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Best Bakery in the North End

dwharff May 20, 2009 01:16 PM

I will be in Boston for a couple of days in June and I was wonder who do you think has the best pastries in the North End? Since I will be travelling by train from Boston to Philly, I probably won't be able to take anything back with me, so I want to indulge while I am in Boston.


  1. b
    BostonMAC Mar 1, 2011 12:20 PM

    I'll say it...I'm still a huge Mike's fan and will battle the lines (or, more likely, skip the lines...flame away) every time we eat in the North End. I love their chocolate-dipped choc chip cannoli and cookies.

    1. s
      surferbettygal Mar 1, 2011 11:20 AM

      I have never had anything good from Maria's. Everything I've had tastes stale.

      Bova - awful but you're always drawn in by the smell.

      Mike's - I personally like it over Modern only because I find the people at Modern are incredibly rude. I've lived in the Boston area most of my life so I know what to steer clear of at Mike's. My husband prefers Modern so it's always a toss up when we go out! :)

      Modern - I will avoid just because they are rude. I do love their torrone though! The Modern in Medford is better. The service is really good in Medford.

      134 Salem St, Boston, MA

      1 Reply
      1. re: surferbettygal
        Jenny Ondioline Mar 1, 2011 11:25 AM

        What about the service at Modern strikes you as rude? I certainly find them businesslike, but they're always nice enough to me.

      2. s
        samiwolf Feb 28, 2011 06:32 PM

        Not a bakery but try the divine canoli dessert at Bricco on Hanover St: three miniature canoli (is thre a plural??), not overly sweet, beautiful presentation, crisp and yummy. Better than Maria's, etc....

        241 Hanover St., Boston, MA 02113

        1 Reply
        1. re: samiwolf
          Jenny Ondioline Feb 28, 2011 06:40 PM

          Cannoli *is* the plural. Technically, one is a cannolo, although it sounds a bit pretentious when an English speaker says that.

        2. f
          fisherdm Feb 9, 2011 07:43 PM

          You Bostonians don't know how lucky you are. I'm from DC, which is a barren wasteland for bakeries, so to have such options as you do is a luxury.

          I hit Modern for ricotta filled cannoli with an espresso. Sat in the window, watched the sidewalk traffic, and had a terrific afternoon.

          1. r
            rizzo0904 Jan 18, 2011 06:11 AM


            1. t
              TheScribe May 26, 2009 08:35 AM

              I must admit I have a soft spot in my heart for Bova's, the 24-hour bakery. It is completely unadorned, almost factory-like. When I worked at the Old North Church, I always stopped by for a pastry.

              my blog: http://thegeminiweb.com

              2 Replies
              1. re: TheScribe
                BackBayGirl May 27, 2009 07:52 AM

                Hey, I'm with you. I haven't ever had a bad pastry there and don't really know what is so bad about it, but apparently others have not had good experiences.

                1. re: BackBayGirl
                  phatchris Jan 16, 2011 10:20 AM

                  I've had a few not so fresh pastries from Bova's, their bread is always pretty good though.

                  134 Salem St, Boston, MA

              2. f
                foodymom May 22, 2009 09:30 AM

                Maria's is fantastic. Maria, herself, is a wonderful person who makes good pastries using great ingredients. Her version of biscotti are slightly chewy, and full of big fresh almonds with just a hint of cinnamon. She also makes a light, just barely sweet sesame cookie that is wonderful for breakfast or dessert. Both cookies travel beautifully (and last as long as you can avoid eating them!) The store is rarely crowded, too. Finally, she will fill cannolis fresh for you!


                5 Replies
                1. re: foodymom
                  BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 22, 2009 10:29 AM

                  Well, the last is hardly unique, though. Modern always fills their cannoli fresh.

                  1. re: foodymom
                    another_adam May 23, 2009 09:39 PM

                    Actually, what I always appreciate about Maria's is that they'll pack the cannoli filling separately for you, so you can reassemble them and have them fresh later! (This might not be unique, either, but I've managed to have a long enough conversation with the folks at Modern or Mike's to find out the range of options...) I have generally found the cannoli at Maria's to be on par with Modern, and I like some of her cookies better-- and avoiding the mob scene clinches it for me. I mainly go to Modern for their torrone...

