ESPRESSO AND GELATO
Duck into this cafe for an espresso and settle into a window table for people watching. Fans rave about the friendly service and the authentic gelato spilling over dainty glass dishes (pick your flavors from the case). Or, if you’re not done partying, sidle up to Caffe Paradiso’s bar and order an espresso martini, filled to the brim.
Caffe Paradiso, 255 Hanover Street, Boston, 617-742-1768
Bricco, a big restaurant fronting Hanover Street, is another prime place to see the neighborhood parade strut past. Grab a window table, if you can, and order their homemade torta di ricotta, or ricotta pie. Pair it with an Italian coffee, spiked with amaretto and Kahlua.
Bricco, 241 Hanover Street, Boston, 617-248-6800, bricco.com
No need to brave the traffic to get to Maria’s, which sits steps away from the Haymarket T stop. Locals applaud its extensive selections of cookies and biscotti designed for dunking — plus the freshly filled cannoli with perfectly sweet ricotta.
Maria’s Pastry Shop, 46 Cross Street, Boston, 617-523-1196, mariaspastry.com
Jaded types say Mike’s Pastry is touristy; others recognize that braving these lines is a rite of passage. Regardless, you’d be hard-pressed to find a wider selection of cannoli. Big as a subway station, it has crowds to match. Peanut butter? Oreo? Pecan caramel? Why choose? Get them by the box. There’s a second location in Harvard Square and a third expected to open this year at Assembly Row.
Mike’s Pastry, 300 Hanover Street, Boston, 617-742-3050, mikespastry.com
Had too much wine? Amble over to Bova’s, an 80-year-old street-corner bakery that’s open round-the-clock, much to the delight of ravenous visitors who love the homemade breads and subs. But don’t miss the desserts, either. Is a whoopie pie really Italian? Who cares? An enormous one decorated as Cookie Monster was a hit with my young taste-tester.
Bova’s Bakery, 134 Salem Street, Boston, 617-523-5601, bovabakeryboston.com
At Modern Pastry, which has table service and a downstairs bar, you want the lobster tail. This enormous indulgence is a crunchy pastry horn piped full of Chantilly cream, a combination of whipped and yellow creams with a savory hint of ricotta. Ask for it sprinkled with powdered sugar. (By the way, they’re just as good at the bakery’s Medford location.)
Modern Pastry Shop, 257 Hanover Street, Boston, 617-523-3783, modernpastry.com