Philadelphia and the Countryside - Press Room

Releases: Expanded View

Feb 18 2015

Meatballs Roll Into Philly In A Big Way

Philadelphia Restaurants Are Having A Ball With This Comfort Food Trend

On top of spaghetti, covered with cheese, tucked into a roll, grilled on a skewer—meatballs in all forms abound in Philadelphia, and not just in South Philly, the city’s largely Italian enclave. There are traditional Italian versions with gravy (Villa di Roma, for starters), Vietnamese pork balls in noodle soup (Vietnam), vegetarian tofu-ball sandwiches (Magic Carpet) and luxuriant rounds of short-rib hand-rolled by celebrity chefs (Barbuzzo). Here’s a look at some of the most memorable meatballs in the region:

Old-School Meatballs:

  • Repeat winner of the Golden Meatball Challenge between South Philadelphia and South Jersey and Food Network Meatball Wars winner, Italian Market staple Villa di Roma boasts a winning 50-year-old formula with its pan-seared all-beef beauties. 936 S. 9th Street, (215) 592-1295,
  • The gigantic home-style orbs at Talluto’s are available to-go at all of the Italian specialty store’s locations, alongside pastas of every variety. 944 S. 9th Street, (215) 627-4967; 530 Foundry Road, Norristown, (610) 630-6788; 20 E. Sellers Avenue, Ridley Park, (610) 534-0669,
  • Hand-rolled ground beef and a special blend of seasonings distinguish the two-inch meatballs at Carlino’s Market. Customers can purchase them by the quart in marinara sauce or with a number of different pasta plates. 2616 E. County Line Road, Ardmore, (610) 649-4046; 128 West Chester Road, West Chester, (610) 696-3788,
  • The contemporary cuisine at upscale pizza parlor In Riva goes homestyle when it comes to meatballs. Chef Arthur Cavaliere’s richly flavored recipe inspires nostalgia even in customers without an Italian mother. 4116 Ridge Avenue, (215) 438-4848,
  • Mama Mary’s namesake spaghetti platter at Conshohocken’s Stella Blu serves as the backdrop for luscious meatballs made with veal, pork and beef, simmered in homemade marinara. 101 Ford Street, West Conshohocken. (610) 825-7060,

Pedigreed Meatballs:

  • Chef Marcie Turney wasn’t content to simply serve regular meatballs at her Mediterranean wine bar Barbuzzo. Nope, these short rib and pork shoulder babies are stuffed with melting caciocavallo cheese. 110 S. 13th Street, (215) 546-9300,
  • The B+V+P stands for beef, pork and veal at neo-red sauce joint Little Nonna’s. The appetizer portion of meatballs arrives at the table stuffed with fontina cheese and served over soft polenta. In entrée form, they’re served with spaghetti and braised pork marinara. 1234 Locust Street, (215) 546-2100,
  • Count on Chef Eli Kulp to put his own stamp on the mighty meatball. At High Street on Market, he dresses up duck meatballs with spicy marinara sauce, liver and onions, young Swiss cheese and charred and pickled long hot peppers. 308 Market Street, (215) 625-0988,
  • Pub & Kitchen’s rendition befits the gastropub’s chic take on English cuisine. Rustic and hearty rabbit meatballs adorn a bed of polenta with green olives and pine nuts. 1946 Lombard Street, (215) 545-0350,
  • The little albondigas or lamb meatballs at Jose Garces’ Spanish eatery Amada are served with shaved manchego cheese and an essential part of the order at this tapas hotspot. 217-219 Chestnut Street, (215) 625-2450,
  • At Blue Bell’s refined Italian restaurant Radice, they’re called bracciolini—and the pork and pecorino ovals are long simmered in a sage-infused tomato sauce for maximum tastiness. 722 Dekalb Pike, Blue Bell, (610) 272-5700,

On A Roll:

  • With rolls that are the envy of every hoagie shop for miles, Sarcone’s succeeds in making a memorable meatball parm sandwich, and the generous dollops of marinara and mozzarella are just a bonus. 734 S. 9th Street, (215) 922-1717,
  • Tucked inside Smokey Joe’s, Enjay’s Pizza packs its meatballs onto house-baked rolls with marinara sauce, fried onions, pancetta and parmesan cheese. 210 S. 40th Street, (215) 222-0770,
  • The restaurant motto is “Once you try them, you’ll always buy them.” A South Philly stalwart, George’s Sandwich Shop passes its saucy sandwiches through an order window. 900 S. 9th Street, (215) 592-8363

Beyond Beef:

