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Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
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Where to Eat Spaghetti and Meatballs in Boston

Boston is full of red sauce joints. These are the must-tries.

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Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
| Official Site

Cold weather calls for comfort food, and there are few foods more comforting than spaghetti and meatballs. Luckily for Bostonians, there’s this neighborhood called the North End —maybe you’ve heard of it? — that’s chalk full of the stuff.

Don’t be fooled, though: The North End doesn’t have a monopoly on that sweet, sweet red sauce. (Okay, so most of the spots on this list are located in Boston’s Little Italy, but East Boston and the South End have thrown their hats in the ring, too.)

Unfortunately, not every great meatball in Boston comes paired with spaghetti. For a pleasing (and filling) meatball primo piatto without the pasta, head to Coppa in the South End, Tavolo in Dorchester, and, of course, Cantina Italiana in the North End.

But looking for the complete package? Without further adieu, here are the best spots in Boston proper for nourishing spaghetti and meatballs.

Note: Map points are listed geographically from north to south, not ranked.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Mario's

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Mario’s might not be in the North End, but it doesn’t matter much — this is about as classic a red sauce Italian joint as it gets. Swim across the harbor, or drive across the Tobin, and eat these meatballs.

Mario’s East Boston Meatballs
Pictured here with ravioli, Mario’s meatballs are classically red sauce Italian
Yelp/Ben M.

Dino's Cafe

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Dino’s is perhaps best known for its massive (like, massive) subs, but its spaghetti and meatballs play a big role in keeping the lights on. The building — flatiron-style — is also worth gawking at for a few minutes.

Dino’s
Dino’s occupies the bottom floor of a flatiron building in the North End
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La Famiglia Giorgio's

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There will be a wait — welcome to the North End — but the meatballs, which are on the menu as “Maryann’s Favorite,” are worth every second.

Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Official Site

Carmelina's

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Another Hanover Street haunt, and another of the North End’s classic Italian joints. Carmelina’s gets fancy with dishes like ahi tuna arrabbiata and brasato (braised beef rib with risotto Milanese), but the meatballs are the reason you’re there.

Carmelina’s Meatballs
Birthday meatballs at Carmelina’s
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Grotto’s version of the Italian American classic is a little bit more fancy than the rest of the versions on this list, but who ever said elevating meatballs was a crime? Answer: no one.

Grotto Spaghetti and Meatballs
Grotto’s spaghetti and meatballs are a little fancy
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Alfredo's

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Alfredo’s is perhaps the most criminally underrated spot in Allston (and definitely the most criminally underrated Italian spot in the city). Almost everything is house-made — even some of the pastas — and Alfredo is doing it all in a kitchen the size of a broom closet. Everything is worth trying, but the meatballs — as tender as they come — should be the chief focus of any meal at Alfredo’s.

Alfredo’s Allston
Alfredo’s on Brighton Avenue
Terrence B. Doyle for Eater

Anchovies

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Anchovies is a stalwart of the South End, which is funny because it feels like it should be in the North End. Its pizzas are great; its antipasti is great; its beer list is shockingly great for a hole in the wall red sauce joint. And its meatballs — which come with linguine, not spaghetti — are why you’re going there to begin with.

Anchovies Meatballs
This classic South End joint has some of the best red sauce Italian in the city
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Mario's

Mario’s East Boston Meatballs
Pictured here with ravioli, Mario’s meatballs are classically red sauce Italian
Yelp/Ben M.

Mario’s might not be in the North End, but it doesn’t matter much — this is about as classic a red sauce Italian joint as it gets. Swim across the harbor, or drive across the Tobin, and eat these meatballs.

Mario’s East Boston Meatballs
Pictured here with ravioli, Mario’s meatballs are classically red sauce Italian
Yelp/Ben M.

Dino's Cafe

Dino’s
Dino’s occupies the bottom floor of a flatiron building in the North End
Facebook

Dino’s is perhaps best known for its massive (like, massive) subs, but its spaghetti and meatballs play a big role in keeping the lights on. The building — flatiron-style — is also worth gawking at for a few minutes.

Dino’s
Dino’s occupies the bottom floor of a flatiron building in the North End
Facebook

La Famiglia Giorgio's

Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Official Site

There will be a wait — welcome to the North End — but the meatballs, which are on the menu as “Maryann’s Favorite,” are worth every second.

Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Meatballs at La Famiglia Giorgio’s
Official Site

Carmelina's

Carmelina’s Meatballs
Birthday meatballs at Carmelina’s
Facebook

Another Hanover Street haunt, and another of the North End’s classic Italian joints. Carmelina’s gets fancy with dishes like ahi tuna arrabbiata and brasato (braised beef rib with risotto Milanese), but the meatballs are the reason you’re there.

Carmelina’s Meatballs
Birthday meatballs at Carmelina’s
Facebook

Grotto

Grotto Spaghetti and Meatballs
Grotto’s spaghetti and meatballs are a little fancy
Facebook

Grotto’s version of the Italian American classic is a little bit more fancy than the rest of the versions on this list, but who ever said elevating meatballs was a crime? Answer: no one.

Grotto Spaghetti and Meatballs
Grotto’s spaghetti and meatballs are a little fancy
Facebook

Alfredo's

Alfredo’s Allston
Alfredo’s on Brighton Avenue
Terrence B. Doyle for Eater

Alfredo’s is perhaps the most criminally underrated spot in Allston (and definitely the most criminally underrated Italian spot in the city). Almost everything is house-made — even some of the pastas — and Alfredo is doing it all in a kitchen the size of a broom closet. Everything is worth trying, but the meatballs — as tender as they come — should be the chief focus of any meal at Alfredo’s.

Alfredo’s Allston
Alfredo’s on Brighton Avenue
Terrence B. Doyle for Eater

Anchovies

Anchovies Meatballs
This classic South End joint has some of the best red sauce Italian in the city
Facebook

Anchovies is a stalwart of the South End, which is funny because it feels like it should be in the North End. Its pizzas are great; its antipasti is great; its beer list is shockingly great for a hole in the wall red sauce joint. And its meatballs — which come with linguine, not spaghetti — are why you’re going there to begin with.

Anchovies Meatballs
This classic South End joint has some of the best red sauce Italian in the city
Facebook

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