Ceviche Tour invites public to help pick Costa Rica’s best raw fish dish

Karl Kahler | May 10, 2016
Ceviche at Jurgens in San José.

If you like your fish raw, yet well done, you may want to sample some of the entries in a monthlong contest to honor Costa Rica’s best ceviche.

The Ceviche Tour, sponsored by several beverages and a credit card company, challenges chefs in 16 restaurants to come up with a new gourmet ceviche dish to serve to customers between April 28 and May 31.

Ceviche at Chancay in Escazú and San Pedro.
Ceviche at Chancay in Escazú and San Pedro. (Courtesy of 4dmentes)

A jury of four chefs will be surreptitiously slipping into the restaurants to sample the dishes in order to determine three finalists, who will compete in a “Master Chef”-style competition at Torre Lexus in Escazú the first week of June.

Details are still being worked out, but chefs will either be able to choose their ingredients or will be given a “surprise box” with the same ingredients. They will then come up with a completely original ceviche concoction, competing for first, second and third place.

Ceviche at Go Fish in Curridabat.
Ceviche at Go Fish in Curridabat. (Courtesy of 4dmentes)

Ceviche is raw seafood cured in lime juice and enlivened with peppers, onions and other ingredients, limited only by the cook’s imagination. The dish is believed to have been brought to Peru from Granada by the Spanish conquistadors and from there evolved into an international sensation, primarily as an appetizer.

Two Tico Times editors recently sampled the flavor of the month at Alma de Amón in Barrio Amón — seabass and shrimp with onion, sweet chili, cilantro, lime, garlic, pepper and ginger ale, rolled in avocado slices and doused in a mango and ginger sauce, with cherry tomatoes on top. It was, how should we say … gingerific.

Ceviche at Alma de Amón in San José.
Ceviche at Alma de Amón in San José. (Courtesy of 4dmentes)

There’s a “People’s Choice” component to the contest as well, in which customers are invited to upload photos of their ceviche to Instagram or Facebook with the hashtag #cevichetourcr, as well as a hashtag identifying that specific dish, to register their vote. Participants can win prizes including dinners at participating restaurants.

The restaurants (all in the Central Valley except one in Manuel Antonio and one in Herradura), are 8vo Rooftop, Alma de Amón, Estación Atocha, Cebichería, Chancay, Go Fish, Inka Grill, Jurgen’s, La Bistró, La Cascada, La Isabela Marriott Belén, Marriott Los Sueños, Praha, Segundo Muelle, Hotel Si Como No and Vino Mundo.

Ceviche at Segundo Muelle in San José.
Ceviche at Segundo Muelle in San José. (Courtesy of 4dmentes)

The Ceviche Tour is sponsored by Credomatic, which offers a steep discount on the dishes if paid with one of its credit cards — ₡5,990, as opposed to ₡7,990 (plus tax). That includes a beverage from one of the other sponsors, Stella Artois beer, Cono Sur wine, Acqua Panna mineral water or San Pellegrino sparkling waters.

For more info: www.cevichetourcr.com

Contact Karl Kahler at kkahler@ticotimes.net.


  1. Oh please! Ceviche is not a fancy dish as those sick and pot induced chefs are trying to present here. Ceviche was born in humble, peaceful fisherman towns. Along the cost and out of abudance of fish, campesinos invented this delicious dish embedded in lime juice. It’s serve in an unpretentious thick tumbler next to saltines or platanos cocidos. What those chefs are presenting is an affeminate version of a classic masculine dish. Morons!

    Comment by Gonzalo — May 10, 2016 @ 6:49 pm

  2. Ha ha, Gonzalo. Tell us what you really think.

    Comment by Karl Kahler — May 10, 2016 @ 6:53 pm

  3. Ceviche should be served at the beach where the fish is fresh! Why only two costal restaurants?

    Comment by Christi — May 11, 2016 @ 10:40 am

  4. “Pot induced chefs”, “classic masculine dish”… that’s gold right there. Somebody’s got a few issues to work on.

    I’m glad to see a fun way to put this delicious dish in the spotlight. These creations won’t be found at your nearest marisqueria or fishing village, but that’s not the point, IS IT?

    Comment by Andrés — May 11, 2016 @ 11:20 am

  5. I’ve been enjoying ceviche in Costa Rica for 23 years and I have yet to try it at any of these trendy places. Some of the best is made in small local restaurants and cantinas where it’s served along with cold beer as a boca for very little dinero. For decades, fishermen have claimed that ceviche is an aphrodisiac; which might be where the comment; “classic masculine dish” came from.

    Comment by Thomas Rosenberger — May 12, 2016 @ 6:18 am

  6. Just go out and try them…
    Remember it is an arabic dish in its origins, although ancient peruvians had similar dish.
    Each country adds “something”…

    Comment by Jorge — May 12, 2016 @ 7:53 am

  7. Living next to Mexico in San Diego I first encountered ceviche being sold by street vendors in Tijuana. Although a fan of sashimi after living in Japan many years, I was skeptical of the sanitary conditions of street vendors and lacked the courage to chance it. However, in recent years in the U.S. many up-scale restaurants have ceviche on their menus giving me the confidence to sample it. Depending on their individual recipes, it is a delightful compliment to a meal. I am now a fan, but treading lightly. My wife and I look forward to spend some time in CR in our first out-of-country home and enjoying the local cuisine.

    Comment by David Valley — May 12, 2016 @ 10:06 am

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