San Francisco is a city known for its diverse culinary scene, with a wide range of seafood options available. And when it comes to seafood, there are few dishes more beloved than calamari.
Whether you're in the mood for a crispy, golden-fried appetizer or a more adventurous grilled squid dish, San Francisco has plenty of options for calamari lovers.
But with so many restaurants to choose from, it can be overwhelming to narrow down the best places to go for calamari.
That's why we've put together this guide to help you find the top spots for this delicious seafood dish.
Our list includes a mix of classic seafood restaurants, trendy hotspots, and hidden gems that you might not have heard of before.
No matter what your budget or taste preferences are, there's sure to be a calamari dish that will satisfy your cravings.
So whether you're a San Francisco local or just visiting for the first time, be sure to check out these top spots for calamari and experience some of the best seafood the city has to offer.
1. Scoma's Restaurant
Scoma's Restaurant is the perfect place for calamari lovers.
The calamari is melt-in-your-mouth delicious and the seafood is extremely fresh with perfect flavor and gravy.
The staff is super professional and friendly, and the ambience is perfect for a dinner date or special event.
The outdoor seating has a beautiful bay view and is dog-friendly. It's a classic seafood joint with a fine dining touch and is not to be missed.
2. Sotto Mare
Sotto Mare is a neighborhood spot that serves Italian-style seafood. They are famous for their cioppino, but their calamari is also worth trying.
The calamari is perfectly cooked and crispy, and it comes with a delicious dipping sauce.
The portion size is generous, making it perfect for sharing. The service is friendly and attentive, and the atmosphere is cozy and casual.
If you're looking for great calamari in a relaxed setting, Sotto Mare is a must-visit.
3. Original Joe's
Original Joe's is a neighborhood staple serving up old-school Italian entrees, steaks, and seafood. Their fried calamari is a standout dish, cooked to perfection and served with a delicious dipping sauce.
The ambiance is cozy, with comfortable booths and a vintage setting that takes you back in time.
The service is attentive and personable, making for a great dining experience. Prices are fair for the quality of food and service received.
Highly recommended for calamari lovers and anyone looking for classic Italian fare.
4. Anchor Oyster Bar
Anchor Oyster Bar is a cozy seafood spot that has been serving fresh fish and shellfish since 1977.
The nautical-themed eatery is a local favorite and offers a variety of seafood dishes, including calamari. The calamari is cooked to perfection and served with a delicious dipping sauce.
The staff is friendly and the service is excellent. The restaurant can get busy, so expect a wait during peak hours.
However, the wait is well worth it for the delicious seafood. Anchor Oyster Bar is a must-visit for seafood lovers.
5. Betty Lou's Seafood & Grill
If you're looking for a great place to enjoy some calamari, look no further than Betty Lou's Seafood & Grill. This restaurant serves up some of the best seafood in town, and their calamari is no exception.
The dish is perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside, with just the right amount of seasoning.
The restaurant has a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff, making it a great spot for a casual dinner or a night out with friends.
Don't miss out on trying their other delicious seafood dishes as well. Betty Lou's Seafood & Grill is a must-visit for any seafood lover.
6. Tadich Grill
Tadich Grill is a seafood restaurant with a historical landmark status. The old-school setting and classic cocktails make for a buzzy atmosphere.
The menu is expansive and includes calamari, which is well-prepared and delicious.
The staff is friendly and professional, providing great service. Make sure to make a reservation if not going to the bar.
This place is a must-visit for travelers looking for a high-end meal and a taste of San Francisco history.
Beretta is a trendy Italian spot that's perfect for calamari lovers. The calamari here is crispy and perfectly cooked, with just the right amount of seasoning.
The atmosphere is lively and modern, and the staff is friendly and attentive.
Along with the calamari, Beretta also offers a variety of handcrafted pizzas, small bites, and unique cocktails.
Prices are reasonable for San Francisco, and the waitstaff enforces proper COVID safety practices. If you're looking for a great spot for calamari, Beretta is definitely worth checking out.
