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Top Meatballs (SoFla)

Net, I thought you did one but was unable to locate it.

Cafe Martorano (Ft Lauderdale)
Macaluso's (South Beach)

Both are great and need to taste side by side to determine winner.

Honorable mention

Noodles and Panini (Las olas)
Fulvio's (Hollywood)

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  1. I went to Macaluso's years ago to taste the famous meatballs and was disappointed. Mine are better. But I'd like to mention an unexpected source of fine meatballs on the beach....Carrabba's Italian Grill, 39th & Collins. Yes, a chain, I expect a lot of ridicule.

    3 Replies
    1. re: 2top

      I can't ridicule cause I haven't tried any of the three yet. But just based on what I'm hearing about CM and M you may be in for some ribbing. Don't worry, like my grandmother used to say, thats why God invented colors!

      Sobe, may have to change my weekend plans and do one of my doubles in order to attempt a quasi side by side approach. What do ya think? Too much meatballs in one day for this(any) hound?

      1. re: eatnbmerry

        Come now, if we did not do crazy stuff like that, we wouldn't be chowhounds, would we :). I am dying to try CM myself being a big fan of macalusos.

        They are kind of a ripoff given the price and small portion but the meatballs at Ola happen to be amazing. So good that I knew I was being ripped off but did not care a bit :). I would put them up with Macalusos - they might even be better.

        1. re: tpigeon

          A triple!!! I don't think I can run, oops, I mean eat that far:) Like I said before, I Like Your Style TP!!!

    2. I'd say Cafe Martorano. They're still at the top of there game, whereas I've heard people complain several times that Macalusos has some down days. However, I had my meatballs in Cafe Martorano in the salad, so that may have accented how good they are. I think they may be the best Italian I've tasted in South Florida.

      No honorable mention for Randazzos, btw?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Icantread

        RIF, Never been to Randazzo's. Never had a bad meatball at Macaluso's.

      2. Not Italian in the least, but over New Year's Prime 112 had a special appetizer kobe beef and ricotta meatball that was out of this world good. If it is ever offered as a special...TAKE ADVANTAGE!

        1 Reply
        1. re: mikek

          I actually heard about that from multiple people. sounded sacriledge to me, but everyone raved over it

        2. Man, I dropped the ball tonight. I was craving meatballs after reading the posts today and unfortunately did not go to any of the aforementioned places. The restaurant is good and the meatballs were ok but not great. Really made me appreciate what Martorano and Macaluso's do so well

          1. Rosinella's has mini meatballs (off the menu) that are quite different (sizewise) and quite delectable! I always order them up as an app. They also do a nice Bolognese and homemade Gnocchis also (off the menu).

            3 Replies
            1. re: netmover

              I've been to Rosinella 50+ times and never had a meatball there.

              1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                I went there last night - they had spaghetii and meatballs on the menu

                1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                  That's why we're all here to inform one another...who, what, where, when, why and HOW! I get a side of Meatballs there all the time, in fact there's plenty more they offer then that slender menu if you're in the know...and now you are chowdaddy! Buon appetitto!

              2. do you mean Miami and surrounds when you say SoFla - because you seem to exclude Palm Beach County and most of Broward in your posts (though this time you have included Ft Laud and Hollywood).

                6 Replies
                1. re: smartie

                  To me SoFla has always meant the tri county area plus those, God bless them, independently minded Conchs as well.

                  1. re: smartie

                    smartie, you picked the wrong thread to accuse me of excluding Broward. I nominated two places in Ft. Lauderdale and one on HWood. I suspect that there isn't a great meatball in Palm Beach County since you didn't mention one.

                    1. re: The Chowfather AKA sobe

                      I did comment that you mentioned Hollywood and Ft Lauderdale this time but I have noticed on your other threads that PBC is excluded in your lists so was really commenting that your post titles perhaps need to be more specific to Miami Dade rather than South Fl . I have no idea of where to get a good meatball in PBC.

