What To Serve With Fried Calamari – 19 Quick And Amazing Dishes

Fried calamari is a popular and delicious dish that can be found on many restaurant menus. 

This delicious dish is known for its crispy, crunchy exterior and tender squid meat inside. It’s a perfect appetizer to serve during your next dinner party or family gathering. 

But when it comes to serving this crispy and flavorful seafood at home, many people struggle with what to serve with fried calamari? 

That’s where I come in! As an experienced cook and seafood lover, I’ve come up with some quick and amazing side dishes that are perfect for pairing with fried calamari. 

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just looking for a tasty weeknight meal, these dishes are sure to impress.

What is fried calamari? What does fried calamari taste like?

Fried calamari is a mouth-watering dish made with squid that has been dipped in batter or breaded and then fried until golden and crispy. 

fried calamari

The taste of fried calamari can be described as lightly sweet, slightly salty, and mildly chewy, with a crunchy exterior. 

It is often served with a dipping sauce such as tartar sauce or marinara sauce.

19 Best Sides to Serve with fried calamari

1. Lemon Aioli

Lemon Aioli is a light and tangy dip made from mayonnaise, garlic, and lemon juice.

Lemon Aioli

It gives a refreshing flavor that complements the rich and savory flavor of fried calamari.

2. Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce is a classic choice, the rich and flavorful tomato sauce will pair well with the crispy calamari. The acidity of the marinara will cut through the richness of the fried calamari.

3. Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce

Tartar Sauce is a classic and favorite dip made from mayonnaise, onions, and pickles. It’s a great complement to the mild, sweet flavor of calamari.

4. Garlic Butter

Garlic Butter is a tasty and flavorful side dish that will enhance the flavors of the fried calamari. The buttery and garlicky flavor will go well with the crispy exterior of the squid.

5. Greek Salad

A light and refreshing salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, and feta cheese. 

Greek Salad 

The crispy, crunchy texture of the salad complements the crispy calamari, while the slightly tangy and salty feta cheese adds an extra flavor.

6. Caesar Salad

A classic salad tossed with croutons, parmesan cheese, and Caesar dressing. The umami-rich flavors of the dressing and cheesy croutons will pair well with the savory flavor of the calamari.

Discover More: Best Sides to Serve with Shrimp Salad

7. Fried Vegetables

Fried Vegetables

A side dish consisting of fried zucchini, eggplant, or green beans. The crispy texture of the vegetables complements the crispiness of the calamari, while the mild flavor of the vegetables doesn’t overwhelm the squid’s taste.

8. Garlic Roasted Potatoes

A savory side dish that adds depth and flavor to the calamari. The roasted garlic and potatoes will contrast well with the calamari’s crispy texture.

9. Steamed Vegetables

healthy and light option that can complement the dish’s flavor. The steamed vegetables add a refreshing crunch and nutritional value to your meal.

10. Grilled Corn

Grilled corn

A sweet and mouth-watering side dish that pairs well with calamari. The sweet corn flavor complements the savory flavor of the calamari, and the grilled finish will add depth and smoky flavor to the dish.

Explore More: Best Side Dishes to Serve with Corn on the Cob

11. Garlic Aioli

Garlic Aioli is a creamy and garlicky sauce that is the perfect accompaniment to fried calamari. 

It adds a depth of flavor that complements the crispy texture of the calamari. You can make your own aioli or buy it pre-made from the store.

12. Lemon wedges

Squeezing fresh lemon juice over the fried calamari is a classic move.

Lemon Wedges

The acidity and sharpness of the lemon juice cut through the richness of the fried calamari, making for a well-balanced dish.

13. Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

Arugula Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette is a simple salad that is a perfect side dish for fried calamari. 

The peppery arugula and tangy lemon vinaigrette pair perfectly with the crispy and savory calamari. It’s a light and refreshing dish that won’t leave you feeling too full.

14. Grilled Veggies

Grilled vegetables are a healthy and flavorful side dish that pairs well with fried calamari. 

You can grill up some zucchini, bell peppers, onions, and mushrooms for a colorful and balanced meal. Mizzle with some balsamic vinegar and olive oil for added flavor.

15. Coleslaw

Coleslaw is a classic side dish that works well with fried calamari. The creamy and crunchy texture of the coleslaw provides a nice contrast to the crispy calamari. 


You can make your own coleslaw or buy it pre-made from the store.

16. Fries

Who doesn’t love fries? They’re a classic side dish that pairs perfectly with fried calamari. Whether you go for classic fries or sweet potato fries, they’re sure to be a hit.

