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best calamari in town

George Feb 27, 2006 12:29 PM


I've been to a lot of Greek places in MTL and they just don't always cook it right.

I'm looking for the best calamari in town, whether it's in a hole in the wall type of place or some 5 star restaurant.


  1. a
    Alex_H Feb 27, 2006 01:47 PM

    According to the reviews on Marven's (880, avenue Ball) seems like the Calamari are a big hit. See link. Anyone else tried them here? I am also looking to have some of the best calamari in town!

    Link: http://www.restomontreal.ca/restauran...

    8 Replies
    1. re: Alex_H
      RAMGOD Feb 27, 2006 06:59 PM

      Ny favorite is Holder's (on McGill in Old Montreal) first course. A heaping plate full of lightly battered deep fried tentacles with a mayonaise-based sauce. If you have not been to Holder's, it's worth the trip,just for the squid!

      1. re: RAMGOD
        afoodyear Aug 23, 2009 01:30 PM

        I really like Holder's presentation of the squid, but wasn't overly thrilled with the flavor or texture. Different strokes :)

      2. re: Alex_H
        George Feb 28, 2006 07:39 AM

        Funny enough, I had never heard of Marvens! Yeah seems like it's worth a try.

        1. re: Alex_H
          Plateaumaman Mar 1, 2006 08:15 AM

          Friends of mine went to Marven's and yes, they agreed it is the best calamari in town.

          1. re: Alex_H
            BernalKC Aug 22, 2009 08:40 PM

            So Friday night my son was in need of fried calamari. Some google searching dug up this recommendation for Marven's, so we gave it a try.

            Our serving was just one plate. One roll of the dice. But it was not good. Puddle of grease on the plate. Batter falling off in our hands. Mostly rings and the tentacle pieces were oddly trimmed of any long tentacles. And the flavor was meh. My son was crestfallen. To be fair, we looked at other tables and their calamari did not seem to be swimming in grease like ours were. We may have just had rotten luck.

            Next night we ended up at Terrace Lafayette Pizzeria and the calamari was way better. I'm a tourist so I can't comment about 'best in Montreal', but there is no doubt that everything we had there was a lot better - the calamari, the salads, the fish... and a terrace too. The calamari flavor was just right. No excess greasiness. Nice and light and crisp. Highly recommended.

            1. re: BernalKC
              hungryann Aug 22, 2009 08:47 PM

              I think Marven's has lost its touch; when I was there about a month ago, the calamari was very oily, not a puddle like you mention, but nothing resembling its glorious past. It was soft but very one-dimensional in flavour and the batter was indeed limp.

              1. re: hungryann
                BLM Aug 24, 2009 09:03 AM

                What's dishes were good at Marven's during their heyday?

                1. re: BLM
                  hungryann Aug 24, 2009 06:43 PM

                  Besides the calamari, I used to enjoy the souvlaki pita but I haven't had those in at least 2 years and I remember thinking the last time that there are better options such as Nostos, Marathon and Village Grec. Although I have no personal experience, I think their rib steak with mushroom sauce is also very popular. I saw lots of people ordering that.

          2. s
            Sam Feb 28, 2006 08:20 AM

            Totally unpretentious, hot out of the oil at La Sala Rossa on St. Laurent.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Sam
              Zoeg Aug 25, 2009 07:30 PM

              I love the calmamari at Sala Rossa. Too tentacaly for my 10 year old, but perfect for me.

            2. b
              BLM Aug 22, 2009 09:53 PM

              For me, I'm also specifically looking for the best grilled calamari in town(can't remember the last time trying grilled calamari). Any suggestions for great ones in Montreal?

              5 Replies
              1. re: BLM
                davyboy Aug 23, 2009 03:02 PM

                I had great grilled calamari at Adega, a terrific little Portuguese restaurant, on Beaubien near 9th. Avenue in Rosemont.. I haven't been in a while, but I think it's still open. BTW, the chef is wonderful with fish (usually had 2 or 3 choices each time I went), and the grilled chicken and french fries were outstanding.

