Glen Macnow’s Meatball Madness

glenmacnow meatballmadenss Glen Macnows Meatball Madness

(*Scroll down for individual reviews)


By Glen Macnow

Meatballs are as much a Philadelphia thing as cheesesteaks or roast pork. In this town, where most everyone grew up watching their grandmother stirring gravy over the stove on Sundays, the meatball is an important food item. So for any restaurant chef to make a good one, he’s got to pass a high bar just to beat what many folks can get at their kitchen table.

The good news is, those wonderful meatballs are everywhere – and don’t consider that a knock on your family recipe. Throughout the Delaware Valley – and not just in South Philly – there are high-end restaurants, dive bars and neighborhood hoagie shops offering terrific takes on the humblest of comfort foods.

My job over the next six weeks is to try them all . . . well, a minimum of 40 anyway, and try to locate the best. I’ll be following your tips, and my nose, to as many places as I can in search of the perfect meatball. In the end, I’ll invite you (for free!) to join me in honoring the King of the Meatballs. Stay tuned for details, but be ready to join me at Delaware Park Casino on a May 7th to sample the best of the bunch.

We’ve done this before. Over the years, my food hunts have searched for ribs, burgers (twice), cheesesteaks, Italian hoagies, beer, specialty sandwiches, pizza, bacon creations and food trucks. And you’ve always guided me with suggestions. So I’m asking again: If you know a meatball I’ve got to sample, hit me up here, or on my Facebook page, or on Twitter @RealGlenMacnow. I’m going to get to as many as I can.

Of course, we’ll start with the basic Italian ambassador, served on pasta or in a sandwich with marinara. But I’m already learning that great meatballs come with a taste of Sweden, Asia or the Middle East. They’re made of beef, veal and pork — but also lamb, duck and rabbit. Nothing is off-limits in this contest.

So stay tuned. I’ll post reviews most days between now and our Meatball Madness finals in May. I’ll listen for your suggestions and appreciate your feedback.

And, while you’re at it, go thank your grandmother for all those great tastes and aromas coming from the kitchen

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Macnow's Meatball Scores (X / 100)

  • 14. Wawa - 60
  • 13. Ralph's - 88
  • 12. Stogie Joe's - 87
  • 11. Vincenzo's - 77
  • 10. London Grill - 84
  • 9. Mrs. Robino's - 78
  • 8. Triangle Tavern - 64
  • 7. Pepperoncini - 89
  • 6. Carlino's - 80
  • 5. Anthony's - 40
  • 4. Pizzeria Stella - 87
  • 3. Marino's - 73
  • 2. Pastificio - 83
  • 1. Villa Di Roma - 95

15. Zahav

It took us two months to get reservations, and we’re not complaining.

19 hours ago


14. Wawa

At just $4.59 for a Shorti, it’s a bargain.



13. Ralph’s

They’re baked over olive oil at 450 degrees, flipped four times to make sure the entire meatball gets seared and then cooked in gravy.


stogie joe's

12. Stogie Joe’s

At Stogie Joe’s they come on a Liscio Kaiser roll, and it’s a bargain of a sandwich at eight bucks.



11. Vincenzo’s Deli

We had the meatball sandwich, which was a bargain at $6.


glen macnow meatball madness

10. London Grill

This is, by far, the best value we’ve found during this year’s Food Hunt.


9. Mrs. Robino’s

We went for lunch and tried the meatball-and-sausage appetizer for $9.


8. Triangle Tavern

The Triangle employs the common mix of beef-veal-pork



7. Pepperoncini

Pepperoncini’s has been in Conshy since 2005.



6. Carlino’s

This was a cheesy meatball, and there was no shortage of parm on top.


5. Anthony’s

It’s cheap. A small “Meatball Sub” is just $4.99.



4. Pizzeria Stella

For $11 you get two lacrosse-ball sized meatballs of beef, veal and pork, drenched in a savory red sauce.



3. Marino’s Pizza

The Stromboli is the real reason to put this place into your GPS.



2. Pastificio

The “Meatball Special” comes with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe.


villa di roma

1. Villa Di Roma

We had meatballs and ravioli for $17.95.


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