Food & Drink

The Raw and the Cooked: A Visit to La Cevicheria

La Cevicheria restaurant specializes primarily in Mexican-style ceviche, that includes various types of seafood such as shrimp, fish, or even octopus, combined with lime juice, tomatoes, onions, and cilantro.


Since I love it so much, I am hoping that someday ceviche will get the attention in this country that it deserves and become as popular as other imported foods like ramen, street tacos, and sushi have done. I love the light, bright flavors and textures of great ceviche. 

If you’re not too familiar with ceviche, here’s a brief primer. There are two main types of ceviche: Peruvian and Mexican, which have both similarities and differences. In Peru, ceviche is typically made by marinating fresh raw fish (often sea bass or flounder) in freshly squeezed lime or bitter orange juice, along with sliced onions, chili peppers (aji), salt, and pepper. The acidity of the citrus juice “cooks” the fish by denaturing the proteins, giving it a firm texture. Mexican ceviche, on the other hand, often involves a shorter marinating time and is sometimes cooked briefly before marination. It may include various types of seafood such as shrimp, fish, or even octopus, combined with lime juice, tomatoes, onions, cilantro, and occasionally avocado. The seafood may be partially cooked beforehand (especially shrimp) to provide a different texture compared to Peruvian ceviche. Peruvian ceviche is often served with boiled sweet potato, corn, and slices of lettuce or other greens. The marinade tends to be more citrus-forward and less tomato-based. Mexican ceviche may include additional ingredients like tomato juice or tomato sauce, ketchup, or even orange juice in the marinade. Avocado is a common addition, and it may be served with tostadas or tortilla chips.

So now that we’re all on the same page regarding Peruvian versus Mexican ceviche, we’ll turn our attention to La Cevicheria restaurant, which specializes primarily in Mexican-style ceviche. It’s located in a somewhat beleaguered stand-alone building on 200 South that was previously home to Cafe Shambala, Cancun Cafe, and Bevalo. Hopefully, La Cevicheria will fare better. 

Chips & Salsa

A meal at La Cevicheria begins with a complimentary serving of chips and salsa. While the salsa rojo was a tad on the thin side, the thick, crunchy, homemade tortilla chips were excellent. 

Shrimp Empanada

Appetizers at La Cevicheria include fairly high-priced Guacamole & Chips ($9.99), and Oysters on the Half Shell – also pricey at $20 for six or $40 for a dozen. There are also Oyster Shots ($7) and deep-fried calamari with house sauce called Chicharron de Calamar ($14.99). We decided to kick off our dinner sharing a homemade Shrimp Empanada ($5) with salsa verde, which was delicious. They also offer a Marlin Empanada ($6) and a Shrimp Enchilada with Cheese ($7). 

In the rear of La Cevicheria is a small, adult-only bar area with four bar seats and a table where the bartender – who was also the only server when we visited – serves mixed drinks and beer, as well as horchatas, soft drinks, and refreshing beverages like Agua de Piña. 

While I sipped a frosty cerveza Modelo ($5), my wife enjoyed cold hibiscus tea called Agua de Jamaica ($6), which she really liked. 

Taco de Pulpo

Like many things at La Cevicheria, tacos are somewhat steep in price. Street Tacos – Asada, Pastor, and Pollo – are $3.99 each while larger, full-size tacos range from $21.99 for three Baja Shrimp Tacos to eight bucks apiece for a Marlin Taco, Asada Taco, Shrimp Taco, or my wife’s Taco de Pulpo – a corn tortilla stuffed with cooked chopped octopus, with avocado & chipotle dressing, cilantro, onions and, for reasons I can’t quite fathom, mozzarella cheese. Why wouldn’t they use queso fresco or cotija – something authentic?

The vibe at La Cevicheria is more bar than restaurant, with fairly loud music playing. It’s a fun atmosphere, but not one I’d recommend to anyone looking for a quiet meal. Service is prompt, but rudimentary. For example, I wasn’t offered a glass for my beer and there were damp dish cloths or napkins on tables next to ours. But again, we only saw a single server, who also doubled as the bartender. 

Cooked house specialties include fiery Camarones a la Diabla ($19.99), pasta with shrimp, chicken and clams called Pasta Mar y Tierra ($24.99), Grilled Salmon ($24.99) with mango and pico de gallo, grilled octopus called Pulpo Zarandeado ($24.99), and Chicharron de Pescado ($27.99) – fried Caribbean red snapper served with pico de gallo, avocado, chipotle & serrano sauce and rice. 

There are a number of ceviche preparations to choose from at La Cevicheria, including four featuring shrimp: Cooked Shrimp Ceviche ($20.99), Raw Shrimp Ceviche ($20.99), Ceviche Casero ($21.99), and Tropical Shrimp Ceviche ($21.99). Other ceviche options include Fish Ceviche ($20.99), La Cevicheria Ceviche ($21.99) which is fresh salmon and tuna ceviche, a Veggie Ceviche ($18.99) with cauliflower, tomato, onions, cucumbers and cilantro in a homemade serrano chile sauce, Octopus Ceviche ($21.99),  and a Tropical Tuna Ceviche ($21.99) with soy sauce, mango and lime. 

Avocado Tuna Ceviche

We opted for the Avocado Tuna Ceviche ($21.99), where in the center of the large dinner plate was a mound of guacamole surrounded by sushi grade strips of tender tuna, with sliced red onion, jalapaños and cucumber, topped with homemade sauce, sprinkled with white sesame seeds, and served with crispy fried Mexican tostaditas.

Aguachile Rojo

In addition to the aforementioned ceviches, La Cevicheria also serves two types of aguachile: verde (green) and rojo (red). Aguachile is a popular Mexican type of ceviche that originates from the coastal regions of Mexico, particularly Sinaloa and Nayarit.The key ingredients of aquachile usually include raw shrimp or sometimes raw fish (such as tuna or tilapia), which are marinated in a mixture of lime juice, water, salt, and finely chopped chili peppers (typically serrano peppers). We really enjoyed the Aguachile Rojo ($20.99), which was raw shrimp marinated in lime, red onions, and avocado with a tasty homemade chiltepin sauce, cucumbers, and crispy fried tostaditas. 

All in all, we enjoyed our visit to La Cevicheria even though the atmosphere was somewhat raucous and our dinner tab with tax and tip was north of $90, including a non-alcoholic beverage and a beer. If you’re interested in further investigating ceviche, you’ll find really good Peruvian ceviche at Del Mar al Lago and Mexican ceviche at Mariscos Ensenada. 

Photos by Ted Scheffler

Culinary quote of the week: “Living is a dangerous business, and simple pleasures should not be denied. I for one plan to enjoy my fettuccine Alfredo.” – Gabe Mejias 

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