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Fried Calamari

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A search of the boards on this (surprisingly) turned up almost nothing, so...where can one find the best fried calamari? Preferably in Manhattan or Queens. My personal liking is the more lightly-fried/battered variety, and I don't just use it as a vehicle for hot sauce. Any tips are greatly appreciated.

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  1. The very best is Little Charlie's on Kenmare Street (off the bowery) in Little Italy. Beware of the HOT sauce. Medium is best. They also have an incredible linguine with white clam sauce.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Mike

      My favorite fried calamari is at Dragonfly on South 7th Avenue. They come with a to die for dipping sauce!

      1. re: Mike

        I'm miffed! I was there last month and didn't see calamari on the menu. I was really primed for it too. Anyway, they have execellent calamari at Pia Maria on the west side in the 50s.

      2. Queens:

        La Flor - Roosevelt Avenue Woodside- cornmeal crusted calamari with chipotle mayo dip

        The Kebab (cafe, place I forget) Northern Blvd in Little Neck - Turkish Food - very good calamari with garlic yogurt sauce.

        Bigelow's Clam Shack - Long Beach Road and Sunrise Highway - Rockville Center Long Island - great fried seafood

        1. r
          rebeccahodgson

          Of course, I dont remember the name, but there is excellent fried calamari at the JApanese Restaurant on the southeast corner of second avenue and 11th/12th (??) street - directly across from the movie theater. they also have decent sushi but my husband and I go there for calamari whenever we see a a movie playing across the street.

          It is delicious in both texture and freshness. It is light as air breaded - so light that you feel like you could pick up the whole lot they serve you and blow it away like a dandelion puff.

          the bite is appropriately chewy but on the tender side, and it is always extremely fresh. really - it is fabulous calamari. and the sauce is very nice also -obviously not a red sauce as it is a Japanese restaurant.

          be careful, there are many japanese restaurants in that area, so you could easily go to the wrong place.

          this is directly across the street from the theater. I am not sure if its 11th or 12th street but I am sure it is across from the theatre and that that across is the southeast corner of the street.

          1 Reply
          1. re: rebeccahodgson

            The name of the restaurant you're referring to is Shima. It's at 188 2nd Ave, at 12th St. Kanoyama, which is at 175 2nd Ave, at 11th St. is an amazing sushi spot, my favorite in NYC...actually my fave outside of Japan. Shima is decent sushi, better cooked food. Kanoyama is sublime sashimi and good cooked food (but loses to Nobu in that dept.).

            Good lord, the edit feature on here blows.

          2. I'll 2nd Maria Pia (51st b/t 8th and 9th, north side of street), it is very good.

            However, the best calamari I've had was at Woo Lae Oak, a very nice/somewhat hip Korean restaurant @ 148 Mercer Street, just south of Houston. Very light, very tasty. I believe that it is calamari tempura.

            1. Val Diano on Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint. Consistently light and tender.

              1. I have been truely given a gift from my neighbor that involves the breading. I'll NEVER use any other (used to use Contadina Seasoned bread crumbs). Since I was old enough to reach the stove, my Dad would bring home 5 lbs. of raw shrimp. He would be so proud to treat his family of six (in the 50's) with such an extravenous (sp) purchase. Then...about one a year, he would bring home lobster tails, always much more than a family of six should be eating. I digress!

                Anyway...go to the asian section of your market and buy Panko. You first dip in flour, shaking off all excess, then dip in egg and milk and then the magic begins, coat in Panko. I've read this stuff is made so as to keep oil absorption to a minimum. I use canola oil. In the summer, I do squash from our garden, onions, sweet potatoes. The end product is not like tempura batter but resembles tempura in that everything is crispy. I also pound skinless chicken breasts and boneless pork chops. The chicken and port must be pounded between two pieces of plastic wrap. Only four breast or chops turn into 8 after pounding. Hope you enjoy. The breading is white in color. I like to get the breading done and let everything sit in the frig to "set". Patty

                1. New member, and trying to revive this discussion.

                  Has anyone ever had the calamari at J.J. Garden- it's at 75th Street and 31st Ave in Queens?

                  I never had anything like it. The breading is just oh so light. Does anyone else know what I'm talking about, or better yet know how to make it?

                  1. Sharon, I live near J. J. Garden and plan to order the Calamari. I have the menu. Is it the Fried Fresh Calamari in the Appetizers section or one of the 6 Calamari dishes in the Fresh Calamari Section. Thanks.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Mike V

                      Mike,
                      I usually just say Fried Calamari, and they know what I'm talking about. I think it's the one from the appetizer section- the calamari with a little salt, and lettuce at the bottom. It's overpriced for the amount they give you, but sometimes I just crave it. Let me know how you like the calamari.
                      Also, is there any other J.J. Garden items that's worth ordering?

                    2. Years ago It was Vincent's for fried calamari,scungilli,schrimp etc,later on Lenny's Clam Bar was added have they both slipped away in regard to quality? How 'bout Randazzo's Sheepshead Bay????

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: scunge

                        love randazzo's. have actually been thinking about getting there over the weekend for some of their fried calamari with that outstanding sauce.

                      2. Frost St Rest in Willamsburg Brooklyn.

                        1. Chimu, Peruvian spot in williamsburg, next to union pool great calamari and unique spicy sauce.

                          1. The best Calamari dish I've had in years is at Emilios, in Commack on Long Island. They also have a place on Broadway in Hicksville.

                            The dish is called Calamari Arrabiata. They have a section on the menu just for Calamari. Not to spicy but there are cherry peppers, the coating is perfect, not that heavy breading so many other have. There is also another fried calamari dish made with broccoli rabe that is also good.

                            1. These days every culture seems to serve Fried Calamari. For the best Italian Style variety though, Frost restaurant as Fal suggested is the best. They DO NOT USDE BREADING!!!!!!! All they do is lightly dredge in four and fry in fresh oil. And they don't cook the **** out of it. Just flash fried til barely golden. They also still serve that Classic Italian seafood Hot tomato based sauce (For dipping or spread over top if you are so inclined)Their sauce is hardly made any longer. Very tangy due to the large amount of tomato paste used and its supposed to be that way for seafood.They also serve it over a couple of moistened frezelle (savory and dried black pepper biscotti) This too is no where else to be found.

                              1. I'm in Brooklyn. I like Rocco's Calamari at Ft. Hamilton and 65th St very much