This Peruvian dish has taken Chicago by storm, and these places offer the best ceviche in the city
Ceviche originated in Peru, and at its most basic, is a cold soup that boasts of fish marinated in citrus juice, peppers, onions, and spices. There are all kinds of variations of this simple recipe, and the ingredients can change according to the country that’s making the soup. This is a great dish to have during the hot months of the year, when being in the kitchen can sometimes be a little overwhelming, and Chicagoans have taken notice.
Many restaurants feature it on their menu during the spring and summer months, but there are a few that have it as a staple year round. We’ve put together this list of some of the best spots in the city where you can cool down and relax with a delicious bowl of ceviche.
Have a friend that’s never had this meal before? Why not gift them a GiftYa electronic gift card to any of the restaurants on this list? It’s a fantastic way to get them to try new cuisines and perhaps go outside of their comfort zone. Plus, since GiftYa is so easy to use, it will be ready whenever they are to redeem it! Now, vamos to the ceviche!
200 N Green St.
Near West Side | cabrachicago.com
If you’d like to try out something fresh and new--and do it in an amazingly chic environment-- then stop by Cabra. Here, you’ll be transported to the lively coast of Peru, where colors mix with bright flavors to create an interesting and delicious cuisine. This place is known throughout Chicago for having some of the best ceviche in the city, so stop by and try a bowl of their classic ceviche made with bass, or try out their other variations, such as duck ceviche, shrimp ceviche, or snapper ceviche.
But don’t be afraid to try the other menu options as well such as goat empanadas, shrimp tacu tacu, or chorizo anticucho! If the ingredients are tripping you up, simply ask your friendly server to explain what they are. We’re pretty sure you’ll love them regardless, but it can never hurt to ask!
“The space itself is pleasing to the eye, filled with plants, floor to ceiling windows, and beautiful decor. Our service was exceptional and genuinely friendly.” -Yelp Review
900 W Randolph St.
West Loop | rickbayless.com
In the mood for some authentic Baja-style food and drinks? Then look no further than Lena Brava. This interesting concept restaurant seeks to give patrons the taste of the famous open fire cooking of Baja California Norte, as well as its excellent seafood options. You’ll have to start by ordering ceviche off of their raw bar, which comes with albacore tuna, lime, ginger, olives, spicy chilies, and cilantro. The flavors blend exceptionally well and you’ll definitely want to come back for more!
But also consider trying some of their items off of the wood fired grill, such as black cod al pastor, braised short ribs, or Spanish octopus. You should pair any of these items with a wine off of their extensive list from the popular Guadalupe Valley.
“Not only was the food great, but the wait staff was all very kind and knowledgeable about the food and wine being served. We asked for wine recommendations and were kindly helped.” -Yelp Review
1045 N Ashland Ave.
West Town | elbarcochicago.com
If you like your ceviche with a Mexican twist, then check out El Barco Mariscos and get your fill of their popular soup option. Many people are right to enjoy ceviche because it combines a chilled soup with the tart flavor or lime and the spice of peppers. So if you’re ready for a little spice in your ceviche, then this place is for you. In addition to their ceviche, patrons also enjoy Baja fish tacos, enchiladas, shrimp cocktails, and aguachiles.
It’s always worth it to check out their margarita menu as well, since they have some nice options when it comes to fruit flavors and tequilas.
“This is one of my favorIte spots in Chicago. The decor is really festive and fun (lots of fish and nautical decor) and it always has a bit of a party atmosphere whether you're there for weekend dinner or weekday lunch.” -Yelp Review
1626 S Halsted St.
Pilsen | decolor.us
Located in the art district area of Pilsen is this family-owned restaurant specializing in creating dishes made from closely guarded family recipes. They have a ceviche that is very popular, especially during the warmer months in Chicago. This restaurant is also well known for its mole sauce, and in fact it has even been awarded for its taste. Other popular dishes include the guacamole, vegetarian tacos, and the steak enchiladas.
Due to its location in the arts district, there are often local artists’ works featured on their walls as well as on their music station. This family is always looking for new works to showcase in their restaurant from Chicago’s artists in this fun, lively spot.
“Such a cute and cozy spot which was a perfect start before art walk. A variety of vegetarian items, really fresh drinks and great flavors. Food was fresh, flavorful and perfect for sharing.” -Yelp Review
1835 W North Ave.
Wicker Park | laspalmaschicago.com
If fresh and healthy food is something you struggle to find when dining out, then consider stopping by Las Palmas next time. Of course they have an amazing ceviche for you to try, which consists of Lake Superior white fish, avocado, lime juice, onion, cilantro, tomato, and serrano peppers. One taste of this and you’ll be hooked! Couple it with fresh chips and salsa and you have a nice light lunch.
If you prefer something more filling, why not also try tacos de asada, fish tacos, fajitas, or their salmon plate. Their specialty drinks include margaritas, micheladas, mojitos, and cocojitos. They’re also open for brunch as well, so consider stopping by then!
“I loved this place. The food was unbelievably good. I highly recommend the fajitas and tres leches. The drinks are spectacular as well.” -Yelp Review
118 W Grand Ave.
River North | tantachicago.com
The ceviche at this Peruvian restaurant is always made to order, so you’ll never have to worry about tasting the freshest ingredients around! Choose from their clasico, which is a chef’s selection of fish, red onions, cilantro, and lime juice. You simply can’t go wrong with this one!
But if you’d like to try some of their other options, the nikei has ahi tuna, avocado, cucumber, and tamarind. Or try the de esquina, which consists of the catch of the day, calamari, octopus, shrimp, leche de tigre, choclo, and cancha. If you can’t decide on one ceviche, consider getting their taster instead!
In addition to their popular ceviches, Tanta also offers causitas, empanadas, anticuchos, and many fish, chicken, and lamb plates.
“One of my favorite restaurants in Chicago! Safe to say this place made me fall in love with Peruvian tapas. The flavors here are just incredible.” -Yelp Review
6545 N Clark St.
Rogers Park | tasteofperu.com
Recognized by many Chicagoans as some of the best ceviche in the Windy City, Taste of Peru is a family owned restaurant that seeks to bring their homeland’s cuisine to as many locals as they can. It’s best to start any food adventure at this place with a taste of their ceviche-- whether that’s shrimp ceviche, mixed ceviche, or the ceviche special which comes with mixed seafood and grouper, lime juice, and Peruvian spices-- you’ll be happy with any of them!
Afterwards give one of their authentic Peruvian dishes a try, such as aji de gallina, bistec frijoles, pollo al vino, or camarones al ajo and you won’t be disappointed. While you’re enjoying your meal you can relax to the sounds of native Peru, with their live musicians. Talk about an awesome all around experience!
“I've been eating here for years. Never disappointed in the taste and quality. Tamales are especially one of my favorites. Occasional music helps with the atmosphere in this small, quaint restaurant.” -Yelp Review
Ceviche is a great option when you want to try something a little different--and many of the other menu items at these restaurants also warrant a taste as well! Where is your favorite place to get a bowl of ceviche in Chicago? Let us know in the comments!