You’ve got to be squidding me
Squid can be a divisive ingredient. Many are intimidated by the creature’s tentacles and sometimes rubbery texture but for those who love it, there’s no better way to enjoy it than freshly-fried, golden brown calamari. It’s usually served as an appetizer, garnished with lemon and parsley and served with some sort of dipping sauce.
Fun Fact: Calamari is the Italian word for "squid" (singular: calamaro)
Most people don’t realize that calamari doesn’t always have to be battered and fried. It can be grilled or sautéed with olive oil and garlic the way the Spaniards typically prepare their chipirones. But because we live by the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, fry, fry again,” we’ve curated a list of only the best deep-fried calamari dishes in Metro Manila.
Prima Facie – Tomas Morato
Prima Facie is a speakeasy hidden inside Vitto’s Wine Bar & Restaurant in Tomas Morato. They mainly serve bar chow to go with their hefty drinks list. Try their calamari which is fried to golden perfection and served with three kinds of dipping sauce.
Gringo – various branches
Gringo is a local concept from the Tokyo Bubble Tea group. It specializes in Latin American and Tex-Mex specialties including chicken, ribs, burritos and more. Their garlic calamari is a must-try! Best paired with a bucket of ice cold beer and a fresh squeeze of lemon.
Gumbo – SM Mall of Asia
Inspired by the vibrant melting pot of New Orleans, Gumbo gives us a taste of Cajun-Creole style cuisine. This restaurant has a reputation for large servings, which are great for get-togethers. Try their Calamari Fritti – large rings of squid which are battered and deep fried
Picada Tapeo – BF Homes
Picada Tapeo Restaurante is a Catalan-inspired restaurant serving up Spanish fares such as tapas and paella. Order the Torre de Calamares Fritos to snack on while you sip on sangria!
The Belle & Dragon – Legazpi Village
The Belle & Dragon is a gastropub that highlights Western & Asian cuisine, with dishes like curry calamari and masala mac and cheese. They also offer a special selection of imported and local craft beers.
Fish & Co. – SM Mall of Asia
Fish & Co. is all about fish and seafood, a long seafood staple for many, you can enjoy fresh & scrumptious dishes with their wide menu of seafood classics such as Peri-Peri Prawns, Calamari, and Fish & Chips.
T.G.I. Friday’s – various branches
The Bistro Group introduced TGI Fridays in 1994, the first American casual dining restaurant in the Philippines. Serving up American classics that appeal to the Filipino palate with an assortment of appetizers, steaks, salads and pasta, chicken, seafood, burgers and sandwiches, desserts, wine, cocktails, and beer.
Cafe Sanso – Little Baguio
Cafe Sanso is a small cafe serving Spanish specialties such as chorizo platters, paella, callos and churros. It serves as an ode to Juvenal Sanso, the internationally acclaimed artist, master painter and printmaker. Check out the Sanso Museum next door!
Tittos Latin BBQ & Brew – Kapitolyo
Tittos is a modern diner serving the best of Latin American and Filipino fusion dishes. From their grill, must-tries are the Pollo Asado, Pork Chuletas, and 18-hour Gaucho Steak. Try their Dos Tipos Calamares – a combination of crispy black calamares and grilled calamares with garlic mojo. Read our full feature here.
Bonus squid dish!
Manam Café – various branches
Home of the best Sisig in Manila and a homegrown concept by The Moment Group, Manam specializes in serving up comfort Filipino food in classics and twists in small, medium and large portions perfect for any occasion. Try their Crunchy Salt & Pepper Squid or Inihaw na Pusit!
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