São Paulo‘s gastronomic culture is so rich that, in all honesty, you can find any type of food in this cosmopolitan megacity. However, if it’s the Peruvian raw fish dish ceviche that you’re after, you’re in luck – as the city’s latest food trend, it can be found in a number of foodie hotspots. Here’s our round-up of the best.
Long before this so-called ‘ceviche boom’, Rinconcito Peruano was the Peruvian restaurant in São Paulo. Famous for its old location, close to one of the roughest parts of the city center, Rinconcito Peruano was popular for serving delicious, authentic Peruvian food at low prices in comparison with São Paulo standards. As time went on, the restaurant grew, and now there are several Rinconcitos across the city.
While there is are all sorts of delicious Peruvian options on the menu, Rinconcito really excels in its ceviche, which comes in large portions and is served with a variety of different fish. The standout is the ceviche de salmón, made with cubes of salmon, which is somewhat rare to use in ceviche. The combination works perfectly however, making this a must-visit on any ceviche-lover’s list in São Paulo.
This place has been lucky enough to take advantage of two successive food trends in São Paulo. Having started life as a food truck when they were all the rage in the city, La Peruana managed to lease a property in the swanky neighborhood of Jardins and is now one of São Paulo’s top ceviche spots.
The restaurant itself is beautifully decorated and has a laid-back, hip feel to it, with the cool El Balcón cocktail bar situated adjacent to the restaurant. The food is superb, prepared by head chef Marisabel Woodman, who hails from Piura in Northern Peru, and ceviche is her bread and butter.
Coming in several variations, the house ceviche (ceviche La Peruana) is the most popular order. Made with white fish and shrimp, it also comes with deliciously crispy fried squid which adds another level to the texture of the dish.
Interestingly, many Paulistanos’ favorite ceviche is one made without any seafood. Tucked into a gorgeous corner in the neighborhood of Pinheiros, Maní, recently voted the Best Restaurant in São Paulo by the city’s leading newspaper Folha de S. Paulo, serves up some incredible food using traditional yet often overlooked Brazilian ingredients.
Head chef Helena Rizzo’s take on a Peruvian ceviche uses the flesh of the cashew fruit in place of cubed fish, being cured in the traditional Peruvian combination of lime juice and leche de tigre, and then topped with iced cajuína – an alcoholic drink from the north of Brazil. This is not to be missed by any means.
When the Pinheiros Municipal Market was recently renovated, its upper floor became home to a number of exciting gourmet food stalls led by some of the city’s top chefs. One of these new arrivals was Comedoria González, a project of charismatic Bolivian chef Checho Gonzáles, now one of the most popular spots in São Paulo for ceviche lovers.
Comedoria Gonzáles only uses fresh produce from the Municipal Market itself, so you know you are getting quality food made from quality ingredients. Gonzáles’ ceviche comes with four choices of marinades: the traditional lime juice, mango juice, a ginger oil, and lastly a marinade made from the juice of the cambuci fruit, a rare delicacy only found in parts of the south and southeast of Brazil.
Though potentially the newest establishment on this list, La Cevicheria in Pinheiros prides itself on being São Paulo’s first pure ceviche restaurant, basing their entire menu around the dish and not offering any real alternatives. As is to be expected, the ceviche at La Cevicheria is very impressive indeed. Diners can choose between the original fish ceviche or the ceviche misto, which adds octopus, shrimp and squid to the mix. There are also a number of available sauces to accompany your dish, including the chili-based ají amarillo and rocoto pastes, and the creamy, minty huacatay.
Only two blocks from La Cevicheria is the delicious Peruvian/Latin American restaurant Suri, one of the most popular options in São Paulo for a casual yet slightly more refined Andean dining experience. With its gorgeous decor, laid-back atmosphere and incredible food, it is impossible not to love Suri.
Ceviche is, of course, the restaurant’s signature dish, and Suri stands out from the city’s other ceviche choices by innovating their menu with some interesting twists on the traditional recipe. The Goa ceviche is made with curry powder and coconut milk, the Tierra y Mar comes with the intriguing combination of tuna, bacon, strained yoghurt, cherry tomatoes and totopo chips, but the house ceviche (ceviche de la casa) is the highlight, made with tuna, shrimp and squid, marinated in an avocado and coconut milk emulsion.
Hidden away in the oft forgotten neighborhood of Butantã to the west of São Paulo is the simple and charming Inkahuasi restaurant. It is unlikely to pop up on most lists of the city’s Peruvian eateries, but it is certainly worth a visit for its cozy atmosphere and excellent ceviche.
The best order on the menu is the trio de ceviches, which comes with three different types of ceviche: the classic fish version with lime and leche de tigre, a ‘Machu Picchu’ variety and the spicier Ají ceviche.
Try: ceviche tropical
With many excellent Peruvian dishes on the menu, the charming Ají, located in the neighborhood of Pinheiros, is an ideal spot to get your Peru fix. One of the standouts on the menu is the ceviche tropical, which is an interesting twist on the traditional recipe, adding cubes of mango and pineapple to the fish, topped with a delicious passion fruit sauce.
Rua Francisco Leitão 285, Pinheiros, São Paulo, Brazil, +55 11 99301 8292
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