3809 West Pico Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90019
La Cevicheria is a place you wouldn’t notice unless you’re actually looking for it as it’s a small space located between a tire shop and a laundromat. Luckily, with its aqua sea foam coloring, it stands out from the rest. This restaurant was recommended by a family member, who felt it should be our first and last stop on our hunt for the best mariscos/ceviche in town. La Cevicheria has built a reputation among the neighborhood and beyond, especially since they have been around for over ten years.
As for appearance, it doesn’t have much to show in its interior, but the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. The waitress was very helpful and friendly, she was always available and ready to help us. Chef Carolina Orellana was awesome as well. She greeted us and proceeded to humbly discuss her dishes, including her inspirations behind them. She even recommended other Guatemalan restaurants to try out in LA. When we went, we went hungry and ready to try everything on the menu.
This is what we ended up ordering:
- Fried Calamari- Certainly on the stale side for me, although one of the guests with me particularly relished it. Well, to each their own, lol. The appetizer was paired interestingly enough with ketchup instead of a traditional marinara. Maybe it was just me, but the calamari tasted as if old oil was used to fry them.
- Coctel Campechana- Included abalone, octopus, shrimp, red onion, avocado, in a tomato sauce mixture. We all had a few issues with this one. Even after we squeezed all the limes we had into it, it was still missing salt and acidity. The other and more flagrant issue that we had was that the octopus didn’t seem to be cleaned well, as there were a few chunks of skin floating within the container. Even with those two issues, it still had a better flavor than the Peruvian style ceviche.
- Peruvian Ceviche- Consisted of squid, red snapper (even though this is what was written on the menu, it looked and tasted like tilapia), shrimp, thin sliced red onion, served with a side of Aji Amarillo sauce with a side of chilled potatoes. Was positively on the bland side and definitely needed more seasoning including salt, lime, and a bit of heat. The fish didn’t have any of the flavors absorbed into it as if it were cooked first, chilled, and then tossed into the marinade right before sending it out. The same could be said about the rest of the seafood in this ceviche.
- Concha Negra Ceviche- With blood clams, shrimp, octopus, avocado, Worcestershire sauce, mint, and the traditional ingredients used in ceviche. They are known as bloody clams (also blood cockles) due to the large amounts of hemoglobin in them. They are a bit sweeter, and less briny than regular clams. Since the mixture is not too salty, it goes great with the saltine crackers that were served on the side to accompany this mouth-watering delicacy. They counter each other with the saltiness from the crackers and the sweetness from the clams and octopus, along with the rich buttery flavors from the diced avocado added in.
- Chapin Ceviche- Complete with octopus, crab, shrimp, tomato, onion, Worcestershire, lime juice, and Hierba Buena (also known as mint). Served with a house made habanero salsa on the side. One of the things that stood out immediately to me was that they were using real crab meat, unlike other places that defile their food with imitation crab meat- thank goodness! Something else I noticed was that instead of adding chopped coriander leaves, they used chopped mint giving it a different level of flavor and freshness to the dish that welcomes it to your palate with open arms. Perfectly balanced the sweetness, fresh taste, and tartness of the seafood and mint mixture with the heat and smokiness of the habanero sauce. The habanero sauce itself had ginger, yellow bell pepper, and when you smell it, you notice that it has mustard in it as well. By far, was the favorite of the group, hands down.
Our favorites were the Chapin, and Concha Negra ceviches. There were a few misfires thrown in our direction, but the two heroes overshadowed the troublemakers we encountered on our visit. We all left completely stuffed, damn near waddling all the way to our cars. Even though the owner doesn’t want to get a beer license, it would work in his favor since nothing goes better with ceviche than a nice cold beer or Michelada. If you don’t know what a Michelada is, it’s the Latino version of a Bloody Mary with beer instead of vodka. I will most certainly be keeping Chef Carolina and her restaurant in mind to visit again and see what other creations she will bring to the table for this hungry little fat boy…