Sure there are legendary meatballs like the pistachio ones from Zare at Flytrap, pork and ricotta ones from A16 and Neapolitan ones from Pizzeria Delfina, but there are plenty of others that you shouldn't miss. Take a virtual trip around the world with these international beauties.
The Red Sauce meatball truck is a fixture at the SOMA StrEat Food Park, and their meatball sandwich is probably the most popular item. The big and bouncy balls of veal, pork and beef are accented by optional add ons like provolone or arugula. It's Italian-American comfort food at its best.
Inspired by the Italian meatballs at A16 and Delfina, the albondigas (or Mexican style meatballs) at Tacolicious are made from pork, beef, rice, queso fresco, mint, cilantro and tomato all simmered in a tomato-chipotle sauce. They are particularly memorable for their herbal seasoning and chipotle kick. Over the years they have also made appearances in a soup and in tacos.
A staple at Tavern at Lark Creek in Larkspur are the Moroccan lamb meatballs served on a bed of chickpea hummus and plenty of tomato sauce, each topped with a bit of fried spearmint. Not traditionally Moroccan but delicious nonetheless.
Another fine lamb version are the meatballs from Chambers on the small plates section of the menu, currently being served with chanterelle mushrooms, herb salad and a Calabrian chili béarnaise.
Chinese soy braised lion's head meatballs at Shanghai Dumpling King are served two ways, with gravy or in a soupy casserole. Impossibly soft and luscious, these are one of the few non-dumpling must-order dishes.
As an appetizer, their ginger pork meatball skewers come glazed in Fang Restaurant’s signature honey Nanking sauce. The meatballs are also served at lunch where diners can enjoy them simmered in a rich broth with scallions and bok choy, with rice noodles or egg noodles.
Another noteworthy favorite in the Italian style are the Sicilian ones from Barbacco. Order the polpette, studded with raisins and pine nuts, served on a bed of braised chard and doused in tomato sugo.
Worth a trip to Napa are the meatballs at LMR's Farmstead. Made from their Long Meadow Ranch grass-fed beef, each order of meatballs is cooked with mirepoix in a mini-skillet and plenty of tomato marmalade. It's an American original meatball, if there ever was one.
The Swedish meatballs from Plaj have been a hit since day one. They are tender and come with the requisite mashed potatoes, gravy, tangy lingonberries and a cucumber salad. The chef is from Stockholm and his meatballs are pure comfort food, nothing fancy but soul-satisfying.