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fried calamari

  • prima Jun 22, 2013 10:43 PM
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I ordered the fried calamari for dinner at Pantheon tonight. It was ok at best. It was not nearly crispy enough, and probably was fried in oil that wasn't quite hot enough. The calamari rings were thicker and larger than most I've ordered on the Danforth. Another table's order looked crispier than mine did, so I might have just ended up with a dud order.

Next time I'm in the mood for fried calamari, I'm going to head to Joso's and splurge.Joso's version is the best I've found in TO.

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  1. My recommendations for fried calamari:

    1) Crazy Tomato or Magic Wok
    2) Fratelli's Village Pizzaria or Royal Seafood Chinese Restaurant

    29 Replies
    1. re: scarberian

      Had the fried calamari at Fratelli's a few days ago. It was crispy buy completely under seasoned. Sprinkling salt on the outside of the batter wouldn't help.

      Maybe an off night, because the rest of the meal was also a BIG meh. Don't plan on returning.

      1. re: scarberian

        With absolute respect for your opinions, scarberian, I mean you rock, I feel Fratelli excels at grilled calamari. Not as much with fried, though I generally prefer grilled anyway. Why bury the taste when you can pump it up? Crazy Tomato's fried calamari, post your instructional enquiry, has become outstanding. Thanks for the tag team.

        prima, when next at Pantheon, go grilled. That's one well-seasoned grill they have there.

        1. re: Googs

          Agreed - Pantheon excels at grilled calamari!

          1. re: Googs

            Hey Googs, I'm generally a big fan of Pantheon, and had an excellent meal at Pantheon in Sept (recommend their octopus, moussaka, mixed grill), but both their fried and grilled calamari aren't doing it for me lately. The word in the neighbourhood has always been that Pantheon is THE place to go for seafood on the Danforth, but I like their non-seafood dishes better than their seafood lately. My friend's order of grilled last weekend was better than my fried, but I didn't dig the last order of grilled that I ordered at Pantheon. I don't really love their marinade.

            Their calamari rings for the fried calamari have been on the larger, thicker side, cut from larger size calamari, so the rings have a tendency to be more toothsome than the rings cut from a younger/smaller calamari, the last few times I've ordered it.

            I let the server know that my fried calamari was ok, but not as crispy as usual at Pantheon or other better places on the Danforth, and not as good as in the past, and he kindly (not sarcastically, he was being helpful, and the service from our servers was very good) suggested in the future I let the server know if I want it crispy.

            For me, perfectly fried calamari with a squeeze of lemon, pumps up the taste even more than grilling does.

            1. re: prima

              Then get thee to Crazy Tomato.

              1. re: Googs

                Googs, maybe it's time that we have an East of Yonge fried/grilled calamari taste-off, comparing Pantheon, Fratelli's, Diana's, Crazy Tomato, Kritamos and Trinity Taverna? :-)

                1. re: prima

                  LOL. Keep the Albarino flowing! Is scarberian invited?

                  1. re: Googs

                    That sounds awesome. Can I come!!

                    1. re: Googs

                      Of course. The more the merrier. :)

                      1. re: Googs

                        YAY!!! Wait how're we going to do this?

                        1. re: scarberian

                          Re: East of Yonge Calamari Crawl!
                          How about from noon onwards on Sat, Aug 24th? I'll set it up through the old Chowhound Google Group. (Everyone is welcome to join the Chowhound Google Group. If you're not already a member, the link should come up in a search of this Board). I was thinking we could visit in this order: Pantheon, Kritamos,the Crazy Tomato, Trinity,Fratelli's, Diana's. People could drop in for part of the Calamari Crawl, if they didn't want to try all 6 restaurants.
                          I'm also up for tasting the Village Salads and Grilled Octopus at any of the restaurants on the short list, while we're at it.
                          Everyone welcome! Stay tuned.

                          1. re: prima

                            I'm waiting with a worm on my tongue.

                            1. re: Googs

                              Heck, let's add an Ouzo tasting for anyone who's interested....Ouzo being the traditional pairing on many Greek islands....

                              1. re: prima

                                Darn it I think I'm out if town that weekend. Hmmmm scheduling.

                                1. re: LexiFirefly

                                  Too bad you aren't likely to make it, LexiFirefly!

                                  YLSF mentioned some Chowhounds might not be keen on going through the hoops of joining the old Google Group, and some newcomer Chowhounds might not notice the sticky post about the Calamari Crawl at the top of the Board.

                                  If anyone is interested in attending the Calamari Crawl on the afternoon of August 24th (and haven't joined/don't want to join the Google Group), please feel RSVP through calamaricrawl@gmail.com .

