San Diego’s Best Ceviche Found at Ceviche House
“Food is everything we are. It’s an extension of nationalist feeling, ethnic feeling, your personal history, your province, your region, your tribe, your grandma. It’s inseparable from those from the get-go.” -Anthony Bourdain
What is your favorite Mexican dish? For some people the answer will just roll off their tongue, but I feel like many Mexicans struggle to answer this question. Picking a dish is like choosing just one song that you love, or even picking a favorite child or dog. It’s easier said than done. As a Mexican, I will give you several answers because my favorite dish would all depend on my mood and weather. Since it basically feels like summer all year long in San Diego, there’s no better Mexican dish in my opinion than ceviche, and no better place to have it than at Ceviche House in North Park.
What is ceviche to be exact?
Ceviche is a dish consisting of raw seafood cured in lemon or lime. Most of the time the raw seafood will also be mixed with chopped onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and cucumber. The dish is very popular among coastal regions of Mexico, as well in other Latin American countries. Having lived in Tijuana and spent a lot of time in Rosarito with my family, ceviche and seafood was something I ate a lot during my childhood. My mom makes amazing white fish and salmon ceviche, and one of my aunts makes the best shrimp ceviche I’ve ever eaten. That being said, I had never ordered ceviche at a restaurant until very recently.
Why do I love this place?
I was reading a local food magazine when I stumbled upon a short article about Ceviche House in North Park. Reading Chef Juan Carlos Récamier’s story about how he fell in love with preparing seafood while he was in the coast of Oaxaca really struck a chord with me. And it was because of that short blurb that I decided to head over to Ceviche House to see what his restaurant was all about.
Not going to lie, I actually drove past Ceviche House twice because of how small the restaurant is. The restaurant’s small size adds a lot to its charm and it also made the place feel more “homey”. The decor at Ceviche House is simple, yet lively. When you walk in you’re instantly greeted by white tile on the walls, touches of rustic wood, and very subtle Mexican accents like cacti and loteria cards (a game similar to Bingo). The menu itself is quite condensed, which really works to their advantage in my opinion. There are four food categories at Ceviche House: Ceviche, Hot Dishes, Tiraditos/Specialties, and Botanas (Appetizers).
Best food there? Ceviche of course!
I honestly couldn’t go to a place called Ceviche House and not order ceviche, so I went ahead and ordered the Acapulco. The Acapulco ceviche is your standard ceviche with seasonal white fish, cucumber, tomatoes, red onions, cilantro, extra virgin olive oil, and avocado. It is basically what my mom makes a lot during the summer, so I knew exactly what to compare it to. The presentation of this ceviche was beautiful! It was served in a paper bowl, but arranged in a way where you couldn’t help but fall in love with how colorful the vegetables are. Everything from the fish to the vegetables looked and tasted incredibly fresh. And let me tell you, everything about this ceviche was fantastic! It was flavorful, fresh, and had a lot of heart. You could immediately tell that whoever made the dish really enjoys what he or she does. If you’re new to ceviche just ask for it on a tostada, or you could go the chips route and just scoop a bit on top of a chip. And don’t forget to add a dash of hot sauce!
Other amazing dishes?
Although I love the ceviche, the standout dish at Ceviche House is definitely the Shrimp Aguachile. This dish is comprised of raw shrimp, cucumber, red onions, a serrano citrus sauce, radish, and avocado. What makes aguachile a bit different from ceviche is the curing process. Instead of curing the shrimp in just citrus juice, aguachile requires the shrimp to be submerged in a liquid seasoned with chili peppers. This was by far the best served aguachile dish I’ve ever come across in my life! You get a very decent amount of fresh shrimp in this dish, and let me tell you these aren’t your Polly Pocket sized shrimps that you get in instant ramen. The Shrimp Aguachile is very flavorful and it has a really nice kick to it because of the chili. If you’re not into spicy food, don’t worry because this isn’t a ridiculously spicy dish. This is hands down the dish that will keep me coming back to Ceviche House.
Another dish I tried was the Rice Bowl with brown rice, fire roasted vegetables, avocado, shrimp, and queso fresco. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the rice bowl, but I think it did fall a bit short when compared to the stars of this restaurant (the raw seafood dishes). That being said if you’re someone that doesn’t like the idea of raw seafood or don’t like seafood period, then I think you will enjoy the Rice Bowl. This isn’t a typical Mexican dish, but it does make for a delicious and healthy lunch option.
Truly a hidden gem in San Diego.
Mexican food has a lot of heart and soul, and that’s one of the things that I look for the most when I have Mexican food anywhere in the world. If there’s no love for the food that you’re cooking, then that will come across in the food. To me Ceviche House is truly a hidden gem in San Diego with a lot of heart and soul. And to make things even better, they’re extremely passionate about the sustainable food movement. All the seafood served is brought in each morning to ensure that it is fresh, and the vegetables are all organic and come from local farmers.
These days, there’s no longer the need to cross the border to get fresh seafood. All you have to do is head over to the colorful streets of North Park. Whether you’re already a ceviche connoisseur or would like to be introduced to the popular dish, you’re bound to fall in love with Ceviche House.
Buen provecho mis amigos!
Have you tried ceviche? Let us know in the comments below!