As all calamari lovers know, the quest for the perfect calamari can be elusive. Experiences can range from pure squiddy nirvana to one that equates to chewing on rubber bands. More often than not, I find most calamari dishes I’ve eaten to be just "meh". But, there is one place I’ve eaten where I dream about the calamari. It’s a place against which I now measure all calamari dishes – the calamari gold standard.
On a trip to South Africa, we stayed in Camps Bay, a suburb of Cape Town. At our hotel’s front desk, I asked for some suggestions for good local seafood and the clerk recommended a restaurant named Codfather. The name itself was intriguing, but how good would it be? When we arrived, the waiter didn’t bring us menus because apparently, they don’t have any! They describe to you what fish they have on offer that day! Then, the waiter takes you to what looks like the seafood counter at the grocery store, and you order your fish there. They weigh it and your choice magically appears cooked at your table. For my main course I ordered the kingklip and my husband ordered the dorado, which is mahi-mahi. It was all fantastic.
Of course, the highlight for us was the calamari starter. The waiter said that it would be grilled with a Cajun type of spice, but that the exact spices were “a secret”. Yes, please! It didn't disappoint! It melted in our mouths. The spices were unbelievable – perfectly seasoned, but not so much that it overwhelmed the delicate little tubes. We devoured it and wondered if we could cancel our entrees and just order more calamari!
Now, whenever we eat calamari, we rate it on a scale of one to Codfather. While we’ve had calamari that has come close, we’ve haven’t eaten anything to date that equals it. So, was the dish really as good as I remember or was it just a bit of nostalgia, like reminiscing about your first boyfriend? Well, I guess I’ll have to go back to Cape Town to find out!