Like many great dishes, the operating principles of ceviche are simple: take seafood, marinate it in citrus, occasionally throw in some spice. If that doesn't sound good to you, you're probably an idiot. Living in Los Angeles and not liking ceviche is a lot like living in Germany and not liking hardcore pornography.
Nearly every Spanish speaking country that touches ocean seems to have their own version of ceviche. In Peru, they love it so much that not only is it their national dish, but late last year they even shattered the Guiness Book of World Records for biggest ceviche ever made.
So unless you're allergic to fish, like having scurvy, or hate bright flavors, it's time to get off your ass and visit the ten places listed below.
The consensus king of Los Angeles ceviche. A mere five bucks gets you their ever-changing ceviche of the day—a masterfully plated textural bonanza, with fish so tender it could be mistaken for room temperature butter. 3655 S. Grand Avenue., Los Angeles, CA 90007, (213) 747-2141, mo-chica.com.
While Mo-Chica is new to the game, Los Balcones has been here for years. Staying true to the Peruvian style, you get thick chunks of fish, long slivers of red onions, big Peruvian corn and hunks of starchy potatoes to soak up some of that acid. It's also the best possible place to grab dinner before your movie at the Arclight, just across the street. 1360 Vine St., Los Angeles, CA 90028-8140, (323) 871-9600.
3. Puro Sabor
They've got a pleasant atmosphere, friendly servers, and most importantly, a really stunning ceviche. The fish is velvety, accented nicely by the crunchy, roasted corn kernels, and the rest of their menu is pretty damn good too. 6366 Van Nuys Blvd., Van Nuys, CA 91401-2601, (818) 908-0818.
4. La Isla Bonita
For what may be the best deal in town, head to this sea-shell decorated mariscos truck in Santa Monica. If you're on the westside, posess three dollars and want to feel better about the world, stop by and order a ceviche tostada. Corner of 4th St & Rose Ave
Venice, CA 90293.
They may be known for their delightful fried fish and shrimp tacos, but you'd be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't save a little room for their ceviche cocktails (don't forget to sip the juice afterward). 5385 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90022-4033, (323) 887-1980.
6. Mariscos Chente
This Sinaloan seafood specialist in Mar Vista does a lot of things very well, including their raw shrimp aguachiles, which will make you wonder what the hell those things were you used to call shrimp. 4532 S Centinela Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90066, (310) 390-9241.
7. La Cevicheria
While they offer Mexican and Peruvian styles as well, La Cevicheria is at its best when serving their chopped, Worcestershire sauce laced Guatemalan version, or the dark and primal bloody clam ceviche. Both are served, true to Guatemalan style, with saltines. 3809 W Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90019-4305, (323) 732-1253.
One of the more unique versions in town, its murky red broth tastes like a cross between light and dark, Mexican and Peruvian, He-Man and Skeletor. For maximum enjoyment, take one of the mussels on the half shell, top it with the rest of the seafood, and suck the whole thing down the back of your throat. 4354 Melrose Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90029, (323) 666-6075.
9. El Caserio
Definitely on the upscale side of the the ceviche front (appetizer ceviches are $16 and $20), but the respect for their ingredients are what come through here. It will definitely get your dinner started off on the right foot. 401 Silver Lake Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90026, (213) 273-8945, elcaseriola.com.
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From the Mind of José Andrés
The tastiest ceviche in Los Angeles may well be a tuna ceviche avocado roll with coconut, micro cilantro and corn nuts. Leave it to José Andrés. 465 S La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048 (310) 246-5555 thebazaar.com.
Noah Galuten also blogs at Man Bites World.