Put the Lime on the Fish and Eat Them Both Together: 10 Ceviches We Love in Chicago


[Photograph: Lindsey Howald Patton]

Ah, ceviche, that most refreshing of seafood dishes. Most, though not all, signs point to the Peruvian coastal dwellers of yore as ceviche's inventors; the book Lima: A Cultural History claims it with confidence, and outlines the time-honored formula as this: a freshly-caught whitefish cut raw into small pieces, mixed with spicy chopped chilis and some onion, and left to marinate for a few minutes in lemon juice before eating.

But there are riffs aplenty. Mexico is probably next best-known for its version, which folds cilantro, lime, avocado, and tomato into the mix. There's also the soupy Ecuadorian shrimp cebiche; a Guatemalan "bloody clam" version using Worcestershire and ketchup; or the Colombian kind, which comes accompanied by starchy maize and plantains. And of course there are the myriad creative takes rising from haute cuisine, containing anything from coconut milk to foraged mushrooms to fried wontons.

Ceviche in Chicago comes in many shapes and sizes, portions and prices, and this list is a broad sampling from the whole citrusy gamut. So: lime and salt not enough flavor for you? Try the Peruvian versions, which douse the fish in a beautifully complex blended marinade called leche de tigre. Squeamish about raw fish? We tried a few that were steamed first or marinated long enough that you'd never know. Hardcore about sustainable catches? Rick Bayless has you covered. Don't even like fish? There's even a deliciously zingy beef ceviche called carne apache.

Check out the slideshow for all 10 spots, and let us know where you go when it's time to channel your inner Peruvian fisherman.

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