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Little Nonna's

Washington Square West, Philadelphia

CREDIT: E. Mencher for Visit Philadelphia

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Where to Find the Best Meatballs in Philadelphia

They come in all types and sizes, but just one shape

On top of spaghetti, covered with cheese, tucked into a roll, grilled on a skewer — meatballs in all forms abound in Philadelphia, and not just in South Philly, the city’s largely Italian enclave. There are traditional Italian versions with gravy (Villa di Roma, for starters), Vietnamese pork balls in noodle soup (Vietnam), vegetarian tofu-ball sandwiches (Magic Carpet) and luxuriant rounds of short-rib hand-rolled by celebrity chefs (Barbuzzo). Here’s a look at some of the most memorable meatballs in the region.

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Little Nonna's

The B+V+P stands for beef, pork and veal at neo-red sauce joint Little Nonna’s. The appetizer portion of meatballs arrives at the table stuffed with fontina cheese and served over soft polenta. In entrée form, they’re served with spaghetti and braised pork marinara.
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In Riva

The contemporary cuisine at upscale pizza parlor In Riva goes homestyle when it comes to meatballs. Chef Arthur Cavaliere’s richly flavored recipe inspires nostalgia even in customers without an Italian mother.
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Marabella Meatball Company

With a name like Marabella Meatball Company, the concept is fairly obvious—less so are the dozens of options available at this meatball mecca, where beef, pork, chicken and veggie varieties are among the regular offerings. There are sandwiches and platters, plus mix and match sauces, toppings and pastas.
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Sarcone’s Deli

Sarcone

With rolls that are the envy of every hoagie shop for miles, Sarcone’s succeeds in making a memorable meatball parm sandwich, and the generous dollops of marinara and mozzarella are just a bonus.
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Enjay's Pizza

Tucked inside Smokey Joe’s, Enjay’s Pizza packs its meatballs onto house-baked rolls with marinara sauce, fried onions, pancetta and parmesan cheese.
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Villa Di Roma

Repeat winner of the Golden Meatball Challenge between South Philadelphia and South Jersey and Food Network Meatball Wars winner, Italian Market staple Villa di Roma boasts a winning 50-year-old formula with its pan-seared, all-beef beauties.
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Foo Truck

The braised meatballs at Foo Truck derive their “Tiger’s Head” flavor from garlic, ginger, soy sauce and Asian spices. They’re served either in a “foowich” or over a bed of jasmine rice with Napa cabbage.
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George’s Sandwich Shop

The restaurant motto is “Once you try them, you’ll always buy them.” A South Philly stalwart, George’s Sandwich Shop passes its saucy sandwiches through an order window.
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Dad's Stuffings

Just like grandma or grandpa makes: The takeaway chicken meatballs and tomato gravy at Dad’s Stuffings in South Philadelphia are the stuff(ing) of legend.
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Vietnam

Whether twirled into vermicelli noodles topped with fish sauce or grilled and wrapped in rice paper, the tiny pork meatballs at Vietnam in Chinatown are a fragrant and satisfying treat. They’re are also available at its University City outpost, Vietnam Cafe.
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Magic Carpet

Doused in marinara and cheese, the tofu balls (also known as Magic Meatballs) at the Magic Carpet food truck in University City have been feeding happy vegetarians — and everyone else — for decades.
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Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House

Both the meatballs and fish balls at Chinatown’s Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House can be ordered in a number of ways—in hand-drawn or shaved noodle soup; over rice; or in the house special soup.
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Ikea

One of the best values in town, the Ikea Swedish meatball plate (15 meatballs served with mashed potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberries for $3.99) is also reputed to be the best version of the famed dish in America.
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Carlino’s Specialty Foods
Ardmore

Hand-rolled ground beef and a special blend of seasonings distinguish the two-inch meatballs at Carlino’s Market. Customers can purchase them by the quart in marinara sauce or with a number of different pasta plates.
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Stella Blu

Mama Mary’s namesake spaghetti platter at Conshohocken’s Stella Blu serves as the backdrop for luscious meatballs made with veal, pork and beef, simmered in homemade marinara.
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Radice

At Blue Bell’s refined Italian restaurant Radice, they’re called bracciolini—and the pork and pecorino ovals are long simmered in a sage-infused tomato sauce for maximum tastiness.
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Sovana Bistro

The luscious brick hearth pies at Sovana Bistro can be embellished with Fran’s Meatballs, a tender beef-pork-veal combo, then draped with Italian hots and shaved pecorino.
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Christopher's

It’s ideal to be near Christopher’s in Wayne when a meatball craving hits: The pizza here gets dressed up with spicy broccoli rabe, herbed ricotta, sharp provolone and red sauce.
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