8. Pacific Cafe
Pacific Cafe is a classic seafood spot that has been serving fresh seafood since the '70s.
The restaurant has a no-reservations policy, but they make up for it by offering complimentary glasses of wine while you wait.
The menu is short but all high quality, and the calamari steak is a standout dish. The staff are very accommodating and polite, making for a great dining experience.
If you're looking for a simple, no-frills seafood restaurant, Pacific Cafe is definitely worth a visit.
9. Waterbar Restaurant
Waterbar Restaurant is a stylish seafood spot that offers a great view of the Bay Bridge.
It's a high-end restaurant that serves delicious calamari and other seafood dishes. The service is excellent, and the atmosphere is perfect for a fancy night out.
The menu changes frequently, so make sure to check it out before visiting.
If you're looking for a place to enjoy some great seafood with a beautiful view, Waterbar Restaurant is definitely worth a visit.
10. La Ciccia
La Ciccia is a must-visit for calamari enthusiasts. This charming Italian restaurant specializes in Sardinian cuisine and seafood, serving up some of the best calamari and prawns in the area.
The staff is knowledgeable and attentive, and the wine list is impressive.
While the mains may not be as impressive as the appetizers and pasta dishes, the overall experience is worth the visit.
The rustic atmosphere and neighborhood feel add to the charm of this SF institution.
11. Basa Seafood Express
Basa Seafood Express is a local gem for seafood lovers. The place offers fresh and delicious calamari and other seafood dishes at affordable prices.
The interior and exterior may not be fancy, but the quality of the food is impressive.
The staff is friendly and the service is quick. It's a great spot to grab a quick bite or take your food to go.
Don't miss out on the chance to try their amazing calamari!
Portofino is a seafood restaurant that serves calamari. The food is excellent and the portions are generous.
The seafood skillet is a must-try dish, and the homemade pasta is delicious.
The owners are friendly and attentive, making for a welcoming atmosphere.
If you're looking for Italian-style seafood, Portofino is a great choice.
13. Tommaso's Ristorante Italiano
Tommaso's Ristorante Italiano is a must-visit for calamari lovers. The cozy atmosphere and friendly service make for a comfortable dining experience.
The calamari is perfectly cooked and seasoned, making it a standout dish.
The fresh pasta and shrimp dishes are also highly recommended.
The authentic Italian cuisine and exceptional service make Tommaso's Ristorante Italiano a top choice for a delicious meal.
14. Pacific Catch
If you're looking for some of the best calamari in town, Pacific Catch is the place to go.
This informal Pan-Pacific seafood restaurant serves up crispy and well-seasoned calamari that will leave you wanting more.
The outdoor seating area is cozy and the staff is friendly and attentive.
Don't miss out on the other seafood dishes inspired by flavors from the Pacific Rim.
15. Pier Market Seafood Restaurant
Pier Market Seafood Restaurant is a great place for calamari.
The Sweet n Sour Calamari is a must-try. The seafood is delicious and well-seasoned.
The restaurant has a nice atmosphere with great views of the bay. Prices are reasonable for the quality of food.
The service is fast and courteous. The only downside is that the portion sizes could be bigger.
16. Woodhouse Fish Co
Woodhouse Fish Co is a nautical-themed seafood joint that serves New England-style seafood.
Their crispy calamari is a must-try, though it can be slightly overcooked at times. The sauces served with the calamari are great, and the portion sizes are good.
The service is fantastic, with friendly servers who are always willing to help. The restaurant has a cozy vibe, and the wait times are reasonable.
The prices are also reasonable, making it a great place to satisfy your seafood cravings without breaking the bank.
17. California Fish Market Restaurant
California Fish Market Restaurant is a casual Italian seafood spot that serves up tasty calamari.
The restaurant has a colorful terrace and offers a laid-back atmosphere. The calamari is fresh and well-prepared, making it a great choice for seafood lovers.
The service is friendly and the menu has a good selection of seafood dishes.
If you're in the mood for some delicious calamari, California Fish Market Restaurant is definitely worth a visit.