Click here to view my published article on Joonbug.
Located in the heart of Boston’s charming North End neighborhood, this lively dessert joint is notorious for being “the first Italian cafe in Boston.” And ever since 1929 its beautiful tradition continues to flourish and brighten up Hanover Street today.
Caffe Vittoria’s exterior is surrounded by a hearty bunch of native Italians sitting on lounge chairs smoking cigars, gossiping. Two classic accordion players will set up shop out in the street, playing a cheerful harmony for diners to relish under a blanket of starry sky and brisk evening air. Gray puffs of cigar smoke and the tempting aroma of freshly battered cannoli cream waft down the unparalleled street. Welcome to a weekend in Beantown’s beloved Little Italy, my friends.
This charming café is the perfect spot for a hot cup of coffee and a scrumptious pastry after dinner or a show. The lively, but also relaxing feel that Vittoria exudes to its customers is simply refreshing. Its interior is decorated with antique espresso machines and tiny café tables lining the walls, situated close enough together to create an intimate feel as though you are truly in Italia.
The pastry shop serves a variety of traditional Italian coffee drinks and a delicious menu of pastries to accompany. If you want a deliciously rich and decadent drink to sip, the Cioccolatto Caldo (hot chocolate with whipped cream) is your date for the night – simple, but certainly a show stealer. The Caramel Steamer with a dollop of whipped cream to top off is also a sweet and sugary Joonbug favorite – the shop’s hot steamed milk with a flavor shot of caramel.
As for dessert, or Pasticceria Tradizionale, theChocolate Cannoli is one of a kind, filled fresh right before your eyes with homemade cannoli cream perfection, and coated with a dark chocolate shell or pistachio dipping. You cannot go wrong with whichever delicacy suits your sugary fancy (trust us, we have had them all), but keep in mind some Joonbug favorites:Ricotta Pie (just like Nonna’s, made with a sinful buttery crust and ricotta cream), Napoletane, which is a traditional Italian cake layered with pastry, cream and Royal Icing, Rhum Cake, which has a vanilla and chocolate crème cake base, and the Cinnamon Gelato. Vittoria also has a separate gelato menu including mouthwatering flavors such as Maple Walnut, Cotton Candy and Butter Pecan.
Not many know about Caffe Vittoria’s hidden gem…an old fashioned Cigar Bar located downstairs in the venue’s basement called Stanza dei Sigari, which is Italian for “Cigar Room.” You can sip (from the shop’s impressive grappa collection), savor, and then enjoy a full body cigar for round two of dessert!
So come join in on this lively scene, relax, share some jokes with the native Italians, sip your coffee and enjoy a cigar. No wonder why celebrities and politicians gather here saying Caffe Vittoria has “Boston’s best cappuccino and cannoli.”
Caffe Vittoria is located at 290-296 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113.