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Is "calamari steak" available in SF?

I'm going to be in SF next week and would like to find "calamari steak" which does not seem to be available here in the South. Usually I find this dish at Vivolo's restaurant in Pacific Grove, but I won't have time to get to PG this trip. At Vivolo's, it's most popularly served with a lemon caper sauce.

I'll be in the Russian Hill neighborhood but will travel if needed to find the elusive "calamari steak". Thanks in advance for suggestions.

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  1. That's just a piece cut from a large squid. Asian seafood markets will usually have it. If you're staying on Russian Hill, the places on Stockton south of Broadway are probably closest.

    10 Replies
    1. re: Robert Lauriston

      Thank you for this response, Robert. However, I should have been more clear about my inquiry. I'm looking for a restaurant that serves it. I understand that it's just a piece of a large squid, but for reasons that I don't understand, it is not sold anywhere here in the South (either in seafood markets or restaurants).

      1. re: MrsPatmore

        Many old-school SF seafood places serve that. Capp's Corner is a good choice.

        1. re: MrsPatmore

          I think you could find it in Florida if you searched for it on Yelp.

          1. re: Robert Lauriston

            That may be true, but I'm sure she would appreciate a rec to a place that serves a good version. It's somewhat ubiquitous on the Monterey Peninsula, a sub for the now very expensive abalone and many restaurants know how to prepare it. I've had a few inedible versions when I've strayed from the area.

            Here's a very old topic that says its on the menu at Pacific Cafe, Gold Mirror, Tadich, and Sam's. Maybe check those places first. . . I'd expect them to do a good job.

            1. re: Melanie Wong

              Yeah, it's a common menu item at inferior seafood restaurants / tourist traps around here.

              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                All kinds of places serve it, not just inferior ones.

              2. re: Melanie Wong

                My dad really enjoyed the version at Tadich, served in a garlic butter sauce.

                1. re: Melanie Wong

                  Thank you, this is very helpful information.

                  1. re: Melanie Wong

                    I have had, and enjoyed, the calamari steak dore w capers at sams on numerous occassions.

            2. This old post from Cynsa describes the version at Gold Mirror,

              "While you'll rarely read a post on Gold Mirror at 800 Taraval, the calamari steak is an entree sauteed with butter and lemon to a sublime tenderness. The steak is thick and fills a good portion of the plate,$16. This is a seniors' haven and most have been regulars since the 50's - it's an old style Italian restaurant. It reopened in February after a year's closure when a delivery truck plowed through the front door.
              Note: the Italian Cream Cake layers cream, apricot filling, nuts, and cake and I hate sharing it."


              5 Replies
              1. re: Melanie Wong

                Thanks for this reply, Melanie. I've only had it 3 times in my life, always in Pacific Grove, and always "sauteed with butter and lemon to a sublime tenderness."

                Robert, I did not know that it's "a common menu item at inferior seafood restaurants/tourist traps"! Gosh, what a description! Not to worry, we're also going to Zuni, Tartine, Jai Yun, Brenda's, etc.

                1. re: MrsPatmore

                  Calamari steak ($18) is still on the menu at the Gold Mirror.


                  1. re: MrsPatmore

                    I've rarely seen it on menus except at old-school places, and most of those places are stuck in the past in a bad way.

                    I'd have suggested Scoma's, but they don't have it on the menu any more.

                    1. re: Robert Lauriston

                      Calamari steak is a frozen product and easy to keep on hand. No muss, no fuss compared to fresh market squid from Monterey Bay that needs to be cleaned and only has a shelf life of one day.

                      1. re: Melanie Wong

                        And it's one of the few foods that is arguably improved by freezing.

                2. Yes, we love calamari steak also! Sad that it's hard to find these days. So much better than all the tasteless babies that get batter-crusted and then fried to death.

                  Should you ever be in the East Bay, The Fat Lady in Oakland does a very fine version. FL is near Jack London Square.

                  1. Perhaps North Beach Restaurant, although I haven't had it there.


                    I had an excellent calamari steak at Michelangelo's some time back, but menus for seafood change frequently. You may just have to look around.

                    Neither of these are "inferior" restaurants.

                    1. Onthe menuas The Old Clamhouse.Pan-fried. The OCH is not a favorite restaurant for me. Mediocre cooking.