                1. re: davyboy
                  BLM Aug 23, 2009 04:09 PM

                  Thanks for your suggestion.

                  1. re: BLM
                    afoodyear Aug 23, 2009 06:29 PM

                    Jano's also does grilled squid - actually, I haven't seen a non-Portuguese grilled squid out there to my recollection. Hmm...

                    1. re: BLM
                      davyboy Aug 23, 2009 07:37 PM

                      Just by coincidence, I had dinner tonight at Elounda (Marcel Laurin & Cote Vertu) with my brother & sister-in-law. He loves grilled calamari and ordered it for his main. I tasted them and they were sensational - perfectly grilled, nice and tender. My brother judged them as the best he's ever had. Humongous potion for $20.

                      1. re: davyboy
                        Zoeg Aug 25, 2009 07:31 PM

                        Not grilled, but Lemeac pan seared or sauteed calamari appetizer is to die for. Awesome. With thinly sliced zucchini...

                2. c
                  CocoBean Aug 23, 2009 01:46 AM

                  I have to say I think the fried calamari at Kaizen is sublime. Not being a fan of hyper expensive sushi joints, I really appreciate their light, non-greasy, crispy calamari.

                  They also have a delightful grilled calamari in a super flavourful basil sauce.

                  well worth a try!

                  1. RhondaB Aug 24, 2009 04:02 AM

                    I think CH censored me... I posted earlier that after eating an order of greasy lacklustre calamari, my sister & I walked out of Marven's a few weeks ago because a waiter called us f8cking beyotches after we expressed our frustration for waiting 45 minutes for a soulvaki pita platter while watching the table of 8 who arrived 30 minutes after us get their mains. Their calamari has gone downhill, just like the restaurant itself.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: RhondaB
                      Zoeg Aug 25, 2009 07:32 PM

                      Wow. With treatment like that I wouldn't go there even if the calamari was the best!

                    2. w
                      westaust Aug 25, 2009 07:14 AM

                      One place that have some great fried calamari, although different is The Keg

                      Lightly fried in tempura batter and then tossed with a spicy glaze, really good

                      1. d
                        Dusty08 Aug 25, 2009 07:31 AM

                        I LOVE the Calamari at Steak & Frites on St.-Paul in old Montreal. Not the place you would expect to have such good calamari, but it definitely is my favorite. Has anyone else eaten the calamari there?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Dusty08
                          lagatta Aug 25, 2009 10:05 AM

                          No, I didn't know they had calamari - thought they basically had steak and a scant few alternatives for non-red-meat eaters. Is it only at that branch, or all the chain? (Laurier on Outremont is the closest to me).

                        2. geminigirl Aug 25, 2009 04:33 PM

                          Here what was recomended to me:
                          1. Stop at Aqua-Mare, the fish store with a fryer stall. Get a half calamari/half smelt (eperlans) to share. I like the spicy mayo better than the tartare. Eat them on the stands or small tables next to the store.

                          from this thread

                          and after my visit
                          Jean Talon: Wow, I love markets and I am so glad you all sent me there! Got off the metro and started with Calamari with spicy mayo – I think it was the recommended Aqua-Mare, the fish store with a fryer stall. Probably the best calamari we’ve all had!!.

                          1. z
                            Zoeg Aug 25, 2009 07:35 PM

                            I really wish we knew what Carswell thinks about Calamari in Montreal.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Zoeg
                              carswell Aug 26, 2009 07:19 PM

                              Thanks for the vote of confidence, Zoeg, but I'm not a calamari expert, nor do I play one on TV. You're better off listening to hungryann, cocoabean et al.

                              Nearly all the fried squid I've had recently has been at dim sum. The most refined version was probably at the late Le Président. Zao's version was greasier than I like but the batter was more savoury than most and, while chewy, the cephalopod actually tasted like it came from the sea.

