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May 6, 2002 11:50 PM

Modern Pastry - Best Italian Pastry In Boston

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Had to start a new post for this one, because I saw someone plugging Mike's Pastry in the North End.

Mike's is perfectly acceptable, no faults, but the purely homemade stuff at Modern Pastry, also on Hanover Street in the North End is not to be missed!

Traditional Italian pastry as good as it gets. Second generation now baking as "John" the father is semi-retired.


- The various Nougat and Truffle bars.
- Florentine Lace cookies with gobs of choclate and huge chunks of almonds.
- Ricotta, chocolate chip, strega-soaked sponge cake and whipped cream Cassata.
- Ricotta pie with a cup of coffee, no better breakfast...
- Napoleans
- Sfogliatelle
- Any pastry in the cooler.
- Zeppoli di San Gioseppe with vanilla pastry cream and sour cherry jam (only made once a year 5-6 weeks before Easter.)
- Almond Macaroons with Pine Nuts.
- Etc. etc.

Curious to see if any other chowhounds swoon as much as I for Modern Pastry.

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  1. Their torrone is definitely the best, fresh and not too sugary. Whenever I leave town to visit family, they make me buy them bars of the stuff because we never see it elsewhere done so well. And the ricotta pie is wonderful. They always have something different showing up on the front counter.

    I'm curious about others' take on the cannoli wars -- some say Modern, some say Mike's, some say Maria's. I think I'd have to say Mike's, mostly because I love the chocolate chips.

    4 Replies
    1. re: dillard10

      They also do the ricotta pie with wheat, which is becoming increasingly rare. My fave cannoli are Modern's -- the ones at Mike's are too sweet for my taste.

      1. re: Stewartflamingo

        Modern's Cannoli are the freshest you will find anywhere. Even hardened New Yorker's up for a visit rave about the cannoli. Stewartflamingo is right on about Mike's being too sweet.

        1. re: northender

          Can we just take Mike's out of contention since the staff literally throws your box of lousy pastry at you. I've kind of sworn off trying Italian pastry in Boston - all about making it so the midwestern tourists can get what they THINK it's supposed to taste like! So never had Modern, definitely going to try based on these suggestions. Is the ricotta pie anisette flavored? Anyone?

          1. re: Missy

            Missy, no MOdern's Ricotta Pie is NOT annisette flavored. I've never had one with annisette and my sister-in-law is from Itay. Don't think I'd care for annisette in a pie. Moderns is an indescribably creamy flavor, almost like the flavor of a french creme filling...It is the best flavored Ricotta I have ever eaten. I've had ricotta pie with a slight lemon flavor, some with orange and some with chocolate chips, and although okay, I don't care for a flavoring in my pie. The purist's version; i.e. Modern's is the absolute best. I've had stuff hurled at me at Mike's too and I thought, wow, is this run by Durgin Park????? Modern is a little hole-in-the-wall, but its the best in town for quality. THere's also one just at the beginning of Medford Square too if that's closer to you. They also make a white cake with a creme and strawberries that's fantastic; Cassata is awesome, lobster tails, butagena (sp)?, cannoli, and their Italian cookies are the best. If my sister-in-law and her family won't go anyplace else but Modern, I think its a pretty safe bet that it is the Primo Italian Pastry Place!

    2. Oh, you sinner...your forgot the numero uno best piece of pastry at Modern........LOBSTER TAILS! Also not to be missed are their apricot or raspberry filled cookies and their biscotti....Modern is A++. Not to burst your bubble though...even they are taking shortcuts on baking which sometimes show. No one does pastry like they used to 20 or 30 years ago.

      1. Glad to hear there are other Modern fans!

        Full disclosure: I had the good fortune of living right across the street on Hanover from 88'-96'. Wasn't so good for my waistline.

        They also did my wedding cake, a three tiered Casatta which blew the guests away.

        1. I agree, Modern is better than Mike's. I prefer the Modern Cannoli to Mike's too. Modern has cannoli's with chocolate chips too?

          1. The original comment has been removed