17. Tomato and Onion Salad

Tomato and Onion Salad is a refreshing side dish that complements the fried calamari well. 

The sweetness of the tomatoes and the sharpness of the onions pair well with the crispy and salty calamari.

18. Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

If you’re looking for a hearty and comforting side dish, then roasted garlic mashed potatoes are the way to go. 

The creamy and garlicky potatoes pair well with the fried calamari and make for a satisfying meal.

19. Bruschetta


Bruschetta is a simple and flavorful side dish that pairs well with pretty much anything, including fried calamari. The tomato, basil, and garlic flavors make for a tasty and refreshing dish.

Find Out More: Creative Side Dishes to Elevate Your Bruschetta

The best sauce goes with fried calamari

Fried calamari is a delicious, classic dish that can be found on menus around the world. The perfectly crispy texture of fried calamari pairs best with a variety of sauces to enhance its flavor profile. 

Whether you’re looking for a classic marinara sauce or something more unique, here are five of the best sauces to pair with fried calamari:

1. Aioli


Aioli is a creamy garlic sauce made from olive oil, egg yolks, and lemon juice. Its rich flavor complements fried calamari nicely without overpowering the dish.

2. Tartar Sauce

Tartar sauce is commonly served as an accompaniment to seafood dishes such as fried calamari. It’s made from mayonnaise combined with chopped capers, pickles, and onions for some added zing.

3. Agrodolce Sauce

Agrodolce Sauce is an Italian-style sweet and sour sauce that features vinegar, sugar, raisins, pine nuts and sometimes even olives for a unique flavor combination that pairs well with fried calamari. (Recipe)

4. Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde

Salsa Verde is a bright green sauce that is made from tomatillos, jalapeños, and cilantro blended into a smooth paste – perfect for adding extra spice to your plate of fried calamari!

5. Spicy Tomato Sauce

A spicy tomato sauce adds an extra kick to your fried calamari dish! Simply combine diced tomatoes with garlic, olive oil and chili flakes for the perfect blend of flavors that will tantalize your taste buds!

Learn More: Creative Sauce Pairings for Your Potato Dumplings

What are the best flavors to go with fried calamari?

Fried calamari is a classic dish that can be found on menus around the world. The best way to truly enjoy this delicious dish is by choosing flavors that will enhance its unique taste

Some of the most popular flavor combinations for fried calamari include lemon, garlic, and parsley. 

The tartness of the lemon juice complements the earthy taste of the squid, while the garlic and parsley add a fresh herbal flavor. 

For an extra kick, you can also include some red pepper flakes or hot sauce.

best flavors to go with fried calamari

Fried calamari is best served immediately after cooking to ensure that it stays crispy and tender. 

Leftovers can be preserved in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, the texture may not be as good as when it is freshly fried.

Fried calamari can easily be made at home with a few simple ingredients. The most important part is to make sure that the squid is cleaned and cut into rings before it is cooked. 

After that, all you need to do is toss the squid in a mixture of seasoned flour and fry until golden and crispy. 

Enjoy your delicious fried calamari with some extra lemon wedges or tartar sauce for added flavor!

How do you jazz up fried calamari?

Fried calamari can be jazzed up in a variety of ways. One way is to sprinkle it with herbs and spices, such as garlic powder, paprika, oregano or Italian seasoning. 

Another option is to mix the fried calamari with other vegetables or meats like bell peppers and bacon for a tasty combination. 

To make it more flavorful, you can even serve the fried calamari on top of a bed of dressed greens or alongside some zesty dipping sauces like tahini or chipotle mayonnaise. 

You can also opt. Some fresh lemon juice just prior to serving for an extra bit of zing!

fried calamari

How do you display fried calamari on a platter?

Fried calamari is best served on a large platter, with pieces of crispy tentacles and rings arranged in an attractive manner. 

The rings can be placed in a circular pattern to create a visually appealing design. 

For extra style, the platter can be garnished with slices of lemon and herbs such as parsley or dill. 

Additionally, small bowls of marinara sauce or garlic aioli can be placed around the platter for dipping. The presentation should be finished by sprinkling salt lightly over the top for flavor and decoration.

Wrap Up on What to Serve with fried calamari

In conclusion, there are many side dishes that will complement the amazing flavors of fried calamari. 

From light and refreshing salads to savory and crunchy vegetables, there’s an option for every palate. 

