We like big balls and we cannot lie – meatballs that is. These delicious spheres of meat are one of our favorite time-tested snacks. Who has the biggest and the best balls in New York? We went balls to the wall in our search of the city’s most coveted ballers. Let’s get the ball rolling, shall we? (And yes, these ball puns will continue.)
510 Sixth Ave., 212-260-8646
Daniel Mancini remembers his grandmother serving him a meatball in a coffee mug as he watched her in the kitchen as a kid. Years later, he now shares that childhood memory with New Yorkers at this West Village walk-up window. After all, balls are meant to roll, so get your order of balls-on-the-go in a cup of piping hot sauce with toppings like ricotta cheese and gnocchi.
“My grandmother’s meatballs and Sunday sauce may not be as good as your grandmother’s, but I make them with the same love,” Mancini likes to say. We think they might be almost as good as our grandmother’s, though. Shhh, don’t tell Nana!
The Meatball Shop
200 Ninth Ave., 212-257-4363
84 Stanton St., 212-982-8895
170 Bedford Ave., 718-551-0520
64 Greenwich Ave., 212-982-7815
How do you manage to stay on the ball in a competitive meatball city like NYC? Co-owners Daniel Holzman and Michael Chernow put all their balls in one basket, opening a plethora of restaurants that specialize in meatballs — and nothing else. If you like variety in your balls (that’s called free-balling), you’ve come to the right place. Have a ball mixing and matching meats and sauces, and don’t forget add-ons like the “family jewels” (a fried egg). Our favorite combo is the chicken meatballs with Parmesan cream sauce. Vegetarians will be delighted by the veggie balls with pesto.
140 E. 41st St., 212 867-8889
1129 Broadway, 212-647-8889
21 E. 12th St., 212-255-3271
75 Ninth Ave., inside Chelsea Market, 212-390-8851
The Italians aren’t the only ones who know balls. This Cambodian sandwich shop puts an Eastern twist on meatballs that will have you feeling ballsy. A heaping pile of beef hoisin meatballs is stacked atop a fresh baguette with shredded carrots, cilantro and smothered in zesty chili mayo. You'll need two hands and a whole lot of napkins for this baby, 'cause these balls are quite the handful. A variety of locations all over town lets you grab some balls wherever you might be.
99 Stanton St., 212-995-0099
If you wake up with balls on the brain, head straight to Stanton Social, where old school meatballs grace the brunch menu. Bring the old ball-and-chain with you while you're at it, because the double order of traditional meatballs can easily be shared among two. These pork, veal and ground Wagyu beef balls are the perfect balance of traditional and modern-style balls, with a little surprise on top: ricotta-stuffed manicotti.
621 Hudson St., 212-229-9177
If you think you can play hardball with the best of them, head to this classic Italian joint for a trip to the old country. It's exactly the type of atmosphere you imagine when you think about sitting down to a heaping pile of spaghetti and meatballs. We hope you’re hungry for balls, because Piccolo Angolo serves em’ up nice and big. Seriously, one ball will feed at least two people — we won't bust your balls if you can't finish it. These giant meat globes are served in fresh tomato sauce and are washed down perfectly with the charming bottles of house wine that grace each table.
310 W. 38th St., 212-736-3000
You’re in Midtown and you’re craving meatballs – what do you do? Head to this hidden treasure off the beaten path and get your ball fix, of course. There is plenty to choose from on the menu at Casa Nonna, but we're partial to the polpettine di vitello. Ball hard with these steaming hot veal meatballs in pomodoro sauce perfectly balanced with a cool dollop of ricotta cheese.