  • Just like grandma or grandpa makes: The takeaway chicken meatballs and tomato gravy at Dad’s Stuffings in South Philadelphia are the stuff(ing) of legend. 1615 W. Ritner Street, (215) 334-1934,
  • Doused in marinara and cheese, the tofu balls (also known as Magic Meatballs) at the Magic Carpet food truck in University City have been feeding happy vegetarians—and everyone else—for decades. 34th & Walnut Streets; 36th & Spruce Streets, (215) 334-0948,
  • With a name like Marabella Meatball Company, the concept is fairly obvious—less so are the dozens of options available at this meatball mecca, where beef, pork, chicken and veggie varieties are among the regular offerings. There are sandwiches and platters, plus mix and match sauces, toppings and pastas. 1211 Walnut Street, (215) 238-1833,
  • Built on a firmly Italian foundation, Me N Mo Meatballs and More, trades in traditional sauces and pastas to accompany the main event: meatballs made from spicy pork, lamb, chicken and vegetables. Specials, meanwhile, travel into cross-cultural territory like Hong Kong and Buffalo, New York. 214 South Street, (267) 928-3262,
  • The bucatini and “meatballs” at Midtown Village vegan bar Charlie was a sinner. contain no animal byproducts. Dressed in spicy fra diavolo sauce, they’re just as delicious as the traditional kind. 131 S. 13th Street, (267) 758-5372,
  • Everyone loves meatballs, but Fairmount fixture London Grill devotes an entire night to them. On Meatball Mondays, a plate of three costs $6, and the changing lineup includes such variations as Moroccan tuna balls with tomato jam, duck meatballs with cherry mostarda and foie gras meatballs. 2301 Fairmount Avenue, (215) 978-4545,

A World Of Meatballs:

  • Whether twirled into vermicelli noodles topped with fish sauce or grilled and wrapped in rice paper, the tiny pork meatballs at Vietnam in Chinatown are a fragrant and satisfying treat. They’re are also available at its University City outpost, Vietnam Cafe. Vietnam, 221 N. 11th Street, (215) 592-1163; Cafe, 816 S. 47th Street, (215) 729-0260,
  • One of the best values in town, the IKEA Swedish meatball plate (15 meatballs served with mashed potatoes, cream sauce and lingonberries for $3.99) is also reputed to be the best version of the famed dish in America. 2206 S. Columbus Boulevard, (215) 551-4532; 400 Alan Wood Road, Conshohocken, (610) 834-1520,
  • The meatball banh mi at the seasonal Kung Fu Hoagies truck melds Vietnamese flavors with vegan flair. Layered on top of those tofu meatballs: vegan ham, vegan mayo, fried onions, pickled vegetables and jalapeño. (267) 344-6259,
  • The braised meatballs at Foo Truck derive their “Tiger’s Head” flavor from garlic, ginger, soy sauce and Asian spices. They’re served either in a “foowich” or over a bed of jasmine rice with Napa cabbage. 35th & Market Streets (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday); 16th Street & John F. Kennedy Boulevard (Tuesday),
  • Both the meatballs and fish balls at Chinatown’s Nan Zhou Hand Drawn Noodle House can be ordered in a number of ways—in hand-drawn or shaved noodle soup; over rice; or in the house special soup. 1022 Race Street, (215) 923-1550,

Meatball Pies:

  • The luscious brick hearth pies at Sovana Bistro can be embellished with Fran’s Meatballs, a tender beef-pork-veal combo, then draped with Italian hots and shaved pecorino. 696 Unionville Road, Kennett Square, (610) 444-5600,
  • Ricotta-stuffed meatballs mingle happily with Claudio’s mozzarella on the Polpettino pizza at wine bar Zavino, making it one of the most popular choices for diners. 112 S. 13th Street, (215) 732-2400; 3200 Chestnut Street, (215) 823-6897,
  • It’s ideal to be near Christopher’s in Wayne when a meatball craving hits: The pizza here gets dressed up with spicy broccoli rabe, herbed ricotta, sharp provolone and red sauce. 108 N. Wayne Avenue, Wayne, (610) 687-6558,

VISIT PHILADELPHIA®, formerly known as Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, makes Philadelphia and The Countryside® a premier destination through marketing and image building that increases the number of visitors, the number of nights they stay and the number of things they do in the five-county area.

On Greater Philadelphia’s official visitor website and blog, and, visitors can explore things to do, upcoming events, themed itineraries and hotel packages. Compelling photography and videos, interactive maps and detailed visitor information make the sites effective trip-planning tools. Along with Visit Philly social media channels, the online platforms communicate directly with consumers. Travelers can also call and stop into the Independence Visitor Center for additional information and tickets.

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Among the ever-growing list of Eagles fan fare are vegan pastry inspired by Broad Street’s greased poles (Dottie’s Donuts), all-green Bloody Mary cocktails (Pub & Kitchen), broccolini cheesesteaks (Rooster Soup Co.) and underdog everything, including soft pretzels (Philly Pretzel Factory) and mac-and-cheese (Mac Mart). Here are the details:

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Jan 23 2018

What's In The Neighborhood?


