There was a time in Miami when good ceviche was hard to
find. Fortunately, nowadays you can't walk two blocks without discovering the fresh
raw fish marinated in lime and/or lemon and spiced with chili peppers, onion,
salt, and cilantro, among other things.
In Peru, which is most often associated with the dish, it is usually accompanied by complementary sides such as sweet potato, lettuce, corn, and avocado. This Latin American fusion has found its way into
the hearts of many foodies, regardless of their ethnic or national origin. Freshness of the seafood is essential,
however, because there is no cooking per se involved in the Peruvian stuff. (Other versions, like the Ecuadorean, do cook the fish.). Try any
of these places for the freshest and tastiest ceviche in Miami.
As Miami's only restaurant that features the seemingly
natural blend of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, SuViche has a lock on the raw-fish market. Brazilian owner Aliosha Stern started the place as a project for
a degree in business administration at the University of Miami. The concept was
so popular that Stern decided to open this first location in Brickell. Those in
Miami Beach need not worry -- success has spawned a second location, opening on
Alton Road at 16th Street in July. Head to Brickell Tuesdays for the buy one roll,
get the second 50 percent off. The spot also serves tiradito, a dish that is similar to ceviche but whose fish is cut into cubes or thin strips.
Diners often order ceviche and sushi for the complete SuViche dining
experience. Sushi rolls here cost about $8 to $10.
4. Sabor a Peru
This place is Peruvian through and through, from Abuela
working the register to the fabulous fresh raw fish lining diners' tables.
Opened in 2008 on Biscayne Boulevard, the restaurant has become a favorite, with a solid lunch crowd and a buzzing dinner service. Sabor's signature ceviche spans 11 selections, including fish, shrimp, mixed seafood,
mussels, and one called "return to life," given its name because of the stronger-than-usual concentrate in which the seafood is prepared. Papas à la huancaína, boiled potatoes smothered in a light but creamy yellow sauce, is the most popular appetizer on
the menu. If you're not in the mood for ceviche, try lomo saltado, tender
sliced beef served with peppers, French fries, and a side of white rice. Prices are reasonable at $10 to $15 per person.
3. Jaguar Ceviche Spoon Bar & Latam Grill
Located in CocoWalk, Jaguar offers a
modern fusion of traditional Peruvian- and Latin-inspired dishes. The ambiance, location, and quality of service create an ideal dining atmosphere.
Ceviche is the heartbeat of Jaguar, which is evident by the ceviche spoon bar
located at the front of the restaurant. With more than six variations of ceviche to choose
from, it's often difficult for first-timers to choose just one. The ceviche spoon
sampler ($12) is the most popular dish, and it allows customers to sample six various
ceviches all prepared on oversize ceviche spoons. The sampler is perfect for
two and really adds to the overall dining experience. With so many delicious
options to choose from, it's hard to decide which one is best. For my money, the debate begins and ends with the ceviche Peruano, a mix of fresh white fish, lime, red onion, rocoto chiles, and Peruvian
corn. Or you can do with what most patrons do and have the sampler before
selecting the ceviche you want to commit to for the rest of the evening.
2. CVI.CHE 105
CVI.CHE 105 is located in downtown Miami and
has gone from word-of-mouth craze to simply one of the hippest places to be
seen in the heart of the city. (It was named best ceviche in Miami last year. Regularly lined with the finest luxury cars
outside the valet, the streets outside are quintessentially Miami. The food
inside, however, is downright authentic but refined Peruvian cuisine. Most dishes go for $10 to $15. Chef
Juan Chipoco brings his Peruvian roots directly into his dishes. If it's purely
a traditional Peruvian menu you want, try CVI.CHE 105 -- just
make sure you get there early, because with food this good, there's a line out front that most clubs would envy. With so many great items on the menu, it's hard to limit your options; however, if it's authentic ceviche you want, the "seafood orgy" will ignite your taste buds. With a mix of raw seafood and "tiger
milk," each bite leaves you reaching for your spoon and digging in for another.
For a truly unique ceviche, try the Ceviche en Crema de Pisco 100. Described as
a delicious ceviche, "drunk" in a light, cream-based, mystic Peruvian Pisco
100. It's like silk in your mouth, blending perfectly with the sweet potatoes in honey. You need not chew the extremely tender
and delicate marinated fish; just run it against the roof of your mouth and it
comes apart effortlessly.
1. La Cofradia Ceviche Bar
You need just a few seconds of conversation about ceviche
with Cofradia owner Jamie Dickinson to feel his passion for the dish. You will emerge an expert on ceviche, knowing that the freshest
ceviche is not supposed to be completely white, as many believe. Start off with
a traditional Peruvian pisco sour, which might as well come from the streets of
Mia Flores. The pisco sour is a smooth criminal, starting off smooth and creamy but finishing with a kick of the strong Peruvian grape brandy known as pisco. Cofradia's
dishes feature a Peruvian and Mediterranean fusion and run the gamut from filet
mignon lomo saltado to Dickinson's personal favorite, black clam ceviche. Try the
ceviche trio -- a sampler of traditional fish and seafood ceviche, oriental
tuna, and aji amarillo. According to Dickinson, the tiger sauce that bathes the oriental
tuna mixed with a shot of pisco has been used by males as a sexual stimulant.
As you dine, you might notice the sophistication of the ambiance and artworks,
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but tradition remains the endearing soul of a restaurant dedicated to Dickinson's deceased Peruvian father. Prices are on the high side, at $15 to $20, but they are well worth it.