Cannoli with chocolate chips
Photograph: Courtesy of Trattoria il Panino

The Best Cannoli in Boston: 9 Places to Score This Italian Treat

These are the finest versions of this famous Sicilian pastry

Cheryl Fenton
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You might say Bostonians have tunnel vision when it comes to their dessert choices. While the city may have catapulted Boston Cream Pie into fame and it certainly runs on donuts (Dunkin’ or otherwise), the best cannoli in Boston remain a local delicacy. These filled pastry masterpieces of Italian origin are beloved by many, and actually are the topic of one of the city’s biggest culinary rivalries (Mike’s vs. Modern). Where you get this hand-held dessert is just as important as what kind you get, so here are nine of the best places to get cannoli in Boston. But before heading out for a treat, try some of the Best Italian Restaurants in Boston. For more sweet tooth service, check out the Best Dessert Places in Boston. If you want to explore more of the city’s Italian side, check out the North End and its Best Restaurants in the North End.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in Boston

Best cannoli in Boston

  • Bakeries
  • North End
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The signature white box with bright blue font and two-tone string is well-known by diehard fans and tourists alike. Go basic or go big at Mike’s, with a huge case full of varieties of this legendary pastry, from traditional ricotta to unique fillings including limoncello, peanut butter, hazelnut, espresso, strawberry, mint chocolate and more. Shells are made in-house, and there are shop locations in the North End, Somerville, Harvard Square and North Station.

  • Bakeries
  • North End
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Modern Pastry is an iconic North End pastry emporium with a loyal following. This family-owned spot has been in operation for decades, offering olOne of the North End’s cannoli kings, with a second location in Medford, Modern Pastry loyalists nosh on the crisp, deep-fried plain or chocolate pastry tubes filled to order with either ricotta, vanilla or chocolate custard, or whipped or Chantilly cream. Flavors include chocolate-dipped with chips, plain, almond slices and pistachio. To wash it down, grab a Tiramisu Stout, the bakery’s new collab with Lord Hobo Brewing Company.-world cakes, cookies, pizelles, and chocolates. Try the flaky sfogliatella (lobster tail) and a coffee for a sweet finish after a meal. Check out Modern Underground where you can get a cocktail with your dessert.

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  • Bakeries
  • North End
  • price 1 of 4

If any spot is to invade the Mike’s vs. Modern dual, it’s Bovas. Family-owned since 1926, this North End spot is known for its traditional Sicilian cannoli made completely from scratch. In traditional Italian style, each shell is wrapped onto a tube and deep-fried to a perfect golden brown. The result is a crisp, bubbly shell filled with homemade creamy ricotta that isn’t too sweet, and topped with your choice of treats.

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  • Back Bay
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Set inside the Prudential Center, the rotating cannoli selection at this mega maze of Italian restaurants and shoppable delicacies is worth a trip to the Pru. Try out flavors such as raspberry gelée, tiramisu, dark chocolate, toasted pistachios or sweet ricotta made with Calabro Cheese in Connecticutor order up a mini trio to have the best of all worlds. Add-ons include chocolate, hazelnuts, pistachios, almonds or cherries.

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  • Italian
  • Dorchester

The wood burning oven might be the star of the show at the kitchen within Dorchester’s Adams Village, but don’t sleep on chef-owner Jeffrey Cincotta’s desserts. When you order the cannoli, you’ll enjoy four crispy cylinder cookies with a filing of ricotta and mascarpone cheese. They’re super light and not overly sweet, making them the perfect ending to a hearty and rich Italian meal.

  • Italian
  • North End

This quintessential North End coffee shop fills crispy shells with sweet ricotta cream, or you can order them in a dark chocolate-dipped shell with either chocolate chips or pistachio dipping. Whichever you choose fits nicely on a small plate next to your latte, espresso, macchiato or cappuccino.

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  • Somerville

The housemade ricotta cannoli filling at this shop in Somerville’s Union Square is simple and delicious. They understand the soggy problem if a shell is filled and forgotten, so they sell kits (six or 12 shells) complete with vanilla filling in a piping bag to bring home and put fill when you're ready to dig in.

  • Italian
  • North End

Billing itself as “Boston’s first original trattoria,” this Hanover Street hot spot is well-known for its pasta dishes and festive covered patio. But ready to blow your socks off at the end of the meal is a cannoli finisher. The tubed treats are stuffed with a variety of flavors such as pistachio, hazelnut, chocolate and classic, and they’re made to order in-house with fresh ingredients.

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  • Italian
  • North End

Right in the middle of the North End on Hanover Street, this intimate spot serves up cannoli with pastry shells internally coated in chocolate and filled with ricotta, candied fruit and chocolate chips. Rumor has it that they even allow you to order a cannoli shell crammed with gelato, which is just the tops in the summer.

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