My heart got broken in the spring when I went to my beloved Romana and discovered that the iconic Hastings restaurant had closed its doors forever.
I loved one dish in particular at Romana – a grilled calamari that was perfection in the way it used sauces and spices.
Thank goodness I still have Sfinaki Greek Taverna at Hastings and Gilmore in Burnaby Heights.
I grew up loving calamari, but it was almost always deep fried. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do like the occasional deep-fried dish, but the first time I tried grilled calamari was like having the clouds open up and sunlight beaming straight into my forward.
There’s just no comparison between the two. Grilling calamari properly makes for a buttery-soft meal compared to hammering it in the fryer.
Calamari needs a deft hand. You can’t overdo it or it’s like going into Canadian Tire and gnawing on some steel-belted radials.
I just won’t accept rubbery calamari. It’s an insult to this delicate piece of seafood.
Sfinaki has a grilled calamari dinner that is done right and comes with all of the usual Greek fixings. The leave the calamari cut in larger slabs than those tiny chunks you get at pubs. I believe that when you cut them larger and grill them slowly, they turn out better.
It doesn’t hurt that after I finish it for dinner I can just stroll across the street to Glenburn Soda Fountain for a sundae.
OK, I’m starting to feel faint.
DISCLAIMER: I have not been compensated in any way for writing about this restaurant. They don’t even know I am writing about them.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.