Food & Drink

Squid Pro Quo: 14 Must-Try Calamari Hotspots in NYC

New York City is a bustling metropolis known for its diverse food culture. From street food to fine dining, the city is home to some of the best restaurants in the world.

Seafood lovers, in particular, will find no shortage of options to indulge in their favorite dishes. Among the most popular seafood dishes in New York City is calamari.

Calamari, also known as squid, is a versatile seafood that can be prepared in many ways. It can be fried, grilled, or served in a salad.

The dish is loved for its tender texture and mild flavor, making it a popular choice for both seafood lovers and those new to the cuisine.

Over the years, many restaurants in New York City have perfected the art of preparing calamari, making it a staple on their menus.

From casual eateries to high-end restaurants, there is no shortage of places to enjoy this delicious seafood dish. Whether you prefer your calamari crispy or tender, there is a restaurant in New York City that can satisfy your cravings.

In this blog post, we will explore some of the best places to enjoy calamari in New York City. We will highlight restaurants that have perfected the art of preparing this dish, and give you an insight into what makes their calamari stand out.

We will also provide tips on how to choose the best calamari, as well as some interesting facts about this popular seafood dish.

1. Aqua Boil

Aqua Boil
750 9th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (Google Maps)

Aqua Boil is a seafood restaurant that offers a variety of dishes, including calamari. The food is cooked to perfection, with great seasoning and fry on everything.

The service is prompt and friendly, and the nautically themed cocktails are a great addition to the meal.

The restaurant is a little small and can get crowded, but the quality of the food makes it worth the visit.

If you're in the mood for some delicious calamari and other seafood options, Aqua Boil is definitely worth checking out.

2. Fish Cheeks

Fish Cheeks
55 Bond St, New York, NY 10012 (Google Maps)

Fish Cheeks is a Thai seafood restaurant that offers shareable plates and cocktails.

Their Calamari is a must-try dish that is beautifully fried with a light batter and tossed in a blend of fish sauce and spices.

The taste is a combination of salty, sweet, and savory that is sure to satisfy any seafood lover's cravings.

The ambience is cozy, and the service is friendly, making it a great place to dine with friends or family. If you're looking for authentic Thai food and delicious calamari, Fish Cheeks is the place to be.

3. Rubirosa

235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012 (Google Maps)

Rubirosa is a hip Italian restaurant that serves delicious calamari. Alongside their unique thin and crispy pizzas, the calamari is a standout dish.

The antipasti plate is perfect for sharing and the vodka pizza is a must-try.

The atmosphere is cozy and lively, perfect for a casual date or group outing. However, be prepared for a long wait as the restaurant is often packed.

Despite this, Rubirosa is definitely worth the visit for their tasty calamari and Italian-American classics.

4. Carmine's Italian Restaurant – Times Square

Carmine's Italian Restaurant - Times Square
200 W 44th St, New York, NY 10036 (Google Maps)

Carmine's Italian Restaurant – Times Square is a must-visit place for calamari lovers.

The restaurant serves family-style portions and the calamari salad is a must-try. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and the staff is fun and interactive.

The food is well-prepared and seasoned to perfection. The restaurant is also located just steps away from numerous Broadway theaters.

Prices are reasonable compared to the quality of food and the amount you get. It's a great option for a family-friendly Italian meal.

5. Ocean Prime

Ocean Prime
123 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019 (Google Maps)

Ocean Prime is a high-end restaurant that offers a fine dining experience for those who appreciate the finer things in life.

While they offer a variety of seafood and steak options, their calamari is a standout dish that is not to be missed.

The calamari is cooked to perfection and served with a delicious dipping sauce that complements the dish perfectly.

The atmosphere is sophisticated and elegant, making it a great place for a special occasion or a romantic night out. While the prices are on the higher end, the quality of the food and service make it worth the splurge.

6. Piccola Cucina Estiatorio

Piccola Cucina Estiatorio
75 Thompson St, New York, NY 10012 (Google Maps)

Piccola Cucina Estiatorio is a seafood-based Italian restaurant that serves delicious calamari. The staff is friendly and provides quick service.

The portions are nice and the food is authentic Italian. The restaurant is small, so it's best to make a reservation to avoid waiting.

The atmosphere is lively and fun, making it a great spot for group dinners.