                              Other places where I've had enjoyable fried squid (though not recently) include Tapeo, Lucca, Philinos and, probably best of all, Milos. The fried squid at Parthenon was too heavily battered and oily (something I'd also say about Terrasse Lafayette and Su), but their grilled stuffed squid was enjoyable. Yuukai, the BYO sushi bar on Parc, also grills squid (and pairs it nicely with a wasabi sauce), which goes to show that the Portuguese don't have a monopoly on the practice.

                            2. m
                              Mr F Aug 26, 2009 08:10 AM

                              I haven't had either of these in a while, sadly, so take with a grain of salt: Philinos and Club Espagnol used to and hopefully still do serve excellent fried calamari.

                              6 Replies
                              1. re: Mr F
                                moh Aug 26, 2009 08:26 AM

                                Philinos still has excellent calamari. Sorry you haven't had a chance to go recently...

                                1. re: moh
                                  BernalKC Aug 26, 2009 11:41 AM

                                  Argh. I picked badly. My calamari search came up with Marven's, Philinos, or Holder. Holder was nixed for worries about price and noise level. Philonos calamari sounded like it might be too fancy, more than simple fried calamari. So we picked Marven's. Oops. Wrong choice. On multiple levels...

                                  1. re: BernalKC
                                    rakeypakey Aug 26, 2010 06:31 AM

                                    My Greek husband swears by Marvins... I think it's a sentimental reason - cause I definitely don't love it. We do order it well done always, which I guess makes the batter a little crispier and maybe not so falling apart. A surprising rec would be Wienstein and Gavinos.. now I haven't had it in over a year but we were both surprisingly pleased with it. Very crispy, HUGE plate - we got it as an app to share and didn't finish our mains. I am not a huge tentacle fan though - so it prob didn't have too many tentacles!!!

                                    1. re: rakeypakey
                                      kpzoo Aug 26, 2010 06:33 AM

                                      Just to help with searches - do you mean Marven's on Ball Ave. in Park Ex?


                                      1. re: kpzoo
                                        BernalKC Sep 1, 2010 12:59 AM

                                        Yup, that's the one.

                                      2. re: rakeypakey
                                        lagatta Aug 26, 2010 08:51 AM

                                        More tentacles for me!

                                2. m
                                  mtlfoodguy Aug 31, 2010 09:01 PM

                                  orexi on bernard street has pretty amazing calamari, and so is the octopus, if you ever happen to stop by.

                                  5 Replies
                                  1. re: mtlfoodguy
                                    kpaxonite Aug 31, 2010 09:05 PM

                                    best octopus Ive ever had was at dna and it was grilled...hasnt been on the menu in months though....next time I go Ill ask if it will make a return anytime soon

                                    1. re: mtlfoodguy
                                      wilmagrace Aug 31, 2010 09:07 PM

                                      one of the worse food reviews was on orexi about a week ago, he panned about everything but it is only in french-it seems you have to put up a good fight with the waiter to get
                                      the calmars as they insist you order the more expensive octopus! In fact from the critics impression you had to fight for anything you chose on the menu.....he comments in title:
                                      Je viens de vivre l’une des plus improbables expériences dans un restaurant de ma vie! C’était tellement gros que j’ai cru être victime d’une émission humoristique avec caméra cachée!!!

                                      there is something about attitude in staff that can totally wreck an evening out in montreal --sometimes you wonder if they really want our business, would it hurt to smile, welcome you, facilitate your choices!

                                      1. re: wilmagrace
                                        mtlfoodguy Aug 31, 2010 09:16 PM

                                        i went in july...i enjoyed the food, and the staff was very nice. gave us desert on the house as well as drinks. and the food was of the best quality and perfectly cooked...maybe they had an off day...

                                        1. re: wilmagrace
                                          Shattered Sep 1, 2010 08:10 AM

                                          That Canoe review - my jaw is on the floor.

                                          1. re: wilmagrace
                                            hungryann Sep 1, 2010 10:05 AM

                                            Sounds like he fell upon the same douchebag waiter we had over a year ago.

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