Beyond Philadelphia’s historic Friendship Arch at 10th and Arch Streets lives a thriving Asian neighborhood, settled in the mid-19th century by Cantonese immigrants. Stretching from Vine to Arch Streets between 9th and 12th Streets, Philly’s Chinatown is packed end-to-end with restaurants and stores that represent Hong Kong, Cantonese, Fujianese, Northern Sichuan and Taiwanese cultures, with a sprinkling of Korean, Thai, Malaysian, Burmese, Vietnamese and hipster thrown in for good measure. On any given day or night, Chinatown is active and authentic, popular for steaming platters of hand-stretched noodles, seasonal street festivals, a new food hall (

Jan 22 2018

Philadelphia Bakeries: More Delicious By The Dozen

A Guide To The Region’s Top Makers Of Bread, Buns, Cakes And Pastries

Philadelphia, a city of neighborhoods, is also a city of neighborhood bakeries. Cannoli from the 9th Street Italian Market’s Isgro’s and Termini Brothers, tomato pie from Manayunk’s Marchiano’s Bakery and pound cake from Port Richmond’s Stock’s Bakery are just some of the crumbs of Philly’s culinary makeup. Today, the city’s blocks also burst with modern French patisseries and boulangeries (J’aime French Bakery, Machine Shop), specialized bakeries (Dottie’s Donuts, ICI Macarons and Café and gluten- and allergen-free specialist Sweet Freedom Bakery) and artisans with modern ideas about heritage ingredients (High Street on Market, Lost Bread

Jan 3 2018

Taquerias And Taco Trucks Dot Philadelphia Neighborhoods

South Philly Leads The City’s Taco Craze

Philly’s turned into a bona fide taco town. Between the authentic, mom-and-pop taquerias of South Philly, tried-and-true tequila bars, roving food trucks and the newest crop of Mexican joints, there’s truly a taco for everyone and their hermano. Here’s where:

South Philly:

  • Blue Corn – Distinguished among its quick-serve counterparts on the 9th Street Italian Market, this family-owned and operated restaurant has genuine warmth and hospitality—not to mention a liquor license and incredible tacos made with a rotating lineup of specialty tortillas pressed on the premises. 940 S. 9th Street, (215) 925-1010, @bluecornrestaurant
  • El Compadre –
Nov 30 2017

The BYOB Restaurant: A Philly Phenomenon

Region Boasts 300-Plus Bring-Your-Own-Bottle Restaurants

Despite decades of popularity and expansion, one quintessential Philadelphia dining phenomenon continues to fly deliciously under the radar. It’s the BYOB, the bring-your-own-bottle restaurant—BYO, for short. Typically independently owned and operated, Philly’s BYOBs number into the three hundreds. Diners find them on dozens of corners in Center City, along avenues of renewed urban neighborhoods and tucked down rural roads. It’s a curious trend with an interesting backstory—and an even more interesting present.

Here’s a short explanation of how the BYOB scene came to be—and advice on navigating the landscape.

What Is A BYOB?:
A BYOB restaurant allows patrons to

Nov 6 2017

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Lines Out The Door Are Part Of The Fun Among These Philly Holiday Food Makers

Philadelphia does festive food and drink right. The proof: Wintertime lines out the doors of the city’s beloved mom-and-pop purveyors. For decades, Philadelphia’s proudly diverse population has represented a variety of home-cooked holiday food traditions holidays: classic latkes, old-world confections, Italian pastry, Polish kielbasa and handmade tamales. Here’s a field guide to eating through the holiday season the authentic way:

Thanksgiving Turkey & Pies:

  • Cacia’s Bakery – Since the 1950s, this venerable deep South Philly bread maker has played a special role in local holiday dinners. Each Thanksgiving, the Cacia family offers their services—their massive, brick-lined bread oven, really—to
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Culinary Tour Guides & Chef-Instructors Heighten Any Philly Visit

Eating out is one of the very best ways to get to know a place, and Philadelphia’s culinary tours and classes offer fast and delicious regional familiarity. After all, discovering a historic city famous for its food shed, farmers’ (and other) markets, spot-on neighborhood dining, celebrity chefs, distilling and brewing scenes and mom-and-pop eateries requires some guidance. Here are some tours, trails and classes that come highly—and appetizingly—recommended:

Food Tours:

  • Chew Philly Food Tours – These 2.5-hour walks through the culinary (and historical) highlights of the northwestern city neighborhoods of Manayunk and Chestnut Hill focus on eight mom-and-pop gems
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What Is A Cheesesteak?:
A cheesesteak is a long, crusty roll filled with thinly sliced sautéed rib-eye beef and melted cheese. Generally, the cheese of choice is Cheez Whiz®, but American and mild or sharp provolone are common substitutions. The art of cheesesteak preparation lies in the balance

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Chestnut Hill, Germantown & Mount Airy

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With a higher elevation than the rest of the city, Chestnut Hill, a National Register Historic District, was once a vacation