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Photo: R. Lopez

A Meatball Tour of Washington

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| Photo: R. Lopez

Comfort food never goes out of style, and few things are more satisfying than a home-cooked meatball. Many local restaurants are finding ways to put a unique spin on this classic dish, giving the basic bowl of spaghetti and meatballs some serious culinary challengers.

While it's a stretch to call the meatball an official food trend, it's clear that they're a popular menu item locally, and it's not just Italian kitchens that are getting in on the game.

With that in mind, here are some of the best places to get meatballs around town, from fine-dining to take-out.
—Travis Mitchell

Have another favorite meatball in town? Share it in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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2 Amys

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The Italian polpettine at this Neapolitan restaurant, while smaller than the standard American meatball, prove that size doesn't matter. Order them on their own or be bold and throw them on a pizza.

Chef Bryan Voltaggio has earned high marks from culinary critics for this Italian restaurant–within–a–restaurant. The meatballs here are served with homemade "chitarra" pasta, basil and pomodoro.

The meatballs at this Glover Park pizzeria are low on frills, but pair well with a glass of frozen limoncello—a house specialty.

Bibiana Osteria & Enoteca

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Polpetta at this upscale restaurant are made from a combination of veal and pork. They don’t come with any pasta, but are instead served with polenta as an antipasti.

Boqueria

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Spain isn't the first country meatballs call to mind, but the version here shouldn't be missed. These lamb meatballs, called albondigas, are also available on the unlimited tapas brunch menu.

Carmine's

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Super-size any meatball craving at this family-style restaurant. Bring an appetite or be prepared to share, because each order comes as a heaping bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. The restaurant also offers meatball sliders during happy hour.

District of Pi

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Deep dish pies are the primary draw of this Penn Quarter pizzeria, but the beef and pork meatballs alone are worth a trip for those in the neighborhood. Stop by during happy hour, when they are offered for around $4.

Il Canale

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Meatball lovers should look beyond pizza at this Georgetown spot and target the imbotitto panini - a combination of meatballs, grilled eggplant and smoked mozzarella.

Chef Geoff Tracy is a pro at executing crowd-pleasing dishes with quality and consistency. The spaghetti and meatballs at his Friendship Heights restaurant keeps it simple with meatballs, basil, ricotta and marinara.

Osteria Morini

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The Navy Yard neighborhood definitely scored when this New York City import set up shop. The polpettine antipasti here differ a bit in that they are made with prosciutto and mortadella.

Pizzeria Orso

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It’s not everyday that meatballs share space with tater-tots on a menu, but that’s the case at this Italian comfort food spot. The oven-roasted meatballs here are available with spaghetti, on a sub or on their own served with creamy polenta.

Taylor Gourmet

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The Obama-approved hoagies here include the Callowhill, a classic sandwich with housemade spicy meatballs, marinara sauce and provolone cheese.

Ted's Bulletin

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Monday night is family-style pasta night at this retro diner. Enjoy meatballs "as big as your head" at all locations, which include Barrack's Row, 14th Street and Reston.

Zaytinya

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Jose Andres is well-known for elevating and reimagining traditional dishes, and that includes meatballs. His Mediterranean twist, keftedes kapama, are made from beef and lamb and served with feta, cinnamon and allspice.

ShopHouse Kitchen

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The Asian-influenced meatballs are one of the most popular menu items for ShopHouse's customize-able rice bowls and salads.

Banh Mi DC Sandwich

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Meatballs are one of the many items customers can choose from when filling a sandwich at this Falls Church banh mi restaurant.

RIS At Union Market

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Stop by the Ris stand at Union market and get a half dozen meatballs in a tomato eggplant sauce for $10. Spaghetti and meatballs can sometimes be found on Ris's dinner menu as well.

Pho 75

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Meatball is one of the traditional soup filings for Pho, and naturally Pho 75 has it as an option.

Ball Or Nothing

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This popular DC food truck is entirely devoted to meatballs in their many forms.

Copperwood Tavern

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For a gamey take on the meatball, head to Copperwood Tavern, where their fall-apart bison meatballs are simmered in huckleberry gravy.

2 Amys

The Italian polpettine at this Neapolitan restaurant, while smaller than the standard American meatball, prove that size doesn't matter. Order them on their own or be bold and throw them on a pizza.

Aggio

Chef Bryan Voltaggio has earned high marks from culinary critics for this Italian restaurant–within–a–restaurant. The meatballs here are served with homemade "chitarra" pasta, basil and pomodoro.

Arcuri

The meatballs at this Glover Park pizzeria are low on frills, but pair well with a glass of frozen limoncello—a house specialty.

Bibiana Osteria & Enoteca

Polpetta at this upscale restaurant are made from a combination of veal and pork. They don’t come with any pasta, but are instead served with polenta as an antipasti.

Boqueria

Spain isn't the first country meatballs call to mind, but the version here shouldn't be missed. These lamb meatballs, called albondigas, are also available on the unlimited tapas brunch menu.

Carmine's

Super-size any meatball craving at this family-style restaurant. Bring an appetite or be prepared to share, because each order comes as a heaping bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. The restaurant also offers meatball sliders during happy hour.

District of Pi

Deep dish pies are the primary draw of this Penn Quarter pizzeria, but the beef and pork meatballs alone are worth a trip for those in the neighborhood. Stop by during happy hour, when they are offered for around $4.

Il Canale

Meatball lovers should look beyond pizza at this Georgetown spot and target the imbotitto panini - a combination of meatballs, grilled eggplant and smoked mozzarella.

Lia's

Chef Geoff Tracy is a pro at executing crowd-pleasing dishes with quality and consistency. The spaghetti and meatballs at his Friendship Heights restaurant keeps it simple with meatballs, basil, ricotta and marinara.

Osteria Morini

The Navy Yard neighborhood definitely scored when this New York City import set up shop. The polpettine antipasti here differ a bit in that they are made with prosciutto and mortadella.

Pizzeria Orso

It’s not everyday that meatballs share space with tater-tots on a menu, but that’s the case at this Italian comfort food spot. The oven-roasted meatballs here are available with spaghetti, on a sub or on their own served with creamy polenta.

Taylor Gourmet

The Obama-approved hoagies here include the Callowhill, a classic sandwich with housemade spicy meatballs, marinara sauce and provolone cheese.

Ted's Bulletin

Monday night is family-style pasta night at this retro diner. Enjoy meatballs "as big as your head" at all locations, which include Barrack's Row, 14th Street and Reston.

Zaytinya

Jose Andres is well-known for elevating and reimagining traditional dishes, and that includes meatballs. His Mediterranean twist, keftedes kapama, are made from beef and lamb and served with feta, cinnamon and allspice.