                      1. re: smartie

                        No he doesn't, anyone else can feel free to post meatballs pbc naples, the keys etc. You just post what you know - it is as simple as that.

                    2. re: smartie

                      Not for nothing, but I have noticed South Florida metamorphing into just Broward and Dade too...seems PB is either on it's own, or becoming part of the Treasure Coast? South Florida aka the Gold Coast always used to include PB, but lately it seems to have been exculded in the equation. Not sure why?

                      This is why I include ALL of FLA in my TOP posts, so as to have a boardwide discussion and to get to know some of the other prolific posters out there. Floridians are Florida's #1 tourists too, so sooner or later we'll be there, or they'll be here. RIP Bob Mervine, a true prolific poster! Viva la FLA...

                      That being said, I can appreciate what chowfather is trying to accomplish by limiting the scope of the TOP posts, it just makes it easier, however should it be even more speciffic, as smartie suggests, it'll exclude even more Flo-Rida-ers. Like TP says, post what you like or forever hold your peace!

                    3. Swung by Macaluso's Market today and ordered a meatball parm. Let me begin by saying that it is a bit pricey at $13 plus plus. On the other hand, there is little doubt that you are dealing with top shelf ingredients.

                      First Test: a non-soggy bread that maintains its chewability. Macaluso's passes with flying colors. The roll is about 8 inches and has a wonderful fresh quality that complements the other ingredients very well and also maintains its chewable integrity from the attack of the sauce. A minor minus for me was that it didn't have any sesame seeds, but that is not a deal breaker in the end.

                      Second Test: High quality cheese with right meltability and not overpowering taste. While I'll give them a highish passing grade, it is the one area I would like to see a change. I would prefer them using a fresh mozza product rather than thin slices of provo. Although the cheese worked well, melted nicely and complemented the other items, I definitely am more of a traditionalist and prefer the mozza.

                      Third Test: the sauce is complementary to the meatballs and does not overpower the "star" nor underwhelm the taste buds. High marks on both accounts. You know the sauce is "there" but it does not take away from the meat rather combines with it to give you the right bite balance. It is a straighforward homemade variety tasting more of tomato not the sometimes overpowering herbs (namely basil) which seem to be overdone nowadays at a lot of places IMO.

                      Fourth Test: Meatballs that are light in texture yet exude heavy fresh ground flavor. In this make or break test, I am very pleased to say that Macaluso's excels. The meatballs should be the prominent taste of this show and rightfully so they are. They squeeze two very large fist size homemade style flavorful meaty goodness into the sub. They are large enough where no bite of the hero excludes them (hate bread/cheese only ends you get someplaces). Their taste is again not overwhelmed by any herb(s) which allows the quality of the fresh ground meat to shine. They are not overcooked and have a perfectly light texture while still maintaining their shape integrity. They bring all the other ingredients together and seal the deal.

                      All in all, the sandwich is definitely Grade A and the meatballs are definitely worthy of sobe's accolades. I look forward to trying the rec'd salad or better yet drop by for a dinner.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: eatnbmerry

                        5th Test: Too much Garlic...were they repeating all day? :-) They do on the Meatball Pizza!

                        1. re: netmover

                          Not this time anyways.

                          I am usually very sensitive to acidy sauce and over the top garlic but must admit that have not suffered that this time thankfully. BTW, it may be sacrilege to say this, but I like the sonny's sauce just as much if not more.

                          1. re: eatnbmerry

                            well that doesn't surprise this chowhound! they sell sides of meatballs at Sonny's and they belong on this list for sure.

                            Mac's meatballs are good, the first time I had them was on the pizza and they repeated long after I left. Now that may have had more to do with the pizza then the meatballs. I got a meatball parm at the store one day and that was not the case, so it must have been the pie.

                            Noodles and Panini has my absolute favorite meatballs.

                            1. re: netmover

                              I also like the meatball app at Prima Pasta. Very tasty little ones that almost melt in your mouth.