The Best Fried Calamari In Every State — Eat This Not That – Eat This, Not That

There’s nothing quite like fried calamari. Traditionally made using rings of squid that are lightly battered and then delicately fried, this tasty seafood dish is often served as a dinner appetizer (although it tastes amazing during any time of the day). If you find yourself craving calamari on the regular then you are not alone. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, the world consumes more than 3 million tons of squid per year. That’s a whole lot of seafood.
Making fried calamari at home can be both messy and time-consuming. Because of this, we put together a list of some of the best fried calamari in every state. From traditional recipes that are served with zesty marinara, to options that incorporate unexpected ingredients (such as artichoke hearts and cornmeal), here are some of the best places to get your fried calamari fix.
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Connors makes a crispy calamari appetizer served with a zesty cocktail sauce that will have you hooked. It is so good that one Yelp reviewer posted that it was “some of the best calamari I’ve had.” Be sure to order this scrumptious appetizer before diving into one of their signature cuts or chicken entrees.
If you are looking for an innovative fried calamari dish that checks off all the boxes, be sure to try out the Crispy Calamari at Simon and Seafort’s in Anchorage. Made using artichoke hearts, mustard-garlic aioli, and a Bloody Mary cocktail sauce, one diner loved it so much that they took to Yelp to praise the dish: “The calamari was phenomenal [as well] with some fried artichoke in the mix. A lovely touch along with the grilled lemon.”
Ocean Prime, the nationally acclaimed restaurant chain that is known for its seafood, steaks, and cocktails, has a calamari option on its menu that people have dubbed, “the best calamari in town.” Their Point Judith calamari, which is served alongside a sweet chili sauce, has been described as “outrageously good” by Yelp reviewers.
Bonefish Grill, which was founded in St. Petersburg, Florida, has been dishing out delicious seafood creations for over 20 years. One of their not-to-miss items is the calamari, which is prepared with peppers and comes with a sweet and spicy Asian sauce that is served on the side. One Yelp reviewer enjoyed the tasty dish so much that they excitedly posted, “I just had the most fresh tasting perfectly cooked calamari I have ever had and I have lived on both coasts and up and down the East Coast. Great job, highly recommended.”
Mitch’s Seafood, which can be found right on San Diego’s waterfront, has a whole menu full of flavorful, freshly prepared seafood. One dish you cannot miss is their calamari appetizer, which is served with marinara sauce and grilled lemon. “The calamari with vodka marinara sauce was also some of the best calamari I’ve had,” one Yelp reviewer enthusiastically posted. Hint: you can also enjoy their calamari in a sandwich or taco.
If you are looking for a restaurant that serves a calamari dish that is both creative and bursting with flavor then Denver’s Jax Fish House is your place. Their Fried Town Dock Calamari, which is made with a mango-chile mojo and a lime aioli, is like nothing you have ever tasted before. “We had the calamari to start—10/10 recommend, they know what they’re doing,” a Yelp reviewer shared, while another happily posted, “Their calamari is delicious, not overly breaded, and their sauce is savory with a bit of spice.”
Capital Grille’s delectable calamari appetizer is enough for you, and a few friends, to dig into. “The Rhode Island Point Judith fried calamari was spectacular with the fried hot peppers. They had the perfect crunchiness. OMG!!” posted one reviewer excitedly, while another confirmed just how big the dish is, “The calamari is an amazing appetizer, although it’s enough for 3 or 4 people.”
Big Fish Grill in Wilmington makes a delicious fried calamari starter that is served with both marinara and a homemade mustard sauce. Big Fish serves such top-notch seafood that it was named one of the Best Seafood Restaurants in Delaware by DelawareToday.
One of Perricone’s dinner starters, the Fried Calamari with Zucchini Straws, comes with tender calamari, lightly fried zucchini pieces, and a side of fresh pomodoro sauce. People love it so much that one Yelper took to the Internet to write, “[It was] THE BEST fried calamari I’ve had in my life—so tender and crispy and perfectly seasoned.”
Opened in 2000, Fritti was started after its owner took a trip to Naples, Italy and became inspired by the region’s dishes. For over two decades, the Atlanta mainstay has been whipping up superb Italian fare, such as Calamari Fritti, which is fried squid served with lemon and marinara sauce. “The fried calamari in light batter and served with marinara dip…WOO-yeah!” one Yelp reviewer happily posted.
