Ceviche is a wonderful dish made with raw fish that is chemically "cooked" by the acid in the lime juice in which it is served. In Peru, ceviche is commonly made with ají peppers which are native to the Amazon. These peppers give a wonderful kick that will keep you wanting more.
Each morning, Peruvian fisherman take to the waters of the Pacific before dawn. They bring their prizes to the markets in Lima where the fish is sold to cevicherías all over town. Plan for an early lunch for the best results because most of the respectable cevicherías will not serve it after noon.
Here are my top three favorite places to sample ceviche in Lima:
#1 La Canta Ranita
The faster, tastier cousin of the very popular Canta Rana, La Canta Ranita was my absolute favorite cevicheria in Lima. Decorated with Peruvian sports photos and newspaper clippings, this gem is tucked in a small market in the beautifully unique Barranco District of Lima. There are only about 5 options on the menu which made it easy for us to choose. We shared a "Ceviche Pescado" which is basically just the catch of the day. The spices and fish were the tastiest we had the whole trip. We only paid about $6 for enough fresh fish to feed both of us but I would give my left arm to eat this again right now. If you are hanging in Barranco at any point on your trip, go to La Canta Ranita. You won't be sorry.
#2 El Ceviche de Ronald
If you love ceviche and are spending more than one day in Lima, please go to El Ceviche de Ronald. It is located in a very non-touristy part of Lima so if you think you are just going to stumble upon this place, you'll be sorely disappointed. It is absolutely worth the hike, however.
El Ceviche de Ronald is the 10-top side project of world famous chef, Gastón Acurio. Let me tell you, the man knows some fish. Of all the ceviche we tried in Lima, the cut of the fish at Ronald was the best. How the chef cuts the fish is very important for the tenderness of the fish as you are eating it. It melted like butter in our mouths and the burn of the ají peppers was delightful. We aren't proud of it but we definitely drank the leftover juice after the fish was gone.
Pro-tip: Come early or be prepared to wait. I'm not kidding when I say there are only 10 seats.
#3 El Veridico de Fidel
Conveniently located just south of Parque Kennedy in Miraflores, El Veridico de Fidel was one of our favorite restaurants in Lima. The prices were slightly higher than some of the small cevicherías around town but if you are going with a large group and want to be seated ASAP, this is your place. The fish here had the best texture in my opinion.
Russell had the Leche de Tigre, which is basically the same thing as ceviche but with a lot more of the juice leftover from marinating the fish along with a splash of milk (sounds weird but it's great, trust me.) Think shrimp cocktail but way better.
Al Toke Pez- Tiniest little cevichería with 5 stools basically on the street. They have excellent ceviche but the mixed seafood fried rice stole the show. The chef made it right in front of us on a flaming wok. (watch your eyebrows)
El Muelle- Recommended by our B&B host, El Muelle seems to be where the locals hang out. The fish was excellent quality and the preparation was great. The atmosphere is casual as half the seating is outside.
Did you have some really excellent ceviche on your Peruvian adventure?
Let me know your favorite in the comments section.
Go confidently travelers!