September 13, 2023
If you’ve ever explored the Mediterranean regions, you’ve likely come across variations of fried calamari. This delectable side dish or appetizer involves coating squid in a batter and frying it to a crispy golden hue. After finding its way to the US in the late 1970’s, fried calamari quickly became a staple appetizer found in many restaurants across the country. Whether you prefer it spicy, sweet, battered, grilled, or served with a unique twist, these seven restaurants on Amelia Island offer a special take on their calamari appetizer. Be sure to give them a try the next time you’re visiting and savor the flavors of the sea.
THE BOAT HOUSE
Located in downtown Fernandina Beach, The Boat House is a popular dining establishment that boasts a diverse and flavorful menu. The fried calamari is a true treat for the taste buds served with sweet chili, awesome sauce, and fried jalapenos! It’s a flavor explosion that will leave you craving more. Sit inside or outside. Nightly entertainment.
THE DOWN UNDER
The DOWN UNDER is an iconic southern seafood restaurant located down under the Shave Bridge. With mouthwatering entrees and epic views of the intracoastal waterway, it’s a staple dining spot for visitors and locals alike. Their fried calamari features tender tubes and tentacles served with a sweet Thai chili sauce for a zingy match made in seafood heaven. Are you hungry yet?
For those looking for a tiny bit of spice, Salty Pelican serves their fried calamari with tangy banana peppers for a unique twist on this classic dish. Dunk them in the sweet and spicy chili sauce for a delightful blend of flavors that will leave your taste buds tingling. Dine in the main dining room or climb upstairs for an amazing view of the Amelia River.
BRETT’S WATERWAY CAFE
Imagine watching the sun dip below the horizon, sipping on your favorite adult beverage, and indulging in expertly prepared fresh-caught seafood. Brett’s Waterway Café offers this idyllic experience along with crispy fried calamari rings to start. This is the perfect spot to unwind and enjoy the island’s culinary delights at the end of the day.
SALTY LIFE FOOD SHACK
Salt Life Food Shack offers calamari rings simply fried and served with their signature shack sauce. The combination of the crispy calamari and the tangy shack sauce is sure to please even the pickiest of palates. Wet your whistle with a frosty cold beverage and be sure to sit on the rooftop deck where the ocean views are nothing short of spectacular. Photo credit: Salt Life Food Shack
BAR ZIN BISTRO
BAR ZIN BISTRO is a relaxed, upbeat indoor/outdoor American Bistro with an abundance of really good wines. Pair a citrusy Chardonnay or Pinot Noir with their calamari that can be flash-fried or grilled. Either option is served with a banana pepper aioli, balsamic glaze, and capers. It’s seriously delicious and takes ordinary calamari to the next level. Cheers! Photo credit: Bar Zin
SLIDER’S SEASIDE GRILL
SLIDERS SEASIDE GRILL has a little bit of everything for everyone. It’s smack on the ocean with an outdoor Tiki Bar for the adults and a playground for the kids. Try a unique twist on calamari with lightly dusted rings, flash-fried to perfection. What sets this dish apart is the house-made Tabasco aioli, which adds a delightful kick to every bite. Photo credit: Slider Seaside GrillNOTE: Although we didn’t mention them all, many island restaurants offer tasty calamari. Visit all the yummy eateries here and find the ones that suit your appetite best!
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