Locals love Nico’s Pier 38, the waterfront restaurant that serves Hawaiian and French fusion cuisine, and their magnificent fried calamari. “Fried calamari was very good! It’s really hard to find good fried calamari these days,” one Yelp reviewer posted, “Normally when I order fried calamari, I get big chewy pieces that you have to gnaw on. Nico’s mostly has legs and thinly sliced parts of the body, which I really enjoyed.”
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Visitors cannot get enough of the Calamari Fritti at Barbacoa Grill in Boise. This incredible dish is made with cornmeal and chipotle calamari steaks and is served with jalapeno tartare, Latin marinara, chipotle ranch sauce, and a smoked chile vinaigrette. It’s basically a foodie’s dream come true.
Quartino’s, the popular Italian restaurant located in downtown Chicago, was applauded by its local CBS news station for having some of the best fried calamari in the city. And according to Yelp reviews, it is easy to understand why. “Fried calamari was my absolute favorite dish! Delicious and cooked perfectly,” a Yelp reviewer said, while a second raved, “The highlight was my fried calamari—lightly breaded and so tender. It was amazing.”
Rick’s Cafe Boatyard, the picturesque eatery which can be found right along Eagle Creek Reservoir, is known for its beautiful scenery and lip smackingly good calamari. “The BEST fried Calamari I have ever had!!!!” lauded one Yelp reviewer. Another explained just how much they enjoyed it by posting, “The calamari was the best we’ve ever had! Not rubbery or previously frozen. Tender, large, meaty slices of calamari were covered in a crisp tempura breading.”
If you find yourself in Iowa craving delicious seafood then you better make your way over to Centro. This upscale restaurant, located right in the heart of downtown Des Moines, makes a fried calamari appetizer that will have you seriously consider ordering seconds—that’s how good it is. Made with both lemon aioli and marinara sauce, this easy-to-eat dish can be enjoyed as an appetizer or as a tasty side.
People love The Sweet Spot’s fried calamari, which is served with a unique jalapeno aioli. “We had the fried calamari which is one of the best I have had in town,” one Yelp reviewer shared, “I was seriously impressed.”
Mussel Burger and Bar is the neighborhood eatery that puts an exciting spin on tried and true seafood classics. For instance, in their calamari dish they incorporate black olive aioli, mixed capers, and pickled Italian peppers, and toss the fried squid in a spicy-sweet sofrito sauce. One Yelp reviewer was so satisfied with their order that they took to the review site to write: “We started with the Moules Basquaise mussels and calamari…ADM (Oh My God in Spanglish)!!!! Both are just exquisite!! The calamari had great flavor.”
Even though Mr. Ed’s Oyster Bar specializes in oysters, there is just something about their fried calamari. Prepared crispy and served with a marinara sauce, their fried calamari is a great starter to dig into before indulging in one of their delicious soups, salads, or dinner specials.​​
There’s no place quite like Gilbert’s Chowder House in South Portland. For almost 30 years the iconic Maine establishment has been doling out some of the best seafood dishes in the state. One of their most popular items is their fried calamari, which Yelp reviewers have described as “perfectly fried” and “superb”.
Since 2003, this buzzy restaurant has been making incredible seafood dishes for the Baltimore community. One of patrons’ favorites include their fried calamari—some even say it is the best in town. “Fried Calamari is probably the best in the Baltimore area,” one Yelp reviewer noted, while a second praised the spot for its “HUGEEE” portions and “AMAZING” food.
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Once you try Giacomo’s fried calamari, there is no going back. The family-owned and operated Boston restaurant makes a calamari appetizer so tasty that you will be talking about it for days to come. In one Yelp reviewer’s words: “I compare all calamari to Giacomo’s fried calamari, the BEST EVER!”
For over 50 years, Giovanni’s in Detroit has been carefully constructing exquisite Italian dishes that will transport you back to the old country. One of their most talked about menu items is their Bistecca al Calamari Fritti, which is made with capers, tomatoes & red onions, and a beurre blanc sauce. “It’s not the frozen rings like you get at most places, it’s actual strips of fresh squid prepared every day and fried to perfection,” one Yelp reviewer explained, “Wild that a place as far from the ocean as this one puts in the effort to make real, delicious calamari.” Fun fact: Giovanni’s is a favorite among many celebrities and has served countless Hollywood icons, such as Frank Sinatra and Celine Dion, throughout the years.
