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fried calamari

prima Jun 22, 2013 10:43 PM

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. scarberian RE: prima Jun 23, 2013 02:50 AM

    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
      PoppiYYZ RE: scarberian Jun 25, 2013 07:26 AM

      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
        Googs RE: scarberian Jun 25, 2013 08:30 AM

        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
          justsayn RE: Googs Jun 25, 2013 08:38 AM

          Agreed - Pantheon excels at grilled calamari!

          1. re: Googs
            prima RE: Googs Jun 25, 2013 08:42 AM

            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
              Googs RE: prima Jun 25, 2013 09:37 AM

              Then get thee to Crazy Tomato.

              1. re: Googs
                prima RE: Googs Aug 1, 2013 11:01 AM

                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
                  Googs RE: prima Aug 1, 2013 01:39 PM

                  LOL. Keep the Albarino flowing! Is scarberian invited?

                  1. re: Googs
                    LexiFirefly RE: Googs Aug 1, 2013 05:18 PM

                    That sounds awesome. Can I come!!

                    1. re: Googs
                      prima RE: Googs Aug 1, 2013 07:58 PM

                      Of course. The more the merrier. :)

                      1. re: Googs
                        scarberian RE: Googs Aug 2, 2013 06:17 AM

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

                        1. re: scarberian
                          prima RE: scarberian Aug 2, 2013 06:54 AM

                          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
                            Googs RE: prima Aug 2, 2013 08:30 AM

                            I'm waiting with a worm on my tongue.

                            1. re: Googs
                              prima RE: Googs Aug 2, 2013 08:57 AM

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

                              1. re: prima
                                LexiFirefly RE: prima Aug 12, 2013 02:40 PM

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

                                1. re: LexiFirefly
                                  prima RE: LexiFirefly Aug 13, 2013 11:03 AM

                                  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:

                                  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
                                    Googs RE: prima Aug 13, 2013 11:53 AM

                                    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
                                      prima RE: Googs Aug 14, 2013 11:26 AM

                                      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
                                        prima RE: prima Aug 21, 2013 05:31 PM

                                        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
                                          magic RE: prima Aug 21, 2013 08:00 PM

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

                                          It's a great idea. Too bad :(

                                          1. re: magic
                                            prima RE: magic Aug 21, 2013 09:08 PM

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

                                            1. re: prima
                                              justxpete RE: prima Aug 21, 2013 10:08 PM

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

                                              1. re: justxpete
                                                magic RE: justxpete Aug 22, 2013 05:21 PM

                                                Count me in.

                                              2. re: prima
                                                magic RE: prima Aug 22, 2013 05:20 PM

                                                Big Apple is Thanksgiving weekend actually, but thanks prima!

                                                This weekend is Collingwood. :)

                                                1. re: magic
                                                  prima RE: magic Aug 22, 2013 06:22 PM

                                                  In that case, have a good time in Collingwood!

                                                  1. re: prima
                                                    magic RE: prima Aug 22, 2013 06:36 PM

                                                    Many thank yous. I most certanly will :)

                                            2. re: prima
                                              Googs RE: prima Aug 23, 2013 07:16 AM

                                              I'll be carefully navigating The Ex.

                    2. re: Googs
                      PoppiYYZ RE: Googs Jun 25, 2013 10:49 AM

                      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
                        scarberian RE: Googs Jun 25, 2013 11:39 AM

                        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
                          Googs RE: scarberian Jun 25, 2013 11:41 AM

                          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. p
                      peppermint pate RE: prima Jun 23, 2013 03:41 AM

                      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. happycamper RE: prima Jun 23, 2013 06:31 PM

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

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: happycamper
                          robb RE: happycamper Jun 24, 2013 04:02 PM

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

                        2. k
                          kaymbee RE: prima Jun 23, 2013 07:30 PM

                          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. s
                            Snarf RE: prima Jun 24, 2013 03:02 PM

                            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. m
                              millygirl RE: prima Jun 24, 2013 04:15 PM

                              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
                                Dean Tudor RE: millygirl Jun 24, 2013 04:59 PM

                                Mine were definitely oversalted

                              2. m
                                millygirl RE: prima Jun 24, 2013 04:15 PM

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

                                1. m
                                  MeMeMe RE: prima Jun 25, 2013 05:41 AM

                                  I always liked Gato Nero's fritto misto plate.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: MeMeMe
                                    prima RE: MeMeMe Jun 25, 2013 08:44 AM

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

                                  2. n
                                    neighborguy RE: prima Aug 1, 2013 03:17 PM

                                    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. chocabot RE: prima Aug 13, 2013 11:55 AM

                                      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. m
                                        magic RE: prima Aug 13, 2013 06:10 PM

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

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