By Annie Vazquez
If you think you've tried some magnifico meatballs, fuhgeddaboutit! These five restaurants have ones that'll make your taste buds screaming mama mia!
Situated in a tiny South Beach shopping plaza, Macaluso's might not look impressive from the outside, but like the old adage goes, "never judge a book by its cover." This Italian restaurant is beloved by many celebrities, and rightly so, as the meatballs here are delizioso and mammoth. Start off with his best seller, the meatball salad, which comes with one humungous meatball on a bed of lettuce. Then go for an entrée such as sautéed meatballs with spinach. If lunch is more your thing, head to Macaluso's market next door and order a meatball pizza or grab a meatball hero.
1747 Alton Rd, Miami Beach; 305-604-1811
Owner and Chef Marc Randazzo is a former boxing champ and sure to knock you out with how eccellente his meatballs taste. Try them in the ginormous meatball salad or add the carbs and sample the spaghetti with "Sunday gravy" sauce, which comes with plenty of meatballs. The atmosphere is very casual -- checkered tablecloths, grapevine lights ---and some of Randazzo's own boxing memorabilia decorate the walls. Televisions silently play Godfather flicks while tunes such as "That's Amore" and "Sole Mio" belt out.
150 Giralda Ave, Coral Gables; 305-448-7002
It'll be tough to get a seat at this swanky eatery for dinner unless you don't mind waiting. But, if your star struck, the wait won't seem too long as you can catch many athletes, politicians and stars enjoying a meal here. Your best bet is to chow down at lunch time when it's not so busy. Located in the SoFi district, Prime One Twelve is known for being a high-end steakhouse, but the Kobe meatballs are "molto bene" here.
112 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach; 305-532-8112
Expect to have one amazing gastronomical experience at this strip mall bistro. Café Martorano's slogan is "part restaurant, part night club, and all Italian," and it's exactly that. Owner and chef Steve Martorano, who looks more like a tattooed body builder than culinary expert, serves up fist size meatballs made out of pork, veal and beef. Patrons like Shaquille O'Neill and Christina Milian dine in an atmosphere filled with people jamming out to earsplitting music, flashing strobe lights and televisions blaring mobster flicks. Sounds like sheer madness, but the meatballs are so bravissimo Gourmet magazine featured them in an issue.
3343 E. Oakland Park Blvd, Ft. Lauderdale; 954-561-2554
Actor Danny Devito is co-owner of this posh Italian eatery, which is mishmash of old Hollywood glam and modern decor. As small as Devito is (4-foot -something), the actor turned restaurateur likes his customers to dine big. Take, for instance, the jumbo house meatball with whipped ricotta. As much as you want to eat this big baby alone, make sure you split it so you have enough room for an entrée. Choose the Sunday Gravy for your main course, as it's a carnivore's dream come true. It includes spaghetti, house meatballs, veal sausage, boneless pork and shortribs all slathered in San Marzano sauce.
150 Ocean Dr, Miami Beach; 305-531-0911
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Meatballs at Café Martorano.