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Best North End coffee/pastry? Not Pompeii's!

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We decided to hang out for a short while in the North End on Sat. afternoon and get a quick coffee. Mike's was absolutely packed, and I really wanted table service....so we decided to sit down at Cafe Pompeii. Haven't been in a VERY LONG time, certainly not since the renovation. The cappuccinos were awful.....so watered down I couldn't even taste the coffee flavor (just WAY too much milk). A cheesecake was marginally ok (albeit a bit gummy on the ends), and a chocolate cannoli was far too sweet, couldn't taste the nice tanginess of the cheese at all.

I guess I should have known better....but my question to hounds is: Where is the best place to sit down in the North end and have a nice coffee and pastry???

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  1. Unfortunately, they're not necessarily the same place.

    Coffee: I really like Graffiti and Vittoria
    Pastry: The Modern

    If you want both at the same time, I'd give the edge to Vittoria over Graffiti. Both are better than Pompeii, IMHO.

    5 Replies
    1. re: patiofixture

      Yes, I love the pastry at Modern......Vittoria is ok.......Any hidden gems we are missing though?

      1. re: Science Chick

        Modern at this point has at least half a dozen tables, with table service, and they do coffee. Since it's a given that the pastry at Modern is the best, why not just sit there and have your coffee and pastry?

      2. re: patiofixture

        Graffitti is closing at the end of November

        1. re: Kate Sylvester

          yep so they can put in a new restaurant. what a shame.

          1. re: joebelt

            Is it the same owners who want a new restaurant or a whole new thing?

      3. modern pastry and lulu's

        1. I'll agree that Caffe Pompei is terrible.

          Caffe Vittoria is to my mind the best espresso/cappucino and a pastry sit down place in the North End, with the best second choice being Caffe Paradiso. Boston Beanstock is an excellent standard coffee and muffin spot in that area. Mike's, Modern, and Maria's all do excellent pastries but aren't exactly sit and linger places in the mold of Caffe Vittoria or Caffe Paradiso.

          You're welcome to check out my North End research on this thread, which among other things addresses these types of spots:

          http://www.chowhound.com/topics/448599

          3 Replies
          1. re: bachslunch

            I agree that Caffe Vittoria is the best combination pastry/coffee place. I believe they get their cannoli from Modern, so if that's you're favorite for pastry you're in luck. I prefer the pastry at Mike's and think it's an interesting place to park for a while, but I haven't had coffee there.

            1. re: pollystyrene

              modern is the best, definately. Pompeii is horrible, owned by The Saraceno/Bela VIsta/Assaggio people.

              1. re: dlavery99

                To be fair, I like Saraceno and Bella Vista very much (especially for standard red sauce stuff) and think Assaggio is also good. But Caffe Pompei is another matter -- awful food, weak service, and clip joint shenanigans which I've never encountered at the other three spots.

          2. Modern

            1. Modern Pastry is the best bakery in the north end. without a doubt.

              1. Graffiti makes the real espressos and machiatos - havent tried capucino there.
                The new place with a lot of gelato (maybe gelateria italiana) makes good espressos as well.