                    1. re: another_adam
                      viperlush May 24, 2009 10:27 AM

                      That's a good thing to know about the cannoli filling. Whenever I travel down to NJ to meet family I first stop at Maria's for marzipan for my mom and bro, and cannoli for the car ride down. I might start bringing down some DIY cannoli for later.

                      1. re: viperlush
                        nhmom May 25, 2009 08:31 PM

                        Can anyone tell me if Maria's is within walking distance from any great Italian restaurants?

                        1. re: nhmom
                          BostonZest May 26, 2009 06:09 AM

                          Yes, it is. Everything in the North End is within walking distance of Maria's. This is a compact neighborhood. However, to name your "great Italian" will require a bit more information from you. Do you want red sauce Italian American, upscale, chef driven, inexpensive, northern Italian?

                          Here is one old conversation that was updated this month.


                  2. SaraASR May 22, 2009 06:25 AM

                    Yes to Marias. Had their pastries for the first time a few weeks ago. Chocolate covered torrone? Amazing!

                    1. m
                      mcupcake May 21, 2009 08:00 PM

                      Maria's is delicious! Love their amaretti cookies and their sfogliatelle. And not too much of a line. Mike's is really, really over-rated, and mainly for tourists.

                      1. b
                        BackBayGirl May 21, 2009 01:41 PM


                        4 Replies
                        1. re: BackBayGirl
                          Northender May 21, 2009 02:11 PM

                          But only if it is 3:00 AM

                          1. re: Northender
                            StriperGuy May 21, 2009 02:35 PM

                            Glad you said it, Bova is mostly atrocious... unless it is 3:00 am, or you want good old school anise biscotti.

                          2. re: BackBayGirl
                            ladams1221 Jan 15, 2011 12:13 PM

                            Hubby & I visited in September, 2010. I had a Lobster Claw - meh, but after having only one bite of his Boston Cream Pie, I can't stop thinking about it. I am ordering one "for him" for his birthday! It was the best BCP either of us has ever tasted - at 3:00 PM, or any other time.

                            134 Salem St, Boston, MA

                            1. re: ladams1221
                              Ralphie_in_Boston Jan 18, 2011 05:57 AM

                              Lobster tail at Maria's is great too....although I just noticed you posted lobster "claw"...hmm never had one of those..Must investigate.

                          3. c
                            Carty May 20, 2009 01:57 PM

                            Not clear to me that any of them are better than Termini, South Philadelphia gets its Italian on.

                            The best here is actually Modern, but please go to Mike's or Maria's, the lines are long enough already :').

                            Cannoli (ricotta) or ricotta pie, get some torrone to take home.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Carty
                              zach272 May 20, 2009 02:32 PM

                              Second that. Termini's pastries, cannoli included, are at least as good as anything you can get in the North End, and probably better. That said, the pastries are excellent at all three bakeries...I happen to prefer Modern.

                            2. k
                              kimfair1 May 20, 2009 01:34 PM

                              Replies to this thread will be one of three bakeries. Maria's, Modern, and Mike's. My preference is Maria's, many others like Modern and Mike's. All three are good with Mike's being the most "touristy".

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: kimfair1
                                fmcoxe6188 May 20, 2009 01:50 PM

                                I can foresee this becoming a long thread- Id second Modern, warn away (strongly) from Mikes, and add Cafe Vittoria to the list as a place to grab pastry and coffee or a drink and relax at a table. The others, to me, are more of pick up places and bring elsewhere. My 2 cents

                                1. re: fmcoxe6188
                                  Northender May 20, 2009 02:00 PM

                                  I think cafe Vittoria gets their pastries from Modern - which is the one that gets my vote with Maria's a very close second and Mike's a distant third.

                                  1. re: Northender
                                    fmcoxe6188 May 21, 2009 08:59 AM

                                    Really? Wow! That is a very interested Fact-thank you!

                                    1. re: Northender
                                      BarmyFotheringayPhipps May 21, 2009 09:44 AM

                                      My ranking is precisely the same as Northender's, and yes, Vittoria sources its pastries from Modern. They used to get them from Mike's, but there was a spat there and they switched a few years ago.

                                  2. re: kimfair1
                                    nsenada May 20, 2009 01:53 PM

                                    Second Maria's

                                    1. re: nsenada
                                      Rubee May 20, 2009 03:22 PM

                                      Third Maria's, especially their cannolis and sfogliatelle.

                                      Maria's Pastry Shop
                                      46 Cross St, Boston, MA 02129

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