There’s nothing fancy about a ball of meat. But — when done well — the meatball is one of the most soulful, satisfying dishes we've found.
Anyone searching for the perfect balls this week (National Meatball Day is Wednesday, March 9) has no shortage of options in South Florida, with restaurants from West Palm Beach to Fort Lauderdale claiming to have some of the best meatballs around.
This week, we're using this guide to help you roll through this culinary calendar highlight with a number of specials and deals (and a basic list of some really good meatballs). So go ahead and have a ball — or two.
10. Farmer's Table
1901 N. Military Trail, Boca Raton. Call 561-417-5836, or visit farmerstableboca.com.
Meat-free but still want to take part in National Meatball Day? Even if it's not a holiday, the chefs at Farmer’s Table in Boca Raton have the perfect way to celebrate. This Wednesday, the restaurant will be featuring its "Spasta & Meatballs." It comes with your choice of chicken or (if you're vegetarian or vegan) quinoa meatballs served with spaghetti squash "pasta," organic spinach, and a rich San Marzano tomato sauce. No matter what time of year, it's a Meatless Monday dish worth delving into every week.
9. Lynora's Osteria
207 Clematis St., West Palm Beach. Call 561-899-3117, or visit lynoras.com.
At Lynora's in downtown West Palm Beach, you'll find plenty of homemade Italian specialties. Over the past year, the family-owned restaurant has become especially well-known for its meatballs, a proprietary secret recipe that has been passed down for several generations. Here, "Mama Maria's" meatballs are a combination of beef, pork, and veal mixed with a blend of savory spices. A trio of balls is served with a heaping topping of classic marinara (also Maria's recipe) and a side of ricotta cheese. Meatballs are always on the menu at Lynora's for $4 a plate, but you can also find them on special during Meatball Monday, when meatballs are $2 all day long.
8. Cafe Vico
125 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-565-9681, or visit cafevicorestaurant.com.
Like many old-school Italian joints, Cafe Vico's dinner menu has all the signposts of a traditional Italian restaurant: hot and cold appetizers, handmade pasta, risotto, and — of course — meatballs. Despite his South American upbringing, chef-owner Marco Rodriguez has developed a hearty Italian meatball appetizer worthy of any Nonna's approval: two giant meatballs topped with marinara sauce and Fontina cheese.
7. Anthony's Runway 84
330 W. State Road 84, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-467-8484, or visit runway-84.com.
Anthony's Runway is the full Italian eatery created by owner Anthony Bruno (probably better-known now for his chain of pizza joints, Anthony's Coal Fired Pizza). But here, instead of pizza, "It's All About the Meatballs." The lunch and dinner appetizer arrives with two baseball-sized meatballs, each as pillowy soft as the creamed ricotta that comes on the side. Order them on Thursdays, when the restaurant offers $6 martinis for happy hour and single meatballs served as a complimentary side dish.
6. The Meatball Room
3011 Yamato Road, Boca Raton. Call 561-409-4111, or visit meatballroom.com.
How do you like your meatballs? Drowned in a pool of gravy? Layered with melted mozzarella? Or how about stuffed with a blend of three cheeses and fusilli pasta? That's one way you can order them at the Meatball Room in Boca Raton. The restaurant offers meatballs several ways, including an all-brisket or vegetable-based meatball — even a Reuben take made with corned beef and topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing. Then pick your sauce: creamy marinara, spicy fra diavolo, or a meaty ragu. If you can't decide, the sampler lets you try two varieties at once.