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Best fried Calamari?

  • m

Nothing worse than getting a cold mass of bready, oil-laden calamari - who has the best around?

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  1. The wife loves fried calamari, so we order it pretty much everywhere we go, and the one and only place whose fried calamari I crave is Pomodoro. No question, the place has it's problems. Search the board and you'll find many a complaint about the service, never mind the fact that the North End location has no bathrooms. But if I had to pick one, their fried calamari is, in my mind, the gold standard.


    1. Delfinos in Roslindal has great calamari.

      1 Reply
      1. re: bostonron

        I 2nd Delfino's Great calamari also Devlins in Brighton does a nice Light Calamari I think they call it Flash Fried. It comes with a couple different dipping sauces very well done.

      2. Greek Corner, North Cambridge, does a wonderful fried calamari.

        1 Reply
        1. re: smtucker

          I forgot about Greek Corner's calamari! Surprisingly good.


        2. My recent favorite is at Teatro. I've had a hard time finding better! Very light. Two excellent dipping sauces.

          1. i just had some Calimari at Maggiano's.
            They were excellent.

            1. If you like 'em spicy, you've got to try Legal Seafoods' Fried Calamari, Rhode Island style (with hot peppers and garlic). They are my favorite "new american" style of calamari. I also like the Maggiano's more standard fried calamari, and Greek Corner's is also good. Overall, my very favorite fried calamari is Chinese-style salt & pepper squid, especially at East Ocean City in chinatown.

              1. For those out west, I had a nicely fried Calamari at Stones Publick House recently. Fresh squid, clean oil, nicely crisp and not tough. Rings and tentacles. Rings alone is one of my peeves. Tossed with sliced cherry peppers and some curry. Great hand cut fries, too.

                1 Reply
                1. re: trufflehound

                  My current favorite as well, when I can tear myself away from the Chinese "salt and pepper calamari" rendition at Sichuan Gourmet in Framingham or, if time permits, Jumbo Seafood in Chinatown (not Newton). I have had several nice dinners of the calamari and fries at Stones, and my wife enjoys their "fancier" entrees and salads.

                2. The Summer Shack has excellent Rhode Island style fried calamari, not bready, tender with the hot peppers and garlic. I haven't tried any of the other places mentioned, but will. The Kung Pao calamari at Cotton in Manchester, NH is excellent

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: whs

                    I agree, although Summer Shack is somewhat controversial on this board, their Rhode Island calamari is excellent!

                  2. West Street Grille in Newton also has a nice Rhode Island Style. Lots of hot peppers. They're pretty good. The best? I'm not sure, but I like them enough to order them again and again.

                    1. Sonsie and Game On have great fried calamari.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: Joanie

                        I second the Sonsie recommendation. I usually don't like to recommend places on Newbury just because of all the tourists, but their fried calamari is awesome!

                      2. The best fried calamari I've had in the area is at Blue Ginger, a place I find overpriced and overrated. It was far and away the best thing I've had there. Very light breading, perfectly fried, and served with a very piquant fish sauce and lime-juice-based dipping sauce.

                        1. Bistro 5 in West Medford has long had a simple, fried calamari apetizer on the menu. It is fried beautifully -- not a drop of grease on it and comes with some tomato sauce (I hesitate to call it sauce, because it is not at all like a pasta sauce, rather it's more like some crushed tomatoes with some spice in it --- maybe vinegar?. Not sure, but it goes very well with the calamari.)

                          1. I'm a big fan of the salt and pepper version at most Chinese restaurants. I've had great s&p squid at Peach Farm, Jumbo Seafood (newton), and CCC this Sunday (would have been better if they were slightly hotter, but it came from a dim sum cart).

                            Dok Bua does a good version thats not salt and pepper. I swear they bring us the plate withing a minute of ordering. I also had a nice version at Tempo in Waltham recently. Fried with peppers and served with some kind of sweet sauce.

                            1. I'll third the Peach Farm Salt and Pepper Squid rec.; Lucky House has nearly the same prep - also excellent.

                              It doesn't seem to be on their menu online, but I once had a memorably great plate of fried squid at Baraka Cafe in Cambridge. They breaded it with chickpea flour which gave it a really delicious toasty savory crunch. No idea if they still do it, though.

