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The best sfogliatelle in the North End?

This winter I plan to recreate an insane morning stroll i took (in the winter and in a snowstorm) through the North End some years back, in search of the nabe's best sfogliatelle. Last time's adventure was on a whim and was not at all documented. (Well, i did mention it in this, my love letter to the pastry: http://bit.ly/97zGHt, but that's it.)

Hell, I don't even know the name of the place I thought was best, just that it was on a side street, sort of off the beaten path.

This new adventure will definitely be documented. And may be broadened to include New York (not sure yet).

All informed opinions are most welcome.

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  1. I like them at Maria's the best.

      1. Maybe you got one at Bova's Bakery? That's not on the main drag. They are not bad there -
        I like Modern's enough and agree with the Maria's recommendation too. Mike's ricotta seemed a little bland to me - no candied fruit for sure...
        I too share your love of "flee-uh-dell" as my mother calls them.

        134 Salem St, Boston, MA

        1. Not a tradition in my family, but I think Maria's does the best by a wide margin: I believe they consider it their specialty.


          10 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Slim, you're Italian! Multo bene!
            I agree, Maria's is the best. Sometimes--not often--they have different fillings, such as candied fruit inside the sfogliatelle along with the custard. Not for everyone but I like them either way.

            1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

              Italian in spirit, if not ethnicity. No, wait: I could be Italian. Nobody knows!


              1. re: Ralphie_in_Boston

                Ricotta??? Fillings??? The only time I ever tried one (from Modern - about 6 months ago), all that it consisted of was a crunchy shell - like a lobster tail without the filling. Couldn't understand why people raved about them. Maybe I should try Maria's.

                1. re: southie_chick

                  It is filled with a sugar/cheese combo and possibly citron flavor then baked, shouldn't be hollow. Oh, and it shaped like a clam shell.

                    1. re: Bob Dobalina

                      Sounds like a dud? Actually, it sounds like the start of a bad joke, "An Irish girl walks into an Italian bakery .........." ; )
                      Glad it was just a dud - I kept wondering what I was missing & thought it might just be me since everyone seems to rave about them (whereas I prefer the lobster tail). Guess I'll just have to try again - Maria's here I come!

                    2. re: southie_chick

                      I know this will sound strange, but sometimes a poorly made sfogliatelle can appear to have no filling. Like the crunchy outside surrounds a more moist cake on the inside. I'm sure the one you tried had a filling, it just wasn't well made.
                      In any event, even a well made sfogliatelle is not cheesy, like, say, a cheesecake might be, if that's what you might have expected.
                      Bottom line: this is one very subtle pastry, which I would argue is at the core of its beauty.
                      Keep sampling them.

                      1. re: Mister Meatball

                        I thought it was odd when I bit into it & there was nothing there - it was like they forgot to put the filling in. I thought that was odd since I was ordering a lobster tail too & they took them both out back to "fill". I did see the filling poking out of the lobster tail when they were putting them in the box (which, unfortunately, wasn't for me). It wasn't "cakey" in the middle - just hollow.

                        1. re: southie_chick

                          Ugh. A Sfogliatelle couldn't possibly need to be "filled."

                          I'm mortified, I tell you. Them guys oughta have their pastry license revoked. Hell, I'd revoke it myself if I knew how.

                          I feel for you, southie. So sad.

                          1. re: Mister Meatball

                            I just had one about 3 hours ago from Maria's piping hot, absolutely a thing of beauty, nice crunchy outer shell with moist eggy filling inside with a couple of little candided pieces of fruit.

                2. Recently had them at Maria's, and I too think they're the best in the North End.

                  1. Thanks all.

                    So right now we've got Maria's, Modern and Bova's.


                    134 Salem St, Boston, MA

                    1. I, too, went on a Sopranos-inspired sfogliatelle search some years ago, with MUCH less success, since I was referring to the scene where Carmela hopes that Meadow will eat something for breakfast - even a sfogliatelle. She pronounced it "szhvoo-ya-dell," and this made my search rather more difficult.

                      1. Whether it be Modern, Maria's or Bova, I strongly suggest you go early and get them when they're warm from the oven, truly a unique experience.

                        134 Salem St, Boston, MA

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: treb

                          Thanks. But I have been eating sfogliatelle since I was in the single digits, and so be sure I am discriminating about when I purchase/eat them. I spend little time in Boston, hardly any, and so that's why I don't know the terrain.

                          My plan is to do an early- to mid-morning run through the North End. As on my last go round, I will buy it, taste it, move on to the next place. No holding on to the pastries until later on for me.

                        2. When we stay in the city our stop on Sunday morning before we head home (western MA) is to Maria's so I can pick up warm sfogliatelle. Pure bliss.