Few things in life excite us as much as fresh, citrusy ceviche. This dish, which either originated in Peru or Mexico depending on which chef’s brain you choose to pick, is the epitome of ingredient-driven cuisine. Raw fish is marinated – or “cooked” – by way of citrus juices, most typically lime, and then tossed with varying accoutrements (cilantro, red onion, cucumber, etc.) to achieve house specialty status. We also love that it’s pretty much the healthiest item you can order while still being laden with vibrant, exotic flavours.
Naturally, we’ve eaten our way through Toronto’s top restaurants offering up varying takes on this South American commodity. So heed our words when we say these are 10 of the best ceviches you can find in Toronto right… freaking… now…
Why We Love It: Consistency is Key
The 411: Oyster Boy’s sturgeon ceviche, in a citrusy yuzu dressing, makes us weak in the knees. The fish is diced finer than most you’ll find, letting the dressing envelope every tiny morsel like a silken blanket of buoyant bliss.
Additional Notes: At only $12 per dish, this is a value-driven ceviche if ever we’ve seen one.
Why We Love It: Citrus Sensation
The 411: Barrio Coreano’s daily ceviche has a heavy hit of citrus and little else. It’s the purity of palate-pleasing perfection that makes us crave it, no matter the market fish of the day.
Additional Notes: It should be noted that the restaurant’s ceviche recipe can change dependent on the fish of the day (appropriately so).
Why We Love It: Ceviche 2.0
The 411: Nota Bene’s hamachi ceviche is a carefully crafted bowl of beauty. Plated on a bed of crushed ice and floating atop a puddle of coconut milk, olive oil, and lime juice, this ceviche is almost too pretty to put past your lips.
Why We Love It: Sliced and Slithery
The 411: Fishbar’s Ecuadorian tilapia ceviche is a unique twist on the classic dish. Tender slices of tilapia filets slide down your throat with the greatest of ease thanks to an avocado oil-spiked marinade.
Additional Notes: The pineapple and pepper salsa is a sweet and tangy touch that adds just enough extra oomph.
Why We Love It: Carb-Free Tacos
The 411: Carmen’s ceviche comes nestled in Boston lettuce “tacos” for some handheld, light lovin’. It’s ever-so apropos during the need-to-slim-down summer months.
Why We Love It: Textural Temptation
The 411: While we miss the fluke ceviche Weslodge initially launched with, their newer hamachi version is just as palatable. We love the subtle crunch from the matchstick cucumber, apple, and radish that give this ceviche a bit more texture than its counterparts.
John & Sons Oyster House
Why We Love It: Thai One On
The 411: While the ceviche changes with fish seasonality, the spice base is typically Thai-influenced and the goods are served in a mason jar, topped with crispy lotus root, and served alongside crunchy tostadas. A non-traditional take if ever there was one!
Why We Love It: Great Roots
The 411: ElCab’s cod ceviche – mixed with pico de gallo and some Serrano chilies – is traditionally marinated but comes with one modern-day twist: house-made root vegetable crisps.
Additional Notes: Pair this dish with a $4 tequila and soda on Thursdays, or a $5 Michelada on Saturdays.
Why We Love It: Grouper Groupie
The 411: Habits’ menu rotates regularly, but we’re usually pretty fortunate to have some sort of ceviche ready to order. Our favourite is the crazy cool grouper ceviche that has some flavourful folly thanks to a honey-chipotle vinaigrette.
Additional Notes: Who uses grouper anymore? Not nearly enough restaurants, that’s who.
Image by Stella Yu of the Food Junkie Chronicles
What are your favourite ceviches in Toronto? Comment below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.