MAGGIANO’S LITTLE ITALY: Going to this deliciously cheesy faux Little Italy is all about the kitsch and the comfort food. Family-style eating in guilt-inducing portions abound. Disparage it for being a chain if you wish, but they make a respectable meatball — each one tender, well-seasoned and completely crave-worthy. The meatballs are immense, so one will suffice when placed atop an order of spaghetti with marinara or meat sauce. 3368 Peachtree Road, 404-816-9650; and two other metro Atlanta locations. www.maggianos.com.
PRICCI: Milan native Piero Premoli has brought this long-standing Italian eatery back to life. Premoli makes his polpette (meatballs) with ground veal, which he mixes with homemade focaccia soaked in milk and cream, garlic, parsley and lots of Parmesan. He then briefly whips the concoction in a mixer to create elasticity. The polpette are seared in a cast iron pan and braised in a homemade San Marzano sauce full of bright acidic notes. The polpette are available as an appetizer or main dish served over delicate spaghettini. One order of pasta is plenty for two people, but why share? 500 Pharr Road. 404-237-2941. www.buckheadrestaurants.com.
STAR PROVISIONS: Star makes its meatballs with ground veal and ricotta for lightness, eggs and breadcrumbs. The meatballs are slowly braised in lard to add moisture to the naturally lean meat. They’re sold by the pound and include a serving of homemade San Marzano tomato sauce. Grab some dried pasta, a bottle of wine and a loaf of bread. Dinner is done. 1198 Howell Mill Road. 404-365-0410. www.starprovisions.com.