Smack Shack, the casual seafood restaurant found in Minneapolis’ Warehouse District, serves a fried calamari that is loved by locals and tourists alike. A Yelp reviewer was so satisfied by this fried platter that they wrote, “This place was amazing! It had the best fried calamari I have ever had.”
Amerigo Italian Restaurant, the Mississippi mainstay that has been around since the 1980s, has a fried calamari dish that is available to order in either a small or full portion. The best part? It’s creamy caper pesto sauce. “Always consistent quality, good service and fair value,” shares one TripAdvisor reviewer, “The calamari is the BEST in Jackson.”
Fresh, creative, and delicious—what more is there to want in a seafood dish? Jax Fish House, the welcoming Kansas City restaurant, makes an unconventional fried calamari appetizer that has people talking. Made using mango-chile mojo and lime aioli, it is unlike anything you have ever tasted before. One Yelp reviewer loves it so much that they wrote, “The fried calamari was some of the best I’ve EVER had.”
No visit to Bozeman’s Blacksmith Italian is complete without an order of their Calamari alla Puttanesca. This fried squid dish, which is made using the restaurant’s own spicy puttanesca sauce, Pecorino Romano, and lemon, is a fan favorite. Visitors love it so much that they have crowned it “the best calamari” around.
The fried potato-crusted calamari at Plank Seafood in Omaha is a little out of box, and people love it for this reason. Served with zucchini chips, smoked tomato basil sauce, and a garlic citrus aioli, this dish takes a traditional recipe and gives it a fun modern upgrade. Pro-Tip: also be sure to order the oysters as they are shipped in daily.
The fried calamari appetizer at Fish King Grill in Las Vegas is a must-try. One Yelp reviewer loves the dish so much that they wrote, “Get the shrimp cocktail and the fried calamari! Love this place!”
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New Hampshire’s farm-to-table restaurant, Campo Enoteca, focuses on Italian specialties, such as house-made pastas, antipasti, and small plates. One of their most talked about dishes is their Point Judith Calamari, which is prepared Rhode Island-style, breaded, and then flash-fried.
Enjoy your fried calamari with a view at Chart House, the fancy New Jersey restaurant that is known for its outstanding steak and seafood plates. “I’ve tried their fried calamari which is hands down one of the best I’ve had, yes it was that good,” one Yelp reviewer shared.
Pappadeaux’s exceptional calamari appetizer, which is made using an unexpected ingredient, artichoke hearts, is a hit among the locals. “We had the calamari appetizer—we rate this as the best calamari we have ever had in New Mexico!” shared one Yelp reviewer, while another proclaimed that the calamari is “to die for.”
Be prepared to indulge in some fried calamari, family-style, if you come to Carmine’s for lunch or dinner. Their calamari, which is lightly dusted and fried in a seasoned flour, is served with a mouthwatering spicy marinara sauce that will have you coming back for seconds. Yelp reviewers have described this delectable dish as “the best”, “perfection”, and “yummy!”
We love that Winston’s fried calamari appetizer comes with not one, not two, but three different dipping sauces, including cucumber dill, marinara, and a sweet and spicy Thai sauce. This memorable dish is so good that it has been described by TripAdvisor reviewers as “succulent.”
Diners cannot get enough of the Salt and Pepper Calamari appetizer at Basil’s in Williston. Made using lightly battered and fried squid that is mixed with salt, pepper, and green onions, this dish has been described by TripAdvisor reviewers as “the best”.
Found in Ohio’s historic German Village is Barcelona, the busy Columbus restaurant that serves dishes inspired by the flavors of Spain. One must-have tapas dish of theirs is the Calamares Fritos, which is fried calamari served with mojo picon, which is a garlicky red chile sauce. Yelp reviewers are such fans of the dish that they have described it as “amazing”.
Crabtown, the unique Cajun-inspired restaurant that is housed in a renovated warehouse, has a spicy fried calamari appetizer that you cannot miss. Hand-breaded and served with a red gravy, this fried seafood dish is out of this world.
