinner

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In our family of Italians, some Italy born and some American, fights have been fought over The Best cannoli in the North End. The battle never ends, the war is never won. One cousin who has lived her whole life in the North End used to bring a fresh loaf of uncut Scali and a dozen cannoli from Mike’s. She did this whether for lunch, dinner, afternoon coffee, or just a quick visit. Another cousin who was born there but moved to Newton years ago brought six of this and six of that and Always cannoli from The Modern. A third preferred the long gone Alice’s on the same side of Hanover as The Modern.

It’s been a long time since I’ve had any pastry at all but my husband has promised to bring home cannoli from Maria’s the next time he’s “down the North End”.

Ask him for one of each and let us know which is the best! (Of course, that might mean he has to wait in 2 long lines, but you deserve it, right?)

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Quite Right ! OTOH if he sees a line out the door and down the street he won’t even think about waiting. Two or three people and he’ll wait a bit. Walk right in and order? Perfect. But, we’ll see. Will let you know.

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I assume the lines are short if you go at opening, but I’ve never been that clever, so it’s always Maria’s for me.

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