Ceviche is a Latin American dish where seafood is “cooked” by the citric acid from lemon or limes instead of by heat. The dish typically features ingredients such as sweet potato, corn and avocado to complement the delicate flavor of the fish. Due to its tender texture and fresh flavor, ceviche has become increasingly popular in the United States. Like sushi, ceviche must be prepared promptly before serving since the seafood is not actually cooked, making freshness a top priority. Here are a few Philadelphia spots that offer delicious ceviche with fresh, bright flavors. 
Alma De Cuba
1623 Walnut St.

Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 988-1799
www.almadecubarestaurant.com

Alma de Cuba is a collaboration between restaurateur Stephen Starr and Executive Chef Douglas Rodriguez. Rodriguez released his fourth book in 2003, entitled “The Great Ceviche Book.” With a title like that on his resume, it’s no surprise that he features several ceviche dishes on his menu of modern Latin cuisine. Choose from seven types of ceviche, including agua chili sea scallop ($16), Thai young coconut mixto ($24), rainbow ($16), Ecuadorian shrimp ($15) and more. To try a variety, opt for a ceviche tasting: three for $28, five for $45 or seven for $59. For the best value, visit Alma de Cuba Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. In addition to $5 mojitos, sangria and appetizers like empanadas and bacon-wrapped dates, you can also enjoy $1 ceviche specials. The ceviche special changes daily but the rainbow (salmon, fluke and tuna with lime, sweet potato and jalapeno) and Ecuadorian shrimp (shrimp, avocado, fire-roasted tomatoes, orange juice and corn nuts) are two common offerings.

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Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar
10 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 627-0666

www.cubalibrerestaurant.com

Cuba Libre’s Chef-Partner Guillermo Pernot is the recipient of two James Beard Awards: Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic Region and Best Single Subject Cookbook for “Ceviche! Seafood, Salads and Cocktails with a Latino Twist.” Chef Pernot currently offers three ceviches on the menu at this favorite Old City spot. Choose from tuna ($12), shrimp ($14) and bay scallop ($12.50), or order the ceviche mix to enjoy a flight or either two ($15.50) or three ($17.50) of the chef’s signature ceviches. The shrimp ceviche is a standout favorite served as a Cuban-style shrimp cocktail with a spicy red cocktail sauce and avocado salsa.

El Rey
2013 Chestnut St.

Philadelphia, PA 19103
(215) 563-3330
www.elreyrestaurant.com

This Rittenhouse spot serves Mexican food inspired by casual roadside spots.  Like most Stephen Starr restaurants, the atmosphere is a big part of the experience. While El Rey is more casual than most Starr venues, the attention to detail is what Philadelphians have come to expect from the restaurateur. You’ll feel right at home at this diner-style, borderline kitchey spot. There are three ceviches on the menu, all priced at $12.50. Choose from salpicon de jaiba (blue crab), campechana (shrimp and tuna) and tuna. The tuna is probably the most popular, featuring tuna, red onion, bell and poblano peppers and cilantro.

Mixto
1141 Pine St.

Philadelphia, PA 19107
(215) 592-0363
www.mixtorestaurante.com

As the name suggests, Mixto serves dishes that draw inspiration from a combination of Latin American, Cuban and Caribbean flavors. A popular Washington Square West spot, known for its vacation-like atmosphere, the ropa vieja, rotisserie pernil and arroz con polla are just a few of the traditional favorites. Ceviche is a wonderful light appetizer and a fresh way to start any meal. A trio of shrimp, salmon and tuna is available for $15, or you can also enjoy shrimp ceviche as part of the appetizer sampler “plato mixto.” For $24, it also includes empanadas, chorizo, tostones, papa rellena, maduros, arepas and chicharrones.

La Calaca Feliz
2321 Fairmount Ave.

Philadelphia, PA 19130
(215) 787-9930
www.lacalacafeliz.com

With its colorful murals and other whimsical touches, La Calaca Feliz is a bit like a festive oasis in the Fairmount section of Philadelphia. The restaurant is the second of three Mexican spots from Chef Tim Spinner and co-owner Brian Sirhal — the same team behind Cantina Feliz and Taqueria Feliz. Chef Spinner has put together a menu of updated Mexican dishes featuring authentic, seasonal ingredients and contemporary culinary techniques. There are two ceviches on the dinner menu. The $11.95 ceviche amarillo features ahi tuna and yellow tomato agua chicle that’s topped with ginger pineapple ice. It’s light and fresh with a bit of a spicy kick. At $9.95, the hamachi ceviche is a standout favorite on the appetizer menu, balancing a mixture of flavor and texture. The dish features fresh fish complemented by a touch of spice from pico de gallo and a hit of acid from a lime aioli. A bit of avocado adds a creamy texture, while the corn tortillas that the ceviche is served on give a nice crunch.

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Michelle Hein is the social media editor for a women’s fashion company in Bucks County by day and a self-proclaimed food and drink fanatic by night and weekend. She enjoys attending wine classes, trying new recipes in the kitchen and going to old favorites and new restaurants alike in the Bucks County and Philadelphia area. If the writing gig doesn’t pan out, she constantly dreams of owning her own bakery…perhaps connected to the restaurant/bar that her lawyer husband would love to open.
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