Most people believe the Italians are the creators of the meatball. While it seems like a logical culinary theory, truth be told, no one really knows the true origin of this bite-sized bundle of meat. Yes, the Italians may have perfected and popularized it but meatballs are currently made all over the world, from Afghanistan to Portugal to Sweden to Spain and China. And with such diversity in cultures these little balls of meat are made everything from goat, rabbit, snake to peacock. It’s likely Angelenos won’t find peacock meatballs on menus any time soon but all the traditional flavors are abundantly available. And with March 9 being National Meatball Day, there’s no better reason to indulge. So whether you’re looking for them in a sub, atop a plate of spaghetti or something a little different these five places are worth checking out.
All About The Bread
7111 Melrose Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90036
All About The Bread has some phenomenal sandwiches like “The Godfather” and the pastrami but according to LA Mag’s annual catalog of best sandwiches, it’s their meatball sub that made the list. It’s the perfect assembly of crispy, doughy bread stuffed with steaming meatballs and fresh marinara topped with Provolone and Parmesan cheese. The dinner version, the meatball bowl, is equally as perfect with fluffy, light meatballs over homemade potato salad and covered in homemade marinara sauce, topped with melted fresh mozzarella and shaved Parmesan.
408 S. Main St.
Los Angeles, CA 90013
Looking for a meatball sandwich with a little twist? Bäco Mercat serves their Spanish-inspired version on bäco bread. Bäco is the signature flatbread that was developed by chef Josef Centeno. The bäco is rolled thin and baked until crispy which serves as the platform for “the meatball” as it’s called. Served with raisins, pine nuts and tomatoes, this meatball sandwich is a must-try. This place gets busy so reservations are recommended.
9575 W. Pico Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Sotto is another restaurant to join the list of market driven, Southern Italian-inspired cuisine. With their housemade pastas and Neapolitan pizzas, Sotto delivers robust flavors with elegant presentation. Their grilled pork meatballs are no exception. Served on a bed of bitter greens and pecorino with a side of snow peas, their grilled meatballs are bursting with flavor. Pair it with one of Sotto’s original cocktails like Kill Bill, Elijah Minnelli or Pass the Buck to round out a truly memorable meal.
11330 Santa Monica Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Traditionally made from beef or pork, during last century’s health craze the meatball was given a calorie and fat content makeover and the chicken meatball was born. At Nanbankan Restaurant, where almost everything is served on a stick, you can find chicken meatballs like no other. These plump and juicy skewered balls of chicken are usually served with teriyaki sauce and they are hard to beat.
Related: Best Thai Food In Los Angeles
Hollywood, CA 90028
For those who would like to have a nice quiet dinner at home but are sick of take-out or are lacking kitchen skills, enter Joey Meatballs. Using his great grandmother’s arsenal of authentic Italian recipes, personal chef Joey Vitale (aka Joey Meatballs) will arrive at your home and make dinner for you. His menu has an appetizing assortment of classic Italian dishes including the traditional Italian three-meat meatballs (beef, pork and veal). In addition, you can purchase convenient meals in a jar like Fra Diavolo, Bolognese, Arrabbiata and of course, meatballs. Just heat and serve! All jars are made to order so ingredients can be omitted in case of allergies. He’ll also give you heating instructions. Just give him a call.
Related: Best Italian Food In Los Angeles
Kristine G. Bottone is a freelance writer living in Los Angeles. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.