                              1. The Daily Catch - light and perfect with just a little lemon squeezed on top.

                                1. Exchange Street Grill in Malden. They fry super-thin slices of lemon with the calamari, and it's light and crisp.

                                  1. I thought the fried calamari at Eastern Standard was divinely good. The best rendition I, personally, have ever had. It had those wonderful pepper rings, and was served with a nice aoili rather than the standard blah red sauce.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: tamerlanenj

                                      I don't know about divine, but it's definitely a good rendition.

                                      1. re: tamerlanenj

                                        Its not amazing, but its pretty good.

                                      2. Everyone keeps talking about the standard cocktail sauce with calamari but I seldom see/served that. Thankfully. I'm more of a tartar sauce/whatever else they want to serve with it fan. Or nothing at all if it's good. It seems like it's usually a Chili's or something that serves red sauce.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Joanie

                                          I would think Chili's would be more all about the tartar sauce than anything, except maybe canary-yellow honey mustard...

                                        2. I love the fried calamari at New Jumbo Seafood. They include a lot of tentacles with the rings there.

                                          Another place that has outstanding fried calamari (though the other food I've had there is not as good) is the Lobster Tale in the Brant Rock section of Marshfield. Fresh, tender rings and tentacles that come with a good tomato-based dipping sauce.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: hiddenboston

                                            Second on New Jumbo: the pieces are forbiddingly huge (they're not cut into rings) at first glance, but they're tender and delicious, and as you say, plenty of nice chewy tentacles, which are nearly impossible to find in most places.

                                          2. Honestly, the best calamari I have had (and we love it so we try it often) is at Naked Fish. It is VERY tender, has a nice briny flavor and is always, always perfect. It is called Coconut Calamari and does have coconut in the crispy, never greasy coating but unlike other "flavored" coatings this one complements the flavor of the squid instead of overpowering it or providing a disguise for poorly made product. Very tasty! (Goes great with a Lemontini!)

                                            If you haven't been there, they have a neat "Tapas" menu at the bar with a nice assortment of some tasty items.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: Bhc

                                              I had the Coconut Calamari at Naked Fish in Lynnfield last night. It was tender. perfectly fried and not greasy. It had a bit of coconut sprinkled over the top and a wonderful dipping sauce with a little lime wedge in it. It was really delicious!

                                            2. For an original - and wonderful - twist, try the wok-fried calamari at Gari. Served with a balsamic and mango sauce, gently spicy hot. I guess this is what they mean by Japanese Fusion.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: thinktoomuch

                                                I did, and while I liked the sauce very much, the calamari itself was some of the worst I've had in a while - very large (2" - 3") rings with no tentacles, a bit on the greasy side, and not terribly tender. Not rubber, mind you, just not that light, crisp, melt-in-your-mouth goodness that great calamari can be.

                                              2. Probably no surprise that B&G does great fried calamari: very lightly dusted with flour and fried to perfection. Among the lightest calamari you'll ever have.

                                                1. i second the daily catch. perfectly strightforward, the north end location is still the best

                                                  1. When Neptune has it on the menu it is incredible.

                                                    1. I know it sounds weird but Blue Ginger has some AMAZING calamari..its served with a tart lime dip and a sesame soy dip....A must try!!!

                                                      1. I love the calamari at 28 Degrees, with its 3 dipping sauces. $14.00 and well worth it!

                                                        1. Silvertone's always had the best until Pete left. I've got to get over to Potbellys and see if its on Pete's menu there.

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: Win

                                                            Went to Silvertone Saturday night--quick bite at the bar before the great Metheny/Mehldau show at the Opera House. I sat right down at the bar 7:15pm :)

                                                            The fried calamari was some of the best in recent memory--that aioli is so freakin' good!! Also had a hot pepper sauce(not typical) that went great alone or even over the top with the very garlicky aioli--I was very impressed, happy and reeking of garlic :0 :)

                                                            1. re: Trumpetguy

                                                              I remember my calamari there was lots of tiny bits. Tho fried well, I felt like it could have been a fried piece of any number of things. Did they change that?

