Ceviche occupies a special place in our hearts. It satisfies our inextinguishable desire for fresh raw seafood, while also providing citrus juices and a moment to consider just how wonderful the ocean is. These twelve spots serve some of our favorite ceviche versions in the city, and all of them will make you want to deeply explore your familial connection to shrimp, octopus, mussels, and more.
At this point, Llama Inn changes up its menu every couple of months. But no matter what’s on the menu at this Peruvian spot in Williamsburg, you should always order the ceviche. Whether it stars crispy calamari, tender fluke, crispy sea bass, or some combination of all three, the server will probably pour a creamy liquid over your seafood tableside. Recently, we were given a bright yellow aji amarillo, mixed with lime juice, onion, and a bunch of other ingredients we wanted to drink from the bowl like the milk leftover from your Fruity Pebbles.
Here are two Jackson Heights rules to live by: always bring an extra tote for impromptu produce pickups, and always say yes when the person on the El Guayaquileño truck asks if you want lemon juice in your ceviche. This Ecuadorian food truck is just two blocks north of Birria-Landia on 80th & Roosevelt Avenue, and serves some of our favorite fish and shrimp ceviches anywhere in the city. We recommend coming with a friend and ordering both, which gets you two small styrofoam bowls filled to the brim with lots of cilantro, onion, and cancha. But no matter what, you should always save room for a creamy cup of jugo de coco with lots of natural sweetness to help balance out the acidity.
Mariscos El Submarino has several great raw seafood options, but a meal at this Mexican restaurant in Jackson Heights isn’t complete without an order of ceviche mixto. This massive bowl of jalapeño-covered prawns, fresh white fish, and tender octopus gets marinated in a creamy house sauce and then topped with several perfect slices of avocado. And it’ll transport you to a chill beachside seafood shack in Puerto Escondido. While you’re here, don’t miss their aguachile negro. The smoky seafood dish gets its color (and name) from a blend of charred green and red chiles that you’ll see flecked in the loose water-and-lime-based sauce. Both dishes come with a side of crunchy, flat tortillas so you can build your own tostada with acidic tilapia, shrimp, octopus, and creamy avocado slices.
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Pio Pio’s chicken, which is the focus at all eight locations, is better than almost any rotisserie-style bird in the city. But what deserves just as much praise is the excellent ceviche. You can customize your spice level depending on your mood, and each order comes on a massive plate that could easily be described as a serving dish. And considering that this restaurant has multiple massive locations, we appreciate that the shrimp, octopus, and sea bass in their ceviche mixto tastes like it was just pulled out of the ocean.
Jora is a fun Peruvian restaurant and pisco bar in Long Island City that’s filled with velvet couches, gaudy chandeliers, and pottery displayed on shelves like artifacts in a historical museum. If you need another reason to come here, know that they have three different ceviche options you can eat for lunch or dinner every day. Our favorite is the ceviche mixto, filled with a combination of sea bass, octopus, shrimp, mussels, and tender rings of squid. It’s all served in a muddy pond of aji amarillo that has an earthy, nutty flavor unlike all the other tangy ceviches order on this list.
Any discussion about the best Mexican food in NYC needs to include Casa Enrique. So, naturally, any conversation about the best ceviche should as well. The massive bowl is filled with a spicy pool of tomato-infused lime juice, thinly sliced avocado, and chopped jalapeño. But the real reason you should order this is for the marinated fish - each chunk tastes like it’s been rolling around in a bed of cilantro like Mr. Krabs would on a pile of money. Pairing an order with one of their watermelon margaritas is the perfect setup for a best-of-the-summer kind of meal.
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According to their Instagram bio, Urubamba is the oldest Peruvian restaurant in the city. So if you’re looking for a Jackson Heights establishment that knows how to pump out a plate of fresh ceviche, this is the spot to try. Come here for a classic version of ceviche mixto with even more leche de tigre on the side, along with some plump pieces of lime-covered shrimp, tender raw octopus, and fatty chunks of white fish that will melt in your mouth.
