Best of Mike’s Pastry cannolis

Mike’s Pastry is an institution in Boston. Located in the North End, for years it has provided customers some of the tastiest Italian sweets in the Boston area. While it is serves a variety of Italian goodies, it is ultimately famous for the Sicilian dessert made legendary due to an iconic Godfather quote – cannolis.

Mike’s Pastry in Boston’s North End, for cannolis

As evening approaches, the line outside Mike’s Pastry slowly beings to form and grow like a centipede. It is a perfect after dinner destination and because of that, families and friends migrate to the store as the sun goes down in Boston’s Little Italy. Comparing the inside of Mike’s to a mosh pit is not far off. People politely battle one another up to the cannoli counter. Because of this, I recommend following the mantra “the early bird catches the worm” and go to Mike’s Pastry in the morning. At this time of day, the line is nonexistent and allows one to really soak in all the many offerings of Mike’s, particularly the diverse range of cannolis.

I’ve tried a great many of Mike’s beautifully crafted cannolis over the past couple of months. The homemade fried pastry dough shell is crunchy with gorgeous body. No pre-made shells at this place. More importantly, the essential ricotta cheese mixture is beyond creamy rich, yet light. It is simply elegant.  These sweet tubes are sublime and I am now too spoiled to really try cannolis from everyday sources like the grocery store.

Mike’s Pastry has an assortment of cannolis. The store offers a variety of ricotta studding mixtures in addition to the traditional ricotta and succade mixture, including a yellow cream, chocolate, and espresso. The real fun and creativity is exhibited in the many types of toppings deployed onto the cannolis. There are chocolate chips, pistachios, chocolate dipped shell, cheesecake, nuts of all kind, coffee, etc. With so many choices and little time to decide due to the mosh pit, below are my two favorite cannolis.

Amaretto cannoli

Amaretto is an Italian almond-flavored liqueur made from the base of apricot or almond or cherry pits. It is then mixed with alcohol, burnt sugar, and a mixture of herbs/spices. Amaretto means a “little bitter”. This slightly bitter yet slightly sweet liqueur makes it great for desserts and in cocktails. In this ultimate cannoli, the tube shell is dipped in chocolate. Almonds infused with amaretto are the topping for the cannoli.The bitter amaretto is offset by the sweet chocolate dipped shell, ricotta mixture, and powdered sugar. It is truly a playground of textures and flavors, absolutely out of this world.

amaretto cannol from Mike's Pastry

Hazelnut cannoli

Mike’s hazelnut cannoli is not as elaborate as the amaretto cannoli. This cannoli is basically the original version with  crushed hazelnuts as a topping. It is simple and in my opinion, a great way to enjoy the integrity of the basic cannoli with the minor addition of hazelnuts.

hazelnut cannoli from Mike's Pastry

This is the best of Mike’s Pastry cannolis. I’d recommend trying these two first, and then work your away across the entire cannoli spectrum.

4 comments… add one
  • Carol Carmody Sep 1, 2016

    I heard you have the best cannolis!!
    There’s nothing like the North End, you make the best baked cannolis.

  • Carol Carmody Sep 1, 2016

    Question!! do you make chocolate covered teddies peanut butter cannolis.
    Can you please let me know I do appreciate it. Thank you Carol
    My son’s birthday is in October and I want to surprise him, because he loves cannolis his favorites teddies peanut butter chocolate covered cannolis, Thank you again. Carol

  • Eric Borzino Jan 26, 2011

    Imad, thanks for the insight. We need to host a meeting at Mike’s soon. Crunchy ricotta vessels of bliss must surely help stimulate unique trains of thought.

  • Imad Mouline Jan 18, 2011


    My favorite cannoli at Mike’s are the Florentine. The flavors of the shell and the filling balance each other perfectly. Crunchy but not overly so, nutty with its delicate almond flavor, sweet but not overwhelming, the shell would be delicious on its own. The simple ricotta filling is fairly mild, which is exactly what it needs to be.

    As a bonus, if you have to take the pastries home, the Florentines travel much better than the other varieties, since the shells won’t get soggy. They’ll be just as crunchy and flavorful the next day, should they last that long.

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