8 Must-Try Meatballs in San Francisco

By Tamara Palmer  |  October 15, 2013
Credit: Zaré at Fly Trap

An increasing number of San Francisco eateries are keen to demonstrate that meatballs are for more than just spaghetti. And from vegan delights to the ultimate carnivorous fantasy - a whole roasted chicken stuffed into a meatball, anyone? - we've got the goods on where to go. Check out our picks for mighty meatballs and let us know what your local favorites are in the comments.

  • Zaré at Fly Trap

    What has traditionally been a Monday night offering in the restaurant has recently moved to Saturdays as chef-owner Hoss Zaré makes a weekly version of a giant stuffed meatball (or kufteh) inspired by his hometown of Tabriz, Iran. The whole table shares the dish and delights in the surprises inside, whether it's a whole roasted chicken, veal shank, duck confit or many more possibilities. The restaurant also offers a solid vegetarian kufteh as well as pomegranate pistachio meatballs every day.

    606 Folsom St.; 415-243-0580

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    Tony's Pizza Napoletana

    The "meatball gigante" of beef, veal and pork will easily satisfy a table of four and makes an awesome accompaniment to Tony's myriad of pizza styles. Have it with marinara, fried egg and calabrese, sea-salted burrata or mushroom, pancetta and robiola on top and you'll be at the edge of glory. Be aware, though, that there is a strict limit of 25 of these bad boys made each day.

    1570 Stockton St.; 415-835-9888

  • Credit: Tamara Palmer


    Chef Pam Mazzola's dish of Moroccan meatballs with baked eggs, spiced tomato sauce, jalapeno yogurt, Jimmy Nardello peppers, garbanzo beans, mint and grilled bread makes for a filling main course or a perfect shared plate. Find it on the Prospect menu at lunch and weekend brunch.

    300 Spear St.; 415-247-7770

  • Presidio Social Club

    While much in and around the Presidio has been affected by the government shutdown, the Presidio Social Club remains open. The restaurant looks to the Middle East for inspiration in these minted lamb meatballs, which are served with green olive relish and harissa sauce with cumin.

    563 Ruger St.; 415-885-1888


  • Credit: Tamara Palmer

    Beachside Coffee and Kitchen

    Head out to this cafe that's just two blocks from Ocean Beach to experience a surprisingly good beef meatball sandwich in an unexpected place. It's outfitted with plenty of provolone and a zesty red wine-based Bolognese sauce.

    4300 Judah St.; 415-682-4961

  • Chambers

    This nightspot looks away from the marinara convention for meatball inspiration. These lamb meatballs are served with chantarelle mushrooms, herb salad and Calabrian chile béarnaise.

    601 Eddy St.; 415-829-2316 

  • A16

    One might expect meatballs to be a permanent fixture of the A16 menu, and they are, but only for limited service hours. These beautiful pork meatballs braised in tomato and served with basil and grana padano are available on the lunch menu from Wednesday through Friday only.

    2355 Chestnut St.; 415-771-2216

  • Credit: Flickr/hyperkinetic

    Ike's Place

    The popular sandwich shop offers both carnivores and vegans a shot at enjoying decadent-tasting meatballs. The Vegan Meatless Mike, for example, features vegan bread, soy mozzarella, marinara and animal-free meatballs. There's also an all-beef version that includes mozzarella sticks inside the sandwich.

    3489 16th St.; 415-553-6888