If Los Tacos No.1 is the brother who’s been studying to become a brain surgeon since middle school, Los Mariscos is its equally talented twin who opted to be a tour boat captain in Baja. They’re from the same parents, and they both live in Chelsea Market. In addition to Los Mariscos’ famous fish tacos, the juicy and notably spicy ceviche tostadas here are a must-order. We always go for the special with shrimp, clams, scallops, and octopus all mixed in to one delightfully acidic mound of fresh seafood on a flat tortilla.
One of our favorite places for a casual weeknight chicken dinner is also somewhere you can find excellent ceviche. This Essex Market vendor gives you the choice to get white fish or shrimp or both as proteins, and we recommend getting the mixto since choosing between those two seafoods is like to picking between Mario Kart and Diddy Kong Racing - it’s impossible. The mixto also has calamari strips mixed in, and if you get your bowl spicy (which you should), the leche de tigre will clear up your sinuses. We love the large chunks of choclo corn, corn nuts, and soft sweet potatoes that help balance out the whole thing.
You’ll find some exciting raw fish options at Tacos Güey in Flatiron. Focus on their best mariscos dish: the sea bass ceviche. Served in a clamshell with crunchy chips on the side, the combination of gooseberries, chile oil, and diced sea bass is tingly and sweet and pairs well with one of their frozen cocktails (like the tart “That Güey”). We especially appreciate how every element in this dish is cut to roughly the same size - that way it’s easy to get a bite of everything together and won’t have you frantically searching for more jammy gooseberries.
Contento is the newest exciting dinner spot to check out in East Harlem. And a big reason is for their delicious Peruvian dishes, especially the mahi mahi ceviche. After one bite, the leche de tigre made us pucker in a good way. Two types of corn (fresh and corn nuts) mingle with herbs, onions, dollops of mashed sweet potatoes, and thick pieces of mahi mahi that soak up all the acidic juices. Instead of a shot of apple cider vinegar to start our day, we long to take of swig of the Contento’s leche de tigre since it’s so full of flavor and might even inspire us not to doomscroll in bed for 45 minutes.
We can sometimes be skeptical of hotel restaurants. The clientele is often unpredictable, the restaurant might be run by a chef who doesn’t even live in New York, and the menus are often pretty derivative to appeal to all the tourists who pass through. You won’t have to worry about any of that at Popular in the Public Hotel on the LES. The Peruvian food, highlighted by a full selection of different ceviche, is all delicious. In their classic option, you’ll find bits of charred sweet potato, thinly sliced red onion and chiles, large crispy corn nuts, and big hunks of snapper and octopus swimming in a tangy leche de tigre. This one is the real standout, but if you’re looking to try something else - the tuna tiradito with crispy quinoa and strips of white radish covered in sesame oil is a refreshing choice as well.
If you’re feeling sleepy or sluggish before your meal at this Peruvian restaurant in Jackson Heights, the spanking acidity of their leche de tigre ceviche will successfully jolt your senses to a level typically reserved for the Energizer Bunny. Each spoonful is thick and sopping with fish stock, lime juice, cilantro, and mashed hunks of white fish. There’s so much lime juice in this cocktail glass that, if you blindfold yourself, you may come to the conclusion that you’ve transcended into some sort of citrus fruit community. When your mouth needs a break, return to the maiz chulpe and lomo saltado on the table.
Whenever we eat at Mission Ceviche on the Upper East Side, we go heavy on seafood and pisco cocktails. They dedicate an entire section of their menu to ceviche, like a classic white fish ceviche bathing in a zippy leche de tigre with sweet potatoes and corn. This is a great spot to meet uptown for a fun dinner (especially if you always go to the same snoozy restaurant with your friends or family in the area). It’s always busy, there are plenty of options for anyone who wants to share - including their lomo saltado and large format cocktails - as well as single-portion entrees. We’d recommend sitting on their luscious, plant-decorated sidewalk patio if your group isn’t down for a particularly loud dining room.