Modern v. Mike’s Cannoli Throwdown Plus more North End Eats

Mission: Compare a Modern’s Cannoli to Mike’s Cannoli

We said the next time we are in Boston together we would do a Cannoli Throwdown. Last weekend our chance came. My brother Rob and I went to Boston for our cousin’s surprise 50th birthday bash in his Belgian Beer warehouse. So while we hid out at our Auntie’s house before the Big Night we wandered the Italian North End of Boston and set up the challenge. Rob purchased a ricotta cannoli at Modern’s and secured a table in the corner by the window while I ran down to Mike’s for one of their cannoli. We put the two side by side…

Modern’s is on the left while Mike’s is on the right. You can immediately see the difference. Mike’s was huge. Mike’s was also chilled while Modern’s was at room temperature, I prefer my pastry on the chilled side. Mikes cream was definitely more cheesy and dense and the shell very thick and crispy. Modern’s was a lighter cannoli, the cream being creamier and the shell lighter while still crispy. We both voted that Mike’s won our preference.

Mission: Lunch at Strega’s

My cousin had suggested we dine at Strega’s since they had good food and great atmosphere. We had to agree the the restaurant was beautifully done and the food good. Did it knock our socks off? Not really. Everything we ordered was delicious but for some reason we expected more, the food to stand out and scream original, succulent, fantastic. It was good, we got full, and figured we could make it just as good at home. We should have eaten at The Daily Catch like out gut instinct told us. Next time.

Mission: Dessert and Coffee, Mike’s

Love that Mike’s serves their coffees with sugar sticks. I of course had to have my Black and White Cookie. These have been a favorite of mine since I was a little girl.

I think next time we will do a Black and White Throwdown: Mike’s v. Modern v. Lyndell’s. If you are in the Boston area, maybe you can beat me to it.

If you have been paying attention to the times posted on each restaurant visit you will see that in a matter of two hours my brother and I managed to eat dessert, lunch, and more dessert. A lunch bookended by dessert. Life is good.


  1. Joan Nova
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    We went to Boston for the 4th of July last year (our first trip there) and loved the North End. We also did the cannoli test but I cast my vote for Modern. Looking at my post, I see theirs had chocolate chip at both ends. Did you lick yours off before photographing?

  2. Dave Id
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    Never been to Modern's, but Mike's Pastry's Cannolis are an insult to the pastry. No self respecting Italian would eat them nor consider them Cannolis. They tasted synthetic and cheap.

  3. Fallon
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    I'm seriously drooling over here Robin!! My boyfriend introduced me to cannolis because he grew up eating them! Boy I was missing out. I have to agree already by seeing Mike's cannoli that its a winner. Mmmm…

    Black and white cookies are a favorite of mine during childhood as well. We use to have a Jewish bakery in Las Vegas and I thought they had good BW cookies! I haven't had one in foreverrrrrr.

  4. Robin Sue
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Joan- We ordered them plain and even left off the powdered sugar so we could get the real flavor of each pastry. Both places make them with chocolate chips as well.

  5. Robin Sue
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    David Id- Then who has good "Pastry" for the next time I go to Boston?

  6. oneordinaryday
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    Holy heck, that is like a dream on a plate. I'm so jealous. You can't buy a cannoli here to save your life!

  7. Maria
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    I am drooling over here!

  8. Karen
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    You've heard the saying… 'Life is short – eat dessert first!' Haha.

  9. Tara
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    YUM! They are both so good!! I lived in Somerville for years and would go to the North End all the time. I love them both but would pick Mike's also!

  10. Tracey
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    Hi there,

    I grew up in Boston and the North End was part of my backyard. While both Mike's and Modern Pastry are well known….I believe the best cannoli's are from Maria's which is just around the corner from Modern Pastry. Next time you're in the city….check out Maria's!

  11. pamelanmatt
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    I live north of Boston and have not been down to the North End in quite some time. Now you have me wanting to hit up the North End soon

  12. Dave Id
    Posted April 20, 2010 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    @Robin-Sue. I only lived there for a few months (work had me moving around a lot) So I didn't get to explore a lot (again work) But back home in Montreal where there's a HUGE Italian population we have some pastry shops that make your Cannolis per order and the filling is always fresh. Patisserie Alati-Caserta in Montreal is agreed among many Italians as the best place to get Cannolis. If ever in Montreal, I strongly suggest you try them and will likely reconsider Mike's. Personally I found Mike's to be touristy and not very authentic with it's huge oversized pastries.

  13. grace
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    bigger isn't always better, but i'm not surprised that that wasn't the case here. mike's even looks better, regardless of its mammoth size!
    mission accomplished.

  14. biz319
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Boston is one city I would love to visit – never been! Or to California either – boo!

    My daughter LOVES cannoli – but my gosh those are huge!

  15. Mimi
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Nothing like a crispy, creamy filled cannoli.

  16. Jenn@slim-shoppin
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    I would have liked the chilled one better than the room temperature!

    Nice throwdown!

  17. Kirstin
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    How fun! I love cannoli. My grandma and great grandma used to make them quite a bit growing up.

  18. Cindy Rowland
    Posted April 21, 2010 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    We moved out of Cambrige 8 years ago. I used to think Mike's was the bomb. But when we finally made it back to Mike's I was disappointed. The cannoli with the candied shell and chocolate chips is great, but not really about the cannoli as much as the sugar. Where are the good cannolis supposed to be around NYC/NJ?

  19. RecipeGirl
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    Yay for Mikes! My favorite for sure. My husband likes Modern for the cookies there, but I've never thought they were very good. Kind of tasteless, in my opinion. I have yet to try the black & white cookies. This summer I'll be all over that!

  20. Rooster Shamblin
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 10:55 AM | Permalink please check out the chicken and egg recipes on my website.

  21. Lori
    Posted April 22, 2010 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    I love those black and whites. I tried to replicate them at home but they were a wee bit dry.

  22. Sabrina
    Posted April 26, 2010 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

    life is good when you get to eat dessert twice in one day.

  23. Mike C
    Posted October 23, 2010 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    Here in Montreal, before Alati-Casserta, I think P√Ętisserie tillemont's cannolis are better, not by much, but they are better. I have brought them to friends and family memebers and most have agreed with me.

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