I love sushi just as much as any fish lover, but there’s another kind of raw fish that really says “Miami” to me: ceviche. It’s the best of our culinary traditions in one dish — tender fish freshly-plucked from Miami’s blue waters, emboldened by the citrus, herbs and spices that give Latin cuisine its irresistible something-something. Here are my picks for the tastiest, and most creative, ceviche in Miami. If you’ve got your own, I’d love to hear them!
Whether ceviche started in Peru or Ecuador, or somewhere else in Latin America, it’s too contentious to say. But it can not be disputed that the art of ceviche runs deep in Peru. And Peruvian chef Juan Chipoco proves it here. What first began as a little hole in the wall in the less-than-happening downtown district is now CVI.CHE 105, a newly expanded restaurant that’s chic and modern, and in a neighborhood that’s heating up. Don’t miss the “Red and White” ceviche (an homage to the Peruvian flag) and the “Seafood Orgy” in “tiger’s milk” (the Peruvian nickname for ceviche’s soupy broth).
From the king of Nuevo Latino cuisine himself (chef Douglas Rodriguez), this standout South Beach restaurant uses an international palette of flavors, from white soy sauce to Thai basil. It’s hard to resist the succulent lobster ceviche with coconut milk, or the inspired “Fire and Ice” with cobia (a local fish with firm white flesh). It gets its fire from jalapeno and Thai chilies, and its ice from Asian pear granita.
You’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve sidled up to a sushi bar — but at Jaguar, the chefs are slicing fish at a ceviche “spoon bar,” where you can sample an assortment of ceviche all served in Japanese-style spoons (or for bigger appetites, “Amazon” spoons). As trendy as this sounds — and it does get buzzy in the evenings — Jaguar is a casual, family-owned restaurant with an outdoor patio perfect for lunching.
Located in Midtown, between the Wynwood Arts District and the Design District, Mercadito’s contemporary loft space seems inspired by both, with an undulating wood-beamed ceiling, hanging lamps with woven rope-like lampshades, and big art. The ambiance is dramatic, and the ceviche is memorable amid the experimental Mexican menu. Look for ceviche studded with fruit like red snapper with sweet watermelon.
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