Charming, Italian, Culinary, Boston


Another Great Meal in Boston


Boston eateries, great food in Boston, Italian Boston

Delicious Italian Pastries in Boston

If anyone from outside the city knows about Boston’s Little Italy, they hear about Mike’s Pastries. A mecca of sorts for delectable desserts, people will battle it out through rain, snow and sleet to bring home one of the signature white boxes tied with blue twine.

Now I adore Mike’s just as much as the next Italian pastry lover, but a memorable time can be had in this borough of Boston sans cannoli, which will also save the headache of waiting in line for an hour or more. I made a beeline for Caffe Vittoria instead this round. At this kitschy and sugary-smelling locale, patrons can order a strong espresso, amaretto cordial and a lobster tail as big as their noggins. I don’t mean seafood – I’m talking about a flaky, crunchy treat stuffed with a silky sweet filling.

This was the ideal spot to begin an evening of indulgence in the North End. But, before strolling along the cobblestone streets a little more, I drained my cup and headed back to the main drag where the pedicabs were huddled together. Sure it’s October, but I swear there is no better way to move.

John, my trusty guide, pedaled me all the way to the waterfront for a couple of bucks and some easy-going conversation. He claims there is no better gig in the city, especially in the summer months, but he’ll tough it out through most of fall, too.

A sense of discovery is what inspired me to hop in the bicycle cab with John, cover up in blankets and be rewarded with a whiff of salty air and a classy cocktail by the water.

Night Life Around Boston

Monica's in Boston, Boston food, Monica's

The Deli Case at Monica’s in Boston

My first stop was one of the area’s newest Japanese-fusion watering holes. The Mai Tais were strong but the vibe was a little flat, so I moved on to a nearby restaurant’s rooftop bar pretty quickly.

Every time I come to this place I tend to bump into a hotshot or two, and this night was no exception. There always seems to be a fair amount of West Coast transplants coming back for a trip to their hometown. After a few attempts at networking met with puffed up egos and trendy business cards, I finished up a drink while admiring the view and headed back to the homier North End. After all that, I really don’t know why I ever left.

I connected with an old friend who has earned the trust of several locals, ensuring this excursion would have that special allure of being let in on a secret. This brought me to Four Winds where I took a shot with the ancient bartender as he waxed poetic about the good old days of his Little Italy, although he said there wasn’t nearly as many pretty young women.

Boston’s Approaching Dawn

Hours later, as I begrudgingly stepped out into the sunlight on Sunday, I was greeted by bells from the Old North Church and the rest of the bustling background music of the streets. I had one more stop to make on my way home – Monica’s. Located on Salem Street, this aromatic and savory deli stocks top-notch cured meats, cheeses and homemade pastas. I asked for a massive Italian sub with everything, but was very tempted to take back some cookies and candy, too. If I had tried to eat anything else I might have had to be physically rolled out of the neighborhood.

Instead, I settled for a green tea and hit the road again, meeting friendly smiles from joggers, well-dressed older gentlemen, ladies chatting in gaggles and restaurant owners proudly standing outside their eateries. Whenever my heart longs for the beauty, history, passion and color of Europe, I know all I need to do is wander into Boston’s North End to be welcomed like an old friend into the fold of food and love.

Writer Eileen Cotter, Eileen Cotter bio, Eileen Cotter pic, Eileen Cotter In The KnowEileen Cotter is a freelance travel writer who has a few notches in her belt throughout North America, Central America and Europe. She currently resides just outside Boston, Massachusetts. While writing for a wide variety of websites and travel magazines, her preferences so far has been covering various unique festivals worldwide, trying strange foods at tasty restaurants and encountering eccentric landmarks. By far her favorite place to roam is southern Spain and her future dream trip is exploring the Fiji Islands.

Author: Eileen Cotter

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14 Comments

  1. Hi Eileen. Being that I’m a “west coast transplant” originally from Boston your article brought back some fabulous memories for me. No Christmas was complete in my household without cannoli’s and “lobster claws” from Mike’s Pastry in the North End. There would be crowds of people cutting in front of each other to get to the front of the line and you would have to muscle your way in but the reward was worth the effort. Great article. I enjoyed it very much.

  2. Sounds delicious, Eileen! I’m sure I’m not alone in my feeling that food is one of the best parts of travel! And I absolutely love a piece of writing that leaves me hungry. Thanks for this one!

  3. Haven’t spent much time in the North End, but coming from Europe and often missing it terribly, I felt quite nostalgic, especially when you talk about “the beauty, history, passion, and colour of Europe”. Wonderful article, makes me want to drop everything and head up Rt.3 right now!

  4. Your writing made me hungry! As a former Bostonian I really appreciate the memories you evoked. Its a wonderful city and you represented a unique segment of it well. Thanks!

  5. Drool!

  6. Hi Aime, so glad it did! Those lines are super scary – I Love Mike’s but these days I’ll hunt for pastries elsewhere unless it’s a special occasion!

  7. Thanks so much Kelly, it totally was! I might even head back there this weekend, I can’t get enough!

  8. Sally we should go sometime, it’s really one of those hidden gems. Doesn’t beat yorkshire puddings and sticky toffee of your hometown, but it’s definitely a great runner up!

  9. Thrilled you could walk down memory lane with me Amy! he North End is really one of my favorite areas, one I’d love to live in hopefully someday!

  10. I know right Amyee? Delicious part of the city, and so much variety!

  11. I have not been back to Boston since I was 15. I think I am due to return. Thanks for the incentive, Eileen!

  12. You totally should Devin – I’ll buy you a cannoli!

  13. I use to be a North Ender (other end of Hanover from Mikes) so this really took me back. I miss that neighborhood!! Great post.

  14. I’m jealous Leigh, I’ve always wanted to live there myself! Thanks so much.

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