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At Modus, grass-fed prime beef balls, seasoned with garlic, parsley, bay leaf and chili flakes, have gooey mozzarella centres. They’re served the old-school Italian way—on a pile of al dente spaghetti. $25. Modus, 145 King St. W., 416-861-9977.
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Sorry, spaghetti, but orecchiette is the best pasta to ever accompany a meatball. At Loire, the grass-fed lamb orbs are bound together with ricotta so they’re super tender, then served in a port-infused tomato sauce. $23. Loire, 119 Harbord St., 416-850-8330.
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Nonna Knows Best
Chef Giacomo Pasquini riffs on his grandmother’s Old World lamb ball recipe, adding paprika and serving freshly baked rosemary focaccia alongside—perfect for assembling messy, pillowy sandwiches. $12. Vertical, 100 King St. W., 416-214-2252.
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When beef is as flavourful as Cumbrae’s dry-aged rib cap, it only needs a dash of salt for seasoning. A minimalist sauce of olive oil and fresh rosemary is equally restrained and similarly elegant. $13. Edulis, 169 Niagara St., 416-703-4222.
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This sumptuous hero works the sweet-sour angle with its hoisin-slicked pork balls and slaw of pickled carrots, daikon and cucumber on a wisp-light baguette. A sprinkling of cilantro refreshes the palate between bites. $5.50. Banh Mi Boys, 392 Queen St. W., 416-363-0588.
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Rocco Agostino’s blend of beef chuck, pork shoulder and veal belly makes for a buttery foie gras–like bite. Hot pepper bomba adds just the right amount of heat. $9. Pizzeria Libretto, 550 Danforth Ave., 416-466-0400; 221 Ossington Ave., 416-532-8000.
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From the Greek
Chris Kalisperas’s keftedes taste like home cooking—a tribute to his mother, who made a similar recipe of cinnamon-spiced pork and beef. He serves them on a pool of tzatziki and tops them with mint pesto. $15. Brassaii, 461 King St. W., 416-598-4730.
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Shreds of kale and barley pearls add a nutritious twist to chef Joel MacMillan’s orbs of luscious lamb. House-made cornbread is brilliant for sopping up the meatballs’ rich tomato-caraway sauce. $14. Zocalo, 1426 Bloor St. W., 647-342-1567.
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Birdie Num Num
Little Anthony’s ground turkey spheres are blended with marjoram, thyme, parsley and a touch of duck fat, then braised in a tangy pomodoro sauce. The resulting bites are chin-dribblingly juicy. $13.25. LA’s Italian + Bar, 121 Richmond St. W., 416-368-2223.
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Buca’s unabashedly elaborate balls are made with albacore tuna preserved in olive oil, then mixed with onion sofrito and buffalo ricotta. Raisins, shaved almond and aged pecorino top off the mini masterpieces. $14. Buca, 604 King St. W., 416-865-1600.
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Flavour of the Month: Meatballs