Italian Feasts in Boston’s North End

 

Boston is without doubt one of the greatest cities in the United States, and one of its most exciting towns is the North End. This is one of the oldest areas of Boston, and aside from being the location of Paul Revere’s house, it’s also home to ‘Little Italy,’ as it’s the neighbourhood where thousands of Italian immigrants took habitat 100 years ago when the previous migration of Irish immigrants largely moved to other areas. Little Italy currently constitutes around 80 Italian restaurants, cafes and delis and is a real treat to visit while in Boston, literally. And for fun outdoor festivities, there’s perhaps no better time to visit than during one of the numerous Italian feasts in Boston’s North End that coincide with religious processions, taking place during summer and fall.

We just experienced the annual Fisherman’s Feast, which was a wonderful event filled with singing processions, confetti, food, live bands and carnival games. There were probably a hundred food stalls selling pizzas, calzones, cannelloni, kebabs and rice balls. We’ve traveled to Italy and never seen a rice ball for sale but this is a popular eat among Italian Bostonians. It’s a fried rice ball filled with cheese, marinara sauce and a variety of fillings, which just oozes unhealthy goodness…And that’s just one unique example among the TONS of food around!

Fishermen's feast
 

If you missed the Fisherman’s Feast, there are several more upcoming events in the North End, like Saint Anthony’s Feast, that will take place between August 29th-31th, 2014 and Saint Joseph’s Feast from October 3rd-5th, 2014. For a complete list of great ‘Little Italy’ events check out the North End Boston calendar!

Fishermen's Feast
 

With Alex’s father visiting we’ve enjoyed a couple trips to the North End to partake in a Bostonian ritual of lining up for cannelloni at both Modern Pastry and Mike’s Pastry, which frequently have lines out the door. The argument over who makes the better cannelloni is debatable and if you have a preference, please leave a comment and let the debate begin! They’re both pretty good by Italian American standards, with Mike’s selling a wider selection of cannelloni flavors and Modern Pastry offering a slightly higher quality traditional cannelloni. Here’s a great write up on the difference between these two family run Boston pastry shops by a sweets and cannelloni expert! And if you visit Mike’s, stick with a flavored cannelloni like their Florentine or pistachio over their cheesecake, which was pretty average.

Bostonians are happy to queue outside for tasty cannelloni and other treats.
Bostonians are happy to queue outside for tasty cannelloni and other treats.

 

We sat down for dinner at Massiminos which is a charming restaurant with tasty food and friendly service at reasonable prices. We definitely give these guys a thumbs up and can recommend them if you’re in the mood for an Italian dinner out while in Boston. But we’re still new to this city so we have a lot more North End eating to partake in before giving any definite tips on must eat places. Definitely go for the Feasts if you can and see what piques your interest during your stroll as there’s so much to choose from!

Dinner in the North End, Boston

 

6 thoughts on “Italian Feasts in Boston’s North End

  1. Looks fabulous I am looking forward to my trip to Boston. Great that Alex’s dad is enjoying the feasts of Boston.
    Look forward to more great Boston ideas.

    1. Thank you! Boston is a wonderful city when the weather is nice. The more you experience the more you’ll enjoy it. There’s so many great neighbourhoods and walking along the Charles River near MIT and strolling the campus of Harvard, are just a couple of our other favorite things to do here. The Boston Public Gardens and a walk along the Boston Harbour are also fantastic- you’ll love this city when you visit!…And it’s such a great sports town too!

    1. Some unfortunate stories, like everywhere, Boston of course has a dark side to its history and its dynamics, but I haven’t noticed anything that screams this place is the most racist city in America. Massachusetts voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, unlike the deep south which voted 90% based on colour- both white and black.

      We live in a majority white but mixed neighbourhood, with a reasonable sized black minority in our community. I haven’t seen blacks randomly hassled by the police in our few months here, but we are very new. It would happen, but I haven’t seen it. I’ve also been hassled by the police in this country over nothing.

      Thanks for sharing this, I’ll keep my eyes open more…But I stand by my statement that Boston is “without doubt one of the greatest cities in the United States” in terms of history, beauty and activities to do. And this was a free state for African Americans during the civil war, while the south had slavery.

      1. The first link spoke about the fact that the governor was black. In a few paragraphs down it states “Google “the most racist city in America” and there we are, sitting right on top. It almost always comes down to anecdotes (the experience of racism is difficult to quantify) but if Google results indicate how people think, then we’ve got racism deeply lodged inside us — and this from a state that elected an African American to two terms as governor and voted overwhelmingly pro-Obama in 2008.”

        I have a good friend living in Boston who agrees with you that Boston is awesome. She told me a story about how she told her friends (a black couple) that she thought Boston is one of the best cities in the US and her black friends responded “yes it is the greatest city for you because you are not black.” She told me she never knew this about Boston until she had made this statement to the only black friends she had. So it is not surprising that you would not notice anything that screams Boston is racist, but perhaps a person of color would.

        According to the history books, even though blacks were free in Boston they were still very often treated terribly–lower than new immigrants and second class citizens. Just because Boston voted for black government officials does not automatically equate to Boston not being a very racist city. Perhaps it is a constant subtle racism and not a blatant form as the voting polls show in the South.

        I am glad that you are enjoying your time in Boston, but if you believe the millions of comments on the internet, it seems that despite the beauty and history, Boston is not the best city in the world for everyone.

        I do not want to get into a lengthy discussion about race in America so this is the last comment I will post.

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