May 2, 2023 - Food and Drink

Crowning Philly's best cannoli

The outside of Termini Brothers in Philly; a frame photo with the family story inside Bredenbeck's Bakery.

What's it gonna be? Photos: Isaac Avilucea/Axios

Not every cannoli is created equal.

The intrigue: I — 👋 Isaac here — was on a quest to find Philadelphia’s best. Readers recommended their favorites: Isgro Pastries, Termini Brothers and Holy Cannoli.

Part of the fun was trekking around Philly, visiting each bakery to pick up the goods.

  • Termini Brothers’ sprawling operation was impressive with its rows of freshly baked pastries, and the carefully curated family photos gave you a feel for its rich history.

The contenders: A mascarpone cannolo (singular of cannoli) from Isgro’s.

  • Three classic, ricotta-filled cannoli from the other shops.

Methodology: Strategic yet not scientific, I had my partner blindly serve me each cannolo and ranked them out of 10.

The takeaways: To my surprise, Bredenbeck’s came out on top with an overall score of 9, followed by Isgro’s, Termini Brothers and Holy Cannoli. Here’s what stood out about Bredenbeck’s:

  • The shell crackled but didn’t crumble on itself.
  • The ricotta filling, sweet, smooth and refined, passed the Goldilocks standard — just right.
  • And the ratio of chocolate chips didn’t overwhelm the pastry as was the case with Holy Cannoli. It made you want to scrape every last crumb off the plate.

🧯 Hot take: After hearing people rave about Termini Brothers, I was underwhelmed by a gummy shell and a thicker, bland ricotta filling.

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