Grassa’s Fritto Misto, which comes with fried calamari, lemon, fennel, Calabrian chile, and caper mayo, is a menu highlight. “Calamari with fried fennel and lemon—bomb! Yum! Come here now!” one Yelp reviewer excitedly posted.
Don’t let its name fool you—Philadelphia’s Oyster House also has some amazing fried calamari. Their calamari, which is found under the “Small Plates” section of their menu, comes complete with blistered shishito peppers and a spicy aioli. Pro-Tip: some Yelpers recommend making a reservation beforehand as this restaurant can become very busy.
Hot cherry peppers and a garlic butter sauce take the fried calamari appetizer at Andino’s to new flavor levels. “What do they call Rhode Island style calamari at Andino’s? Calamari, and it is amazing,” one Yelp reviewer mused.
Amen Street’s inventive calamari appetizer, titled “Crispy Calamari Steak Slices”, may ruin all other calamari dishes for you—that’s how good it is. Made with thick slices of squid and served with lemon aioli, tomato, green onion, and smokehouse cherrywood bacon, this appetizer might just become your go-to. Yelp reviewers love it so much that they’ve posted, “The calamari was, hands down, the best I have ever had!” and “This place has ruined calamari from any other place in the future.”
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Johnny Carino’s hand-breaded calamari, cut thin and plated with a spicy marinara sauce, is available in three sizes: small plate, regular, and family. “If you like calamari and in the area you must give it a try,” advised one Yelp reviewer. Pro-Tip: order one of the restaurant’s delicious handcrafted pizzas or 15-minute wings for your main course to get the whole experience.
With Darfons’ fried calamari you can get a bit of Little Italy in Nashville. Lightly fried and served with marinara sauce, the calamari is some of the best in the state. One Yelp reviewer loves it so much that they said it is “just as good as you’d get in Little Italy, NY.”
Fantastic flavor is the name of the game at Terilli’s in Dallas. Their Calamari Fritti, which comes with a family red sauce, is a must-have. According to one Yelp reviewer, they have “never had a bad bite of calamari at Terilli’s.” Pro-Tip: be sure to also give their famous “Italcho” appetizer—crispy handmade pizza chips topped with sauce and an assortment of meats or seafood, cheeses, and vegetables—a try.
Eva, the sophisticated Salt Lake City mainstay, makes a calamari dish that will blow your mind. Prepared with seasonal vegetables, pepperoncini aioli, and a medley of herbs, this fabulous dinner starter is a steal at just $11. “It was so good we ended up coming back two hours later for dinner even though we had plans to dine somewhere else,” confessed one Yelp reviewer.
If you are in Vermont, head over to Trattoria Delia in downtown Burlington for some amazing fried calamari. It features fried Atlantic squid, a homemade tomato and basil sauce, and zesty lemon. Enjoy it right at the restaurant to order it to-go.
Since the 1980s, Stella’s in Richmond has been crafting perfectly made Greek and Mediterranean dishes inspired by decades-old recipes. One of their most talked about appetizers is their fried calamari. Pro-Tip: according to Yelpers, the calamari can be prepared either fried or sauteed.
Seattle’s Crawfish House is known for their seafood boils, soft shell crab, and, you guessed it, delicious fried calamari. And at only $7 per order, it’s quite the deal. One person on Yelp loves it so much that they wrote, “Their fried calamari…oh baby…wasn’t expecting it but it was so good, too! Came out hot, the crust was flaky good, and the sauces that came with it were BOMB. I would recommend to try it. IT’S A MUST!”
For over 50 years, Oliverio’s in West Virginia has been serving the Morgantown and Bridgeport communities delicious, homemade Italian recipes that go back generations. A customer favorite includes their fried calamari, which comes with your choice of original or sweet and spicy chili sauce.
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Where else in Wisconsin to enjoy some of the best seafood around than St. Paul Fish Company in Milwaukee? Their menu offers two different calamari options that are both equally delicious— fried calamari and calamari steak.
The Kitchen, the popular Jackson restaurant that crafts innovative comfort food made with an Asian twist, has a calamari dish that blows all the other calamari dishes out of the water. Try it out as an appetizer before digging into their pork ribs okonomiyaki or pan-seared trout.
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