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Who has the best fried calamari in the Boston area?

My wife and I love fried calamari as an appetizer and get it everywhere we go. Right now I would have to say the best we've had is from The Cheesecake Factory. They have 2 types of dipping sauce that are excellent too. So what are some other places that you think have great fried calamari? Preferably North Shore but if I have to go south of the city for great calamari then I will.

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  1. Giaccomos in the North End makes delicious fried calamari. I think they are quite well known for it. When you leave you will even go home smelling like it so wear something you don't care if it smells like garlic and fried calamari.

    1 Reply
    1. re: macadamianut

      South End Giaccomo's as well (I think they are better than the North End) - very good.

    2. I love the salt & pepper calamari at several places in Chinatown, especially at Peach Farm and New Jumbo.

      Far better than the usual Italian versions, IMO.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Bostonbob3

        Second New Jumbo. Best in the city, with plenty of tentacles.

        1. There are many places in the North End that have very good fried calamari, but my go to place when I gotta have it is Teatro. It's so light, it floats off the plate. Hard to beat.

          1. I really like the calamari app. at Capital Grill. Sit at the bar with a drink and some of those homemade chips, nirvana!

            1. Though I prefer other squid dishes there, the Daily Catch does a nice version. Note that I'm referring only to the North End original (the one that doesn't take cards or reservations and has no bathroom), as I find the Waterfront sequel awful, and haven't been to the Brookline one in many, many years.

              I'm a broken record on it, but the fryer work at Neptune Oyster as well as the freshness of the product and any little side dish served alongside is superior. They do my favorite fried clams in town, for instance.

              I used to love The B-Side's version: they had a gochuchang-based dipping sauce, which I thought was a really good idea. Somebody ought to copy that.


              4 Replies
              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Like Neptune, I find that B&G works wonders with the fryer. Also, although not nearly as delicate, I'm a fan of Rustic Kitchen's version. (Note: avoid everything on the menu at Rustic Kitchen except for the calamari -- and order it with the aioli on the side if you object to their heavy hand with the stuff -- and the pizza.)

                1. re: Blumie

                  For a classic and modestly priced delicious version, try Bella Vista (288 Hanover Street, North End (617-367-4999)). Light and fresh with great marinara.

                  1. re: cscott4313

                    I've had the calamari and red sauce next door to the Bella Vista at the Saraceno and it is very good. I've heard that there is some connection between the two places, and the red sauce seems identical at both places. It is really good, one of my favorites.

                2. re: MC Slim JB

                  I love love love the clams at Neptune. I can't get past them to order the calimari...

                3. Eastern Standard also does a great calamari. Can't beat fried food with pickled peppers as well. Mmm.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Dog Boy

                    I heard that the new menu has a different version of the dish sans peppers. I have not been since the kitchen change, so cannot confirm this personally (their website still has the old menu posted). I love the Rhode Island-style with the hot peppers and wish more places offered it.

                    Although I don't much like the place and think it is too far and far too expensive, Blue Ginger does a great job with fried calamari. They have a lime-y, fish sauce-y dipping sauce that is really tasty and the frying is perfect.

                  2. I like the calamari from McCormick and Schmicks's and if you're intro dipping sauces, they have three. I went to the one in the Park Plaza, never been to the other in the Quincy Market area.

                    1 Reply
                    1. I have a couple of reccomendations. First is the Calamari at Square Cafe in Hingham. Overall this is a very good restaurant but the calamari is fantastic. It's tossed with peanuts, arugala, red grapfruit wedges, and mango and drizzled with a spicy, sweet, and sour type of dressing. It's really good.

                      My other vote is 224 in Dorchester. They mix theirs with Lemon, grape tomatoes, calamata olives and arugala.

                      1. I am probably going to get slayed for this...lol.

                        The best calamari I have had in the Boston area was at the Cheesecake Factory. Shocking but true.

                        5 Replies
                          1. re: Johnresa

                            Thank you for validating my original post. :-)

                            1. re: hhookk

                              I'm just guessing that The Cheesecake Factory's version is rather large. I wouldn't mind checking it out, but applying the elaborate disguise in case I run into one of my friends is too much effort.


                              1. re: MC Slim JB

                                I took my daughter to cheesecake factory tonight (our original plan of rollerblading to someplace good in the south end fell through with the weather!) and tried to convice her to order the calamari just so I could try it. No luck, though!

                                1. re: MC Slim JB

                                  yes it is large and it is light and crispy and not greasy

                            2. Ecco - a new bistro-type place in Eastie - has a very nice fried calamari appetizer - reviewed in this past week's Globe or Phoenix, also.

                              1. I'm partial to the calamari at Silvertone's, served with a nice aioli.

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Pegmeister

                                  I have also found this one to be consistently good - not as consistent, but delicious when they are on is the ginger fried calamari appetizer at Skipjack's (not a huge fan of the place and haven't been in a while, but would order this if I ended up there again, along with their doughy, buttery herby rolls...).

                                  1. re: rlh

                                    I'll third that- Silvertone's calamari is seriously craveworthy!

                                2. I can't vouch for this 100% because it's been a long time since I've been there, but Woody's (gourmet-ish pizza place on Hemenway Street) has (had?) phenomenal fried calamari, served with fried peppers and a chipotle aioli. I used to live upstairs and the fried food/wood-fired pizza smells would tempt my roommates and me down on an alarmingly regular basis...

                                  1. Can't say it is "the best", but Daily Catch does a really nice version. Kind of a corn mealish batter, so not as light as some, but a little crispy and a nice flavor. Personally, I have had Cheesecake Factory's version and found it bland, except for the overly salty sauces they serve with it. I wouldn't even order CF's again.

                                    1. Great Bay does a nice fried calamari appetizer.

                                      1. Check out the fried calamari at Bond in the Langham Hotel in Post Office Square - outstanding!