Cebiche is it just raw fish? No we are not talking about sushi here. Cebiche is a mixture of raw fish, cubed and marinated in key lime juice and ricotto peppers. It is served at room temperature with sliced red onions on top with Choclo corn on the cob and sliced camote sweet potatoes.
When done right the dish is very delicious! Lima is home of the original Cebiche even though many latin countries have their own take on it. Lima, Peru is the originator and home to more than 2,000 Cebicherias. The food can be found everywhere, from street vendors to sit down restaurants. Cebiche is normally eaten in the early afternoon and most cebicherias close in the late afternoons.
Every Mercado (market) has several places that serve the dish. My first Cebiche was from a small place in the local market in Rimac known as the Limoncillo, located on the Prolongacion Tacna just over the bridge at Puente Santa Rosa. This market is located on about 15 minutes from the Plaza de Armas. The particular cebicheria I chose was the crystal rey located on the left hand side of the street as you approach coming over the bridge. The meal was fantastic and combined with Chicharon de calamar and was fantastic. It was made with the freshest of white fish and cost S./4 or about $1.25.
If you want to try a more upscale type of eatery I suggest 2 places. The first is Restaurant Sonia (****1/2) located in Chorillos, Lima, Peru located about 2 blocks from the balanero on the cliff above the harbour. Made famous by Mr. Tony Bourdain on his show cook’s tour. Here you will find the Best Cebiche in town. Fresh pescado (fish) and mariscos (seafood) brought on the owners boat daily and prepared by Sonia herself in the old way. I suggest the Classic Cebiche as it doesnt get any better. Also, on the menu is Cebiche de Conchas Negras (black sea scallops) considered to be a natural aphrodisiac and chicharon de calamar as well. Keep in mind that you will spend a bout S./25 per plate or about $10 USD plus beverages.
Another place to try is La Mar (****) created by renowned chef Aston Gaston and located at 770 La Mar in Miraflores. Here you can try Cebiche infused with neo pan asian flare. Among the highlights are star watching as most days the Telenovela crowd pours in and one can see many of the local TV stars dinning with friends. I suggest the mixed platter of 5 different cebiches (S./45) as an appetizer for all to try. Expect to Spend S./35-40 per plate or about $15 USD plus beverages. They also house an extensive wine collection. Go early though because after 2pm you will have trouble finding a table as it is very popular.
Bienvenudos and good eating!