                                  Depending on the size of the group, we might focus on the relative newcomers I haven't tried (Kritamos, Crazy Tomato, Trinity Taverna and Diana's) and drop some stops (possibly Pantheon and Fratelli's, which have both been around a long time, so some of us are quite familiar with the state of their fried and grilled calamari. Fratelli's doesn't open until 5 pm on Saturdays, which isn't convenient with a Calamari Crawl starting closer to noon.).

                                  More info about the Calamari Crawl:
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/911673

                                  I won't be updating re: Calamari Crawl via Chowhound after this reply, so please feel free to communicate via calamaricrawl@gmail.com or Google Group ( https://groups.google.com/forum/?hl=e... ) if you have any questions/comments.

                                  1. re: prima

                                    While I see your point about Fratelli, the vast majority of local 'hounds haven't been. That'd make it new to them.

                                    1. re: Googs

                                      Good point.
                                      Those planning to attend can vote in favour of/not in favour of Pantheon and Fratelli's via Google Group/email. We can go with the majority's decision.

                                      1. re: prima

                                        Some Chowhounds had to change plans and only 3 people including myself could make it on Sat, so I'm cancelling the Calamari Crawl.

                                        Could the Mods remove the sticky post? TIA.

                                        1. re: prima

                                          I would have come, were I going to be in town!

                                          It's a great idea. Too bad :(

                                          1. re: magic

                                            No worries, magic! have a great time in the Big Apple!

                                            1. re: prima

                                              No biggie .. we'll do it in the fall when less people are away. :)

                                              1. re: justxpete

                                                Count me in.

                                              2. re: prima

                                                Big Apple is Thanksgiving weekend actually, but thanks prima!

                                                This weekend is Collingwood. :)

                                                1. re: magic

                                                  In that case, have a good time in Collingwood!

                                                  1. re: prima

                                                    Many thank yous. I most certanly will :)

                                            2. re: prima

                                              I'll be carefully navigating The Ex.

                    2. re: Googs

                      Hey Googs,

                      One of the other dishes we had was the "Grilled Seafood". It was mostly mussels (maybe a dozen) steamed I presume, garlic shrimp (maybe 4-6) pan fried in garlic oil, and an entire sliced calamari (swishy and dark maybe from soya sauce ?). Most lame and definitely NOT grilled.

                      Made a special visit to a part of town we rarely get to, and it was most disappointing. As mentioned, may have been an off night, but it was a long drive home lamenting a wasted meal out...

                      1. re: Googs

                        One correction to your post Googs... Fratelli's excels at grilled OCTOPUS. My god it's heaven... on a plate... with tentacles. The grilled calamari is excellent, but the octopus if you can get it trumps the calamari by a wide margin. Both are simply done, but it's that octopus meat.

                        1. re: scarberian

                          On that we're agreed. No correction necessary. prima's looking for squid so I kept it to squid. For the octopus, I'd walk from the zoo to Fratelli's door.

                    3. The ones at Joso's are perfection. I sometimes like to split the order with half shrimp - so good. Perfectly crispy, not a hint of grease, really flavourful. The fritto misto at Bar Centrale is probably the best thing on their menu - a mixture of shrimp and calamari, lightly fried to crisp,
                      salt-flecked goodness - a simple squirt of lemon is all it needs (a glass of white wine and a seat on the patio don't hurt either).

                      1. Libretto serves my favorite fried calamari in the downtown core.
                        Jack Astor in the burbs are surprisingly tasty.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: happycamper

                          Have to agree with happy camper..Libretto's version is consistently outstanding!!

                        2. Terroni is hit or miss on their calamari but when they hit it it can't be beat. So delicious - tender not rubbery, light crispy coating, thick cut rings and nicely salted.

                          1. Joso's calamari distract from the excellent grilled fish, and squid ink pasta, which are also high points. There are some comparable places for grilled fish, but not many for the squid ink.

                            1. Calamari is one of Scaramouche's signature dishes. Right up there with the coconut cream pie. Last time I had them they were nice and tender but maybe a tad over salted.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: millygirl

                                Mine were definitely oversalted

                              2. Another place I like is Olde York Fish and Chips. Surprisingly to me, their calamari is very nice.

                                1. I always liked Gato Nero's fritto misto plate.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: MeMeMe

                                    Haven't been to Gatto in years, time to return. Have good memories of their fritto misto plate.

                                  2. Not sure if it's on their regular menu but I've had the Fritti Misto at Zizi on Hwy 7 and it was well executed. The squid rings and shrimps were of a good size, tender and not rubbery and the breading was toward the light side and not greasy.

                                    1. Strada 241 in Chinatown has a very good fried calamari. It's not from frozen and the pieces are a good size. An order is 10 pcs for $12. They also have a grilled version I have not tried.

                                      1. The fried calamari at Grano, on Yonge, is delish.