Whether you choose a classic marinara sauce or a tangy lemon aioli, your guests are sure to savor the flavors of the calamari and side dishes at your next dinner party or gathering. 

So next time you prepare fried calamari, try one of these enjoyable side dishes and elevate your meal’s taste.


How much fried calamari per person?

Fried calamari is a delicious appetizer that can be served on any occasion. 

Typically, one serving size of fried calamari per person is about four to five ounces. This translates to roughly four or five pieces of fried calamari rings per person. 

The amount of fried calamari required for a meal will depend on the number of guests, as well as their appetite and preferences. 

For an appetizer before a light meal, two to three ounces per person should be enough; 

whereas for a meal with multiple courses and larger portion sizes, around six to eight ounces per person may be more appropriate.

What wine goes with fried calamari?

Fried calamari is a popular Mediterranean dish that pairs wonderfully with a variety of wines.

Here are five of the best wines to serve with this salty, crunchy seafood appetizer:

1. Pinot Grigio

This light-bodied white wine is crisp and acidic, making it the perfect complement to fried calamari’s deep-fried texture.

2. Chardonnay

This full-bodied white brings out the delicacy of fried calamari while providing the perfect balance of acidity and richness from its oak aging process.

3. Sauvignon Blanc

With its bright, herbal notes, Sauvignon Blanc cuts through the oiliness of fried calamari while maintaining a nice acidity that brings out the flavors of the dish.

4. Muscadet

This French white offers an affordable alternative to pricier bottles without sacrificing flavor or complexity. Its tart acidity stands up well against fried calamari’s vibrant spices and herbs.

5. Rosé

Looking for something off the beaten path? Try pairing your fried calamari with a dry rosé

Its fresh fruit flavors provide a refreshing contrast to this classic Mediterranean dish without overwhelming it.

What is calamari traditionally served with?

Calamari is traditionally served with a variety of sides, including slices of lemon, tartar sauce, and marinara sauce. 

It also pairs well with a range of vegetables, such as green peppers, onions, and tomatoes. 

Rice is another popular accompaniment to calamari dishes. Some people also enjoy serving it alongside other seafood delicacies like shrimp or crab. 

To add an extra flavor dimension to the dish, some chefs even prepare calamari with garlic butter or pesto.

What garnish goes with calamari?

Calamari, also known as squid, is a popular seafood dish that can be served fried or grilled. 

The perfect garnish to complement calamari is typically a citrusy salsa or a cooling herb sauce, such as a zesty lemon-caper tzatziki, minty basil pesto, or tartar sauce. 

For an extra touch of flavor, add some chopped olives or capers to the dish. 

To bring out the flavors of the calamari and its accompaniments even more, top with fresh herbs like parsley, oregano, or dill. 

For a crunchy contrast and an eye-catching presentation, sprinkle some panko breadcrumbs over the dish before serving.

What is the best way to eat calamari?

The best way to eat calamari is by lightly breading it and then frying or grilling it. This helps to bring out the flavor of the calamari while also adding a crunchy texture. 

To add some additional flavor, try seasoning it with garlic, salt, and pepper before cooking. 

Once the calamari is cooked through, enjoy it plain or dipped in your favorite sauce, such as marinara or aioli. Enjoy your calamari with a salad and steamed vegetables for an easy and delicious meal.

When buying fresh calamari, look for ones that are bright white in color with no brown spots; these will be firmer during cooking and will hold up well when fried or grilled. 

Be sure to discard any pieces that have a strong ammonia smell, as these are likely past their prime. 

Fresh squid should also be stored on ice for up to two days if not used immediately after purchase.

When cooking, be sure to not overcook the calamari as this can make it tough and rubbery. 

Cook until it’s just done; when cut into with a knife, it should flake easily.

With proper storage and proper cooking techniques, you’ll be sure to enjoy your calamari every time!

What main dish goes with fried calamari?

Fried calamari is a popular Italian dish that pairs wonderfully with a variety of other dishes. 

Three main dish ideas to accompany fried calamari include spicy garlic shrimp, grilled eggplant parmesan, and creamy risotto. 

Spicy garlic shrimp is a classic Mediterranean dish served with sautéed garlic, chili flakes, and fresh parsley over a bed of linguine. 

Grilled eggplant parmesan is an Italian-style dish featuring lightly charred eggplant slices layered atop marinara sauce and melted cheese. 

Finally, creamy risotto is a comforting Italian favorite made with arborio rice cooked in broth until it reaches a creamy texture.

All three dishes will provide the perfect accompaniment to the flavorful fried calamari.

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