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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.

1. 2 Amys

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3715 Macomb St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20016
(202) 885-5700
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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.

2. Aggio

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5335 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20015
(202) 803-8020
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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.

3. Arcuri

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2400 Wisconsin Ave
Washington DC, D.C. 20007
(202) 827-8745
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The meatballs at this Glover Park pizzeria are low on frills, but pair well with a glass of frozen limoncello—a house specialty.

4. Bibiana Osteria & Enoteca

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1100 New York Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20005
(202) 216-9550
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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.

5. Boqueria

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1837 M St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20036
(202) 558-9545
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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.

6. Carmine's

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425 7th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20004
(202) 737-7770
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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.

7. District of Pi

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910 F St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20004
(202) 393-5484
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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.

8. Il Canale

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1063 31st St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007
(202) 337-4444
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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.

9. Lia's

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4435 Willard Ave
Chevy Chase, MD 20815
(240) 223-5427
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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.

10. Osteria Morini

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301 Water St SE
Washington DC, D.C. 20003
(202) 484-0660
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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.

11. Pizzeria Orso

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400 S Maple Ave
Falls Church, VA 22046
(703) 226-3460
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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.

12. Taylor Gourmet

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1116 H St NE
Washington DC, D.C. 20002
(202) 684-7001
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The Obama-approved hoagies here include the Callowhill, a classic sandwich with housemade spicy meatballs, marinara sauce and provolone cheese.

13. Ted's Bulletin

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1818 14th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009
(202) 265-8337
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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.

14. Zaytinya

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701 9th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20001
(202) 638-0800
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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.

15. ShopHouse Kitchen

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1516 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009
(202) 232-4141
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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.

16. Banh Mi DC Sandwich

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3103 Graham Rd, #C
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 205-9300

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

17. RIS At Union Market

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1309 5th St NE
Washington DC, D.C. 20002

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.

18. Pho 75

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1721 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209
(703) 525-7355

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

19. Ball Or Nothing

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Moving Target
Washington DC, D.C. 20004

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

20. Copperwood Tavern

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Campbell Ave
Arlington, VA

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

1. 2 Amys

3715 Macomb St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20016

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.

3715 Macomb St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20016

2. Aggio

5335 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20015

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.

5335 Wisconsin Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20015

3. Arcuri

2400 Wisconsin Ave, Washington DC, D.C. 20007

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

2400 Wisconsin Ave
Washington DC, D.C. 20007

4. Bibiana Osteria & Enoteca

1100 New York Ave NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20005

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.

1100 New York Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20005

5. Boqueria

1837 M St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20036

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.

1837 M St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20036

6. Carmine's

425 7th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20004

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.

425 7th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20004

7. District of Pi

910 F St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20004

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.

910 F St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20004

8. Il Canale

1063 31st St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20007

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

1063 31st St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20007

9. Lia's

4435 Willard Ave, Chevy Chase, MD 20815

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.

4435 Willard Ave
Chevy Chase, MD 20815

10. Osteria Morini

301 Water St SE, Washington DC, D.C. 20003

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.

301 Water St SE
Washington DC, D.C. 20003

11. Pizzeria Orso

400 S Maple Ave, Falls Church, VA 22046

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.

400 S Maple Ave
Falls Church, VA 22046

12. Taylor Gourmet

1116 H St NE, Washington DC, D.C. 20002

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

1116 H St NE
Washington DC, D.C. 20002

13. Ted's Bulletin

1818 14th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20009

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.

1818 14th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009

14. Zaytinya

701 9th St NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20001

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.

701 9th St NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20001

15. ShopHouse Kitchen

1516 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington DC, D.C. 20009

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

1516 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington DC, D.C. 20009

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16. Banh Mi DC Sandwich

3103 Graham Rd, #C, Falls Church, VA 22042

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

3103 Graham Rd, #C
Falls Church, VA 22042

17. RIS At Union Market

1309 5th St NE, Washington DC, D.C. 20002

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.

1309 5th St NE
Washington DC, D.C. 20002

18. Pho 75

1721 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22209

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

1721 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22209

19. Ball Or Nothing

Moving Target, Washington DC, D.C. 20004

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

Moving Target
Washington DC, D.C. 20004

20. Copperwood Tavern

Campbell Ave, Arlington, VA

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

Campbell Ave
Arlington, VA

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