Cannoli – a must-have experience

When you visit Boston, Italian cuisine should be a big part of your eating itinerary… and to conclude a good meal, Italian or otherwise, you should have a cannoli!

According to Wikipedia, a cannoli is a Sicilian pastry.  It consists of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough, filled with a sweet, creamy filling usually containing ricotta.

There are 2 major bakeries here in Boston that any local resident will argue for as the best cannoli shop.  Of course, they  both offer a variety of baked goods as pastry shop, but let’s just focus on the cannoli here.

Mike’s Pastry

300 Hanover St
Boston, Massachusetts 02113
(617) 742-3050
*cash only!*

Iconic Mike's Pastry box

In any nice weather day, you can expect to find the line out of the door.  Even when it’s raining, the store is still packed.

There is a long counter and some seating area to eat there.  However, most people take their prizes to go.


Delicious espresso cannoli

Modern Pastry Shop

257 Hanover Street
Boston, MA 02113-2322
(617) 523-3783

Modern Pastry is located almost just across the street from Mike’s.  Talk about fierce competition.  On any sunny day, there will likely be equally long line out of Modern’s doors as well.  Modern also has seating area in the store, but overall, it’s a smaller store.

See how Modern Pastry has similar box to Mike’s but it’s in red?  They have the matching twine to go with the box as well.  Pretty. 🙂

Modern Pastry box

Once you pass the similar popularity and packaging, here is where the 2 shops differ,

Mike’s pastry has a long counter with many flavors of pre-filled cannolis ready to go; Modern takes a different approach of a single-filed line and fill-to-order.  As you come up to the counter, prepare to choose 1) shell – plain or dipped with chocolate or strawberry, 2) filling – traditional or other flavors, 3) additional topping, if you want.

See these empty shells waiting to be filled with yummy filling?

cannoli shells

Here is our cannoli with traditional riccota filling.

riccota filling cannoli

After having try the cannolis from both shops, I will tell you that you can’t go wrong with either one of them.


  • Delicious – there is no doubt that both shops make excellent cannoli.
  • History – long time establishment in North End, Boston.


  • Mike’s has bigger selection of filling flavors.
  • Mike’s cannoli are bigger, and I believe they are therefore, pricier.
  • Modern fill your cannoli to order, so the shells stay crunchier.

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