                                                              1. re: Joanie

                                                                Yes, Joanie you are correct. There were a good amount of tiny bits, but also a few extra large pieces that were succulent--you could really taste and feel the squid :)

                                                                Those little bits were heavily fried, but with that aioli :)

                                                                Yeah I'd eat MC Slim's slipper in that aioli ;)

                                                            2. re: Win

                                                              It is on the menu at Potbellies but I've never had it yet. There are just too many other good things there!

                                                              1. re: Grita

                                                                I have had it at Potbellies and I can honestly say it is some of the best I have had in recent memory. Nice combination of pieces, fried to crispy perfection, though I don't recall what type of sauce it was served with becuase I just drizzled it with lemon.

                                                            3. It'd be a hike from Boston to the closest one (and it's a chain to boot) but the best I've ever had, hands down, is at Bonefish Grill. Very lightly breaded, never rubbery. And it's amazingly consistent from location to location.

                                                              1. Jame's Gate. Of the many places I've tried, Jame's Gate is easily the best. They fry it just long enough to turn the batter a light gold, but the calamari stays very tender. Plus, they add some mildly hot pepper slices for some zip. Their calamari has been consistently good for the past four years.

                                                                When you go (and if you haven't been, you should go) stay in the bar section - great atmosphere and very good pub food. Order the calamari, nachos, a few pints and relax by the fireplace.

                                                                1. The graham cracker crusted calamari at Parlor Restaurant in Upton is totally different and excellant. You must try it.

                                                                  1. The best fried calamari I've had is at MadFish Grille on Rocky Neck in Gloucester. Tender, beautifully fried, served with a nice aioli...

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jimlid

                                                                      Just had some blue cornmeal crusted squid at Magnolias that was pretty special.

                                                                      1. re: phatchris

                                                                        My top three calamari Choices, are Blue Ginger (pricey but worth it), Pomodoro, (it is like a meal in itself,) and dbar

                                                                    2. Lewis' in Norwood has surprisingly good calamari.

                                                                      1. Square Cafe in Hingham has a great calamari. Not only was it extremely tasty - the servings were huge. We ordered as an appetizer to share and had to take home most of the rest of our meal that we already ordered. Here is the menu description.
                                                                        "Crispy Hot and Sour Calamari -Ruby Red Grapefruit, Pink Papaya, Roasted Cashews, Hot and Sour Thai Dressing "

                                                                        1. Carlo's in Allston has the best fried calamari I ever had. It is very lightly floured and fried perfectly. It comes with an aioli and side of a nice marinara,

                                                                          Carlos Cucina Italiana
                                                                          131 Brighton Ave, Allston, MA 02134

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: Bostonguy

                                                                            Peach Farm's spicy salted squid is the best I've had in Boston. It's cooked perfectly, barely any grease and it's light/tasty.

                                                                            I had lunch at the Daily Catch (courthouse location) for the first time today. It was incredibly underwhelming. The fried calamari was the best part of my meal but the red sauce was bland and watery. The waiter brought my fathers side dish when he was nearly finished with his main. I had saved my mother some black pasta and ground squid, The waiter literally snatched the pan and ran off a split second after she removed her fork from the pan (There was plenty left).

                                                                            1. re: dorian

                                                                              If you haven't been to the N. End location, though, reserve judgment. Two different animals.

                                                                              1. re: tatamagouche

                                                                                Yup, I know what you mean. I had that thought at around at the 20 min. mark while waiting for the food, should have tried the one on hanover!

                                                                          2. Temple Bar has a wonderful calamari! very lightly breaded, with a little bit of spice in the breading..and then the sauce is more of a vinegar based than creamy or tomato. Very asian twist, and just wonderfully tasty with that combo of light spice, sweet and salty tang. also, their salmon ceviche is wonderful (been a couple months since i last had it, but it has never let me down)!

                                                                            1. 1. Peach Farm or Chau chau city
                                                                              2. Daily Catch
                                                                              3. Summer Shack
                                                                              4. Legal Seafoods
                                                                              5. Orleans in Davis Square