Cannoli Cash In Boston


Modern Cannoli

Estelle Krause, Journalist

Mike’s on left, Modern on right
Mike’s Cannoli

Food is where the heart is. The North End is home to the best food. Italians know how to do it right. They have huge families and are the best bakers and cooks. However, two of the families have a rivalry that has been ongoing for years: Mike’s Pastry and Modern Pastry. The rivily is over the best sweets, but I think it is mostly over the best cannoli. Both opened in the early 1900s and the competition hasn’t stopped. Just down the street from one another, both shops always have lines out the door.  The question is: what line is worth the wait? 

Modern Pastry is more than a bakery; it also has a downstairs restaurant: Modern Underground. Founded in 1930, the family business has been booming for over 90 years. This is an Italian family owned bakery. They have two locations, but the one on Hanover St. has Modern Underground. Modern Underground is a restaurant with pub style food and beer. The two locations are in Medford and the North End. I visited the Medford location to sample their famous cannoli. Arriving there at approximately 3:30 pm, there was no line. Personally, if you were in the Medford area and not the North End, I would recommend going there. Modern is a cash only place which is important to remember when you go there. All cannolis were $5, then you can add on more which will raise the price. 

We are comparing a cannoli with regular filling and chocolate chip dipped. Our total at Modern came to $5. No extra charge for the chocolate chips. To compare the two places, I brought the anonymous Local Foodie, @mafoodratings on Instagram. When asking the anonymous Local Foodie, they say “Modern is far better. By first glance, it just looks way more appealing. The golden brown shell looks amazing and the filling is delightful.” They appreciated the fact that the service was great and the line was short. Parking was also easy to find. They rate the atmosphere/ experience a 9/10, the shell 10/10, and the filing a 9/10. They say, “The filling could have been chilled more”. Overall the rating is 9.5/10; that’s a pretty high rating from a hard food critic. 

On the other hand just down the block there is Mike’s. Mike’s, founded in 1946, has been a popular spot for many years. They do not have a restaurant but they have been buzzing with business. They do have three locations: The North End, Cambridge and Somerville. All three of these locations are relatively close. The Local Foodie and I went down to the one in Cambridge. This location is just near the center of Harvard. The location was very nice but parking was hard to find. No line, good service but the menu was kind of hard to read. They do however have an array of cannoli flavors and combos which we didn’t see at Modern.

We got the same order as we did at Modern, a cannoli with regular filling and chocolate chip dipped. Our total came to $5.36. In comparison, Mikes however did not look nearly as appealing. The Local Foodie says “The shell just doesn’t do it; it’s flaky and soft, but the size is making me happy for the $5 price tag”. They rate the atmosphere/experience 8/10, and had to take a point off for poor parking. The shell gets a sad 3/10, “the shell is soft and just sad looking”. Lastly the filling is 7/10, they say, “The filling is just off and kinda grainy”. They then go on to say “I had higher hops for a place that is so highly talked about”. Overall they rank Mikes as a 6/10, not too good compared to Modern.

When it comes down to it, Modern is the best option if you are looking for the best cannoli in Boston. The riveliery should not exist when Modern is so much higher ranked than Mike’s. But, a healthy competition will keep the two striving for better and will keep both businesses up and running.