The restaurant also offers a lunch special deal that is worth checking out. Highly recommended for those who love Italian cuisine and seafood.


764 10th Ave, New York, NY 10019 (Google Maps)

SESAMO is a stylish wine bar with a unique Italian-Asian menu. The calamari is a standout dish, crispy and perfectly seasoned.

The knowledgeable staff is happy to recommend wine pairings to complement the flavors.

The cozy ambiance makes it a great spot for a date night or a night out with friends.

SESAMO is a must-visit for anyone looking for a creative and delicious take on Italian cuisine.

8. Marea

240 Central Park S, New York, NY 10019 (Google Maps)

Marea is a high-end Italian seafood restaurant known for its exceptional calamari.

The calamari is perfectly cooked and seasoned, making it a must-try dish.

The restaurant has a chic and modern setting, creating a fine dining experience.

The service is professional and friendly, adding to the overall experience. Marea is a great place for those looking for a high-quality seafood meal.

9. Malaparte

753 Washington St, New York, NY 10014 (Google Maps)

Malaparte is a cozy Italian spot that serves up delicious calamari.

The calamari is grilled and served over a bed of greens with capers, a unique twist on the classic fried calamari. The portions are hearty and balanced, not too rich.

The atmosphere is authentic and relaxed, perfect for a casual night out. The service is friendly and helpful, making the dining experience enjoyable.

Malaparte is definitely worth a visit for anyone looking for tasty calamari in a cozy Italian setting.

10. Trattoria Pesce Pasta

Trattoria Pesce Pasta
262 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10014 (Google Maps)

Trattoria Pesce Pasta is a cozy Italian restaurant that offers an old-world vibe. The seafood and homestyle pasta plates are the highlights of the menu.

The service is attentive, and the staff is friendly. The calamari is a must-try dish, and it's cooked to perfection.

The portions are generous, and the prices are reasonable. The ambiance is perfect for a romantic dinner or a casual night out with friends.

Trattoria Pesce Pasta is a hidden gem that's worth checking out.

11. Carne Mare

Carne Mare
89 South St, New York, NY 10038 (Google Maps)

Carne Mare is a top-notch chophouse restaurant that also serves delicious calamari.

The restaurant offers a beautiful atmosphere with lovely views and attentive service.

The menu includes a variety of seafood and prime-aged beef dishes, along with well-made cocktails.

While prices are typical for NYC, the food and experience are worth the cost. It's a great spot for a special occasion or a fancy night out.

12. Dame

87 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012 (Google Maps)

Dame is a seafood restaurant that specializes in fish and chips. The restaurant also offers calamari, which is cooked to perfection with a light and crispy texture.

The dishes are prepared using fresh and high-quality ingredients.

The restaurant has a cozy and relaxed atmosphere, perfect for a casual night out. The terrace provides a great place to enjoy the food and the classic cocktails.

The prices are a bit high, but the quality of the food is worth it. Dame is a great place to enjoy delicious seafood in a relaxed atmosphere.

13. Arturo's Coal Oven Pizza

Arturo's Coal Oven Pizza
106 W Houston St, New York, NY 10012 (Google Maps)

Looking for some delicious calamari in town that will leave you wanting more, then Arturo's Coal Oven Pizza is the place to be.

This small family-owned Italian restaurant has been a staple in the neighborhood for decades, serving some of the best coal oven pizzas in town. Their calamari is crispy and tender, served with a side of marinara sauce, making it the perfect appetizer to start your meal.

The cozy atmosphere, friendly staff, and live music create a perfect ambiance for a night out. Don't forget to try their authentic Italian dishes and homemade pasta while you're there.

Make sure to book a table in advance, as it can get busy during peak hours. Arturo's Coal Oven Pizza is a must-visit for anyone craving some delicious calamari in town.

14. Oceana

120 W 49th St, New York, NY 10020 (Google Maps)

Oceana is a high-end seafood restaurant that serves excellent calamari. The calamari is made with rice flour, giving it a unique and delicious flavor.

The restaurant has a great ambiance, and the service is attentive and friendly.

While the prices are on the higher side, the food is well worth it. Oceana also has an extensive wine list and a variety of other seafood dishes to choose from.

Whether you're a seafood enthusiast or just looking for a great spot for calamari, Oceana is definitely worth a visit.