A traditional South American dish that can be traced back to the Incas, who preserved fish by covering it with a bath of salt and acidic fruit juice, the basic ingredients haven't changed much from its earliest form. Typically made with sea bass or flounder — any firm, white-fleshed fish or shellfish will do — all you need is a fresh cut of raw fish, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and a few spices, herbs, and raw vegetables.
Depending on the culture or region, additional ingredients in ceviche vary widely. In Costa Rica, it's made with thinly sliced onion and served with avocado and plantain chips. In Ecuador, shrimp ceviche is popular, tinged pink from the use of ketchup in the marinade. In Chile, ceviche is flavored with cilantro and often made with Chilean sea bass bathed in grapefruit juice in place of lime juice.
No matter what you order, here are some of our favorite spots to get ceviche in Broward and Palm Beach counties:
8. Best Ceviche Ever
1313 W. Boynton Beach Blvd., Boynton Beach. Call 561-732-3080.
This 2-year-old Peruvian establishment off Boynton Beach Boulevard in Boynton Beach is a quick-stop lunch and dinner spot offering some pretty amazing food. Inside, it looks like your average fast-casual concept: just a few tables and chairs, a pay counter, and not much else. But sit down and dig in and you'll find the ceviche is exceptionally fresh and prepared in the authentic Peruvian manner: served with soft-boiled sweet potato, the Andean choclo corn, and slices of red onion. The Ceviche de Mariscos a Los Tres Ajies is prepared with a mixture of seafood in a rich cream sauce and, like most of the offerings here, is priced affordably. The cup of roasted corn kernels, a traditional Peruvian snack, is complimentary.
7. Ceviche By the Sea
2823 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Oakland Park. Call 954-999-0751, or visit cevichebythesea.com.
The menu here is not your average Peruvian fare. Although some authentic home recipes appear, the focus is on the growing trend of Peruvian fusion, in which creative chefs blend tried-and-true flavors and ingredients in their own unique dishes. This 3-year-old Fort Lauderdale restaurant offers seven variations of the dish available in customizable heat indexes like the clásico, which combines corvina with traditional lime juice, cilantro, red onions, sweet potato, and choclo. It gets its heat from limo peppers, which the chef buys frozen and pickles himself. But it's their unique tuna recipe that steals the show: the Atun Oriental y Mango, an exotic combination of yellowfin tuna tossed with mango, blood orange, scallion, and sesame seeds in an aji panca (Peruvian red pepper sauce) for a sweet-and-spicy, flavorful kick.
6. Victoria's Peruvian Cuisine
111 S. Third Street, Lantana. Call 561-588-9606, or visit victoriascuisines.com.
This longtime Peruvian restaurant offers one of Palm Beach County's best ceviches, a heaping platter served in the country's traditional manner with a slice of tender sweet potato, cuts of boiled yucca, chock corn kernels, sliced raw red onion, and cilantro. The marinade juice — all milky and tinged pink from a combination of raw fish, aji amarillo peppers, and unfiltered lime juice — is the best part, served according to your own personal heat preference. Choose from several varieties, including a mix of seafood like clams, calamari, and mussels or shrimp and plump cuts of firm, white-fleshed fish.
5. La Huaca Peruvian Cuisine
2000 Harrison St., Hollywood. Call 954-239-8722, or visit lahuacaperuviancuisine.com.
In 2014, husband-and-wife team Ynes and Maher Sona opened La Huaca in downtown Hollywood. The name, according to Ynes, can be interpreted as "hidden treasure" — a nod to the shrines found throughout the Incan territory from Ecuador to Chile believed to house spiritual beings. For her, the place is a diamond in the rough, an escape from the often-traditional approach to Peruvian cuisine. To bring the concept to life, Ynes has enlisted the help of executive chef Daniel Huambachano, a Lima native who comes from Miami's Peruvian restaurant, Francesco. His specialties include a number of traditional Peruvian dishes, each given a new touch. This includes several ceviches, some of the best you'll find in Broward County.