Cannoli come in all shapes and sizes, from miniature versions to monster versions, stuffed with a creamy ricotta filling, dipped in chocolate, or transformed into a cheesecake or crepe. Our five favorite cafes and bakeries for cannoli tend to be a little more traditional, a little more old school, a little more old country. Have a bite and let us know if you agree with our picks. By Jessica Allen.
When it opened its doors in 1973, Caffe Palermo proudly declared itself the “Cannoli King of Little Italy,” and has been living up to the moniker ever since. The cannoli on offer boast a flaky exterior and rich creamy interior, exactly what you want from this traditional Italian dessert. If you really, really love cannoli, consider entering the cafe’s annual cannoli eating contest, held at the Feast of San Gennaro. FYI: you’ll need to eat about 20 to stay competitive.
Way back when, Bushwick was home to a bustling Sicilian community. The venerable Circo’s Pastry Shop honors that past in every offering, from its miniature cheesecakes to its sfogliatelle to its amazing cannoli. Buttressed with cherries, sprinkled with powdered sugar, oozing tangy cream, the cannolo here is perhaps our favorite in the city. If you’re a true glutton, consider the Family Cannoli, a huge cannolo filled to bursting with about 50 mini cannoli.
Why is it that the best cannoli just happen to come from some of the city’s oldest bakeries and cafes? DeRobertis, in the East Village, is no exception: it opened in 1904, and today it’s run by the family’s fourth generation. How’s that for longevity? You can get a regular cannolo (excellent), a chocolate-covered cannolo (also excellent), or a French cannoli (once again: excellent), in addition to a huge assortment of Italian sweets. Be sure to marvel at the ancient mosaic floor and equally ancient tin ceiling.
This Bronx institution is so beloved, it doesn’t need a website. Instead, people simply know to come to Egidio’s for all their cannoli needs, wants, and desires. It does, however, have a Facebook page, noting that it sells “the best holy cannoli in the Bronx.” We’re still munching our way through the borough, so we can’t comment on the veracity of that statement, but we can say that the cannoli are terrific. Also terrific is the cartoccio alla crema, which marries cannolo filling to a sugar donut. Marriage is sacred, after all.
Step into Veniero’s, in the East Village, and you’re literally stepping into history. The restaurant’s marble floors, hand-stamped metal ceilings, and etched glass doors, among other details, all date to the cafe’s original 1894 opening. Back then New York City didn’t even have five boroughs—that’s how historic this place is. And the same family has been making the same Italian specialities for 120+ years. As if that wasn’t enough to pay your respects, the cannoli remain rich, dense, and superior.