Calamari Heaven in Washington DC

dc calamari
Your calamari favorite?

Who makes the best calamari in Washington DC?

This is the question my Betrothed Butterbean and I debate whenever we see calamari on the appetizer menu of a DC restaurant. In fact, it’s become somewhat of a quest for us.

Now we’ve tried calamari from the Boulevard Woodgrill to Lauriol Plaza, but without much success. It seems that cooks in DC don’t know what makes good calamari.

We both look for soft, tender, melt-in-your mouth rings of squid covered in a light bread crust, hopefully with a touch of spice. The accompanying sauce should be tomato-based and accentuate the calamari, but past that, I like to be surprised.

And surprisingly enough, I say that the best calamari in DC is at…

dc calamari
Tasty Fox and Hounds calamari!

Fox and Hounds and its sister, Trios Restaurant. They have the crispiest bread crust yet softest and freshest fried squid calamari of any restaurant or bar in DC.

Others do come close, especially with grilled calamari, but none really organize and please the gastronomic experience quite like Fox and Hounds fried calamari on a good day.

The calamari is so smooth, and tasty I can’t help but order it every time I go, and dive in face first to the big plate of marine cephalopods cooked just for me.

Since the Fox & Hounds sauce isn’t much, I always order a side of Russell’s tangy, garlic salsa instead. Together, it’s almost heaven for me.

But is it heaven for you? Or is your calamari heaven somewhere else? And if so, where & why?

7 Comments so far

  1. Jenn L (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 1:02 pm

    Hurrah for cephalopods!! I used to rustle up squid sauteed with garlic, so delectable…

    For grilled calamari, there are really good versions at Jaleo and Bar Pilar, and Sushi Taro does a tasty yakitori squid.

    As for fried, Meiwah has yummy “salty squid” that’s pretty addicting.

  2. Wayan (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 2:01 pm

    You home-cook calamari too? Funny, I seem always to be the only non-asian buying raw squid at either the Fish Market or, if I’m out there, the Annandale Asian markets.

    I love them flash-fried in virgin olive oil with fresh crushed garlic and lemon – no sauce needed even!

    And you’re right about the grilled calamari spots though the Butterbean rates the restaurant int he new Tivoli Theater (forgot the name) as the best grilled calamari.

  3. Carl Weaver (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 2:36 pm

    Last time I had calamari was in Wayne, PA with my father and his wife. It was excessively chewy and tasted too much like squid. Yuck.

  4. Jenn L (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 3:37 pm

    Carl, if it’s chewy, it’s overcooked. There is nothing chewy or rubbery about the calamari at the places we’ve mentioned so please give it a try again!

    Wayan, it that place in the Tivoli called Mayorga or something like that? I’ve been meaning to try it…

  5. Dianne R (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 3:43 pm

    I second Jaleo, which also does good squid in other ways. Singapore Bistro has good friend calamari, and its on the happy hour menu for cheap. And Circle Bistro as well.

  6. Wayan (unregistered) on September 13th, 2007 @ 4:34 pm

    Yep, its called Mayorga, and it had very tasty grilled calamari – each squid was served whole, with just the mantle sliced.

  7. Daniel (unregistered) on September 14th, 2007 @ 12:37 pm

    Cafe Asia has a pretty good version. Though they use a hot sauce instead of a tomatoe sauce.

    For the traditional I would suggest Pines of Florence in Arlington.

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